French Open Day 1 Preview: Three Must-See Matches - UBITENNIS
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French Open Day 1 Preview: Three Must-See Matches

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Angelique Kerber (zimbio.com)

The first day of the French Open promises to be one filled with joy and anxiety. Petra Kvitova will grace her presence on court Philippe Chatrier is what will be her first match since suffering an injury to her hand in a knife attack last year. Meanwhile, world No.1 Angelique Kerber will be out to prove a point against the tricky Ekaterina Makarova. 32 singles matches will take place on Sunday, but these are the three to watch.

 

Petra Kvitova vs. Julia Boserup

The opening match on Philippe-Chatrier will see the emotional return of Petra Kvitova, who has not played all year while recovering from a home invasion in December where a robber entered her apartment. The assailant held a knife to Kvitova’s throat, and Petra suffered deep lacerations to her left hand while defending herself. The left-hander was told she may never play again, but she surprised friends and fans alike this week with her announcement that she would return earlier than planned at this year’s French Open. The two-time Wimbledon Champion is one of the most popular players in the locker room, and it will be inspiring to see her walk out onto Court Philippe-Chatrier. Petra has admitted she is not yet 100%: she still cannot even make a full fist with her left hand, and has not completed two full sets of tennis during practice. Considering her condition and the considerable emotions she’ll be feeling, how will she fare against the 86th-ranked player from the USA? This is one case where the outcome means a lot less than the mere presence of Kvitova back on the court.

Angelique Kerber vs. Ekaterina Makarova

The number-one ranked Kerber has been playing like anything but the top player in the world, with a 19-12 record on the year and no titles. A letdown following her breakout 2016 was expected, but her lack of confidence has been startling. In the absence of Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, there will be even more focus on Kerber’s performance. Kerber lost in the first round of last year’s French Open to Kiki Bertens. Will that result haunt her, or can she find solace in having no points to defend? While Makarova has recently found more success in Doubles than Singles, she is a very rough first round draw who has made many deep runs at majors. But Makarova has never been past the fourth round on the red clay of Roland Garros, and Kerber is 4-0 lifetime against Makarova. This battle of left-handers could go either way, and a tough first-round win could propel either woman into the second week with a wide-open women’s draw.

Dominic Thiem vs. Bernard Tomic

Thiem comes into this French Open with a lot of momentum, and good memories from last year where he reached the semifinals. After losing to Rafael Nadal in the final of both Barcelona and Madrid, Thiem finally defeated Nadal in Rome. Subsequently, he lost his next match to Novak Djokovic, only winning one game in two sets. The Austrian has already played 41 matches in 2017, as he has not decided to reduce his playing schedule in light of his deep runs in many tournaments. While this amount of match play must boost Thiem’s confidence, it’s also likely to soon tire him out. Tomic is fun to watch when motivated, but is not a strong clay courter – he should be an easy win for Thiem. But let’s watch to see if Thiem, one of the top contenders for the French Open title, shows any signs of fatigue.

Sunday’s order of play (starting at 11:00 local time)

PHILIPPE-CHATRIER COURT

Julia Boserup (USA) v Petra Kvitova (CZE) [15]
Angelique Kerber (GER) [1] v Ekaterina Makarova (RUS)
Stephane Robert (FRA) v.Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) [11]
Lucas Pouille (FRA) [16] v Julien Benneteau (FRA)

SUZANNE-LENGLEN COURT

Horacio Zeballos (ARG) v Adrian Mannarino (FRA)
Christina McHale (USA) v Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) [8]
Dominic Thiem (AUT) [6] v Bernard Tomic (AUS)
Venus Williams (USA) [10] v Qiang Wang (CHN)

COURT 1

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) v Gilles Muller (LUX) [26]
Marco Trungelliti (ARG) v Quentin Halys (FRA)
Camila Giorgi (ITA) v Oceane Dodin (FRA)
Lara Arruabarrena (ESP) v Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) [6]

COURT 2

Monica Puig (PUR) v Roberta Vinci (ITA) [31]
Benjamin Bonzi (FRA) v Daniil Medvedev (RUS)
Tommy Robredo (ESP) v Daniel Evans (GBR)
Viktorija Golubic (SUI) v Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR)

COURT 3

Marius Copil (ROU) v Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) [19]
Ivo Karlovic (CRO) [23] v Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO) [22] v Cagla Buyukakcay (TUR)
Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) v Evgeniya Rodina (RUS)

COURT 6

Louisa Chirico (USA) v Jelena Ostapenko (LAT)
Taro Daniel (JPN) v Jerzy Janowicz (POL)
Amanda Anisimova (USA) v Kurumi Nara (JPN)
Yuichi Sugita (JPN) v Steve Johnson (USA) [25]

COURT 14

Madison Brengle (USA) v Julia Goerges (GER)
Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) [20] v Florian Mayer (GER)
Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) v Kateryna Kozlova (UKR)
Robin Haase (NED) v Alex De Minaur (AUS)

COURT 17

Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) [30] v Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP)
Marina Erakovic (NZL) v Shelby Rogers (USA)
Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) v Tennys Sandgren (USA)
Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) v Dusan Lajovic (SRB

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Maria Sakkari reaches her third quarter final of the season in Ostrava

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Maria Sakkari got through to her third quarter final of the season after beating Elina Svitolina 6-3 6-3 at the J&T Banka Open in Ostrava with five breaks and 32 winners. 

