Wimbledon Day 6 Preview: Five Must-See Matches - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Day 6 Preview: Five Must-See Matches

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Garbine Muguruza (zimbio.com)

Saturday at Wimbledon will be the conclusion of the first week’s action, before the traditional day of rest on Sunday. By the end of play today, we should have all round of 16 matches finalized for the best day of the tennis year on Monday.

 

Garbine Muguruza vs. Sorana Cirstea

This is the most intriguing matchup on the outer courts to start the day at 11:30am local time, prior to action commencing on Centre Court and No.1 Court at 1pm. Muguruza was a Wimbledon finalist two years ago, and last year’s French Open champion. But since that career achievement at Roland Garros over a year ago, Muguruza has struggled mightily. The Spaniard has dropped to number 15 in the world, and has not advanced to a final at any tournament since winning her French Open title. With her normal coach, Sam Sumyk, absent from Wimbledon, former Wimbledon Champion Conchita Martinez has stepped in to work with Muguruza. Perhaps the new voice in the coaching box, especially a voice that has won this tournament, will help Garbine turns things around. It will also be interesting to see how Muguruza reacts to other top contenders being eliminated from the ladies’ draw. We’ve have repeatedly seen how so many of the top-ranked women do not perform well when they become a favourite to take the title. Her opponent on Saturday has not been past the first week at a major since the 2009 French Open, and had a losing record at Wimbledon coming into these Championships. Muguruza defeated Cirstea rather easily at this year’s Australian Open, but Cirstea is more talented than her ranking of 63 reveals, and capable of competing with the best in the game on any given day. Still this match will be all about Muguruza: is she ready to seize the moment and make another deep run at a major?

Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Timea Bacsinszky

The first match of the day on Centre Court features two of the more reserved players on tour, but also two very strong competitors. Radwanska is lucky to still be in the tournament, as she had to save match points on Thursday to defeat American Christina McHale. Agnieszka has struggled in 2017 and also battled injury, and she arrived at Wimbledon with almost as many losses as victories on the year. Bacsinszky is coming off her third straight run to the later stages of the French Open, and was a quarterfinalist at The All England Club in 2015. Bacsinszky is actually 2-0 against Radwanska, but they have yet to meet on grass. This should be a fun match to watch with a lot of slice, finesse, and strategic tennis.

Novak Djokovic vs. Ernest Gulbis

Next up on Centre Court will be a seemingly rejuvenated former champion against a resurgent former top ten player who is currently ranked 589th in the world. Gulbis appears to finally be finding his form again after nursing multiple injuries over the past few years. Djokovic looked really strong in his first two rounds this week, but will he be able to sustain a high level over the next two weeks and against much stiffer competition? Gulbis is likely not ready to challenge Djokovic at this time, but this may be a better indication of just how much confidence Novak has regained.

Roger Federer vs. Mischa Zverev

After skipping the entire clay court season, Federer looks to have quickly returned to a very high level on the grass. The older Zverev brother is having the best season of his career. He made a shocking run to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, which included an epic five set victory over John Isner and the upset of world number one Andy Murray. Federer was actually the one to end Mischa’s run in Melbourne. The two had a rematch a few weeks ago on the grass of Halle, which was a tight but straight set victory for Roger. Zverev’s play harkens back to yesteryear with his serve and volley style, much like Federer used to do when he first arrived at Wimbledon almost two decades ago. Federer will be heavily favored in what ought to be an aesthetically pleasing contest.

Tomas Berdych vs. David Ferrer

It’s harder to find two bigger victims of the “big four” era than Berdych and Ferrer. Both have been consistent top 10 players over the past decade, yet each have only made one major final and have no major titles to their names. Both have also seen their rankings drop as of late. Berdych is currently ranked 15th, while Ferrer has dropped all the way to 39th. This is the first major in well over a decade where Ferrer is unseeded. With his movement slowed by age, he’s struggled to get wins. The Spaniard actually arrived at SW19 with a losing record in 2017, and is a surprise to even make it this far at his worst-performing major considering his recent form. Berdych is a much better grass court player, but Ferrer actually slightly leads their head-to-head 8-7. Ferrer is also one of the fiercest competitors around, so you can never fully count him out.

