Who Could Capitalise On An Open Wimbledon Draw? - UBITENNIS
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Who Could Capitalise On An Open Wimbledon Draw?

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Gilles Muller (zimbio)

Wimbledon is a couple of weeks away and the Men’s and Women’s draws could be wide open, so who could capitalise on this scenario occurring? Let’s look at some of the contenders…

 

Gilles Muller

The rejuvenated big server from Luxembourg has had an amazing 12 months as he has bagged two title in Sydney, Australia and more recently on the grass courts of Holland. He has improved his game massively and has gained a sense of tactical awareness. His big game could prove deadly at Wimbledon and should an open draw occur he could be a contender to lift his first grand slam title. The question can his belief and mental confidence extend as far as the second week of a grand slam? Only time will tell…

Eugenie Bouchard

The talented Canadian has struggled since her first grand slam final at Wimbledon in 2014 when she lost to Petra Kvitova in straight sets. However the world number 56 should not be overlooked as she can come out with unexpected results at times. Her win against Johanna Konta at last year’s event proved this and she can become a dark horse for the title with her influential power game. The question remains can she really beat the top players consistently over two weeks to garb her maiden major. If she wants to achieve this she needs to be more consistent with her results, but she is an outside contender to capitalise on an open Wimbledon draw.

Here is what Bouchard is capable of:

Feliciano Lopez

Feliciano Lopez (zimbio)

The Spanish veteran hasn’t had the best season in the world in Singles or in Doubles with his partner Marc Lopez. However this is the time of the year where Lopez rises to the occasion unlike most Spaniards, the former Wimbledon quarter-finalist has had a brilliant grass court season so far with a final in Stuttgart and at least a last four place guaranteed in London. This serve and volleyer would benefit from an open Wimbledon draw and could be dangerous in the second week if push comes to shove.

Lucie Safarova

Lucie Safarova (zimbio)

The former grand slam finalist may not be the first player on your mind when thinking of dark horses at Wimbledon, however this Czech Republican could benefit from an open Wimbledon draw. She will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova in the Czech Republic’s female charge in London. She is a former grand slam finalist, so knows what it takes in the latter stages of a major. Semi-Finals in Nottingham and Birmingham will definitely boost her confidence and who knows she may go the distance.

 

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Australian Open Day 1 Preview: Five Must-See Matches

Both defending singles champions will begin their title defences on Monday down under.

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Monday will be a star-studded day in Melbourne, with an astounding 74 Major singles titles represented. Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Naomi Osaka, Ash Barty, and the retiring Caroline Wozniacki will all be in action. But the most talked-about match on Day 1 sees the WTA’s youngest rising star face the WTA’s most senior stateswoman.

 

Coco Gauff vs. Venus Williams

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In a rematch from the first round of Wimbledon six months ago, it’s 39-year-old Venus against 15-year-old Coco Gauff. On that day at The Championships, Gauff pulled off the stunning upset, putting the tennis world on notice and beginning a summer of Cocomania. But the dynamic in this match will be much different, as the young teenager will be the favorite. Since Wimbledon, Gauff has accumulated 13 main draw match wins, including the first title of her career this past October in Linz. Venus is just 5-8 since Wimbledon, and hasn’t played a match in over three months. Coco played two matches in Auckland to start 2020, but looked a bit shaky in her three-set defeat at the hands of Laura Siegemund. I expect Gauff to come out a bit nervous on Monday, with the pressure being firmly on her shoulders in this rematch. And Venus will be eager to avenge the Wimbledon loss, and motivated to move up the rankings as she looks to qualify for a spot on an extremely competitive American women’s Olympic team this summer. Despite her recent lack of match play, I give Venus the slight edge to prevail, and show that her career is not quite done yet.

Serena Williams (8) vs. Anastasia Potapova

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Like her older sister, Serena also faces a young new face that is less than half her age. And in this same round of the last Major, it was the 18-year-old Potapova that pushed Coco Gauff to a third set. While she went down in defeat on that day, many pundits came away fromn that match impressed with her game, and with high expectations for her future. However, standing across the net from the GOAT is a daunting task for an as-of-yet unproven teenager. And it’s been four months since Potapova won a main draw WTA match, while Serena is 5-0 to start the year. This should be a comfortable first round victory for the seven-time Australian Open singles champion.

Novak Djokovic (2) vs. Jan-Lennard Struff

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Speaking of seven-time champions in Melbourne, Djokovic is again the favorite to be the last man standing 13 days from now. But this is one of the toughest first round opponents Novak could have drawn. Struff just missed out on being seeded at this event, coming off the best season of his career. The big-swinging German can outhit almost anyone on tour when he’s on. However, doing that for three full sets against the best defender in the game should prove too much for the 29-year-old. And not only has Djokovic won all five previous sets they’ve played, but Struff is a meek 1-5 in Melbourne. After a full week of rest following his inaugural ATP Cup triumph, a recuperated Djokovic should easily pass this opening round test.

