Wimbledon Day 1 Preview: Five Must-See Matches - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Day 1 Preview: Five Must-See Matches

Today is one of the most special days of the tennis year: Day 1 at The Championships. The grass of The All England Club is pristine, as the ladies and gentlemen don their all-white playing attire.



Roger Federer (zimbio.com)

For the first time since the 2016 Australian Open, the six most prolific Major singles champions in the sport are all present: Serena, Roger, Rafa, Novak, Venus, and Maria.  An astounding 103 Major singles titles are represented in the singles draws.


Federer and Nadal have combined to take the last six Majors.  Will someone break that streak? It feels like we may be a due for a change.  Meanwhile, the last seven Majors have seen seven different women prevail. Will we have an eighth different champion in a row?  That seems entirely possible, with so many women in contention for the title.

Each day during the upcoming fortnight, we’ll preview the best match-ups on that day’s order of play.

Roger Federer vs. Dusan Lajovic

For the eighth time in his career, Roger Federer will open play on Centre Court at 1pm on Day 1.  Tradition dictates that is the honor bestowed to the defending gentlemen’s champion. Federer is the top seed, though he’s ranked number two in the world.  Nadal has a 50-point lead over Federer, but Wimbledon’s seeding formula puts a bigger weight on grass court results, thus bumping Roger up to the top seeding.  Federer overtook Nadal atop the rankings a few weeks ago with his victory on the grass of Stuttgart, but gave it back just one week later by losing to Borna Coric in the final of Halle.  Federer arrives at SW19 with a 25-3 record on the year, with three titles. The only previous time Roger has faced Dusan Lajovic was actually last year at Wimbledon, with Federer winning a second round encounter in straight sets.  The 28-year-old from Serbia has never been farther than that round at The Championships. Dusan has shown he’s capable of stepping up on a big stage, as we saw when he upset Juan Martin Del Potro in a third set tiebreak just two months ago in Madrid.  However, that was on clay. On Federer’s preferred surface of grass, Roger will be a heavy favourite to get the first of seven wins needed to win his ninth Gentlemen’s Singles Trophy.

Serena Williams vs. Arantxa Rus

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The last match of the day on Court 1 will be the SW19 return of Serena Williams, in her first match since her seventh Wimbledon title two years ago.  Serena is on a 14-match winning streak at The All-England Club, dating back to 2015, though she is only seven matches into her 2018 comeback from child birth.  She is currently ranked 181st in the world.  Williams looked better with each victory at Roland Garros, but had to pull out of her fourth round match with Maria Sharapova due to a pectoral injury.  One month later, she speaks of not yet being back to 100%. Serena told the press this weekend that she’s yet to serve at full speed during practice. Of course we’ve seen Serena play herself into form during a Major many times before, so she is a legitimate threat to win this tournament for the eighth time.  She has never before faced her opponent on Monday, a 27-year-old from The Netherlands who is also currently ranked outside the top 100. This is the first Major singles appearance for Rus in five years, having spent the last several seasons playing in the minor leagues of the sport. This should be a straightforward victory for the 23-time Major singles champion, but all eyes will be on how close to her best Serena appears to be.

Grigor Dimitrov vs. Stan Wawrinka

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This is a blockbuster opening day matchup to conclude the day’s schedule on Centre Court, made possible by Wawrinka’s current ranking of 224 in the world.  Stan is still not back to 100% following knee surgery which forced him to miss the second half of 2017. He is just 5-9 on the year, and went 1-2 in the grass court lead-up events.  His opponent on Monday has also struggled in 2018. After winning the biggest title of his career the last time he played in London, at November’s ATP World Tour Finals, Dimitrov has failed to follow-up on that result.  Grigor is yet to win a title this year, and has only appeared in one tournament final. While he is a former semifinalist at Wimbledon, that was four years ago, and he hasn’t gone passed the fourth round since. I was surprised to find Dimitrov is 4-2 lifetime against Wawrinka, a three-time Major champion.  He’s won their last four meetings, including their only match on grass. Grigor is the favorite here, but considering his current lack of confidence, the result of this one is far from defined. What I do know is we’ll see some exquisite one-handed backhands on the lawns of The All England Club.

