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

Focus

French Open Day 2 Preview: Five Must-See Matches

Avatar

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Focus

Simona Halep ‘Happy To Be Back’ Amid Uncertainty Over US Open Plans

The Romanian still has reservations about her future plans after taking her first international flight in five months.

Avatar

Published

on

World No.2 Simona Halep admits the prospect of travelling from Europe to America will be ‘mentally tough’ as she ponders whether or not to play at the US Open.

 

The reigning Wimbledon champion is set to return to competitive tennis in the Czech Republic where she will play her first tournament in five months at the Prague Open. Halep was originally due to make her return in Palermo but withdrew from the event due to ‘travelling anxiety’ despite being assured she wouldn’t have to go through quarantine. Speculation has mounted in recent weeks about if the Romanian would travel to the US Open later this year with the 28-year-old confirming she will make her final decision after Prague.

“I haven’t made the final decision yet,” AFP quoted Halep as telling reporters during a virtual press conference on Sunday.
“The travelling from Europe is a little bit tough with changing flights — we don’t have straight flights — so it’s going to be tough for me personally, mentally,” she told a video conference.
“I don’t want to put myself into that stress. As I said I haven’t decided yet, but the conditions are tough for me at this moment.”

Three members of the top 10 on the women’s Tour have already pulled out of the New York major, which will be played behind closed doors for the first time in history. Ash Barty, Kiki Bertens and Elina Svitolina have all withdrawn from the major due to concerns. In comparison, only one member of the top 10 on the men’s Tour, Rafael Nadal, has withdrawn specifically related to COVID-19 concerns.

Prague is Halep’s first international trip after being in lockdown in Romania since February. A country which reported 1,378 new coronavirus cases and 50 new related deaths on Friday in what was their highest 24-hour figure since the pandemic began.

“I’m a bit nervous but things are very controlled here and very safe so I feel safe,” she said upon arrival in the Czech capital.
“I’m happy to be back, I’m happy to be healthy.”

It will be double duty for Halep in Prague. Besides being the top seed in the singles draw, she will also be playing the doubles alongside local favourite Barbora Strycova. Who reached the semi-final of Wimbledon last year before losing to Serena Williams. It is the first time ever the two are playing alongside each other on the Tour.

“I’m sure we will have fun. I’m sure that she will understand if I miss easy balls at the net, and I hope we’ll enjoy it.” Halep commented on their collaboration.

Halep will start her singles campaign against Slovenia’s Polona Hercog.

Continue Reading

Focus

REPORT: Madrid Open To Be Axed Amid COVID-19 Concerns In Latest Setback For Tennis

Hopes of Spain holding their top tennis event in 2020 are over.

Avatar

Published

on

The world of tennis is set to suffer another severe blow with multiple media sources confirming that organisers of Spain’s most prestigious tennis tournament will officially cancel their event on Tuesday. 

 

The Mutua Madrid Open will be removed from the 2020 calendar following a meeting involving tournament owner Iron Tiriac. Recently doubts have been cast on the event after local health officials called for it to be suspended due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Although the final decision was up to Tiriac and his team. It had been due to take place between September 12 to 20, following the conclusion of the US Open. 

“We have to be realistic now, we have to accept that health is always the priority. We must not endanger anyone, neither the fans, nor the players, nor the staff, all those who come to Madrid in September,” tournament director Feliciano Lopez told L’Equipe over the weekend. 

Spain has seen their rate of COVID-19 cases rapidly rise since the country ended its lockdown. According to El Pais, the number of cases recorded within 24 hours is eight times the amount compared to 40 days ago. Rising from 334 (June 20) to 2,789 (between July 29 and 30). On Friday July 31st there were 3092 new cases in the country in what is a post-lockdown record.

Held at the Caja Magica, the Madrid Open is a key event for both men and women. It is currently classed as a Masters 1000 for the men and as a Premier Mandatory for the women. Last year each of the singles champions took home €1,202,520 in prize money. It was originally set to be played in May but was postponed due to the pandemic.

The demise of Madrid this year is another setback for what is becoming a rapidly thinning 2020 tennis calendar. Within the past two weeks China has confirmed that they will not be hosting any tournaments this year, Japan’s scrapped it’s premier women’s event and the Italian Open has been advised to not allow any fans to their event this year. 

As a result of the latest development, only two WTA clay-court events will take place after the US Open leading up to Roland Garros. They are both set to get underway on September 21st in Rome and Strasbourg. As for the men, Rome will be their only point of call. 

Continue Reading

Focus

Serena Williams leads a high-quality line-up in Lexington

Avatar

Published

on

Twenty-three time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams will be the top seed at the inaugural edition of the Lexington Open from 10th August 2020 on the same week as the Prague Open. The Lexington Open will be the first US tournament of the US hard court season, which will continue with the Western and Southern Open and the US Open, which will be held in the same venue at Flushing Meadows in New York. 

 

Serena was very close to tie Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles, but lost four times in a Major final after giving birth to her daughter Olympia. 

The US legend will play her first match since she hepled the US team beat Latvia in the Fed Cup last March in Everett. There Serena beat Jelena Ostapenko but she was defeated by Anastasija Sevastova. 

Williams will lead a star-studded line-up, which features this year’s Australian Open finalist and former Roland Garros and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, Aryna Sabalenka, Sloane Stephens, Johanna Konta, Amanda Anisimova and Yulia Putintseva, Ons Jabeur, Victoria Azarenka, Heather Watson and US rising star Cori Gauff. 

Sabalenka won two consecutive editions of the Wuhan tournament in 2018 and 2019, in Shenzhen in 2019, the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai in 2019 and the Doha final in 2020. 

Stephens won her first Grand Slam title at the US Open in 2017 and reached the final at 2018 Roland Garros. She finished runner-up to Elina Svitolina at the 2018 WTA Finals in Singapore. The US player lost to Canadian teenager Leylah Annie Fernandez in Monterrey in her last WTA Tour match before the pandemic. 

Amanda Anisimova won her maiden WTA title in Bogotà in 2019 in her first professional tour tournament on clay. Last year the young US player beat Simona Halep en route to becoming the youngest semifinalist at the French Open since 2006. This year Amanda lost to Serena Williams in the semifinal in Auckland last January. 

Johanna Konta reached the French Open semifinal and the Rome Final in 2019. The British player enjoyed her best year in 2017, when she won the Miami title and reached the Wimbledon semifinal rising to her best ranking at world number 4. 

The Top seed Open will be the first WTA tournament to be played in the United States since the coronavirus pandemic swept across the United States. The Kentucky tournament will feature a 32-player singles draw and a 16-player doubles field. 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending