French Open Day 8 Preview: Four Must-See Matches - UBITENNIS
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French Open Day 8 Preview: Four Must-See Matches

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With raining being a premature end to yesterday’s play at the French Open, Sunday will see a total of 15 matches occurring. Defending champions Garbine Muguruza and Novak Djokovic will continue their campaigns. Muguruza faces a tricky encounter against home favourite Kristina Mladenovic, who has won more matches on the clay then the Spaniard. Meanwhile, Djokovic will be aiming to continue his winning record against Albert-Ramos-Vinolas. He has already defeated the Serbian on three previous occasions without dropping a single set.

The four matches to follow on Sunday :-

Milos Raonic vs. Pablo Carreno Busta

This match got pushed out to Court 1 on a busy Sunday schedule with several matches rained out yesterday, but could be a worth a trip out to the soon-to-be demolished bull ring court. A four or five-set battle could easily happen between these two, and the atmosphere on this intimate court would be thrilling. Raonic is 3-0 against the Spaniard, having defeated him three times in 2016. However none of those matches were not on clay, a surface that favors Carreno Busta. Raonic has underperformed in 2017: after finishing last year at #3 in the rankings, he’s only #15 in the Race to London. Carreno Busta looked very strong in defeating the higher-ranked Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets on Friday. Pablo has a great opportunity here to defeat another higher-ranked player and advance to his first major quarterfinal.

Venus Williams vs. Timea Bacsinszky

This is a rematch of last year’s Roland Garros round of 16, where Bacsinszky defeated Williams in straight sets. The Swiss has played so well again at this year’s tournament, dropping only nine total games through her first six sets. Timea will look to make the quarterfinals in Paris for the third straight year. Venus has also not dropped a set through three rounds, but she has not been to the French Open quarterfinals since 2006. Venus should draw confidence from her great runs at last year’s Wimbledon as well as this year’s Australian Open. I expect a much tighter affair than last year’s straight set contest considering Venus’ recent form at majors.

Garbine Muguruza vs. Kristina Mladenovic

Mladenovic has survived injury and two extended final set battles to reach this marquee fourth round matchup. Will the Frenchwoman have anything left against the defending champion? She’ll look to draw energy from the support of the French crowd. Muguruza has not reached any finals in the past year since winning her first major, but she has looked very solid through three rounds. Let’s see how Garbine handles the moment in her first high-profile match as the defending champion, and with the crowd solidly against her.

Novak Djokovic vs. Albert Ramos-Vinolas

Djokovic really struggled in his third round match, needing five sets to defeat 41st-ranked Diego Schwartzman. The defending champion had several mental and emotional lapses, seemingly competing with Andy Murray for the title of crankiest player in Paris. Novak will need to find better form against Ramos-Vinolas, who plays so well on the clay and made last year’s Roland Garros quarterfinals. Djokovic is 3-0 against the Spaniard, and has never dropped a set in those meetings. It’s been a disappointing 52 weeks for Djokovic since last year’s French Open victory, but I expect Novak to regain much better form in this matchup.

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Fabio Fognini To Undergo Arthroscopic Surgery On Both Ankles

Fabio Fognini is to have surgery on both ankles as he aims to extend his tennis career when the ATP Tour returns.

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Fabio Fognini (@ASB_Classic - Twitter)

Fabio Fognini will undergo Arthroscopic surgery on both ankles in Italy today after re-injuring them in training. 

 

The Italian took to social media to announce that he will have the surgery on both his ankles immediately as he looks to take advantage of Tennis’ hiatus.

In the post Fognini revealed that this is not a new problem he has been suffering from, “I’ve been having a problem with my left ankle for three and a half years now, it’s an issue I’ve learned to cope with,” Fognini explained.

“Then my right ankle started playing up in the past two years as well. I had hoped the various issues would go away during my two months break from the game because of the lockdown but, when I resumed training they were still there. 

“After medical examination and a long discussion with my team, I decided to have arthroscopic surgery on both ankles. I believe it is the right thing to do while the tour is on this enforced break.”

This is big news for the Italian, who is now 33 years-old and with his time on the tour running out this is a big risk but a risk worth taking in order to increase his longevity.

