French Open Day 2 Preview: Four Must-See Matches - UBITENNIS
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French Open Day 2 Preview: Four Must-See Matches

Ubitennis previews the the second day of action at Roland Garros.

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Stan Wawrinka (zimbio.com)

Day 1 of the 2018 French Open was rather newsworthy considering the small amount of matches that are played on the first Sunday in Paris.

 

For just the second time, the defending Roland Garros women’s singles champion lost in the first round, with Kateryna Kozlova’s upset of Jelena Ostapenko. The women’s side also lost another top 10 seed, with Venus Williams losing in her opening match for the second straight major. While the men’s side had no big upsets, there were several matches that went to a fifth set. Most notably, Fernando Verdasco survived a four hour, twenty-two-minute affair against Yoshihito Nishioka, which saw the Japanese player helped off the court in tears after suffering through cramps for much of the fifth set.

Day 2 has the potential to be a compelling day from beginning to end, as long as the potential rain stays away from the grounds of Roland Garros. The schedule on Monday includes many multiple-major winners in Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Maria Sharapova, Stan Wawrinka, Petra Kvitova, and Victoria Azarenka. Here’s a look at the most intriguing matchups on Monday.

Stan Wawrinka vs. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez

Is Stan in any condition to be a factor again in Paris? If his recent results are any indication, the answer is no. Wawrinka is only 4-6 on the year as he works to come back from knee surgery, and has lost five of his last six matches. Last week, the two-time defending Geneva champion won just four games against Marton Fucsovics. A finalist last year in Paris, Wawrinka’s ranking could plummet with an early loss this week. His opening round opponent is the same man who upset Stan in the first round of the 2014 French Open. Garcia-Lopez is an accomplished clay courter who also owns two other victories over Wawrinka, though Stan has eight wins of his own against Guillermo. A few days ago in Lyon, Garcia-Lopez came close to upsetting Dominic Thiem. This will be a significant challenge for Wawrinka, with a lot on the line for the former champion.

Victoria Azarenka vs. Katerina Siniakova

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This is only Azarenka’s seventh tournament in the past two years as she continues her comeback from giving birth and the subsequent custody battle that kept her away from the sport. She reminded us of her competitive skills when she fought her way to the semifinals in Miami, ousting three top 20 players in just her second tournament of 2018. She has made the quarterfinals or better at Roland Garros three times in her career, though not since her career-best semifinal run in 2013. Vika went just 1-2 in the clay lead-up events, but she’s capable of a deep run if she gets some momentum in the first week. Her opponent is no pushover, and had a breakout year in 2017. Siniakova won the first two titles of her career last year, one of which was on clay. In those tournaments, she had wins over Simona Halep, Johanna Konta, Caroline Garcia, and Caroline Wozniacki. The 22-year-old has slumped a bit in 2018, but I’m sure she’ll bounce back sooner than later. Will that day be today? The winner of this match has an open draw in front of them, with Ostapenko, Venus, and Konta all eliminated from this section of the draw on Day 1.

Caroline Wozniacki vs. Danielle Collins

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Following the career high of winning her first major at the Australian Open, Wozniacki has failed to follow up. Caroline hasn’t reached another tournament final since Melbourne. While she’s twice reached the quarterfinals at the French Open, she’s not been further than the third round in her other eight appearances. It feels like Wozniacki is ripe for another early-round loss in Paris, and Danielle Collins may be the right person for that task. Coming into 2018, Collins was ranked 160th in the world. Danielle won the WTA 125K event in Newport Beach in February, and then upset Madison Keys on her way to the round of 16 in Indian Wells. Later in March, she came through qualifying in Miami to go all the way to the semifinals, upsetting her idol, Venus Williams, in the quarters. The American also came through qualifying in both Madrid and Rome. Wozniacki could be the next women’s top 10 seed to exit Roland Garros.

