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




Angelique Kerber (

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)


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)


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)


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]


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)


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)


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]


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)


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


ATP Rankings Update: Novak Djokovic Consolidates His Supremacy

How has events at last week’s Italian Masters impacted on the standings?






by Roberto Ferri, translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

The ATP Masters 1000 Rome, aka the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, haven’t significantly impacted the ATP Rankings.


Thanks to his first final in Rome, Stefanos Tsitsipas overtakes Rafael Nadal; Casper Ruud is back in 8th place while Matteo Berrettini loses two positions and now is No. 10. The most striking news is that Novak Djokovic, while conquering his sixth crown in Rome, appeared close to his best tennis and has once more opened up quite a gap between himself and his chasers. 

TOP 20

17Carreno BustaSpain21351
19Bautista AgutSpain1903 


I came, I saw, I conquered.” Considering the geographic context, the Julius Ceasar quote seems most appropriate for commenting on Novak Djokovic’s triumph in Rome: thanks to the 1000 points earned in Rome, the world number 1 has whizzed up to 10th position in the ranking of the best players in 2022 with 1610 points.

Ahead of him (until when?) there are:

4Auger AliassimeCanada2025


No changes have occurred in the ranking of the best under 21s:

5LeheckaCzech Rep.4832001


Eleven players in the top 100 reach their career best:

Van de Zandshulp29Netherlands
Lehecka77Czech Rep.

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Internazionali d’Italia Daily Preview: Championship Sunday




Iga Swiatek on Saturday in Rome (

Iga Swiatek has won her last 27 matches.  Ons Jabeur has won her last 11 matches.  They are easily the two best WTA players of the year thus far.  On Sunday, in their first meeting of the season, only one of them can continue their winning streak.


Novak Djokovic is a five-time champion in Rome, and a six-time runner-up.  This is his seventh final out the last eight years.  He faces Stefanos Tsitsipas, in a rematch of their dramatic championship match nearly a year ago at Roland Garros.

Also on Sunday, the men’s and women’s doubles finals will be played.

Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Ons Jabeur (9) – 1:00pm on Center Court

This should be an excellent championship match, featuring the WTA’s two hottest performers, and two of the sport’s most eclectic and likeable players.  Swiatek claimed their first meeting three years ago in Washington, but Jabeur took their last two (Wimbledon, Cincinnati).  Their Wimbledon encounter was easily their most prominent, where Ons came from a set down on Manic Monday, winning both of the last two sets 6-1.  The differences on that day were Jabeur’s superior play on break points, converting 7-of-7, compared to only 3-of-15 by Swiatek.  And Ons was +7 in winners to unforced errors, while Iga was -7. 

But nearly a year later, Swiatek has evolved into an even smarter, ultra-confident competitor.  She is 36-3 this season, with 27 straight victories.  And 22 of those 27 consecutive wins have been in straight sets.  Jabeur’s 11-match win streak is quite impressive as well, though she’s required two dramatic comebacks within the last 48 hours.  On Friday, she was down 6-1, 5-2 to Maria Sakkari, and two points from defeat.  On Saturday, she saved match point against Daria Kasatkina, eventually prevailing 7-5 in the third. 

As per the WTA, Jabeur is 21-0 this year when she wins the first set, making that set on Sunday all the more crucial.  But considering how draining Jabeur’s last two matches have been, Swiatek is the favorite to defend her title, and extend her win streak to 28-0 heading into Roland Garros.  That’s especially true on this surface, as these players are yet to meet on clay, which is Iga’s best surface.

Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas (4) – Not Before 4:00pm on Center Court

Their last meeting was the aforementioned French Open final, where Tsitsipas could not close out the match out despite winning the first two sets.  That was Novak’s fifth consecutive victory over Stefanos, and third straight on clay.  They also played last year in the quarterfinals of this event, when Djokovic won 7-5 in the third.  And at Roland Garros two years ago, they also went the distance, with Novak winning in five.  The Greek’s only two victories over Djokovic have come on hard courts: four years ago in Canada, and three years ago in Shanghai. 

Tsitsipas leads the ATP this year with 31 match wins, and an impressive 14-2 record on clay.  By contrast, this is only the unvaccinated Novak’s fifth tournament of the season, and he hasn’t won a title.  Yet Djokovic has been the more in-form player this week, advancing to this final without dropping a set.  Tsitsipas has been pushed to a decider three times this week.

