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

Focus

French Open Day 2 Preview: Four Must-See Matches

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

Avatar

Published

on

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

Embed from Getty Images
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

Embed from Getty Images
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

Embed from Getty Images
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

 

Focus

EXCLUSIVE: Inside The Melbourne Bubble – ‘Top Names Get Preferential Treatment But That’s Part Of The Tour’

Marcelo Demoliner celebrated his birthday in quarantine, his doubles partner isn’t allowed to leave his room for 14 days and he believes there is a difference in treatment between the top players and others. Yet, he refuses to complain about the situation he finds himself in.

Avatar

Published

on

Marcelo Demoliner pictured during the 2020 Australian Open. image via https://www.facebook.com/mdemoliner89)

Like his peers, Brazil’s Marcelo Demoliner passes his time in Melbourne quarantine by training, sleeping, eating and posting amusing videos on social media.

 

Demoliner, who currently has a doubles ranking of world No.44, is required by Australian law to abide by a strict isolation period before he is allowed to play any professional tournament. Although he is allowed to train unless he is deemed to be a close contact of somebody who has tested positive for COVID-19. An unfortunate situation 72 players find themselves in, including Demoliner’s doubles partner Santiago Gonzalez

During an email exchange with UbiTennis the Brazilian sheds light on what he labels as an ‘usual experience’ that has prompted criticism from some players. Roberto Bautista Agut was caught on camera describing conditions as a ‘prison’ in a video leaked to the press. Although he has since apologised for his comments. Demonliner himself is not as critical as others.

“It is an unusual experience that we will remember for a long time,” he told UbiTennis. “It is a very complicated situation that we are going through. Obviously, it is not ideal for us athletes to be able to go out for just 5 hours a day, but mainly for the other 72 players who cannot go out, like my partner Santiago Gonzalez. They have a complicated situation of possibly getting injured after not practicing for 14 days, but it is what it is.’
“We need to understand and adapt to this situation considering Australia did a great job containing Covid.”

With three ATP doubles titles to his name, Demoliner is playing at the Australian Open for the sixth year in a row. He has played on the Tour for over a decade and has been ranked as high as 34th in the world.

Besides the players complaining about food, their rooms and even questioning the transparency of the rule making, Tennis Australia also encountered a slight blip regarding the scheduling of practice.

“I was a little lucky because I stayed in one of the hotels that we don’t need to take transportation to go to the training courts. It made the logistics issue much easier. The other two hotels had problems with transportation and logistics in the first two days, but I have nothing to complain about, honestly.”

Demoliner remains thankful for what Tennis Australia has managed to do in order for the Australian Open to be played. Quarantine can have a big impact on a person mentally, as well as physically. Each day players spend at least 19 hours in their hotel rooms which was no fun for the Brazilian who celebrated his 32nd birthday on Tuesday.

“Without a doubt, it is something we have never been through before. I’m luckily having 5 hours of training daily. I am managing to maintain my physical preparation and rhythm. It is not the ideal, of course, but I can’t even imagine the situation of other players who are in the more restricted quarantine.”

image via https://www.instagram.com/MDemoliner/

Priority given to the top names

As Demoliner resides in Melbourne, a selected handful of players are spending their time in Adelaide. Under a deal struck by Tennis Australia, officials have agreed for the top three players on the ATP and WTA Tour’s to be based in the city. The idea being is that it will relieve the strain on Melbourne who is hosting in the region of 1200 arrivals.

Craig Tiley, who is the head of Tennis Australia, has insisted that all players will have to follow the same rules wherever they are based. Although some feel that those in Adelaide have some extra privileges such as a private gym they can use outside of the five-hour training bubble. Japan’s Taro Daniel told the Herald Sun: “People in Adelaide are being able to hit with four people on court, so there’s some resentment towards that as well.” Daniel’s view is one echoed also by Demoliner.

“I do believe they are receiving preferential treatment, quite different from us. But this is part of the tour,” he said.
“The top tennis players always had these extras, we are kinda of used to it. We came here knowing that they would have better conditions for practicing, structure, hotels… they also have merits to have achieved all that they have to be the best players in the world. I don’t know if it’s fair, but I believe the conditions could be more similar than they are in this situation.”

Some players were recently bemused by a photo of Naomi Osaka that surfaced on social media before being removed. The reigning US Open champion was pictured on a court with four members of her team, which is more people than what those in Melbourne are allowed to train with.

https://twitter.com/mdemoliner89/status/1351079924719898632

As the Adelaide contingent continues their preparations, those most unhappy with them are likely to be the 72 players who are in strict quarantine. Demoliner is concerned about the elevated risk of injury that could occur due to the facts they are not allowed to leave their rooms. All players in this situation have been issued with gym equipment to use.

“I think that they will be at a considerable disadvantage compared to who can train. But we need to obey the law of the country, there is not much to do … until the 29th they will have to stay in the room and that is it,” he said.
“Whether it is fair or not, it is not up to me to say because I am not in this situation. The thing about having the other players who didn’t have contact with the positive cases to also stay in the rooms is the concern about the risk of injury, specially for singles players. It will be a tough challenge, especially at the beginning of the season.”

In recent days, officials have been holding video calls with players to discuss ways to address these concerns ahead of the Australian Open. Which will start a week after they are allowed to leave their rooms.