Philipp Kohlschreiber vs. Borna Coric

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Coric was one of the hottest players on tour a few months ago, making the semis in Indian Wells and the quarters in Miami. But Borna simmered a bit on the clay, losing tight battles against Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem. His condition coming into Paris is questionable, as he retired in Rome with a neck injury. His opponent today is 13 years his elder, and has already had a dramatic clay court season. Kohlschreiber lost to David Ferrer in a David Cup heartbreaker, an epic five-set, tie-deciding match that went to 7-5 in the fifth. Just two days later, he lost in a final set tiebreak to the 617-ranked player in the world. Philipp quickly bounced back though, making the final in Munich and getting top 20 wins in Madrid and Rome over Roberto Bautista Agut and Jack Sock, respectively. Kohlschreiber leads the head-to-head against Coric 2-1, but Borna’s win was a significant one. Last year on the clay in Marrakech, Coric defeated Kohlschreiber in the final to win his first and only ATP title, saving five championship points. That last meeting must still be fresh in both men’s minds. Both players are usually tough outs, and I could easily see this going four or five sets, assuming Coric’s neck is feeling good again.

Day 2 order of play (time in GMT)

Court Suzanne Lenglen

(ESP) Guillermo Garcia-Lopez vs (23) Stan Wawrinka (SUI) – 10am

(ITA) Andreas Seppi vs (27) Richard Gasquet (FRA) – no earlier than 12.45pm

Court 1

(FRA) Benoit Paire vs Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) – 10am

(AUT) Dominic Thiem (7) vs Ilya Ivashka (BLR) – no earlier than 12pm

Court 3

(ESP) Roberto Bautista Agut vs Denis Istomin (UZB) – no earlier than 11.15am

(ARG) Diego Schwartzman (11) vs Calvin Hemery (FRA) – no earlier than 1.15pm

Court 4

(BIH) Mirza Basic vs Adam Pavlasek (CZE) – no earlier than 12.30pm

Court 5

(CZE) Jiri Vesely vs Dusan Lajovic (SRB) – no earlier than 11.15am

(AUS) Jordan Thompson vs Casper Ruud (NOR) – no earlier than 1.15pm

Court 6

(GER) Peter Gojowczyk vs Cameron Norrie (GBR) – no earlier than 11.15am

(CRO) Borna Coric vs (22) Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) – no earlier than 1.15pm

Court 7

(GRE) Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Carlos Taberner (ESP) – 10am

(USA) Frances Tiafoe vs (12) Sam Querrey (USA) – no earlier than 11.30am

Court 8

(LAT) Ernests Gulbis vs (29) Gilles Muller (LUX) – 10am

(CYP) Marcos Baghdatis vs Santiago Giraldo (COL) – no earlier than 12pm

Court 9

TBD (lucky loser) vs Bernard Tomic (AUS) – 10am

(ARG) Horacio Zeballos vs Yuichi Sugita (JPN) – no earlier than 2.30pm

Court 12

(RUS) Karen Khachanov vs Andreas Haider-Maurer (AUT) – 10am

(ESP) Albert Ramos-Vinolas (31) vs Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) – no earlier than 1.15pm

Court 14

(ESP) Jaume Munar vs David Ferrer (ESP) – no earlier than 11.15am

(POR) Joao Sousa vs Guido Pella (ARG) – no earlier than 2.30pm

Court 15

(TUN) Malek Jaziri vs Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) – no earlier than 12.30pm

Court 16

(ITA) Marco Cecchinato vs Marius Copil (ROM) – 10am

(AUS) Matthew Ebden vs Thomas Fabbiano (ITA) – no earlier than 1.15pm

Court 18

(GEO) Nikoloz Basilashvili vs Gilles Simon (FRA) – no earlier than 12.30pm

(USA) John Isner (9) vs Noah Rubin (USA) – no earlier than 2.30pm

 

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Emma Raducanu Looking For Experience After Splitting With Coach

Emma Raducanu revealed her post-US Open plans as she prepares for life on the main WTA tour.