Ash Barty (1) vs. Lesia Tsurenko

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It was a year ago at this tournament when Ash Barty elevated her career to the next level, reaching the quarterfinals of a Slam for the first time. 52 weeks on, she arrives in Melbourne as a definitive world No.1, thanks to big title wins at the Miami Open, Roland Garros and the WTA Finals. And just this past weekend, she was the champion in Adelaide. However, she’s 0-1 against her first round opponent. Tsurenko, a 30-year-old Ukranian, defeated Barty two years ago in Brisbane, and was a quarterfinalist at the 2018 US Open. But Lesia is coming off a six-month layoff due to an elbow injury, and Barty is a much improved player two years later, so this should be a rather straightforward win for the Australian.

Roger Federer (3) vs. Steve Johnson

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With Nadal and Djokovic closer to his tally of 20 Majors than ever before, Federer would love to end his two-year Slam drought during this fortnight. While he was the champion at this event in two of the last three years, he feels like a considerable underdog now that Djokovic is back at the peak of his abilities. This will be Roger’s first competitive match in two months, when he lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semifinals of the ATP Finals. Today he faces a former top 25 player who now finds himself fighting to stay inside the top 100. Johnson went just 14-21 last year, and spent much of the second half of the season on the challenger circuit. Federer has easily claimed both their previous encounters without dropping a set. With little in Johnson’s game that can bother Roger, this should become Federer’s 21st consecutive victory in the first round of the Australian Open.

Other notable matches on Day 1:

  • Defending champion Naomi Osaka (3) vs. Marie Bouzkova, a 21-year-old from the Czech Republic who was a semifinalist last August at the Rogers Cup.
  • ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas (7) vs. Salvatore Caruso, a 27-year-old Italian who has never won a match at a hard court Major. Tsitispas was a semifinalist here a year ago, but is 0-3 in his last three matches at Slams.
  • In her last tournament before retirement, 2018 champion Caroline Wozniacki vs. Kristie Ahn, who reached the round of 16 at last year’s US Open.
  • Roberto Bautista Agut (9), who was a quarterfinalist here last year, vs. fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez. They’ve split four previous meetings, with Lopez prevailing both times they met on a hard court.
  • Petra Kvitova (7), who reached the final here 12 months ago, vs. fellow Czech Katerina Siniakova. Petra leads their head-to-head 2-0, though they played a tight three-setter last February in Dubai.

Order of play

Rod Laver Arena
N. Osaka (3) versus M. Bouzkova
A. Potapova versus S. Williams (8)
S. Johnson versus R. Federer (3)
A. Barty (1) versus L. Tsurenko
J. Struff versus N. Djokovic (2)

Margaret Court Arena
D. Shapovalov (13) versus M. Fucsovics
K. Siniakova versus P. Kvitova (7)
V. Williams versus C. Gauff
S. Tsitsipas (6) versus S. Caruso
S. Stephens (24) versus S. Zhang

Melbourne Arena
M. Berrettini (8) versus A. Harris (WC)
K. Ahn versus C. Wozniacki
J. Londero versus G. Dimitrov (18)
S. Stosur versus C. McNally (Q)

1573 Arena
S. Querrey versus B. Coric (25)
R. Opelka versus F. Fognini (12)
M. Keys (10) versus D. Kasatkina
J. Konta (12) versus O. Jabeur

Court 3
M. Trevisan (Q) versus S. Kenin (14)
A. Li (Q) versus L. Cabrera (WC)
J. Thompson versus A. Bublik
J. Millman versus U. Humbert

Court 5
J. Goerges versus V. Kuzmova
K. Kanepi versus B. Krejcikova (Q)
M. Cilic versus C. Moutet
P. Kohlschreiber versus M. Giron

Court 7
C. McHale versus P. Martic (13)
J. Sinner versus M. Purcell (Q)
M. Gasparyan versus M. Sakkari (22)
D. Schwartzman (14) versus L. Harris

Court 8
G. Pella (22) versus J. Smith (WC)
A. Riske (18) versus Y. Wang
M. Polmans (WC) versus M. Kukushkin
K. Juvan (Q) versus D. Yastremska (23)

Court 10
M. Safwat (Q) versus G. Barrere
M. Linette versus A. Rus
A. Davidovich Fokina versus N. Gombos (Q)

Court 11
S. Zheng versus A. Kalinskaya (Q)
C. Garin versus S. Travaglia
L. Mayer versus T. Paul

Court 12
R. Carballes Baena versus R. Berankis
T. Zidansek versus N. Han (WC)
M. Brengle versus C. Garcia
T. Ito (WC) versus P. Gunneswaran (LL)

Court 13
V. Golubic versus L. Zhu
F. Lopez versus R. Bautista Agut (9)
P. Andujar versus M. Mmoh (WC)
B. Pera versus E. Rybakina (29)

