Wimbledon Day 7 Preview: Six Must-See Matches - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Day 7 Preview: Six Must-See Matches

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Angelique Kerber (zimbio.com)

Today is the best tennis day of the year. Day 7 at Wimbledon features all 16 round of 16 matches in the men’s and ladies’ singles draws. These 32 players combine for 64 major singles titles. “Manic Monday” is an exciting occasion with big names in big matches taking place at the same time. If you’re watching from home, it’s a good day to have as many screens available as possible. With so many great matches spread across the grounds of the All England Club, it’s the last day to catch elite players in singles action on the outer courts. Let’s take a look at six of the most fascinating matches on what will be an extremely busy day at the Championships.

 

Angelique Kerber vs. Garbine Muguruza

The biggest matchup to start off the day is this battle of major champions on No.2 Court. In 2016 these women accounted for three of the four major crowns, but neither has won a title of any kind since reaching those heights. Kerber may barely still be the world number one, but she’ll lose that top spot unless she returns to the Wimbledon final this weekend. Kerber is only 15th in the year-to-date rankings, while Muguruza is just 10th. The German was close to exiting The Championships on Saturday, but rebounded after being six points from defeat against 70th-ranked Shelby Rogers. Muguruza has looked like the better player at SW19 this year, having not dropped a set through three rounds. To the dismay of many, Muguruza expressed relief after unsuccessfully defending her French Open crown, citing the amount of pressure she had felt since winning her first major title. But perhaps Muguruza is feeling refreshed without those expectations on her, and she’ll surely be under less pressure than Kerber in this match. The Spaniard has a slight 4-3 edge in their head-to-head, and Muguruza has won the last four meetings. That includes a third round encounter at Wimbledon two years ago. Easily the more aggressive and powerful player of the two, this match will be on Muguruza’s racquet.

Venus Williams vs. Ana Konjuh

On paper, the opening match of Monday’s Centre Court schedule appears pretty one-sided. Venus Williams is a five-time Wimbledon champion, coming off a return to the semifinals last year and a run to the final of this year’s Australian Open. Her opponent is a relatively inexperienced 19-year-old who is in the second week of a major for only the second time. But Konjuh is not afraid of the big stage, and likes to play on the grass. This is evidenced by her run to last year’s U.S. Open quarterfinal, as well as her tight three-set victory on Friday over eighth seed Dominika Cibulkova. It feels as if Konjuh is primed for another major breakthrough sooner than later, and I would not be at all surprised to see her prevail over the future Hall of Famer.

Simona Halep vs. Victoria Azarenka

The next match on No.2 Court is a rematch of what was a tremendous 2015 U.S. Open quarterfinal, where Halep outlasted Azarenka 6-4 in the third. Halep has recovered nicely from her extremely disappointing and emotional loss to Jelena Ostapenko in the French Open final. Less than a month later, the Romanian is yet to drop a set on the lawns of Wimbledon this year. Azarenka has regained a high level of play very quickly in only her second tournament back after being out for a year while giving birth to her son. The edge in this one has to go to Halep due to Azarenka’s lack of match play, but let’s hope we get another great battle between these two tough competitors.

Rafael Nadal vs. Gilles Muller

Muller is having the best season of his career. 2017 has seen the 34-year-old finally win his first two titles ever, including a win on the grass of s-Hertogenbosch just a few weeks ago. He’s currently at a career-high ranking of number 26, and is ranked number 16 at these Championships due to his strong grass court results. Surprisingly, this is Muller’s first appearance in the Wimbledon fourth round. Even more surprisingly, Muller owns a victory over Nadal at the All England Club. But that was 12 years ago, and Muller hasn’t beaten Nadal since. This is actually only the second time Nadal has advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon in the past six years, but the 15-time major winner has looked more impressive on the grass during the first week of this fortnight than he has in many years. Nadal also usually does very well against fellow left-handed players. Still, considering current form, Muller is a dangerous opponent. If Muller serves well, Nadal will need to be at the peak of his abilities in this No.1 Court matchup.

Milos Raonic vs. Alexander Zverev

No.2 Court may have the best lineup of any court on this crowded day of action, with the two women’s matches discussed earlier and this highly anticipated men’s fourth round encounter. 2016 was a breakthrough year for Raonic, reaching his first major final at last year’s Wimbledon and ending the year at a career-high ranking of number three. 2017 has seen quite a decline for Raonic, as he’s battled injury and struggled to regain the form of last year. Milos is only ranked 16th in the Race to London, and the Canadian actually hasn’t won a title since eighteen months ago in Brisbane. Meanwhile Zverev has continued to quickly ascend in the rankings this year, winning his first Masters 1,000 title and currently sitting in fifth place in the Race to London. But strong results at other tournaments have not yet translated to the majors, as this is actually the 20-year-old’s first time to a major fourth round. The only previous meeting between these two was just recently at the Rome Masters, which Zverev won in straight sets on his way to the title. This should be a tight, big-serving affair that could easily go either way.