But has Djokovic fully rediscovered his top form?  Can he earn his first victory over a top five player since November?  This will be a huge test for Novak, and will reveal just how ready he is for his French Open title defense, which begins in just a week’s time.  He’s yet to be fully tested this week, and I fully expect Tsitsipas to do so.  Winning this title would be a huge boost for either player heading into Paris, as it will either be Novak’s first title in six months, or Stefanos’ second Masters 1000 title on clay this season.  Based on recent results, and Djokovic’s lack of play this season, I give the slight edge to the more match-tough Tsitsipas to win on Sunday.

Other Notable Matches on Sunday:

Gabriela Dabrowski and Giuliana Olmos (2) vs. Veronika Kudermetova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova – Madrid Open champions Dabrowski and Olmos are playing for their second WTA 1000 title in as many weeks.  This is Kudermetova and Pavlyuchenkova’s first tournament as a team.

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic (3) vs. John Isner and Diego Schwartzman – Mektic and Pavic were easily the best men’s doubles team of 2021, with nine titles.  But they’re yet to win a tournament this season.  Isner has already won two Masters 1000 doubles title this season with two other partners (Sock, Hurkacz).

Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Conquering the world: Carlos Alcaraz beats Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic to cement Barcelona-Madrid titles (Part Two)

Carlos Alcaraz will now look to translate his success from the ATP Tour to Roland Garros.




Carlos Alcaraz (@MutuaMadridOpen)

In part one, I assessed how Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz continues to take the tennis world by storm after his victory in Barcelona.


Now I turn my attentions to his success in another famous Spanish city.

Madrid Masters victory

Alcaraz again began his Madrid Masters campaign in style, beating the dangerous Georgian Nicoloz Basilashvili in straight sets.

A stern test came in the form of Britain’s Cameron Norrie, who pushed the birthday boy that day to three sets.

Alcaraz moving through 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3 to set up a blockbuster quarter-final clash with his idol Rafa Nadal.

Now, some context is needed that the 21-time Grand Slam was appearing in his first tournament back since recovering from a rib injury.

An opening round win against Serbian Miomir Kecmanović was backed up with a tight three-set triumph over Belgian David Goffin, with the veteran Spaniard saving four match points.

To his credit, Nadal pushed his young apprentice all the way, before going down 6-2, 1-6, 6-3, with the second set showing his obvious quality, despite being partially fit.

If this moment was a changing of the guard in Spanish tennis, then Alcaraz’s impressive win over Novak Djokovic could point to the man who may dominant the future of tennis.

The world number one was fortunate to play a match less, after the shock withdrawal of old rival Murray in the third-round.

But he was no match for the imperious Alcaraz who triumphed at front of the delighted home support, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, 7-6 (7-5).

The first player ever to beat Nadal and Djokovic back-to-back on a clay court in the history of tennis.

And Alcaraz made it a highly commendable 5-0 in finals, destroying Germany’s Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-1, with little challenge unlike the previous encounters with Norrie, Nadal and Djokovic.

James Spencer (Twitter: @jspencer28) – Alcaraz Verdict

In truth, I had a sneaky feeling that Alcaraz would triumph in Barcelona.

The way he is playing with such finesse and confidence, particularly against the Monte Carlo Masters champion, Stefanos Tsitsipas, was incredible to see.

Saving match points against Alex de Minaur, also showed his mettle.

He also has an unbelievable shot selection and fitness levels.

Beating Nadal and Djokovic back-to-back is no easy feat.

Often just one win knocks the stuffing out of you, mentally and physically, but not for this kid.

Alcaraz doesn’t get carried away. And this has been shown consistently this season.

Winning the Miami Masters could have led to a drop in motivation, yet he has looked even more motivated if anything.

He’s performed on hard-court and clay court surfaces with an assuring dominance.

In fact, he is unbeaten on clay this season, losing three times in total all season.

Matteo Berrettini in five at the Australian Open.

Nadal in the semis of Indian Wells in a tight three sets, that ultimately injured the elder Spaniard, which could have ramifications on his entire fitness this season, and the destination of the French Open trophy.

And a close three-set defeat to up and coming youngster Sebastian Korda in Monte Carlo.

The new world number six must surely be the new favourite to WIN the French Open later this month.

Skipping the Italian Open should help the 19-year-old heal any niggling injuries.

If he does win in Paris, he will be the youngest Grand Slam champion since you guessed it, Nadal.

Only time will tell.

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