Wimbledon Day 14 Preview: The Gentlemen’s Singles Championship - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Day 14 Preview: The Gentlemen’s Singles Championship

On the final day of The Championships, Novak Djokovic goes for his 13th Major title, as Kevin Anderson vies for his first.

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Novak Djokovic (zimbio.com)

The first four rounds of the gentlemen’s singles tournament were pretty ordinary, but the last two rounds were rather extraordinary. The six matches in the quarterfinals and semifinals were played over the course of 28 sets, out of a possible 30. The semifinals alone combined for 11 hours and 51 minutes of play, in the two longest Wimbledon semifinals ever contested.

 

Over the last two rounds, Kevin Anderson has played for 10 hours and 50 minutes, in what equates to a mind-boggling 16 sets of tennis. What can he possibly have left for Sunday’s final? But at least he had a full day of rest on Saturday, while Djokovic had to play almost three sets worth of tennis to complete his defeat of Rafael Nadal on Saturday. Djokovic’s semifinal was over an hour shorter than Anderson’s semifinal, but the points he played against Nadal were much more grueling. Both men will be challenged to be physically fit on Sunday afternoon, though they’ll surely give their every last bit of energy as they compete for the most prestigious tennis championship in the world.

Kevin Anderson vs. Novak Djokovic

Two years ago, Novak Djokovic walked into The All England Club as the reigning champion at all four Majors. But that’s where a tumultuous two years of mental, emotional, and physical turmoil began for Novak, who was upset by Sam Querrey in the third round of The Championships. In the last two years, he’s won no Majors, and only three titles overall. Last year at Wimbledon, he retired during his quarterfinal match due to an elbow injury that would keep him off the court for the duration of 2017. He continued to struggle with his elbow in 2018, as just two months ago, he was a meek 5-5 on the year. Just when it appeared he was becoming his old self again last month in Paris, he suffered the biggest upset of his career to Marco Cecchinato, a man who had never before won a singles match at a Major prior to this year’s Roland Garros. But as many have declared, Novak Djokovic is officially back, following his statement victory over Rafael Nadal in the semifinals.
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Kevin Anderson has long had the reputation of being a choke artist, to put it bluntly. Coming into this tournament, he was just 2-10 in the fourth round of Majors, and just 1-10 in the quarterfinals of Masters 1,000 events. However, that criticism should now be retired. On Wednesday in the quarterfinals, the 32-year-old South African came back from two sets down against Roger Federer, saving a match point on his way to a 13-11 fifth set victory. Then on Friday in the semifinals, Anderson, outlasted John Isner 26-24 in the fifth. Kevin is now into the second Major final of his career, and his second of the last four Grand Slam events played.

The head-to-head between these two is rather lopsided, as Djokovic leads Anderson 5-1. Novak has won the last five, as Kevin’s only victory came over 10 years ago. Their last meeting was their best and most notable, in the round of 16 at this very tournament three years ago. Anderson won the first two sets in tiebreaks, but Djokovic would come back to win 7-5 in the fifth, in a match played over the course of two days. That match occurred during Novak’s last title run at Wimbledon in 2015. Considering their history, as well as the amount of tennis Anderson has played since Wednesday, it’s hard to imagine Kevin pulling off the upset. That being said, if he can get an early lead and have another excellent serving day, obtaining his first Major title on Sunday is not impossible. And as tired as Anderson is, Djokovic will be plenty sore as well following his two-day battle with Nadal. Let’s also not forget this is the most significant match Novak has played in nearly two years, since he lost the 2016 US Open final to Stan Wawrinka. Djokovic will certainly be nervy on this day, and we’ve seen how frustrated he can become on court, even in victory. We’ve also watched Djokovic blink at the finish line just a few weeks ago, when he had a match point against Marin Cilic in the final at Queen’s Club, yet lost the match. Anderson can find some hope in all of those points, but the fact remains Djokovic is the favorite to win his fourth Gentlemen’s Singles Trophy, which would put him behind only Roger Federer, Pete Sampras, and Bjorn Borg in the open era.

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Alexander Zverev Continues Melbourne March After Ousting Gerasimov

Alexander Zverev marched into the last 32 of the Australian Open with a straight sets win over Egor Gerasimov.

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Alexander Zverev (@AustralianOpen - Twitter)

Alexander Zverev defeated Egor Gerasimov 7-6(5) 6-4 7-5 to continue his march at the Australian Open. 

 

The German is surprisingly yet to drop a set after two rounds at this year’s Australian Open as he secured victory over Egor Gerasimov.

It was a solid start to the match from Zverev as he served well and looked to finish the points off at the net in a confident opening set.