 

Sakkari has already reached two quarter finals in 2020 in St. Petersburg and at the Western and Southern Open in New York and scored the fourth win of her career against a top 5 player. 

Sakkari went up a 3-0 lead with a double break. Svitolina pulled one of the two breaks back in the fourth game to claw his way back to 1-3. Sakkari converted his third break point in the eighth game to win the first set 6-3. 

Svitolina earned her first break in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead. Sakkari battled to deuce four times and converted her third break points in a marathon fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Sakkari earned another brek to open up a 5-3 lead to close out the match after 1 hour and 16 minutes. 

“Obviously winning against a player like Elina, the way I played I think that made me happy today. I think playing like me gives me a lot of confidence. Getting another top 5 win is very important for me. When I was starting my career, I had people telling me that I cannot play indoors. I think it was a big mistake listening to them. I have beaten very good indoor players in St. Petersburg and here in Ostrava. I have developed my game in a way that I can now be dangerous indoor sas well. My serve is big, and I am playing a little bit more aggressive. So I am super happy. I have proved these people wrong”, said Sakkari.

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Grigor Dimitrov rallies from one set down to beat Pablo Andujar in Antwerp

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Grigor Dimitrov came back from one set down to beat Pablo Andujar 4-6 6-3 6-4 at the European Open in Antwerp.

 

Andujar earned the break in the ninth game to win the first set 6-4. Dimitrov went up an early break in the second game to take the second set 6-3. The Bulgarian player raced out to a 4-1 lead with a double break in the decider. Andujar pulled one break back in the sixth game for 2-4. Dimitrov saved four match points in the eighth game to hold serve at deuce and converted his first match point in the 10th game to win the third set 6-4. 

Ugo Humbert came back from one set down to beat this year’s US Open semifinalist Pablo Carreno Busta 5-7 6-3 6-4 after 2 hours and 33 minutes Humbert earned an early break in the second game of the opening set to build up a 5-2 lead. Carreno Busta fought back by winning five consecutive games with two breaks in the ninth and eleventh games to win the first set 7-5. 

Humbert saved four break points in the fifth game before breaking serve in the eighth game to win the second set sending the match to the third set. Humbert fended off four break points at 2-3 in the third set and broke serve to love to take a 5-4 lead, when Carreno Busta made three consecutive groundstroke errors. Humbert has improved his win-loss record to 18-11 and won the ASB Classic title in Auckland last January. The Frenchman scored the biggest win of his career when he beat Danil Medvedev in the Hamburg quarter final. 

Humbert will face either US Taylor Fritz or South African qualifier Lloyd Harris. Fritz dropped six of his first service points in his 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 win over his compatriot Reilly Opelka. 

Milos Raonic beat Aljaz Bedene 6-3 7-6 (7-4) in 86 minutes setting up a second round match against Cameron Norrie. Bedene fended off two match points, when he was serving at 5-6 15-40 to force the second set to the tie-break. Raonic rallied from 1-3 down to win the tie-break 7-4. The Canadian player reached the final at the Western and Southern Open in New York and lost to Borna Coric in the semifinal in St. Petersburg.  

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Julia Goerges Announces Retirement From Tennis

Julia Goerges announced her retirement from tennis after over two decades in the sport.

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(@JuliaGoerges - Twitter)

Former top 10 player Julia Goerges has said her goodbyes to tennis after announcing her retirement from the sport.

 

In a shock announcement the 31 year-old from Regensburg, Germany announced her retirement from the sport that she had been playing since she was five years old.

Speaking on Instagram and her website, Goerges paid tribute to the sport she has been apart for over two decades, “I am writing to you, because I am ready to say “Goodbye”,” The German explained.

“When I started playing tennis at the age of 5, I would never have thought that we would go such a long way together.

“You have given me so many different types of emotions throughout our journey and I am very thankful for everything you have shown and taught me. I learnt how to deal with the toughest losses but also enjoy the most amazing wins of my career, to fight back many times when I was struggling with you and through it all we never lost sight of our dreams.

“I always knew how I would feel when it is time to say goodbye to you, and that moment has arrived. I am ready to close the tennis chapter of my life and open a new one, which I am really excited about. Thank you for everything you have given me. You will stay forever in my heart.”

The news comes as a shock to many people as earlier in the year Goerges had originally said that she would continue for another 2-3 years.

However in the current circumstances, Goerges probably felt that this was the perfect timing to announce her retirement from the sport.

It was a career that started by winning the biggest title of her career in Stuttgart before a serious injury derailed her progress.

However a late surge in her late-20s, saw her win a total of 12 WTA titles and reach the semi-finals of a grand slam for the first time at Wimbledon 2017.

Now it seems Goerges’ 2nd round exit against Laura Siegemund was the last match of her career as she sets her sights on being involved with tennis off the court especially with her new performance app ‘Recast Tennis.’

A career that she can be very proud of, Happy retirement Julia Goerges!

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