Richard Gasquet vs. Gael Monfils

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Here’s another marquee first round contest with two more of the most pleasurable players to watch on tour: Gasquet for his unique one-handed backhand, and Monfils for his athleticism and flashy shot-making.  Their last two meetings actually both came on grass last year, with one victory going to each in two tight matches. Overall Monfils has a slight 9-7 edge against Gasquet, though Richard is the stronger grass court player, and comes into Wimbledon with more momentum.  Gasquet won his first title since 2016 just a few weeks ago on the grass of s-Hertogenbosch. Of course he’s also two-time Wimbledon semifinalist, while Monfils has never been beyond the third round. That being said, you can never be quite sure what to expect from these two, especially in the uncomfortable position of playing a fellow countryman and friend.

Elina Svitolina vs. Tatjana Maria

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Here we have a possible upset alert involving a top five seed on Day 1.  While Svitolina already has three titles on the year, she was upset in the round of 32 in both of her last two tournaments by the same player: Michaela Buzarnescu.  Elina of course is yet to go farther than the quarterfinals at a major, and is just 5-5 in her career at Wimbledon on her weakest surface. Meanwhile, Tatjana Maria is one of the hottest players on tour.  The German just won the first singles title of her career on the grass of Mallorca. Svitolina is 1-0 against Maria, but their only meeting was two years ago on a hard court. Tatjana is coming off the best result of her career, and should play freely knowing all the pressure is on her opponent.  This could be a dangerous first round for the world number five.

Order of play

(Play starts at 11.30am GMT unless stated)
Centre Court – 1pm
1. Roger Federer v Dusan Lajovic
2. Varvara Lepchenko v Caroline Wozniacki
3. Stan Wawrinka v Grigor Dimitrov

Court 1 – 1pm
1. Donna Vekic v Sloane Stephens
2. Liam Broady v Milos Raonic
3. Arantxa Rus v Serena Williams

Court 2
1. Marin Cilic v Yoshihito Nishioka
2. Johanna Larsson v Venus Williams
3. Gael Monfils v Richard Gasquet
4. Elina Svitolina v Tatjana Maria

Court 3
1. Sam Querrey v Jordan Thompson
2. Ajla Tomljanovic v Madison Keys
3. John Isner v Yannick Maden
4. Coco Vandeweghe v Katerina Siniakova

Court 12
1. Karolina Pliskova v Harriet Dart
2. Daniil Medvedev v Borna Coric
3. Norbert Gombos v Kevin Anderson
4. Svetlana Kuznetsova v Barbora Strycova

Court 18
1. Lucas Pouille v Denis Kudla
2. Ekaterina Alexandrova v Victoria Azarenka
3. Stefanos Tsitsipas v Gregoire Barrere
4. Julia Goerges v Monica Puig

Court 4
1. Evgeniya Rodina v Antonia Lottner
2. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez v Gastao Elias
3. Malek Jaziri v Jared Donaldson
4. Tereza Smitkova v Viktoriya Tomova

Court 5
1. Peter Polansky v Dennis Novak
2. Luksika Kumkhum v Bernarda Pera
3. John-Patrick Smith v Andreas Seppi
4. Lesia Tsurenko v Timea Babos

Court 6
1. Alexandra Dulgheru v Kristyna Pliskova
2. Petra Martic v Ekaterina Makarova
3. John Millman v Stefano Travaglia
4. Vera Lapko v Christina McHale

Court 7
1. Gilles Muller v Michael Mmoh
2. Aleksandra Krunic v Madison Brengle
3. Ryan Harrison v Roberto Carballes Baena
4. Viktorija Golubic v Ons Jabeur

Court 8
1. Mona Barthel v Yanina Wickmayer
2. Camila Giorgi v Anastasija Sevastova
3. Yuki Bhambri v Thomas Fabbiano
4. Radu Albot v Pablo Carreno Busta

Court 10
1. Sergiy Stakhovsky v Joao Sousa
2. Yafan Wang v Anna Blinkova
3. Lukas Lacko v Benjamin Bonzi

Court 11
1. Magdalena Rybarikova v Sorana Cirstea
2. Jason Kubler v Guido Pella
3. Laslo Djere v Paolo Lorenzi

Court 14
1. Jan-Lennard Struff v Leonardo Mayer
2. Kiki Bertens v Barbora Stefkova
3. Irina-Camelia Begu v Katie Swan

Court 15
1. Nicolas Jarry v Filip Krajinovic
2. Viktoria Kuzmova v Rebecca Peterson
3. Steve Johnson v Ruben Bemelmans

Court 16
1. Philipp Kohlschreiber v Evgeny Donskoy
2. Ricardas Berankis v Mackenzie McDonald
3. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova v Kristina Mladenovic
4. Aryna Sabalenka v Mihaela Buzarnescu