However on return the same mistakes reoccurred with a lack of aggression especially becoming apparent as he failed to convert any of the six break points created in the opening few return games.

As for Gerasimov, he recovered in the latter stages of the set to produce more efficient service games as he looked to dominate on first serve.

But a lack of threatening returns meant that no break point opportunities were created for the Belarusian as a tiebreak was needed to separate the two players.

The 7th seed won five of the first six points and the last two points of the tiebreak to edge into a set lead after 51 minutes.

It was more of the same in the second set for Zverev who couldn’t be aggressive enough when it really mattered as he wasted two more break point opportunities.

There was sign of increased confidence for the German as he used a lot of variety in his shots to keep Gerasimov constantly thinking.

In the end Zverev’s pressure paid off as on the tenth break point of the match, he converted and roared to his camp as he sealed the second set.

Despite his good serving, the world number 98 found it difficult to break the rhythm and flow of Zverev during the match as some unforced errors cost him the break in the fourth game.

Some old habits still remain the same for Zverev though as a sloppy service game while serving for the match gave Gerasimov some hope.

But the result was academic at this point and a third break of serve secured another straight sets win as well as a place in the last 32.

Another great match from the German, who has so far avoided dramatic grand slam matches and conserved energy as he looks to make a statement for later on in the tournament.

Next for Zverev will be either Nikoloz Basilashvili or Fernando Verdasco on Saturday, who will provide more firepower for the German to try and contend with.

 

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Australian Open Day 4 Preview: Five Must-See Matches

Yesterday’s heat will be replaced by much cooler conditions, but the wind will continue to make its presence known around the grounds.

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A day before seeded players start to run into each other in the singles draws, many top seeds will be considerable favourites on Thursday. Rafael Nadal, Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova, Daniil Medvedev, and Dominic Thiem should all advance without significant trouble. So let’s take a look at the seeded player who will face some dangerous floaters on Day 4.

 

Belinda Bencic (6) vs. Jelena Ostapenko
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Ostapenko claimed their only previous meeting in 2018 at Indian Wells. However, both players are in very different players two years on. After years of battling injuries, Bencic finally returned to the top 10 last season. Her 2019 was highlighted by 50 match wins, two titles, and her first Major semifinal at the US Open. By contrast, the 2017 French Open champion had a losing record last year. Ostapenko has been racking up the unforced errors and double faults on tour. Bencic is by far the steadier player, with much more variety in her game. And considering the Australian Open has been the worst Major for Jelena in her career, I like Bencic to advance to the third round.

Nick Kyrgios (23) vs. Gilles Simon
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There’s been speculation that Kyrgios will be motivated to play well this fortnight by the wildfire situation in his home country. Nick seemed to be taking matters very seriously on Tuesday, in a straight set first round win. Though as we’ve seen for years now, his effort level can vary greatly from match to match. His 35-year-old opponent is a former top 10 player now ranked outside the top 50, and was 0-4 in the second round of Slams last year. But Simon’s lack of pace can drive players crazy, as we saw here in Melbourne a few years ago when he drew 100 unforced errors out of Novak Djokovic. The first and only previous encounter between these players was six months ago in Washington, which Kyrgios took in straight sets on his way to that title. An inspired and focused Kyrgios should have no problem taking care of the tricky Frenchman again today.

Elina Svitolina (5) vs. Lauren Davis
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The diminutive Davis took part in an epic affair here two years ago, when she went down in defeat to Simona Halep 15-13 in the third. The 26-year-old American struggled to recover from that match until mid-last year, when she gained some traction on the ITF circuit and went on to defeat the defending champion, Angelique Kerber, at Wimbledon. So the flat-hitting Davis is fully capable of taking it to less powerful players like Svitolina. And the fifth seed comes into this event a bit undercooked, with her only lead-up match being a 6-1, 6-1 loss at the hands of another American, Danielle Collins. But Svitiolina is 4-0 lifetime against Davis, losing only one of nine sets played. I don’t see a strong reason why the result would be different today.

Taylor Fritz (29) vs. Kevin Anderson
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The biggest question here will be what does Anderson have left after his first round, a match that went to a fifth-set tiebreak and wasn’t decided until after 1:00am local time Wednesday morning. And that was only Kevin’s fourth match since Wimbledon, as he missed nearly six months of action due to a knee injury. Meanwhile the 22-year-old American is coming off the best season of his career, winning his first ATP title in Eastbourne and reaching two other finals later in the summer. Fritz would normally be outmatched by Anderson, as there’s not much he does better than the South African. But against a depleted Anderson who lacks match play, Fritz should be favored to prevail in their first career meeting.

