Wimbledon Day 12 Preview: The Gentlemen’s Semifinals - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Day 12 Preview: The Gentlemen’s Semifinals

One semifinal features 31 Major singles titles, and the most prolific rivalry of the modern era. The other will be a big-serving affair between two players vying to win their very first Major.

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Rafael Nadal (zimbio.com)

With Roger Federer eliminated on Wednesday, this is a golden opportunity for Rafael Nadal to close the Major title gap from three to two, as he goes for his third Wimbledon title, and his first since 2010.  Novak Djokovic is already a three-time winner at The Championships, and is into his first Major semifinal in almost two years. Kevin Anderson is coming off the biggest win of his career just two days ago, and is going for his second Major final out of the last four.  John Isner is into his first Major semifinal, and could be just a few tiebreaks away from his first final. As Chris Fowler of ESPN noted on Twitter, the betting odds as of Thursday were shockingly even in both of the gentlemen’s semifinals. Here’s a deeper look at Friday’s matchups as we try to discern who will play for the Gentlemen’s Singles Trophy on Sunday afternoon.

Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic

This will be the 52nd episode of this rivalry, with Djokovic currently holding a slight 26-25 edge.  Nadal won the last two meetings, both on clay. Prior to that, Djokovic won 11 of 12 meetings, on clay and hard.  Their last match on grass was also Rafa’s last Wimbledon final in 2011, which was the first of Novak’s three Wimbledon titles.  In Grand Slam events, Nadal has a 9-4 record against Djokovic, though Novak won their last Major encounter when he finally defeated Nadal at Roland Garros in 2015.  This is Nadal’s 28th Major semifinal, and he has a staggering record of 24-3 at this stage (5-0 at Wimbledon).  Djokovic has actually reached a few more semifinals at Grand Slam events, but his record, while great, is not quite as impressive at 21-10.  Nadal is coming off the men’s match of the year: his stellar five-set, near five-hour quarterfinal battle with Juan Martin Del Potro. Walking onto the court just 48 hours later, there’s no way Rafa will be 100%.  But we’ve seen Nadal bounce back in amazing form from such matches many times before. Djokovic should certainly be the fresher of the two, as his quarterfinal against Kei Nishikori was over two hours shorter in length.  However, Novak’s confidence level, while growing with every match, cannot be back to 100% quite yet. Djokovic of course missed the last half of the 2017 season due to an elbow injury, and struggled through much of 2018 as well.  He hasn’t won a title of any kind in over a year. Is he ready to out-compete arguably the greatest competitor the sport has ever seen? As sore as Nadal must be, I’m not prepared to discount his will. No one’s playing with more momentum than Rafa: he is 35-2 in 2018, and one of those losses came when he retired in Australia due to injury.  Throughout this year, we’ve seen numerous instances where Djokovic has become extremely frustrated on court, and no one aggravates opponents like the relentless Nadal. When the match is on the line, I’m betting on Nadal’s fighting spirit to prevail.

Kevin Anderson vs. John Isner

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As Randy Walker outlined on Twitter, “The last time John Isner and Kevin Anderson played in college it was at No. 1 singles in the 2007 NCAA team final in Athens in front rowdy, drunk, barking college kids and fans.”  11 years later, they’ll compete in the Wimbledon semifinals on Centre Court. Anderson has the experience edge on such a stage, and has been the more consistent performer over the past year. Kevin also has the better all-around game, as we saw against Federer on Wednesday.  The South African showed how much improved his return and ground games are. My concern for Anderson is the emotional and physical letdown coming off his upset of the 20-time Major champion, a match that went the length of six sets. And Isner’s confidence has built with every victory during this fortnight, ever since he saved match points in his second round.  The fact that Isner just faced another big server in Milos Raonic should work in his favor. Also, Isner holds an 8-3 career record against Anderson. This includes their last five meetings, as well as their only match on grass. However, they haven’t met in over three years, and Anderson has put a lot of work into his game (both his strokes and his brain) over the past few years.  All things considered, I would give the slight edge to Isner, who will likely be the fresher and hungrier player on this day.

Centre Court order of play

Matches starts at 13:00 GMT
Kevin Anderson (RSA) Vs John Isner (USA)
Rafael Nadal (ESP) Vs John Isner (USA)

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Acapulco Faces Safety Issues Ahead Of ATP 500 Tournament

Acapulco faces safety and infrastructure issues before the ATP 500 tournament next week.