When the tournaments do get underway there are also questions about how the public will react to players who have made headlines across the country for their criticism of the quarantine process. A somewhat sore point for Australian’s with some nationals unable to return home due to the government restrictions. On top of that, people in Melbourne are concerned about a potential outbreak of COVID-19.

It is a very complex situation. I fully understand the reaction of the Australian population considering the recent events… the effect that the players are bringing, the risks to the population,” Demoliner said of the current circumstances.
“We know this and obviously they are concerned with the whole situation, which is still very uncertain. On our side, though, they did allow us to come here to play. It is important to remember that the decision to welcome us was approved by the Australian Government, otherwise we would not be here.”

Demoliner is one of three Brazilian doubles players ranked to have a top 100 ranking on the ATP Tour along with Bruno Soares and Marcelo Melo.

SEE ALSO EXCLUSIVE: Inside The Melbourne Bubble – ‘Players Can’t Act Like Spoilt People’

Continue Reading

Focus

Who Are The Best Hard Court Creators In The Last 12 Months?

Here are some of the best players at earning break points on a hard court in the last 12 months.

Avatar

Published

on

Garbine Muguruza (@Tennis - Twitter)

As the Australian Open, slowly, approaches UbiTennis looks at the biggest hard court creators from the last 52 weeks.

 

Although winning matches are determined on how many break point opportunities you convert, to convert the break points you need to create them in the first place.

This can be the biggest challenge but for the players below this isn’t a problem as they are able to consistently create break point opportunities on a hard court.

Starting with the women, it may be a surprise to nobody that Garbine Muguruza, one of the more aggressive returners on the tour leads the way, earning on average 10.4 break points in the last 52 weeks on a hard court.

Muguruza’s hard-hitting style mixed with controlled placement puts her in pole position to punish her opponents on return.

There are also other big hitters in the top 10 such as Petra Kvitova, who averages 9.6 break points while Aryna Sabalenka earns 9.5 break points on a hard court.

While 2020 grand slam champions Iga Swiatek (9.8) and Naomi Osaka (9.3) also feature on this list.

Meanwhile on the men’s side it is Roger Federer who leads this list on average earning 10.8 break points, slightly more than Garbine Muguruza who is on top of the women’s list.

Federer is just ahead of Roberto Bautista Agut with 10.5 break points. This shows just how much Bautista Agut has improved on hard courts in the last 12 months being able to create so many break point opportunities with his return game.

Also featuring on this list are Alexander Zverev (9.2), Novak Djokovic (8.5) and Daniil Medvedev (8.3).

These are the players to look out for when seeing the players who are most likely to create opportunities in their respective draws and who the biggest servers may want to avoid in the Australian Open.

Here are the full lists of the top 10 from each tour and remember the Australian Open is set to begin on the 8th of February.

WTA Top 11 – Most Break Points Earned On A Hard Court In Last 52 Weeks

  1. Garbine Muguruza – 10.4
  2. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova – 10.2
  3. Saisai Zheng – 9.9
  4. Iga Swiatek – 9.8
  5. Anett Kontaveit – 9.6
  6. Petra Kvitova – 9.6
  7. Petra Martic – 9.6
  8. Aryna Sabalenka – 9.5
  9. Ons Jabeur – 9.5
  10. Simona Halep – 9.3
  11. Naomi Osaka – 9.3

ATP Top 12 – Most Break Points Earned On A Hard Court In Last 52 Weeks

  1. Roger Federer – 10.8
  2. Roberto Bautista Agut – 10.5
  3. Alexander Zverev – 9.2
  4. John Millman – 8.9
  5. Dominic Thiem – 8.9
  6. Guido Pella – 8.8
  7. Cristian Garin – 8.5
  8. Novak Djokovic – 8.5
  9. David Goffin – 8.4
  10. Adrian Mannarino – 8.3
  11. Daniil Medvedev – 8.3
  12. Grigor Dimitrov – 8.3

Continue Reading

Focus

Further 23 Players In Hard Quarantine After More Positive Tests On Charter Flight

More players head into hard quarantine ahead of the first grand slam of the year.

Avatar

Published

on

(@emirates - Twitter)

A further 23 players have been told that they are being placed into hard quarantine after another positive COVID-19 test on a charter flight from Abu Dhabi.

 

Players were notified this evening in Australia that there was a positive test on the Abu Dhabi charter flight. Although it looks it wasn’t a player who tested positive it now means 23 more players will now go into hard quarantine.

This follows the news of 24 players going into hard quarantine after two positive tests from a charter flight from Los Angeles.

It is understood from several journalists that among those who are now being placed into hard quarantine from the Abu Dhabi flight are Belinda Bencic, Maria Sakkari, Bianca Andreescu, Angelique Kerber, Marta Kostyuk, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Ons Jabeur.

Although there are only 47 players in hard quarantine so far, there is a fear that this number could rise with more COVID test results still waiting to come back.

Before the charter flights, Andy Murray, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Madison Keys and Amanda Anisimova were denied entry into Australia via the chartered flights due to positive COVID results.

The first set of tournaments in Australia are set to begin on the 31st of January with the Australian Open due to begin on the 8th of February.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending