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

Simona Halep is set to face her toughest test yet at the Caja Magic on Thursday.

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Simona Halep (zimbio.com)

Thursday’s order of play in Madrid will see the Women’s Quarter-finals and the Men’s Third Round played in their entirety.  On the Men’s side, Rafael Nadal will look to break John McEnroe’s record of 49-straight sets won on a single surface. However, there are other matches on the schedule that will likely be tighter affairs.  On the Women’s side, the action is headlined by the two top remaining seeds squaring off in a rematch from last year’s Roland Garros semifinals.

 

Simona Halep vs. Karolina Pliskova

This is also a rematch from the Australian Open quarter-finals earlier this year, where Halep won comfortably in straight sets.  Simona leads their head-to-head 6-1, with Pliskova’s only victory coming in Fed Cup. Halep was not at the top of her game coming into Madrid, but she’s dropped only nine games in six sets thus far this week.  That includes a victory just yesterday over Karolina’s sister, Kristyna. Karolina is on an eight-match win streak, and is the hotter player at the moment. However, it’s hard to look beyond her startlingly one-sided career record against Halep.  The world number one’s movement and defensive skills have stifled Pliskova’s power in the past, and will likely do so again on Thursday. But if Pliskova can overcome the two-time French Open finalist, she immediately becomes one of the favorites at Roland Garros.

Dominic Thiem vs. Borna Coric

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A year ago, Thiem was the clear second-best clay court player.  In fact, Thiem is the last man to take a set off Rafael Nadal on clay.  In 2018 though, the terra baute hasn’t been as kind to Dominic so far. Coming off an ankle injury that forced him to retire from Indian Wells and withdraw from Miami, his clay results have not been as strong as last year.  He took just two games from Nadal in a harsh defeat in Monte Carlo, and was upset by 19-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Barcelona quarter-finals. Just last night, he barely squeezed out a victory over Federico Delbonis 7-5 in the third.  It’s actually Coric who comes into this match in better form. Borna already has 17 wins on the year, and has looked strong this week in Madrid. He took out the ninth seed Pablo Carreno Busta in his opening round, and dropped just two games yesterday to Jan-Lennard Struff.  Coric and Thiem have split their two previous meetings, the most recent of which took place in this same tournament just last year. Thiem won rather easily on that day, but I suspect this match will be much more complicated. I give the nod to Coric to pull off the upset.

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Maria Sakkari reaches her third quarter final of the season in Ostrava

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Maria Sakkari got through to her third quarter final of the season after beating Elina Svitolina 6-3 6-3 at the J&T Banka Open in Ostrava with five breaks and 32 winners. 

 

Sakkari has already reached two quarter finals in 2020 in St. Petersburg and at the Western and Southern Open in New York and scored the fourth win of her career against a top 5 player. 

Sakkari went up a 3-0 lead with a double break. Svitolina pulled one of the two breaks back in the fourth game to claw his way back to 1-3. Sakkari converted his third break point in the eighth game to win the first set 6-3. 

Svitolina earned her first break in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead. Sakkari battled to deuce four times and converted her third break points in a marathon fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Sakkari earned another brek to open up a 5-3 lead to close out the match after 1 hour and 16 minutes. 

“Obviously winning against a player like Elina, the way I played I think that made me happy today. I think playing like me gives me a lot of confidence. Getting another top 5 win is very important for me. When I was starting my career, I had people telling me that I cannot play indoors. I think it was a big mistake listening to them. I have beaten very good indoor players in St. Petersburg and here in Ostrava. I have developed my game in a way that I can now be dangerous indoor sas well. My serve is big, and I am playing a little bit more aggressive. So I am super happy. I have proved these people wrong”, said Sakkari.

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Grigor Dimitrov rallies from one set down to beat Pablo Andujar in Antwerp

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Grigor Dimitrov came back from one set down to beat Pablo Andujar 4-6 6-3 6-4 at the European Open in Antwerp.

 

Andujar earned the break in the ninth game to win the first set 6-4. Dimitrov went up an early break in the second game to take the second set 6-3. The Bulgarian player raced out to a 4-1 lead with a double break in the decider. Andujar pulled one break back in the sixth game for 2-4. Dimitrov saved four match points in the eighth game to hold serve at deuce and converted his first match point in the 10th game to win the third set 6-4. 

Ugo Humbert came back from one set down to beat this year’s US Open semifinalist Pablo Carreno Busta 5-7 6-3 6-4 after 2 hours and 33 minutes Humbert earned an early break in the second game of the opening set to build up a 5-2 lead. Carreno Busta fought back by winning five consecutive games with two breaks in the ninth and eleventh games to win the first set 7-5. 

Humbert saved four break points in the fifth game before breaking serve in the eighth game to win the second set sending the match to the third set. Humbert fended off four break points at 2-3 in the third set and broke serve to love to take a 5-4 lead, when Carreno Busta made three consecutive groundstroke errors. Humbert has improved his win-loss record to 18-11 and won the ASB Classic title in Auckland last January. The Frenchman scored the biggest win of his career when he beat Danil Medvedev in the Hamburg quarter final. 

Humbert will face either US Taylor Fritz or South African qualifier Lloyd Harris. Fritz dropped six of his first service points in his 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 win over his compatriot Reilly Opelka. 

Milos Raonic beat Aljaz Bedene 6-3 7-6 (7-4) in 86 minutes setting up a second round match against Cameron Norrie. Bedene fended off two match points, when he was serving at 5-6 15-40 to force the second set to the tie-break. Raonic rallied from 1-3 down to win the tie-break 7-4. The Canadian player reached the final at the Western and Southern Open in New York and lost to Borna Coric in the semifinal in St. Petersburg.  

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Julia Goerges Announces Retirement From Tennis

Julia Goerges announced her retirement from tennis after over two decades in the sport.

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(@JuliaGoerges - Twitter)

Former top 10 player Julia Goerges has said her goodbyes to tennis after announcing her retirement from the sport.

 

In a shock announcement the 31 year-old from Regensburg, Germany announced her retirement from the sport that she had been playing since she was five years old.

Speaking on Instagram and her website, Goerges paid tribute to the sport she has been apart for over two decades, “I am writing to you, because I am ready to say “Goodbye”,” The German explained.

“When I started playing tennis at the age of 5, I would never have thought that we would go such a long way together.

“You have given me so many different types of emotions throughout our journey and I am very thankful for everything you have shown and taught me. I learnt how to deal with the toughest losses but also enjoy the most amazing wins of my career, to fight back many times when I was struggling with you and through it all we never lost sight of our dreams.

“I always knew how I would feel when it is time to say goodbye to you, and that moment has arrived. I am ready to close the tennis chapter of my life and open a new one, which I am really excited about. Thank you for everything you have given me. You will stay forever in my heart.”

The news comes as a shock to many people as earlier in the year Goerges had originally said that she would continue for another 2-3 years.

However in the current circumstances, Goerges probably felt that this was the perfect timing to announce her retirement from the sport.

It was a career that started by winning the biggest title of her career in Stuttgart before a serious injury derailed her progress.

However a late surge in her late-20s, saw her win a total of 12 WTA titles and reach the semi-finals of a grand slam for the first time at Wimbledon 2017.

Now it seems Goerges’ 2nd round exit against Laura Siegemund was the last match of her career as she sets her sights on being involved with tennis off the court especially with her new performance app ‘Recast Tennis.’

A career that she can be very proud of, Happy retirement Julia Goerges!

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