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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Kei Nishikori Confirms Safety Amid Hurricane Ian, Sets Out End of Year Plans

Kei Nishikori is set to return to tennis in November.

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Kei Nishikori (@WSOpen - Twitter)

Former US Open finalist Kei Nishikori has confirmed that he and his family are safe as Hurricane Ian continues to cause destruction in America.

 

Nishikori lives and is based in Florida, where Hurricane Ian is doing most of its destruction at the moment.

So far at least two million people are without power with a handful of people losing their life due to the hurricane.

Some of Nishikori’s fans were concerned about his safety but the former top ten player confirmed that he and his family are safe, “Hi everyone, just a quick note to say my family and I are safe,” Nishikori confirmed on social media.

“Thank you for all the messages. It was a scary day and hope things will be back to normal as soon as possible. My thoughts are with all the people facing the results of the storm. I hope everyone stays safe.”

It’s pleasing to hear Nishikori is safe as the storm continues to cause destruction on many people’s livelihoods in the US.

Speaking of Nishikori, the Japanese star has been fairly muted on the court with him not playing a single event this season.

Injuries have been the story of Nishikori’s career and it looks as if that trend has continued in 2022.

However Nishikori could be expected to make his return to the tour in November on the Challenger tour.

That’s because Nishikori has been confirmed to compete in the Calgary and Drummondville challenger events.

The two events take place between the 6th and the 20th of November with Nishikori looking to gain some match time ahead of next year’s Australian Open.

Tournament directors Alain Calle and Danny Da Costa had this to say on Nishikori’s participation, “We’re thrilled to have Kei at our tournaments,” they jointly said in a press release.

“He’s been one of the most prolific players on the Tour since the start of his career, and even though he’s coming back from a major injury, he remains a very talented player. We’re looking forward to seeing him play again in Canada, and there’s no doubt our fans will be, too.”

The events will be Nishikori’s first since Indian Wells in 2021 where he lost to Dan Evans in the second round.

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Novak Djokovic Praises ‘Passionate’ Tel-Aviv Crowd Ahead Of Quarter-Finals

Novak Djokovic is into the quarter-finals in Tel-Aviv and will play Vasek Pospisil on Friday.

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Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic spoke about the crowd in Tel-Aviv ahead of his last eight showdown with Vasek Pospisil.

 

The Wimbledon champion progressed to the quarter-finals in Tel-Aviv with a dominant display over Pablo Andujar.

Djokovic dropped only three games as he returned to imperious form as he looks to boost his ranking over the coming weeks.

Speaking after the match Djokovic spoke about the ‘passionate’ crowd in Tel-Aviv and how it boosted his performance, “Fantastic atmosphere here tonight, thank you very much,” Djokovic said in his on-court atmosphere.

“I like the court, it’s very intimate and it’s very loud. The crowd here is very passionate about the sport, about tennis and I’m really, really happy to be here and to perform here in front of you, so thank you for your support.”

Djokovic’s last appearance in Tel-Aviv came as a teenager in 2006 when he played a Davis Cup tie.

Now 16 years later, Djokovic is relishing the occasion playing in Israel again as he looks to make up significant ground on the world’s top ranked players.

Djokovic will now play good friend Vasek Pospisil in the last eight with the Serb leading the head-to-head 5-0.

Here are the other quarter-finals that will take place on Friday in Tel-Aviv:

Arthur Rinderknech v Roman Safiullin

Constant Lestienne v Maxime Cressy

Liam Broady v Marin Cilic

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Iga Swiatek Annoyed By Scheduling Dilemma Ahead Of Season Finale

Iga Swiatek has admitted it’s unlikely that she will play the Billie Jean King Cup Finals after a scheduling dilemma.

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(@thenet_m - Twitter)

World number one Iga Swiatek admits she is annoyed by facing a scheduling dilemma ahead of the end of the season.

 

Swiatek has dominated the 2022 season having won two Grand Slam titles and five other titles this season.

This means she has qualified for the WTA Finals which will take place on the 31st of October in Texas.

However Swiatek is now becoming the victim of her own success as she now faces a dilemma over whether to represent Poland at the Billie Jean King Finals.

The BJK Cup Finals, take place the week after in Glasgow where Poland will face the Czech Republic and the USA in their Group.

Speaking to Polish media Swiatek admitted she is unsure whether she will compete in Scotland and criticised the WTA for their lack of organization over the events, “I am dissatisfied, although I know that arranging everything is complicated,” Swiatek was quoted by Give Me Sport Women as saying.

Certainly, the fact that the WTA and ITF federations in a sense did not cooperate to facilitate our task is irritating to me. I will definitely take steps to let them know about my dissatisfaction.

“I don’t understand the scheduling. I’m not gonna lie that I’m happy about the fact that if I go deep in [the] Finals, I will have to not only play tired but also jetlagged the next day. So I can’t confirm whether I’ll represent Poland or not. I’m sorry.”

Swiatek’s father, Tomasz, backed up his daughter’s criticism and wishes for more communication between the WTA and players in the future, “It’s an extremely unfortunate deal,” he said.

“And yet we have a very difficult group for that in the BJK Cup. The dates of both events are missed. There is a clash between the ITF (organisers of the BJK Cup) and the WTA (organisers of the WTA Finals). Instead of taking care of the development of women’s tennis, they cannot communicate.”

So far both Swiatek and Ons Jabeur have qualified for the WTA Finals with Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula expected to join them.

Caroline Garcia, Aryna Sabalenka, Daria Kasatkina and Simona hold the other four spots with just weeks left of the season.

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