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

These are the two must-see matches on the fourth day of the Italian Open in Rome.

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Simona Halep (zimbio.com)

Wednesday is a great day to have a ticket to see the tennis in Rome, with an absolutely jam-packed schedule.  The players taking to the courts on Wednesday combine for a total of 47 major singles titles. You know it’s a stacked card when Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova, Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin Del Potro, and Caroline Wozniacki are scheduled on Stadio Pietrangeli, the third court at Parco del Foro Italico.  With so many high-profile matches on the schedule, here’s my best guess as to what will be the most intriguing contests to watch on a busy day in Rome.

 

Simona Halep vs. Naomi Osaka

This will be the first match of the day on Stadio Pietrangeli, one of the favorite courts in the world of fans and players alike.  It’s a rematch from just two months ago at Indian Wells, a semifinal where Halep curiously won just three games and lacked the fight we’ve seen from her so often in the past year.  Simona had previously defeated Naomi rather easily in Australia back in January. Halep has struggled since that bizarre Indian Wells match, failing to advance to another semifinal in Miami, Stuttgart, and Madrid.  Meanwhile, I doubted Osaka’s chances against Victoria Azarenka in Rome on Monday, but she had no problem at all, dropping just three games. If Halep loses this match, she also loses her number one ranking. She’d also arrive in Paris with no momentum whatsoever, so this is a big match for Simona.  I would expect Halep to fight her way through this one, but both Halep and Osaka have surprised me recently in different ways. Regardless, their contrast in styles should make for a good match.

Juan Martin Del Potro vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas

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Later in the day on the same court, a beloved 29-year-old faces a red hot 19-year-old.  A few months ago, Del Potro asserted himself as the player to beat on the ATP tour, with back-to-back titles in Acapulco and Indian Wells, and a semifinal run in Miami.  But doing so on clay is a tougher task for the big man. After giving his body a rest in April, Del Potro returned to play last week in Madrid, where he was upset in the round of 16 in a final set tiebreak by Dusan Lajovic.  Juan Martin will look to get some clay momentum this week ahead of Roland Garros, where he’s a former semifinalist. Tsitsipas has been the breakout player of this clay court season, where he advanced to his first ATP final in Barcelona.  That run included victories over three top 20 players. He immediately followed that up the next week in Estoril, making the semifinals there. He’s now come through qualifying in Rome for his first meeting against Del Potro. It should be interesting to see how this one unfolds, especially in front of a late-afternoon crowd on this outer court.

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Kiki Bertens Believes In Stability And Trust Ahead Of 2020 Season

Kiki Bertens looks for stability in hope of grand slam success in 2020.

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Kiki Bertens (@rogerscup - Twitter)

Kiki Bertens believes stability and trust is the key to success ahead of the 2020 season despite a time of change for the Dutchwoman. 

 

A time of change is approaching for Kiki Bertens as she recently just got married to her physical trainer Remko De Rijke.

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👰🤵 ❤️30-11-2019❤️ what a day!!🥂

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It’s not only off the court, change is approaching for the former Wimbledon quarter-finalist as her and coach Raemon Sluiter parted ways during the off-season.

After the split it would have been easy for Bertens to make a radical change to her coaching team but that is not her style as she has promoted Elise Tamaela to a main coaching role.

Even through a time of change, Bertens believes stability is crucial to success, “It takes me a while to be able to trust someone,” she admitted to Dutch website De Telegraaf. 

“And I don’t want to spend that time on something like that. We’re going to continue in the same way for next year. The results were not as expected in the Grand Slams but I had other good weeks. It’s really not that I felt different playing in the Slams than in other weeks in which I could win titles.”

Although the formula to winning a grand slam has yet to be solved, the world number nine has achieved great consistency having won 55 matches in 2019, which also included the biggest title of her career in Madrid.

A new era await for Bertens with her new coach and plenty of praise was given to Elise Tamaela ahead of the new season, “For me the most important thing is that that person knows a lot about tennis. I have to be able to fully trust her,” Bertens said.