Roger Federer vs. Grigor Dimitrov

They say the imitation is never as good as the original. Dimitrov obviously modeled his strokes after the eighteen-time major champion, but has not been able to replicate his success. Dimitrov got off to a great start in 2017, highlighted by his epic semifinal clash against Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open. He also won titles in both Brisbane and Sofia. But since those three tournaments, Grigor was only 10-10 coming into these Championships. Grigor has seemed to regain some confidence on the grass, as he advanced to the semifinals at Queen’s Club. Dimitrov also looked very sharp in his first three rounds at SW19, not dropping a set. The Bulgarian knows how to defeat top players on Centre Court, as he eliminated Andy Murray from The Championships in 2014. But Dimitrov is 0-5 lifetime against Federer. Federer also did not drop a set through three rounds, but has had a case of the sniffles and admitted to not feeling 100% in recent days. While another Federer victory seems likely, this is a good opportunity for Dimitrov to step up and seize the moment in the final match of the day on Centre Court.

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Dominic Thiem Rules Federer Out Of GOAT Debate

The Austrian puts forward his theory on who should be regarded as the best player in history.

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Dominic Thiem; e-motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Martin Steiger, 27.10.2022

The honour of which player deserves to be regarded as the greatest of all time (GOAT) should be decided based on one factor, according to Dominic Thiem. 

 

The former world No.3 has weighed in on the debate by suggesting that the argument should be settled by the number of Grand Slam titles a player has won as they are the most prestigious tournaments in the sport. In tennis, the four major tournaments are the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. 

Thiem’s GOAT criteria have therefore ruled Roger Federer out of contention. The Swiss maestro was at one stage the frontrunner due to the numerous records he has broken throughout his career. However, he retired from the sport last year with 20 Grand Slam trophies under his belt which is less than both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic who are currently on 22 each. 

“In my opinion, the Grand Slam titles should be the defining criteria when determining the best of all time, they are the four most important tournaments in tennis,” Eurosport quotes Thiem as saying. 
“Everything else is fine, but it’s not the same. The Slams are what counts, so the GOAT will probably be the one with the most Grand Slams.”

Others will argue that more factors should be taken into account in the subjective debate. For example, Federer has won 103 ATP titles which are more than his two rivals, Djokovic holds the record for most weeks as world No.1 and Nadal has won more tournaments on clay than any other player in history. Furthermore, there is the players’ win-loss rate on the Tour and their records against the top 10 players. 

Recently at the Australian Open Djokovic won the men’s title for a historic 10th time in his career. An achievement that has been hailed by Thiem who was runner-up to the Serbian at Melbourne Park in 2021. 

“I am not very surprised, Djokovic still looks young,” he said. “Physically and mentally, because of the way he moves on the court. It’s like he was 25 years old.
“We have to be honest, he is the best, so his victory was not very surprising.”

Thiem has won one Grand Slam title which was at the 2020 US Open when he became the first man in the Open Era to come back from two sets down to win in the final. He has also been runner-up at the French Open twice, as well as the Australian Open once. 

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(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Australian Open: Steve Flink Talks Djokovic’s Fitness, Nearest Rivals And Future Of American Tennis

Tennis Hall of Famer Steve Flink joins Ubitennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta to discuss Novak Djokovic’s tenth Australian Open title.

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Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic won his tenth Australian Open title last week but what does the future hold for the Serb?

 

This was something that was discussed between hall of fame writer Steve Flink and UbiTennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta.

After Djokovic’s stunning straight sets win to claim a 22nd Grand Slam title, the pair discussed who the Serb’s future rivals may be for the rest of the season.

Flink stated that Alcaraz is Djokovic’s nearest challenger and would love to see them face off several times this season, “I think the smallest gap is between Djokovic and Alcaraz, I think we’ll found that out,” Flink explained.

“I think that’s what we need to see this year, Ubaldo. Is Alcaraz going to pick up where he left off last year, winning his first major, finishing the year number one. Has the temperament, has the game?

“I want to see Djokovic and Alcaraz play this year, I hope maybe 3-4 times at least and I think that could be great for the game and that maybe the biggest test would be to play the young Alcaraz who’s so fearless.”

Reflecting on the Australian Open Flink was very impressed with the way the world number one played over the two weeks especially managing his injury.

Flink thinks that Djokovic getting to world number one is a great achievement given the circumstances, “Just imagine how far ahead he would be in the rankings,” the Serb explained.

