Italian Open Thursday Preview: The Men’s and Women’s Match of the Day - UBITENNIS
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Italian Open Thursday Preview: The Men’s and Women’s Match of the Day

All eyes will be on Rafael Nadal as he takes on the new Canadian No.1

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Rafael Nadal (zimbio.com)

Thursday in Rome, all third round matches in both the men’s and women’s draws will take the court, making for another full day of great matchups at Parco del Foro Italico. On the men’s side, top seed Rafael Nadal could be on a collision course with second seed (and champion in both of the past two weeks) Alexander Zverev in what would be a blockbuster final. But many other big names are in their way, such as Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin Del Potro. On the women’s side, while a resounding favourite does not exist, an extremely intriguing draw does. Seven of the top 10 seeds remain, along with multiple-major winners Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, and Angelique Kerber. With 16 singles matches to take place, here’s a look at two of the many intriguing clashes on the schedule.

 

Rafael Nadal vs. Denis Shapovalov

Prior to last week, Shapovalov had zero tour-level wins on clay. By comparison, Nadal has 404 career clay victories. The young Canadian has become quite the phenomenon, and it all began with his thrilling victory over Nadal at the Rogers Cup last summer, 7-6 in a final set tiebreak. That’s the match that put Shapovalov on the tennis map. Less than a year later, the 19-year-old is now the Canadian number one, surpassing Milos Raonic with his run in Rome this week. And this run is on the heels of last week’s run in Madrid, his second career Masters 1,000 semifinal. Nadal will certainly be out to avenge the loss from Montreal last year, especially on his precious clay. The number one ranking is also on the line for Nadal, as he needs to win the title in Rome to regain it from Federer, as well as to have any chance to be number one following the French Open. As hot as Shapovalov has been, it’s hard to imagine him going up 2-0 in his career against the king of clay. Still this should be a fun battle of lefties on Campo Centrale.

Caroline Garcia vs. Sloane Stephens

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Here we have two top 10 players meeting in the third round, and two prominent names to consider for deep runs at Roland Garros in two weeks. It was just last year where Garcia made the quarter-finals at her home Slam event. The Frenchwoman then went on a tear in the fall, winning back-to-back tournaments in Wuhan and Beijing. Her results have simmered a bit in 2018, but she’s reshown her clay prowess by making the semis in both Stuttgart and Madrid. Stephens went on an eight-match losing streak following her US Open breakthrough, but rebounded to take the title in Miami. Sloane is due for some success outside the US, so why not on the clay? She advanced to the fourth round at the French Open four years in a row between 2012 and 2015. This is a fresh match-up, as they’ve only played twice, and not since 2014. I expect this to be a close one, but Garcia would appear to be the favourite due to her recent results on the clay.

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Nicolas Jarry Aims To Follow In Family Footsteps After Reaching Bastad Final

Nicolas Jarry looks to join his grandfather in winning an ATP title as he reaches the Bastad final.

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Nicolas Jarry (@FOXSport_Chile - Twitter)

Nicolas Jarry will look to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps tomorrow when he takes on Juan Ignacio Londero in the Bastad final. 

 

The Chilean was in fine form today as he beat another Chilean in Federico Delbonis in the semi-finals today, 6-3 6-2 in 64 minutes.

It is Jarry’s third ATP final and his second of the season following his final in Geneva, where he wasted two championship points to lose to Alexander Zverev.

Should the 23 year-old be triumphant on Sunday, he will join his grandfather as an ATP titlist after Jaime Fillol Sr. won six tour titles and finished a high of number 14 in the rankings in 1974.

Next up for Jarry is Cordoba champion Juan Ignacio Londero, who cruised past 2016 Swedish Open champion Albert Ramos-Vinolas in straight sets.

The 6-3 6-4 victory included the Argentinian winning 73% of his first service points as he dominated the Spaniard in the 1 hour and 21 minute win.

It will be the second final of the season for Londero, who has enjoyed thriving on the clay in 2019 which has helped him reach a career high ranking of 58 in the world in June.

A good sign for Londero, was that en route to winning his lone title in 2019 in Cordoba, he beat Jarry in their only previous ATP World Tour meeting.

