Connect with us

Focus

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.

Published

on

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

Embed from Getty Images

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.

Focus

Kyle Edmund And Jack Sock Complete Laver Cup Line-Up

Kyle Edmund and Jack Sock complete the line-up for this year’s Laver Cup.

Published

on

Kyle Edmund (zimbio.com)

Kyle Edmund and Jack Sock have completed the line-up for the upcoming Laver Cup, which takes place in Chicago next month. 

The duo were the captain’s picks for both Team Europe and Team World as the Europeans look to defend the title that they won in Prague in the inaugural event last year. The captain of Team Europe, Bjorn Borg had this to say on Edmund, “I’m delighted to welcome Kyle to Team Europe as my final captain’s pick, Kyle is an outstanding young player who’s achieved some great results and big wins over top players. I’m also impressed with his meticulous and methodical approach to the sport and believe he will be a great fit with the team.”

Meanwhile Jack Sock seemed happy to compete in the competition again as he has been picked by John McEnroe, despite his poor singles form, “I can’t wait to play Laver Cup again, It was one of the highlights of the year for me and I’m so excited about playing here in the United States, at home, and in the great sports city of Chicago. The United Center is going to be loud, the crowds will be awesome, and it will be fantastic to have the home support.”

So here are the teams competing to win the Laver Cup in Chicago this year in what is looking like an entertaining weekend:

Team Europe                                                           Team World

Roger Federer                                                                Juan Martin Del Potro

Novak Djokovic                                                             Kevin Anderson

Alexander Zverev                                                          Diego Schwartzman

Grigor Dimitrov                                                             Nick Kyrgios

David Goffin                                                                   John Isner

Kyle Edmund                                                                 Jack Sock

The Laver Cup takes place on the 21st to the 23rd of September, with singles and doubles matches occurring throughout the weekend. The first team to reach 13 points wins the Laver Cup.

Continue Reading

Focus

Madrid To Become First Host Of Davis Cup Finals In 2019

Madrid will host the first Davis Cup Finals in 2019, with Lille and Indian Wells to host the next two years.

Published

on

Manolo Santana (zimbio.com)

Madrid will become the first host of the new Davis Cup in 2019 as an agreement was reached between the Spanish Federation and Kosmos. 

It was initially thought that Lille would get to host the week long tournament in November next year, with Madrid being tipped to host the competition in 2020. However it looks like Madrid has received the nod ahead of Lille as this was the main reason why the Spanish Federation voted for the new Davis Cup reforms in Orlando last Thursday.

The Madrid city council and representatives of Kosmos have been in long negotiations for the past months as it seems the Spanish city will host the tournament next November. The move means that next year they will host the Mutua Madrid Open on Clay in May and will host the Davis Cup Finals in November on hard courts. The possible venues suggested for the 18 team event next year includes the Caja Magica, where the Madrid Open is held, and the WiZink Center.

The tournament, which has the financial backing of Kosmos which is funded by Barcelona defender Gerard Pique, will have 18 teams competing in six round robin groups, 4 quarter-finals, 2 semi-finals and a final. It is expected that world number one Rafael Nadal will compete in the finals as he is one of the few players to back the reforms.

The finals will have 12 qualifiers, 2 wildcards as well as this year’s current semi-finalists, which are France, Spain, USA and Croatia. After Madrid, the venues for the next two years is set to be Lille and Indian Wells. The finals are expected to be controversial, with scheduling problems being the key problem as well as key stars such as Lucas Pouille and Alexander Zverev boycotting the event.

Continue Reading

Focus

Petra Kvitova Knocks Off Radwanska In New Haven Blockbuster

The No. 3 seed defeated a fellow former champion in Connecticut.

Published

on

Petra Kvitova (zimbio.com)

Petra Kvitova looked like the three-time New Haven champion that she is, racing out to an early lead and doing enough late to hand Agnieszka Radwanska a 6-1, 7-6 defeat in a highly anticipated first round match.

The No. 3 seed dominated from the opening stages. She earned break point in Radwanska’s first service game, then hit a superb backhand winner on break point two games later. The pressure did not stop there, as she pushed Radwanska to deuce at 1-4 and hit two more backhand winners for a double-break edge.

The second of those winners, a low-flying first ball strike that zipped across the net and inside the corner, summed up Kvitova’s early domination. Things worked so well for her the world No. 5 that she converted her first set point despite mishitting a volley.

Kvitova won every point on her first serve in the set, losing just five in the match and winning nearly 60 percent of the Pole’s first serve points.

Radwanska, the 2016 champion in New Haven, did not play poorly but looked all-but-extinguished when Kvitova broke at love to open the second set. But the world No. 39 fought back, breaking on consecutive occasions to go up 3-1, only to double fault on break point and return the set to level terms.

After several near-misses, Kvitova took control in the tiebreak. She secured the decisive mini-break with an aggressive forehand near the net, then closed her victory with another rocketed forehand — her 35th winner of the match.

The Czech player, who may now be the tournament favorite after top seed Simona Halep withdrew earlier Monday, will next meet Zarina Diyas, who beat Maria Sakkari in straight sets.

Elsewhere, Cincinnati semifinalist Aryna Sabalenka continued her blistering summer with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Samantha Stosur. The 20-year-old Belarussian won her fifth match in eight days thanks to exceptional serving — eight aces and an 80 percent first serve win percentage — and struggles from Stosur, who saved only one of four break points and nabbed barely a third of second serve points.

Sabalenka, ranked 25th, staved off break points at 3-3 in the first set, then broke in the next game and saw out the set. She broke Stosur, the US Open winner seven years ago, on consecutive occasions in the second set to cruise home.

Continue Reading

Trending