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Acapulco has faced safety concerns ahead of the tournament as players have been advised to stay in the tournament hotels or tennis venues.

As exclusively revealed by James Gray of the i newspaper, Acapulco is facing security and infrastructure concerns ahead of the tournament.

ATP players have reportedly been told in an email to stay confined to the tournament hotels and the tennis venue as crime rates have increased in the city.

Organisers in Mexico have reassured people that players will be able to train safely with the following statement, “The Arena GNP, venue for the Mexican Open of Tennis, and the host hotel are currently operational to carry out the tournament,” the tournament organisers told the i newspaper.

“Since Tuesday, we have been receiving players in Acapulco, and they have already had the opportunity to train at the venue.”

However there are still infrastructural problems including lack of flights to Acapulco as well as other safety concerns which have been affected by Hurricane Otis.

Despite the problems the ATP seem confident that the event will be safe and secure ahead of the ATP 500 event, “It is not uncommon for players to receive security advisories from ATP as a precautionary measure across more than 250 Tour and Challenger Tour events each season,” A spokesperson told the i newspaper.

“The advisory sent for Acapulco factors in the additional complexity of Hurricane Otis’ disruption. There have been major efforts and investment to restore the Acapulco venue in recent months.”

The ATP 500 event in Acapulco will take place next week with Alex De Minaur being the defending champion.

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Ons Jabeur’s Latest Withdrawal Raises Doubts Over Season Ambitions

Ons Jabeur will be hoping to re-energize herself ahead of a big few months in her career.

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Ons Jabeur’s latest withdrawal in Dubai has raised doubts over how successful the Tunisian can be this season.

Despite having high hopes for revitalizing her season in Dubai, Ons Jabeur has had another setback in 2024.

The Tunisian was forced to withdraw from one of her favourite tournaments of the year in Dubai due to a knee injury.

This withdrawal came days after Jabeur said she was ready for the challenge in Dubai and was excited to compete in front of a passionate crowd in Dubai.

In a statement Jabeur explained her injury and why she was unable to compete in Dubai this week, “After consultation of my doctors and team we have decided that I will have to withdraw from Dubai this week and go for more medical treatments,” Jabeur was quoted by tennishead as saying.

“Looking forward to reconnect with all on the courts for the US swing. Thank you for your continuous support.”

This latest setback isn’t a coincidence though as Jabeur has struggled with injuries ever since her Wimbledon final.

The mental and physical toll that the last eight months have taken of Jabeur are starting to show.

There doesn’t seem to be a plan in place as Jabeur has been open about her mental health struggles since that comprehensive defeat to Marketa Vondrousova at Wimbledon.

That’s a potential problem for Jabeur going forwards as it continues to get tougher for the world number six to find motivation going forwards.

A long break away from tennis may be beneficial for Jabeur as it feels like this summer may be the Tunisian’s last opportunity at Grand Slam glory.

An innovative and new approach may be required for Jabeur as her physical and mental stamina continues to fade with every week.

However will Jabeur manage reinvent herself before it’s too late? Only time will tell and SW19 may be the final destination in that bid.

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Iga Swiatek ‘Proud’ After Claiming Doha Title

World number one Iga Swiatek won her 18th career title in Doha.

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Iga Swiatek defeated Elena Rybakina 7-6(8) 6-2 to claim the title in Doha.

The world number one sealed an 18th career title with a straight sets win over Rybakina.

Swiatek had previously struggled to beat the Kazakh and that continued at the start of the opening set with the Pole conceding a double break deficit at 4-1.

However Swiatek was resilient as she won four games in a row to get back on track in the opening set.

Rybakina broke in the eleventh game and had the opportunity to serve for the opening set but couldn’t take the opportunity.

In the tiebreak, Swiatek converted her fourth set point as she claimed a mammoth tiebreak 10-8.

After that Swiatek seized control as she broke twice after saving two break points in the second game.

The Pole held comfortably to claim her maiden title of the 2024 season in what was her first tournament since a third round exit at the Australian Open.

In her-post match speech Swiatek admitted that she is proud of her performance in Doha this week, “You don’t even know hard it was not to think about it,” Swiatek was quoted by France 24 as saying after winning her 13th match in Doha.

“I came here and was pretty stressed because I felt the expectations. I wanted to do everything step by step like I always do. I’m really happy. I’m really proud of myself.”

Swiatek will now look to continue that form in Dubai next week where she takes on either Sloane Stephens or Clara Burel in her opening round match.

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