Both men will look to cap off an excellent week tomorrow as the final is scheduled for 2pm local time.

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Alexander Bublik Praises Mentality Change Ahead Of Newport Semi-Finals

Alexander Bublik is on the rise after changing his mentality as he looks to win his first ATP title in Newport this weekend.

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Alexander Bublik (@TennisHalloFame - Twitter)

Alexander Bublik praises his change in his mental approach to tennis after reaching the semi-finals in Newport. 

 

The 22 year-old from Kazakhstan is arguably having one of the best seasons of his career, having reached a career high ranking of 82 in 2019.

Having won three challenger events in Budapest, Pau and Monterrey, Bublik is full of confidence and is currently trying to transition that form on the ATP tour.

In an interview with the ATP website, Bublik has praised a change in mentality for the improvement in form, “When I was a kid I got in mental troubles a lot because I was thinking, ‘I’ve got to win this match. I want to win this tournament’,” Bublik said to atptour.com.

“Then last year when I broke my ankle is when I realised it’s fine… I’ve got to work hard to make it here, to make more and more, so that’s why I’m working hard every day trying to succeed.”

There is no doubting that Bublik has the talent as he has a unique style, which includes tweeners and during his quarter-final match with Tennys Sandgren in Newport, hit four aces in a game which concluded with an underarm ace.

However the world number 83 has said that he entertains himself first and aims to stand out from the crowd, “I entertain myself first. That’s the most important thing for me,” Bublik explained.

“Always be a leader, not a follower, You just have to be your own leader, make your own decisions,” Bublik said when speaking about one of his tattoos.

Well Bublik’s fate is certainly in his own hands when he faces Marcel Granollers for a spot in his first ever ATP final on Saturday.

The other semi-final will see top seed John Isner take on 4th seed Ugo Humbert as the Frenchman looks to take advantage of an under-par American.

In both of his matches, Isner has needed a third set to overcome both Kamil Majchrzak and Matthew Ebden as he looks to win a 3rd title at the Hall Of Fame Open.

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Bernard Tomic Sent Warning About Behaviour As Wimbledon Appeal Rejected

Bernard Tomic’s appeal was rejected after being fined all of his prize money for his first round defeat to Jo-Wilfred Tsonga at Wimbledon.

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Bernard Tomic (@ATP_Tour - Twitter)

Bernard Tomic has been sent a stinging warning about his behaviour after his Wimbledon appeal was rejected. 

 

The Australian lost his first round match at Wimbledon to Jo-Wilfred Tsonga in 58 minutes a couple of weeks ago in another lacklustre effort.

Although in previous years he may have escaped punishment, this time the grand slam board decided to deduct all his prize money as a result of his straight sets defeat.

This sent a clear message to the tennis world as they want to cut out lack of effort and give places in grand slams to competitors that will try their best.

Of course, Tomic wasn’t exactly pleased with the ruling and decided to appeal against the ruling which stated that he did not play to “required professional standards.”

However the appeal didn’t only get rejected, it got slammed down by board director Bill Babcock in a stinging letter to the controversial Australian.

In the letter Babcock referred to Tomic’s past history in lack of effort during matches, “A review of your historical record of misconduct at grand slams, never mind elsewhere, provides little justification for an adjustment,” Babcock said.

“In your case, Bernard, I am sure you would agree there is no historical evidence to give comfort to the theory that you can reform your behaviour.

“Admittedly, I am sceptical that you can achieve this reform of grand slam on-court behaviour, Many others, no doubt, would be even more than just sceptical. Good luck and I hope to be pleasantly surprised in the future by your successful reform.”

In the letter, Babcock added that if Tomic escapes a sanction in his next eight grand slam events, then he will be refunded 25 percent of his prize money.

Despite this outcome, Tomic plans on appealing this latest inquest further as he currently prepares for the ATP 250 event in Atlanta next week, “I don’t care about this 25 per cent, I care about the right thing for players in the future,” Tomic told the New York Times.

In a separate case, Anna Tatishvili was refunded all of her prize money after appealing successfully after her fine for not meeting professional standards at Roland Garros.

The American lost 6-0 6-1 in her first round match to Maria Sakkari in only her third tournament back since 2017.

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