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Emma Raducanu (@CambridgeAwe - Twitter)

Emma Raducanu is looking for more experience in her team after splitting from her short-term coach Andrew Richardson.

 

The US Open champion revealed the news at the ‘homecoming party’ set up at the National Tennis Centre in London where the Duchess of Cambridge was present.

Speaking at the event Raducanu said that she needed more experience as she will now play on the main tour on a regular basis, “At this stage of my career I really need someone that has had that WTA Tour experience at that high level,” Raducanu was quoted as saying by the BBC website.

“Especially right now as I’m so new to it, I think I really need someone just to guide me who has already been through that themselves. “Never did I even dream of winning the US Open and now I’m ranked 22 in the world, which is pretty crazy to me.”

Richardson was always a short-term arrangement with him now committed to improving his 10 year-old son.

As for Raducanu she is now 22 in the world and faces unfamiliar territory in playing a full-time schedule.

After winning the US Open as a qualifier, Raducanu has received unlimited amount of attention and expectation which is something she will need guidance with.

Now Raducanu will set out a schedule in the next few days with the Brit set to return as early as Indian Wells which starts on the 6th of October, “I got back on court a few days ago, and yesterday I did a full training day,” she explained.

“I was feeling pretty good about myself and my game, and I am very excited to compete again. All the opportunities I am getting have been very fun, but where I really want to be is on the tennis court, as I’m just thriving out there.

“I haven’t decided on my schedule yet – I will decide in the next few days where I am going to go to – but wherever I play next, I’m going to make sure I’m ready. I don’t want to jump into things too early.”

Should the 18 year-old make a strong end to the season then she could make the WTA Finals in Guadalajara.

Although she is 14th in the race, players such as Ash Barty and Naomi Osaka could miss the event and it’s something that is on the back of the mind of Raducanu, “The WTA Finals I would never even dream of before, because it was just so far out of reach and out of sight, but coming reasonably close to it now, I think it would be great if I qualified,” she admitted.

“But if not, it’s a complete bonus, because my priority is just putting in the best possible pre-season that I can, so I can start strong next year and next season.”

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Berrettini pulls off comeback win over Auger Aliassime at Laver Cup

Matteo Berrettini contributed to a 3-1 overall scoreline for Team Europe over Team World after day one of the Laver Cup.

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Matteo Berrettini (@LaverCup - Twitter)

The Italian fought back from a set down to beat the Canadian and give team Europe a commanding lead.

 

In the longest match in Laver Cup history so far Matteo Berrettini needed a match tiebreak to beat the world number 11 and good friend Felix Auger Aliassime 6-7, 7-5, 10-8 in a match that lasted two hours and 52 minutes.

The Italian hit 15 winners and served seven aces while the Montreal native hit 37 unforced errors in the loss.

“I was fighting and I felt the match was really hard and Felix (Auger-Aliassime) was playing well and he didn’t give me anything and he made no mistakes and he was serving really well and I felt a different energy because we are playing for a team, not just myself and they helped me a lot”.

The first set stayed on serve until 2-2 when it was the Italian with the first two breakpoints of the match but the Canadian was able to save both and hold serve.

The next game was a rollercoaster and the Montreal native responded by earning four chances to break and after 13 minutes finally made the breakthrough to take a 4-2 lead.

At 5-3, the world number 11 found himself with two set points but failed to convert and the Italian fought back and got the break back and at 6-5 the Canadian had five more set points but again the Italian saved all five and the set was decided by a tiebreaker.

Auger Aliassime got the early break to take a 2-0 lead and that break was enough for him to finally serve out the first set and take a 1-0 set lead. The world number seven was keen to bounce back and had two early chances to break at 1-1 but the Canadian saved both and held serve once again.

The very next game it was the Montreal native turn to apply the pressure on the Berrettini serve but the Italian managed to save both breakpoints he faced and held serve.

At 5-5, the Canadian kept pushing earning two more break points but couldn’t get the breakthrough, and the very next game the Rome native pounced and managed to get the crucial break to win the second set and force a match tiebreak.