Court 17
1. Shuai Zhang v Andrea Petkovic
2. Ivo Karlovic v Mikhail Youzhny
3. Adrian Mannarino v Christian Garin
Not Before: 6:00pm
4. Kateryna Bondarenko v Lucie Safarova

Not Before: 5:00pm
1. Aljaz Bedene v Cameron Norrie

Not Before: 5:00pm
1. Agnieszka Radwanska v Elena-Gabriela Ruse


Roland Garros Daily Preview: The Women’s Semifinals



Iga Swiatek doing her best Hulk Hogan impression on Wednesday (twitter.com/rolandgarros)

Are we just one round away from World No.1 Iga Swiatek facing World No.2 Aryna Sabalenka in a humungous women’s final?


On Thursday in Paris, Swiatek and Sabalenka are both favorites to win their semifinals.  But Beatriz Haddad Maia and Karolina Muchova both provide challenging styles of play, and their chances should not be overlooked.

Also, the mixed doubles championship match will be staged, featuring an inspiring redemption story, and the 2019 US Open women’s singles champion.

Karolina Muchova vs. Aryna Sabalenka (2) – Not Before 3:00pm on Court Philippe-Chatrier

Sabalenka is 34-5 this season, and is vying for her sixth final of the year, and her 13th consecutive win at a Major.  After losing her first three Slam semifinals, all by the score of 6-4 in the third, she broke through this past January in Melbourne with a straight-set victory over Magda Linette.  Aryna has claimed all 10 sets she’s played this fortnight.

Muchova is 22-7 on the year, and is into the second Major semifinal of her career.  She first achieved this feat two years ago at the Australian Open, when she lost a three-set semifinal to Jennifer Brady.  Karolina has dropped one set to this stage, and notably upset another Roland Garros semifinalist, Maria Sakkari, in the first round.

They’ve only played once before, four years ago on a hard court in Zhuhai, with Sabalenka prevailing in a tight two-setter.  Muchova’s variety is often quite effective in disrupting her opponents.  But based on the confidence Aryna has been playing with, her huge game makes her the favorite to reach a second consecutive Major final.

Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Beatriz Haddad Maia (14) – Last on Court Philippe Chatrier

Swiatek is 33-6 in 2023, and is looking for her fifth final of the season.  She is 17-2 on clay this year, and 26-2 lifetime at Roland Garros.  And Iga has been completely dominant this fortnight, losing only 17 games across nine sets.  She holds a 3-1 record in Major semifinals.

This is entirely new territory for Haddad Maia.  Prior to this tournament, she was 0-7 in the second round of Slams.  But she’s now 22-11 this year, after winning four consecutive three-setters at this event, and upsetting Ons Jabeur on Wednesday.

Beatriz is actually 1-0 against Iga, having defeated her 7-5 in the third last summer in Toronto.  She utilizes her lefty-ness well, and was intelligently aggressive during pivotal times of her match against Jabeur.  But on this surface, and in a match of this magnitude, Swiatek is a considerable favorite to reach her third Roland Garros final.

Other Notable Matches on Thursday:

Miyu Kato and Tim Puetz vs. Bianca Andreescu and Michael Venus – Kato was defaulted from the women’s doubles draw after hitting a ball girl with a ball, but has owned that error and earned a lot of goodwill in the process.  This is a first Major final in any discipline for Kati and Puetz, while Venus won the men’s doubles title at this event six years ago, and Andreescu’s resume is well-documented.

Thursday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Ons Jabeur Admits Rushing Back From Injury After Roland Garros Exit

Ons Jabeur has admitted she rushed back from injury just to play Roland Garros as she exited the tournament in the quarter-finals.



Ons Jabeur (@rolandgarros - Twitter)

Ons Jabeur admitted to rushing back from injury during the clay court season after exiting Roland Garros.


The Tunisian is out of the second Grand Slam of the season after a three set defeat to Beatriz Haddad Maia.

Jabeur had control of the majority of the first two sets but a third set capitulation saw her clay court season end in disappointing fashion.

After the match Jabeur admitted it was disappointing to lose but is proud of her tournament in Paris, “We always want to do better, unless we win the title, you know,” Jabeur said in her post-match press conference.

“Yeah, I mean, I think it is a great tournament. I honestly wasn’t expecting to be in the quarterfinals. Especially this is kind of my first tournament after being injured.

“I think it was good. I was trying to push myself until the end, but I think pretty satisfied with the results. You always want to push for more, but I mean hopefully next time will be better, and no more quarterfinal here at the French Open.”

