French Open Day 2 Preview: Five Must-See Matches - UBITENNIS
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French Open Day 2 Preview: Five Must-See Matches

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Novak Djokovic (zimbio.com)

Many former champions plus a few new contenders will test their form in the first round at Roland Garros On Monday. Here are five muse-see matches to follow on the second day of the French Open.

 

Garbine Muguruza vs. Francesca Schiavone

Court Philippe-Chatrier will start off with this battle of French Open champions. Muguruza is of course the reigning champion, but her struggles since last year’s Roland Garros are well-documented. She will surely feel a lot of pressure to defend her points and her title, and Garbine has not played well under the weight of expectations. Muguruza’s health is also in question, having retired from multiple matches this year (most recently in Rome earlier this month). Schiavone announced in January that she will retire at the end of this year. In recent years, Schiavone has had to qualify to get into majors after falling out of the top 100. But Schiavone has seemed rejuvenated during the clay season, with a title run in Bogota and making the final in Rabat. She’ll be motivated to make an impact in her final French Open, the home of her greatest tennis triumphs. This match is definitely an upset alert.

Novak Djokovic vs. Marcel Granollers

The next match on Roland Garros’ main court will see the other defending champion return, but with a brand new coaching box. Having parted ways with his long-time team earlier this spring, Novak announced last week that Andre Agassi would join him at the French Open in a coaching role. This has been described as a tryout period for the two all-time greats, and it’s very doubtful that Agassi would commit to anything resembling a full-time coaching schedule. All eyes will be on the all-star pairing in this first round match to observe any positive impacts (physically, mentally, and emotionally) Agassi can contribute to a struggling Djokovic’s game. Granollers has made the fourth round of the French in three of the past five years, so Djokovic should be pushed but not threatened in his opening round.

Rafael Nadal vs. Benoit Paire

The nine-time Roland Garros champion will make a rare appearance on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, and is scheduled to be on court at the same time as his long-time rival, Djokovic. Nadal comes into this French Open with more momentum than recent years, having won three clay court titles and leading the year-to-date rankings. Nadal is a heavy favorite to win his tenth French Open title. But Nadal has encountered some early round scares in recent years in Paris, and he comes in off a loss to Dominic Thiem in Rome. Let’s see how he comes out of the box in his first round match on a court he has not often played on, and against a Frenchman who will have the crowd on his side.

Kristina Mladenovic vs. Jennifer Brady

The top-ranked French woman has had a great clay court season, having made the final in both Stuttgart and Madrid. In a wide-open women’s draw, many pundits have tipped her as a potential winner. But are these expectations too high for a player who has never been passed the third round at Roland Garros? Young American Jennifer Brady could be a stern first round test, coming off a run to the fourth round in Australia. I expect Mladenovic to embrace her new role as a top contender in front of her home country, and make a deep run in Paris.

Alexander Zverev vs. Fernando Verdasco

The 20-year-old Zverev is fresh off the biggest win of his career last week in Rome, defeating Djokovic for his first Masters 1,000 title. Many expect the newest member of the Top 10 to advance to the latter stages of this Roland Garros, especially considering he’s on the opposite side of the draw as Nadal, Djokovic, and Thiem. While Verdasco has never been passed the fourth round in Paris, we know he’s capable of hitting anyone off the court when he’s on. Zverev cannot afford to have a letdown after achieving career milestones just a week ago.

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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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