The timing couldn’t have been better for the world number 11 as he looks to take advantage of the hiatus in the tennis calendar and get himself fully ready for the 2021 season.

Since turning pro 16 years ago, Fognini has won 9 ATP singles titles and been a grand slam champion in doubles with his flamboyant style remaining consistent over the years and will look to continue this form after surgery.

Meanwhile a decision on the US Open is expected to be made in the next couple of weeks as the tournament organisers are hoping to still hold the tournament on the 31st of August.

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Australian Tennis Great Passes Away Aged 83

Ashley Cooper is one of only 11 men in history to have won three grand slam titles within the same year.

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Women’s world No.1 Ash Barty has led tributes to multiple grand slam champion Ashley Cooper, who passed away on Friday.

 

Cooper was one of the sports best players in the years leading up to the birth of the Open Era. He was declared the world’s best amateur player in 1957 and 1958. It was during 1958 where he really stood out by winning three out of the four major tournaments within the same season. Something only 10 other players in the history of men’s tennis have been able to achieve. Cooper also achieved success in the doubles by winning another four grand slam titles. In the Davis Cup he led Australia to a 3-2 victory over America in the 1957 final.

Whilst his achievements occurred during the 1950s, Cooper did sort of have a taste of what it was like to place in a major event during the Open Era after featuring in the main draw of the 1968 French Open. He progressed to the second round after his opponent retired before withdrawing from the tournament without playing a single point.

After retiring from the sport, he maintained his links with tennis. Working alongside Tennis Queensland with their player development and was on the Board of Directors for Tennis Australia.

“Ashley was a giant of the game both as a brilliant player and an astute administrator and he will be greatly missed,” said Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley.
“His contribution to the sport went far beyond his exploits on the tennis court. His rich legacy includes the magnificent Queensland Tennis Centre, a project he was passionate about, nurturing the development from the very beginning, and resulting in the return of world-class international tennis to Brisbane.”
“Ashley was also the most humble of champions and a great family man. Our hearts go out to his wife Helen and his family, along with his wide and international circle of friends, including so many of our tennis family.”

Paying her own tribute, French Open champion Barty took to Twitter to send her sympathy to Cooper’s family. Last year she was presented with the Ashley Cooper Medal at the Queensland Tennis Awards. The highest individual honour that can be issued by the organisation named in after the tennis great.

Rod Laver, who is one of Australia’s greatest tennis players of all time, described Cooper as a ‘wonderful champion’ in his tribute.

“So sad to hear of Ashley’s passing. He was a wonderful champion, on and off the court. And what a backhand! So many cherished memories. Farewell my friend. My thoughts are with Ashley’s wife, Helen, and his family.” Laver wrote on Twitter.

The have been no details released on the exact cause of Cooper’s death, but it has been reported that he has been battling ‘a long illness.’ He was 83-years-old.

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Novak Djokovic aims at breaking Federer and Nadal Grand Slam records

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Novak Djokovic told US program In Depth presented by Graham Bensinger that he wants to break all Grand Slam records and play for many years. The Serbian player is the third best ever player with 17 Major titles behid Roger Federer (20) and Rafael Nadal (19).

 

“I believe that the journey chooses you and not the other way around and I know that I still have things to do in sport. At the same time, they are not the only things that motivate me, what really feeds me is the desire to keep growing. I can achieve all feats and become the greatest in history maintaining on the courts”, said Djokovic.

The Serbian legend said that he does not set set any limits. He was still unbeaten before the suspension of the season due to the coronavirus pandemic. His winning streak includes a record of 18 consecutive match wins and a 21-match win streak dating back dating back to the Davis Cup Finals last November. He beat Roger Federer in the semifinal and Dominic Thiem in the final to clinch his 8th Australian Open title. He became the third man to win 8 titles at a Grand Slam tournament. Last February he saved three match points against Gael Monfils in the semifinal before beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final in Dubai.

 “I don’t believe in limits. I think limits are just illusions of your ago or your mind. I definitely want to go on for a long time but I know that at the same time I have to maintain the right principles and the routine to maintain the health and well being of my body, mind and soul”, said Djokovic.

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