Court 14
D. Evans (30) versus M. McDonald
T. Sandgren versus M. Trungelliti (Q)
F. Ferro versus A. Van Uytvanck
A. Sasnovich versus G. Minnen (Q)

Court 15
Y. Nishioka versus L. Djere
K. Edmund versus D. Lajovic (24)
Q. Wang (27) versus P. Parmentier (WC)
N. Hibino (Q) versus S. Peng

Court 19
E. Alexandrova (25) versus J. Teichmann
R. Albot versus M. Raonic (32)
H. Hurkacz (31) versus D. Novak (Q)
P. Hercog versus R. Peterson

Court 22
P. Badosa versus J. Larsson (Q)
S. Cirstea versus B. Strycova (32)
Q. Halys (Q) versus F. Krajinovic
B. Paire (21) versus C. Stebe

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Elena Rybakina reaches her second consecutive final in 2020

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Elena Rybakina beat British qualifier Heather Watson 6-3 4-6 6-4 after 2 hours and 16 minutes in the Hobart International semifinal setting up a final match against China’s Zhang Shuai.

 

Rybakina has become the first player to reach back-to-back finals in the first two weeks of the year since Agnieszka Radwanska in 2013. The Kazakh player finished runner-up to Ekaterina Alexandrova last week in Shenzhen.

Rybakina earned the first break in the first game, but Watson broke back with two forehand winners in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Rybakina broke for the second time with a crosscourt forehand in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and sealed the first set with another break on the first set point, as Watson hit her dropshot into the net.

Rybakina saved three break points with two aces and a service winner, but Watson converted her fourth chance with her forehand return winner.

Watson went up a double break with a forehand pass and held her serve to race out to a 5-1. Rybakina converted her second break point chance to claw her way back to 3-5.

Rybakina earned two break points in the 10th game, but Watson saved the first chance with a backhand winner before serving out the second set with consecutive service winners.

Watson saved a break point in the second game of the third set as Rybakina made a backhand error. Rybakina fended off a break point chance in the fifth game with a down-the-line backhand winner. Rybakina converted her second break point chance with a drop-shot winner on the match point.

“It was a really tough match. I was still missing all these balls in the second set. In the last few games I was playing really risky, and I am really happy that I won this match”, said Rybakina.

Rybakina set up a final against Zhang Shuai, who reached the third WTA final of her career after a 6-3 6-4 win over Veronika Kudemertova.

Zhang earned three break point chances at 2-1 with a backhand crosscourt winner and converted her first chance after Kudemertova sent her forehand wide. Kudemertova won two hard-fought service game at 4-2 and at 5-3. Zhang closed out the set on her second set point in the ninth game.

Both players held on their service games in the second set until 4-4. Zhang earned a break point in the ninth game, as Kudemertova made a forehand error. The Chinese player got the break, as Kudemertova made her forehand error. Kudemertova earned her first two break points of the match, as Zhang was serving for the match. Zhang held her serve at deuce, as Kudemertova missed returns on the next four points.

“The winter training went really good for me. Training with the national team, a lot of coaches helped me, so I was already ready before this tournament. I think all matches I played really well this week, and also a lot of the Chinese fans are coming to cheer for me, so I have had a lot of motivationto win”,said Zhang Shuai.

 

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Benoit Paire sets up all-French final against Ugo Humbert in Auckland

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Benoit Paire battled past Hubert Hurkacz 6-4 6-7 (1-7) 6-2 with six breaks of serve to his ninth career ATP Tour final at the ASB Classic in Auckland.

 

Paire went up a double break in the first and seventh games to build up a 5-2 lead. Hurkacz pulled a break back after two double faults after two double faults from Paire. The Frenchman served out at love in the 10th game.

Paire went up a break at 15 in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Hurkacz broke back at love to draw level to 3-3. Both players held on their next service games setting up a tie-break. Hurkacz cruised through to winning the tie-break 7-1.

After a trade of breaks at the start of the third set Paire broke twice in the fourth and eighth games to seal the decider 6-2.

“It was not easy. Not everything was perfect, but it is never easy against Hubert. He is a very good player and a tough opponent. I hope tomorrow will be better and I hope to enjoy the final”,said Paire.

Paire sets up an all-French final against his compatriot Ugo Humbert, who edged past John Isner 7-6 (7-5) 6-4. Humbert has reached the maiden final of his career after losing in the semifinal in Marseille, Newport and Antwerp in 2019.

Humbert and Isner went on serve with no breaks to set up a tie-break. Isner saved two set points from 3-6 but Humbert won the tie-break 7-5. Humbert started the second set with an early break to take a 1-0 lead. Isner saved five break points and held his serve at deuce, but Humbert won his final two service games at love to clinch the second set 6-4.

“I am really happy about this win. It was a great match. I returned very well and I played good on the key points. I am really happy to reach my first final”,said Humbert.

 

 

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