Despite the result Jabeur can be proud of her efforts as she looks to build on a positive week and a half in Paris ahead of the grass court season.

Jabeur also commented on her physical state after a gruelling tournament in Paris.

The Tunisian said nothing is hurting but admitted she wanted to rush back from her injury in order to be back for Roland Garros, “Yeah, thank God, there is nothing hurting. I didn’t have much time to prepare for especially clay season because it’s more physical than any other surface,” Jabeur admitted.

“I’m feeling okay. I think I rushed my way back on tour, but that’s because I wanted to be ready for the French Open. You know, like all the training and the physical training, maybe I didn’t have enough time to prepare for that, but I did my maximum. I did what I could do in a short time period.

“But, yeah, she probably played longer than me, but she’s a beast, and I wish her all the best. I mean, honestly, what she’s doing for — I feel like my story and her story are a little bit similar. I’m very happy for her and for Brazil, and hopefully she can do much more for her country.

“But, yeah, for me now I’m going to try to rest a little bit and be ready, but I’m good for now.”

Jabeur will look to be physically fit ready for the grass court season where she looks to defend her performance from last year where she reached the final.

The Tunisian outlined her grass court season towards the end of the press conference and admitted she’s hoping to play doubles with Venus Williams having played with Serena Williams last year, “Yeah, for now I think I’m going to have the same schedule. Berlin, Eastbourne,” Jabeur said.

“Maybe Venus wants to play doubles there. I’m not sure. She didn’t ask me yet. Then Wimbledon. Just trying to play as much matches as I can. To be honest with you, I want to enjoy playing on grass because I do enjoy a lot. I have my brother’s wedding before, so I’m going to party for a bit and just be ready.

“I’m hoping to go and get the title really in Wimbledon. I’m dreaming about it. It’s something that I always wanted. Last year was unfortunate because I was very close. When I put something in my mind, I know I can do it, so it’s definitely here.”

Jabeur will look to achieve her dream when Wimbledon takes place on the 3rd of July.

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Iga Swiatek Downs Gauff To Set Haddad Maia Semi-Final At Roland Garros

Iga Swiatek reaches her third Roland Garros semi-final with a straight sets win over Coco Gauff.



Iga Swiatek (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

World number one Iga Swiatek is into the semi-finals at Roland Garros for a third time after defeating Coco Gauff 6-4 6-2.


The Pole extended her head-to-head over the American to 7-0 and 14-0 in sets as her title defence will continue into the final four.

It was a valiant effort by the American but ultimately fell short of reaching the semi-finals for a second consecutive year.

Next for Swiatek is Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia, who defeated Ons Jabeur in the quarter-finals.

It was a positive start from Gauff as she played aggressive, smart tennis from the beginning to test Swiatek from the baseline.

However the Pole edged to a couple of service holds and would break to love in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead as her returning quality showed.

Gauff provided an immediate response in the next game to break back as she tested Swiatek’s rally tolerance and tested the Pole’s defensive rustiness.

The American was holding onto her service games despite producing below 40% of her first serves.

Swiatek continued to find big points in pressure moments as Gauff was producing some big shots on pressure points.

In the end the Pole’s returning presence and quality showed as she broke for the set with Gauff producing a number of errors.

There was a slight moment of hope for the American at the start of the second set as she overcame the poor end to the first set with some effective point construction.

Last year’s finalist set up three break points but made some fairly erratic errors as any hopes of a comeback were snuffed out.

Swiatek remained aggressive, proactive and produced world-class depth to take advantage of Gauff’s error-prone game.

The Pole’s level of play intensified and improved as she sealed too late breaks of serve in impressive fashion as she claimed victory in 90 minutes.

Speaking after the match Swiatek said the match wasn’t easy but was happy to get through, “For sure, it wasn’t easy – the first set, especially, was really tight and Coco was really using the conditions here,” Swiatek was quoted by the BBC as saying.

“I’m pretty happy I was able to work on it and win this match because quarter-finals are sometimes the toughest matches. Even though Coco is young, she is experienced so I’m pretty happy to be in the semi-final.

“We play many tournaments in the year where we have to play day after day but I’m pretty fresh because, as you saw in previous matches. I didn’t really spend too much time on court so I’m actually happy today was a tighter match.

“I will be ready no matter what and not having a day off was something that I knew since the beginning of the tournament so I am ready for this situation.”

Another tough loss for Gauff to take as Swiatek seals her place in the semi-finals in Paris for a third time.

Next for Swiatek will be Beatriz Haddad Maia tomorrow.

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