“To be able to laugh with that person, eat with her. I prefer to keep the equipment to the minimum possible and be able to feel comfortable in terms of confidence. Sometimes more people in the team only bring more opinions. And that style is not mine.”

This simplistic formula has worked for Bertens in the past and as the 2020 season approaches, she’s not looking to change it.

However will inexperience lead to the same results at grand slams, with the level of the Women’s game rising, Bertens may find that breaking the boundaries of stability is needed.

The former world number four will start her march towards more glory in Brisbane on the 6th of January.

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Caroline Wozniacki Announces Retirement After Australian Open

Caroline Wozniacki has announced that she will retire from tennis after the Australian Open in January.

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Caroline Wozniacki (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Caroline Wozniacki has announced that she will retire from tennis after the Australian Open as a new chapter in her life approaches. 

 

The Dane won 30 WTA singles titles in her career and spent 71 weeks as world number one although a grand slam had haunted her for most of her career.

However that changed in 2018 after an epic win over Simona Halep sealed a dream come true as she won her first grand slam at the Australian Open.

Since winning her maiden slam though, it has been an uphill struggle on the court for Wozniacki as she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

Some days the former world number one and on some days, it is a constant battle for her to even wake up in the morning.

Now with other priorities taking over having been married to former NBA player David Lee since June and already studying Business at Harvard, Wozniacki today took the decision to retire from tennis after the Australian Open.

https://twitter.com/MPTenisPodcast/status/1202972268831367168

In a statement on Instagram, Woznaicki told her followers that she had accomplished everything she wanted to and looks forward to the future, “I’ve accomplished everything I could ever dream of on the court,” she said.

“I’ve always told myself, when the time comes, that there are things away from tennis that I want to do more, then it’s time to be done. In recent months, I’ve realized that there is a lot more in life that I’d like to accomplish off the court.

“Getting married to David was one of those goals and starting a family with him while continuing to travel the world and helping raise awareness about rheumatoid arthritis (project upcoming) are all passions of mine moving forward.

“This has nothing to do with my health and this isn’t a goodbye, I look forward to sharing my exciting journey ahead with all of you!

“Finally, I want to thank with all my heart, the fans, my friends, my sponsors, my team, especially my father as my coach, my husband, and my family for decades of support! Without all of you I could have never have done this!”

Although this retirement may have been coming, not many people would have predicted it would come at the scene of her grand slam breakthrough.

Now in the last stretch of her career, the Dane will want to finish on a high as she looks to celebrate a career that has lasted nearly 15 years.

 

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Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep and Venus Williams are the stand-out names in Adelaide

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Four top 10 players Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova and Kiki Bertens and former Grand Slam champions Venus Williams and Angelique Kerber will grab the headlines at the Adelaide International from 12 to 18 January 2020.

 

A total of seven Grand Slam champions and five former world number one players will take part in the Adelaide WTA tourament.

This year’s Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty leads a star-studded line-up, which includes 2019 Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, Kiki Bertens and seven other members of the top 20.

The Main Draw also features Sofia Kenin, Alison Riske, Sloane Stephens and Danielle Collins, World Number 30 Quang Wang. World Number 12 and this Rome WTA Premier finalist Johanna Konta will play her first tournament since the US Open following a knee injury.

Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams has been announced as the Top 20 wildcard.

“It is always exciting to play at a new tournament in front of new fans. I have had so many memorable times times in Australia over the years and I am looking forward to discovering Adelaide and all it has to offer”, said Venus Williams.

The men’s line-up includes 2019 Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic, Alex De Minaur, Lucas Pouille and Andrey Rublev.

“The full list of players is a real who’s who of tennis, from Australia’s favourite Ashleigh Barty to the iconic Venus Williams, right through to the young talent of Alex De Minaur and the experienced campaigner Novak Djokovic in the men’s field”, said South Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment David Ridgway.

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