The breaker was extremely tight until 3-3 when the Canadian managed to get the break and jumped out to a 5-3 lead before losing two straight points and the breaker was even at five.

Once again the world number 11 got the break again and was up 7-5 but again lost two straight points and we were even at seven and then at 9-8 Berrettini with the rally of the match sealed the win with a great passing shot.

After the match in his post-match interview, the Italian was asked about being selected to play doubles in the night session.

“I am going to be honest when they told me I would be playing singles and doubles I didn’t expect to play a match that long so I spoke with the captain and we will see but I am still young”.

Day 1 results

Casper Ruud got the ball rolling for Team Europe as he beat the American Rielly Opelka in the first match of the day in straight sets 6-3, 7-6 to give his team the first point of the tournament.

In the first match of the night session Andrey Rublev gave Team Europe a convincing 3-0 lead as he came back to beat the Argentine Diego Schwartzman 4-6, 6-3, 11-9 in the match tiebreaker.

Finally in the last match of the day Team World got their first point as the duo of John Isner and Denis Shapovalov came back from a set down to beat the doubles pairing of Matteo Berrettini and Alexander Zverev 4-6, 7-6, 10-1.

Day 2 preview:

Day 2 features some amazing matchups in both the day and night session with Stefanos Tsitsipas starting the day against the Aussie Nick Krygios before John Isner takes on Alexander Zverev.

In the night session Denis Shapovalov takes on the US Open champion from Russia Danil Medvedev with another doubles match wrapping things up as the team of Andrey Rublev and Tsitispas will take on John Isner and Nick Kyrgios.

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ATP Moves Closer To Staging Five More 12-Day Masters 1000 Events After Board Approval

Changes are coming to the men’s Tour which includes a brand new ‘profit-sharing formular’ for players.

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Masters tournaments in North America, Europe and Asia are set to be expanded over the coming months after the ATP Board recently approved some ‘key aspects’ of their strategic plan.

 

In a letter issued to players, ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said an agreement has been reached concerning a variety of topics, which include the expansion of various Masters 1000 events. It is understood that the plan is for Rome, Madrid, Canada, Cincinnati and Shanghai to be increased to 12-day events instead of just one week. Putting them more in line with Indian Wells and Miami. Tennis.com reports that under the new structure, ATP 250 events will also take place during the second week of those tournaments and they could receive a subsidy from the ATP Tour, provided by extra fees paid by the Masters tournaments.

Masters 1000 events are the third highest-ranked category events in men’s tennis after Grand Slams and the ATP Finals in terms of prize money and ranking points on offer. The series was first introduced back in 1990 but it wasn’t until 2009 that the name ‘Masters 1000’ was born. The number represents how many ranking points the winner receives.

Besides the proposed changes to the Masters series, the Board has also given a green light to “a new Profit-Sharing formula” and “long-term prize money levels.” The prize money increase is reportedly said to be 2.5 percent of a base level, plus a bonus pool with a 50 percent share of the collective profit of the Masters events.

“This represents significant progress for our sport and the way our player and tournament members operate under the equal partnership of the ATP Tour. It is only through the spirit of this partnership, transparency, and alignment of interests that we can truly maximise your potential and switch our focus to the competition we face in the border sports and entertainment landscape,” Gaudenzi wrote in his letter to players.

Part of the plan also include making changes to ATP Media, who are in charge of broadcasting the events. At present it is currently jointly owned by the Tour and each of the Masters 1000 events. However, in the future it has been proposed that those tournaments trade in their ownership rights for shares in ATP media. Exact details about this process have not been publicly disclosed and it is unclear if all of the tournaments would agree to such a move.

The ATP also wants to create a ‘Tennis Data Innovations’ which will be an independent entity.

All of these proposed changes are still subject to further agreement around additional matters. The ATP have been working on details of their strategic plan for the past 18 months.

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