Order of play

Centre Court

Radwanska v Bacsinszky
Gulbis v Djokovic
Zverev v Federer

Court 1

Raonic v Ramos-Vinolas
Kontaveit v Wozniacki
Thiem v Donaldson

Court 2

Cirstea v Muguruza
Kerber v Rogers
Ofner v Zverev

Court 3

Dimitrov v Sela
Riske v Vandeweghe
Ferrer v Berdych

Court 12

Hercog v Kuznetsova
Monfils v Mannarino

Court 18

Rybarikova v Tsurenko
Martic v Diyas

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Dominic Thiem rallies from one set down against Roberto Bautista Agut to reach the final at Thiem’s 7 in Kitzbuhel

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Dominic Thiem came back from losing the first set to beat Roberto Bautista Agut 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 6-2 en route to reaching the final at the Thiem’s 7 tournament. Thiem earned two breaks in the third and fifth games to race out to a 4-1 lead. Bautista Agut got both breaks back in the sixth and eighth games to draw level to 4-4 forcing the match to the tie-break. The Spanish player won the tie-break 7-5 to take the opening set.

 

Thiem slowly found his rhythm again in the second set and earned two break points in the fourth game but he was not able to convert them. The home star dropped only two points on his serve until the end of the second set and converted two of the three break points to clinch the second set 6-2.

Thiem earned a break in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead and held on his next service games. The tournament organizer sealed the third set 6-2 with his double break with a blistering return on the match point in the eighth game securing his spot in the final. Thiem will face either Andrey Rublev or Matteo Berrettini in the final.

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Former Roland Garros champions and five top 20 players to highlight a great edition of the Ladies Open in Palermo

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The Ladies Open WTA International in Palermo will be the first tournament to be held next August since last February.

 

The Italian tournament will feature a great line-up which includes two confirmed past Roland Garros champions Svetlana Kuznetsova and Jelena Ostapenko and five top 20 players. There is a good chance that 2018 French Open and 2019 Wimbledon champion Simona Halep could be added in the field.

“We are glad about Simona Halep’s great interest in Palermo Ladies Open. We will be waiting for her at the Country Club for an historic edition of the Palermo tournament. We have been in contact with Halep’s manager for some time. We have been talking for days about her potential participation in Palermo. She is one of the best players in the world and her presence would contribute to make an already high-level tournament extrahordinary. We will leave our doors open to her for as long as possible, as well as for other top ten players that will want to resume their season in Palermo”, said tournament’s CEO Oliviero Palma.

The other stars who have signed up to the Ladies Open are 2019 Roland Garros champion Marketa Vondrousova, two Grand Slam semifinalists Elise Mertens (2018 Australian Open) and Anastasija Sevastova (2018 US Open), Aryna Sabalenka (winner at the Wuhan Open in 2018 and 2019, WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai in 2019 and Doha in 2020) and Elina Rybakina (winner in Hobart and finalist in St. Petersburg and Dubai in 2020), Dayana Yastremska (winner of three tournaments in Hong Kong in 2018, Thailand and Strasbourg in 2019).

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Lorenzo Sonego and Liudmila Samsonova lift the titles in Perugia

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Lorenzo Sonego and Liudmila Samsonova won the Zzz Quill Tennis Tour in Perugia. Sonego followed up his Italian title won the previous week in Todi with a 3-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 win over Croatia’s Viktor Galovic (world number 269 and number 7 seed) in the final of the Perugia tournament.

 

“Galovic started very well. It was difficult to adjust to his game and improve during the match. I maintained the right attitude and I managed to win the title. I enjoyed two fantastic weeks in Todi and Perugia. This confirmed my good work in training in the past two weeks. I gave my best and I am confident for the rest of the season”, said Sonego.

World number 117 Liudmila Samsonova won the women’s title came back from one set down to beat world number 307 Stefania Rubini 4-6 6-4 7-6 (8-6) in the women’s final after saving two match points.

“I won a very tough final with a lot of ups and downs. I am happy that I played many matches. It was one of my goals on the eve of the tournament. I showed that I am able to keep the level of my tennis high, when I play focused”, said Samsonova.   

 

 

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