Danielle Collins (26) vs. Yulia Putintseva
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Well this is guaranteed to be a feisty contest, with two of the WTA’s most boisterous players. But it is not guaranteed to be a long affair. They’ve played twice in the past year, with neither match lasting an hour. Last summer on the grass of Eastbourne, Collins retired down 5-0 in the first set. And just two weeks ago in Brisbane, Collins prevailed 6-1, 6-0 in 58 minutes. The American already has six match wins to start the year, with victories over top names like Svitolina, Bencic, and Kenin. Putintseva came through qualifying in both Brisbane and Adelaide earlier this month, so she’s also playing with some confidence. Collins is defending semifinal points from a year ago, and seemed to be feeling the pressure in her opening round match, which she escaped 6-4 in the third. I expect her to relax a bit more following that scare, and we’ve seen how dangerous she can be when she’s on. Danielle will be capable of dictating play in this one, and should be the victor.

Other notable matches on Day 4:
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  • 19-time Major champion Rafael Nadal (1) vs. Federico Delbonis, a 29-year-old from Argentina who has never won more than three games in a set in three previous matches against Nadal.
  • Three-time Major champion Stan Wawrinka (15) vs. Andreas Seppi, who upset Roger Federer in Melbourne five years ago.
  • Karolina Pliskova (2), who has reached the second week at all of the last seven hard court Slams, vs. Laura Siegemund, who is 1-0 against Pliskova. That match occurred three years ago on clay in Siegemund’s home country of Germany.
  • The always-entertaining Gael Monfils (10) vs. the nearly-seven-foot-tall Ivo Karlovic, who will turn 41-years-old next month, and on Tuesday became the oldest man in the Open Era to win a match at this event.
  • Dominic Thiem (5), who lost in the second round here a year ago, vs. Australian Alex Bolt (WC), who reached the third round here last year.

Order of play (time in GMT)

Rod Laver Arena

From 00:00am
G. Muguruza v A. Tomljanovic
L. Siegemund v K. Pliskova (2)

Not before 3:00am
E. Gerasimov v A. Zverev (7)

Not before 8:00am
H. Dart v S. Halep (4)
R. Nadal (1) v F. Delbonis


Margaret Court Arena

From 00:00am
B. Bencic (6) v J. Ostapenko
D. Medvedev (4) v P. Martinez
P. Hon v A. Kerber (17)

Not before 8:00am
A. Seppi v S. Wawrinka (15)
E. Svitolina (5) v L. Davis


Melbourne Arena

From 00:00am
D. Vekic (19) v A. Cornet
J. Moore/A. Sharma v A. Barty/J. Goerges
A. Bolt v D. Thiem (5)

Not before 7:45am
N. Kyrgios (23) v G. Simon


1573 Arena

From 00:00am
C. Bellis v K. Muchova (20)
G. Monfils (10) v I. Karlovic

Not before 3:30am
T. Fritz (29) v K. Anderson
D. Jakupovic/R. Olaru v T. Babos (2)/K. Mladenovic (2)


Court 3

From 00:00am
Z. Diyas v A. Blinkova

Not before 3:00am
L. Hewitt/J. Thompson v J. Nam/M. Song
J. Munar v A. Popyrin

Not before 7:00am
M. Ymer v K. Khachanov (16)


Court 5

From 00:00am
S. Arends/R. Berankis v J. Melzer (12)/E. Roger-Vasselin (12)
M. Demoliner/M. Middelkoop v T. Sandgren/J. Withrow
J. Duckworth/M. Polmans v A. Harris/C. O’Connell
Y. Lee/F. Wu v S. Kenin (16)/B. Mattek-Sands (16)


Court 7

From 00:00am
M. Pavic (10)/B. Soares (10) v L. Bambridge/B. McLachlan
S. Sorribes Tormo v A. Kontaveit (28)
E. Perez (12)/S. Stosur (12) v L. Arruabarrena/O. Jabeur
P. Gojowczyk v P. Carreno Busta (27)


Court 8

From 00:00am
S. Johnson/S. Querrey v C. Hsieh/Y. Lu
A. Rodionova v K. Bertens (9)
D. Goffin (11) v P. Herbert
G. Garcia Perez/S. Sorribes Tormo v M. Adamczak/K. Srebotnik


Court 10

From 00:00am
G. Minnen/A. Van Uytvanck v S. Aoyama (10)/E. Shibahara (10)
Y. Duan (9)/S. Zheng (9) v H. Carter/L. Stefani
N. Cacic/D. Lajovic v M. Gonzalez (15)/F. Martin (15)
S. Hsieh (1)/B. Strycova (1) v M. Bouzkova/T. Zidansek