“If he had 2000 points for Wimbledon as he should have received, he’d be way way ahead of the pack. But just the fact he got back to number one which no one was really expecting since last fall is a great achievement.

“He was all along the overwhelming favourite to come back and win the Australian Open for the tenth time. However I honestly believe that he was genuinely very worried about his leg. Some people didn’t want to believe that but I definitely believed it because he got hurt in Adelaide and then you saw he was cancelling practice sessions in the middle of the leading up to the Australian Open.

“He was very worried and he kept wearing that strapping on his leg. Plus there was those medical time-outs he was taking in the earlier rounds and I don’t think it was until he played De Minaur in the fourth round that he was physically close to his best. And then from that point on he looked pretty invincible but I do think coming in he had deep concerns about his physical condition.”

Also in their chat, they discussed other rivals to Novak Djokovic such as Stefanos Tsitsipas, Casper Ruud, Daniil Medvedev, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Holger Rune and Sebastian Korda.

There was also much encouragement from Flink over the future of American men’s tennis with him comparing the current generation to the mid 1990’s, “This is the best group we’ve had since you have to go back, I mean we can look at the Roddick-Blake-Fish era and yes I mean Roddick was the last American man to win a major singles title at the 2003 US Open. And Blake was in the top five in the world and Fish had some great exploits but this group has more depth,” Flink explained.

“This is more like the mid-90’s, I’m not saying we’re going to have a Sampras, Courier, Chang, Agassi, you know the greatest American generation but all of these guys starting with Fritz and Tiafoe and then Korda who we already mentioned and Tommy Paul, his first major semi-finals despite the fact he lost to Djokovic in straight sets, Tommy Paul has burst into the top 20.

“And we’ve got an awful lot of talent in the top 50 now, I haven’t been this encouraged in a long time. I think it’s a very impressive American line-up.”

Below you can see the full video where they also discuss who has the most potential between Jannik Sinner, Matteo Berrettini and Lorenzo Musetti.

Video Breakdown:

00:00: Intro

00:26: Discussion over Djokovic’s level and injury concerns at Australian Open.

3:40: Reflecting on Djokovic’s post Wimbledon form

4:38: Reflecting on Djokovic’s physical state in comparison to Nadal and Djokovic’s competition

7:23: Discussion about Tsitsipas

12:45: Further discussion about Alcaraz  

14:55: Talk about Medvedev’s disappointing form

16:32: Talk about Ruud’s style of play

18:10: Talk about Auger-Aliassime

20:24: Discussion about Holger Rune, Sebastian Korda and American Tennis

24:26: Discussion about biggest potential amongst Sinner, Berrettini and Musetti

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Andreescu edges Kostyuk to reach semis in Hua Hin

Bianca Andreescu is into the semi-finals in Thailand.

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Bianca Andreescu (@BenLewisMPC - Twitter)

The Canadian is into the final four in Thailand after beating the Ukrainian in straight sets.

 

Bianca Andreescu booked her spot in the semifinal of the Thailand Open in Hua Hin after beating the Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk in straight sets 6-0, 7-6 in one hour and 28 minutes.

The number one seed hit 19 winners and won 69% of her first serve points in a match where she had an amazing start but was dealt some adversity in the second set.

“I don’t think I started playing bad in the second set,” Andreescu said. “I think she just raised her game and she is always a tough opponent so I wasn’t expecting anything easy.”

The Toronto native who was making her first trip to Thailand came out to a flying start breaking three times in the first set en route to serving a bagel 6-0 set in a mere 25 minutes on court.

Riding the momentum into the second set, the Canadian broke again in the first game and at 3-1 went up a double break and found herself up 5-1 and a game away from the semis.

That’s when the number five seed started fighting back and at 5-2 broke Andreescu for the first time in the match and won the next two games to level the set at 5-5, using her powerful forehand to do it.

The set and the match were ultimately decided by a tiebreaker where the top seed got the early lead at 4-2 and served out the set and match at 6-3 in the breaker to secure the win.

After the match in her on-court interview, she was asked about her chances in the next match.

“I am hoping to win the tournament and I really believe in myself and if I get the support I need hopefully I can win the next two matches.”

Andreescu will face another Ukrainian in the semi-finals Lesia Tsurenko who had no issues getting past the German Tatjana Maria in straight sets 6-1 6-1 in one hour and 16 minutes.

In the other two quarterfinal matches, Lin Zhu of China beat the Slovenian Tamara Zidansek in straight sets 6-2, 6-2 in one hour and 15 minutes to set up an all-Chinese semi-final with the number seven seed Xinju Wang.

Wang needed three sets to get past the Brit Heather Watson 6-3, 6-7, 6-4 in two hours and 40 minutes.

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