Wimbledon Day 8 Preview: The Ladies’ Quarter-finals - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Day 8 Preview: The Ladies’ Quarter-finals

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Garbine Muguruza (zimbio.com)

With a pregnant Serena Williams absent from this year’s Championships, and pre-tournament co-favorites Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova both losing in the second round, there is no clear favorite remaining in the ladies’ draw. It’s a huge opportunity for the remaining eight women to hoist the Venus Rosewater Dish in the air just four days from now. Seven of these eight women have never done so, except of course for the five-time champion who shares her name with the trophy.

 

Before we get to the women’s quarterfinals, action will start earlier than anticipated at noon local time on Centre Court. Due to the length of the epic five-set match on Monday between Rafael Nadal and Gilles Muller, Novak Djokovic’s fourth round match versus Adrian Mannarino was re-scheduled for Tuesday’s order of play. It’s a rematch from last year’s Wimbledon second round, which Djokovic won in straight sets. This should be another straightforward victory for Novak, and the quicker the better as far as his title chances are concerned. If he wins, Djokovic will be back on the court the very next day with much less rest than his would-be quarterfinal opponent, Tomas Berdych.

Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Garbine Muguruza

As the men’s fourth round concludes on Centre Court, this will be the first match on No.1 Court at 1:00pm local time. That is if the weather cooperates, as the forecast for Tuesday shows a strong chance of rain, which could negatively impact the women in the matches scheduled for No.1 Court if they cannot be completed. Muguruza took part in a phenomenal match on Monday in taking out number one seed Angelique Kerber, playing the best tennis we’ve seen from her since last year’s Roland Garros. She’s looking to return to the Wimbledon final for the second time in three years. Kuznetsova has two majors to her name, but this is only her fourth trip to the Wimbledon quarterfinals in her long career. It’s her first time advancing this far at SW19 in 10 years, and she’s never been farther. Kuznetsova has had a rather nice draw to this point, but has still looked impressive and has won all eight sets that she’s played. Muguruza has won the last three meetings with Kuznetsova, and will be the favorite here as well.

Venus Williams vs. Jelena Ostapenko

The first women’s quarterfinal of the day on Centre Court will feature the only remaining woman to previously win this tournament, but Venus Williams hasn’t won a major singles title in nine years. Venus was at her best on Monday in quickly ousting 19-year-old Ana Konjuh. Will the 37-year-old be able to sustain her top form over three more matches? On Tuesday she’ll face another opponent nearly half her age in 20-year-old French Open Champion Jelena Ostapenko. Most everyone expected a letdown following Ostapenko’s shocking run at Roland Garros, but just a few weeks removed she is backing it up brilliantly. Jelena is the first woman in over a decade to follow-up her maiden major title by reaching the quarterfinals of the next major. Could she possibly continue her momentum all the way to the Venus Rosewater Dish? While Ostapenko has yet to show any signs of shrinking on the big stage, this will be her Centre Court debut – that has to rattle her at least a little, right? This may not be the best matchup for Ostapenko, as it will be difficult for her to hit Venus off the court as she has other opponents. It’s hard to bet against the five-time Wimbledon champion in what should be a fascinating first-ever meeting.

Coco Vandeweghe vs. Magdalena Rybarikova

Vandeweghe has been impressive through four rounds at Wimbledon, having not dropped a set with a new coach and former Wimbledon champion on her team in Pat Cash. This is Coco’s second Wimbledon quarterfinal in three years, and it comes on the heels of her Australian Open semifinal in January. Coco struggled following Melbourne, losing almost as many matches as she won, but has found her confidence again on the grass. Rybarikova is the biggest surprise of these championships, making her first trip to the second week of a major. She ousted Karolina Pliskova last week on Centre Court, and hasn’t looked back since. Due to knee and wrist surgeries, Rybarikova was ranked 453rd in the world just four months ago. Her ascent in the rankings in such a short time is startling: next week she’ll return to the top 50. If you consider ITF events and qualifying rounds, Rybarikova is now 17-1 on grass over the past month. She is also 2-0 lifetime against Vandeweghe, which includes a match on grass from 2011 as well as a victory just a few weeks ago at Roland Garros. The big-hitting, swaggering Coco will need to be in top form to avoid being upset on No.1 Court by an opponent with a ton of momentum.

Simona Halep vs. Johanna Konta

Unfortunately when struggling to pick a winner of late on the WTA tour, too often the best bet is to pick the player who will be feeling less pressure. In what should be a very tight match on Centre Court, I’m just not sure which player that will be. If Halep wins on Tuesday, she’ll become the new number one player in the world. Konta has already survived two very close three-set matches at the Championships, after arriving with only one previous win at the All England Club. Surely the pressure of playing the biggest tournament of the year on home soil has to be weighing on her, though she’s risen to the occasion thus far and embraced the crowd’s support. Konta leads their head-to-head 2-0, including a victory in Miami earlier this year. But Halep is in a better mindset than she was earlier this year, and is yet to drop a set in this tournament. Simona also must be the fresher of the two, though Johanna has stronger weapons in her game and plays a style that’s more suited for the grass. Let’s hope regardless of who wins, both women overcome their nerves and play their best. If they do, this could be an outstanding contest between two of the most elite WTA players.

Full order of play

Centre Court (12:00:)
Adrian Mannarino (Fra) v (2) Novak Djokovic (Ser)
(10) Venus Williams (USA) v (13) Jelena Ostapenko (Lat)
(6) Johanna Konta (Gbr) v (2) Simona Halep (Rom)

Court 1 (13:00)
(14) Garbine Muguruza (Spa) v (7) Svetlana Kuznetsova (Rus)
Magdalena Rybarikova (Svk) v (24) Coco Vandeweghe (USA)

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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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