Court 11

From 00:00am
R. Ram (11)/J. Salisbury (11) v M. Fucsovics/C. Norrie
V. Kudermetova (13)/A. Riske (13) v S. Peng/S. Zhang
K. Muchova/J. Teichmann v C. Gauff/C. McNally
C. Bellis/M. Vondrousova v E. Mertens (3)/A. Sabalenka (3)


Court 12

From 00:00am
J. Chardy/R. Lindstedt v P. Cuevas/G. Pella
A. Pavlyuchenkova (30) v T. Townsend
G. Duran/D. Schwartzman v L. Kubot (2)/M. Melo (2)
K. Flipkens/T. Townsend v T. Maria/A. Sevastova
D. Jurak/N. Stojanovic v K. Bondarenko/A. Krunic


Court 13

From 00:00am
X. Han/L. Zhu v N. Kichenok/S. Mirza
N. Basilashvili (26) v F. Verdasco
S. Kwon/J. Millman v S. Gonzalez/K. Skupski
A. Blinkova/Y. Wang v A. Kontaveit/M. Minella


Court 14

From 00:00am
E. Alexandrova/I. Bara v K. Christian/A. Guarachi
I. Swiatek v C. Suárez Navarro
H. Hurkacz/V. Pospisil v J. Murray (14)/N. Skupski (14)
B. Krejcikova (4)/K. Siniakova (4) v A. Friedsam/L. Siegemund


Court 15

From 00:00am
G. Barrere/A. Mannarino v U. Humbert/F. Tiafoe
N. Hibino/M. Ninomiya v L. Hradecka (11)/A. Klepac (11)
A. Cornet/F. Ferro v Z. Diyas/E. Rybakina
D. Collins (26) v Y. Putintseva


Court 19

From 00:00am
A. Bedene v E. Gulbis
Y. Sugita v A. Rublev (17)
S. Kuznetsova v C. Giorgi/K. Peschke (8)
D. Schuurs (8) v F. Stollar/D. Yastremska


Court 22

From 00:00am
D. Krawczyk/J. Pegula v I. Begu/K. Pliskova
E. Mertens (16) v H. Watson
M. Sakkari/A. Tomljanovic v G. Dabrowski (6)/J. Ostapenko (6)
J. Isner (19) v A. Tabilo

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Roger Federer Thrashes Krajinovic To Secure 99th Australian Open Victory

Roger Federer convincingly cruised into the last 32 in Melbourne with a straight sets win over Filip Krajinovic.

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Roger Federer (@ATP_Tour - Twitter)

Roger Federer sealed a 99th Australian Open victory of his career with a 6-1 6-4 6-1 win over Filip Krajinovic. 

 

The Swiss continued his bid for a 21st grand slam title with an emphatic straight sets win over Filip Krajinovic that lasted 92 minutes.

Next up for Federer is John Millman after the Australian knocked out in-form 31st seed Hubert Hurkacz 6-4 7-5 6-3.

It was a dominating display from the start for Federer as his forehand looked sharp from the very beginning against a dangerous Krajinovic.

Winning 86% of points on his second serve helped Federer as he secured two breaks of serve to win a 19 minute set 6-1.

As for Krajinovic, he was struggling to offer anything to counter-attack Federer’s intensity and pace in the early stages of the match.

Even heading into the net, didn’t help the Serb’s cause as his approaches were met with ridiculous passing shots from the 38 year-old.

There was some resolve from Krajinovic though after pulling back the early break deficit after capitalising on some Federer forehand errors.

However the resilience from the world number 41 was quickly snuffed out as Federer returned to his best to get the break back and hold serve to seal a two set advantage.

As Krajinovic was struggling with an arm injury, the third seed continued his assault by flattening out the backhand and continuing to be aggressive.

Winning eight of the last nine games secured Federer’s 99th Australian Open victory and a place in the third round in Melbourne.

It was a flawless display against a tricky opponent but Federer knows he will need to keep this level if he has any chance of winning a third Australian Open in four years.

Next up for Federer is John Millman who defeated an in-form Hubert Hurkacz in straight sets to reach the last 32 and the 38 year-old will be looking for revenge after losing to the Aussie at the 2018 US Open.

After the match, Federer was wary of what awaits him on Friday, “He’s a super good guy, unbelievably tough opponent. There aren’t many as fit as him out there,” Federer said.

“They’re the guys I respect the most out there, because they get the most out of their game. I hope it’s going to be a great match with some great rallies.”

 

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