Wimbledon Day 14 Preview: The Ladies’ Championship Final - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

Focus

Wimbledon Day 14 Preview: The Ladies’ Championship Final

Serena Williams goes for Major singles title #24, but a familiar and challenging foe stands in her way.

Avatar

Published

on

Serena Williams (zimbio.com)

But before the women take to the court, we’ll see the resumption of the second gentlemen’s semifinal.  Djokovic leads Nadal two-sets-to-one, in a match that was suspended on Friday due to Wimbledon’s 11:00pm curfew.  The men will resume play at 1:00pm local time, and the women will follow not before 2:00pm. With the gentlemen’s and ladies’ doubles finals also to be played, it’s going to be one of the more eventful Day 12’s in the history of The Championships.

 

Serena Williams vs. Angelique Kerber

Just last September, Serena Williams was fighting for her life due to serious medical issues that arose from giving birth to her first child.  Now for the tenth time in her over two-decade career, she’ll walk onto Centre Court to play for the Venus Rosewater Dish. Serena is 7-2 in the ladies’ final at Wimbledon, and 23-6 overall in singles final at Majors.  Serena is on a 20-match winning streak at SW19, having not lost since 2014 when Alize Cornet upset her in the third round. A win today would tie her with Margaret Court for the most Major singles titles, though of course over half of Court’s tally came prior to the open era.  Coming into this tournament, Serena was admittedly less than 100%, as the pec injury she suffered in Paris prevented her from serving at full speed in practice. But Serena has exhibited no ill effects of that injury through six round, as her serve has been extremely effective.  She’s been broken only once in each of her last three matches.

Angelique Kerber is into her second Wimbledon final, and fourth Major final.  She is one of only five women to defeat Serena in a Major singles final, which she did at the 2016 Australian Open.  That was part of a career-year for Kerber, who won her only two Major titles that year. 2016 also saw Kerber win a silver medal at the Rio Olympics, and she was the runner-up at that year’s WTA Finals.  She would finish the year as world number one, though her 2017 season was much different. Last year she went just 29-24, with no titles. But 2018 has featured a resurgent Kerber, who already has 38 wins on the year, and has made the quarterfinals or better at all three Majors.

Embed from Getty Images

Both players have dropped only one set heading into this Championship match, and have improved in form as the tournament has progressed.  As Courtney Nguyen highlighted on Twitter, Serena’s unforced error count has consistently improved round-by-round. Most notably, she made just nine errors in her quarterfinal, and seven in her semifinal.  Meanwhile Kerber has averaged just 11 unforced errors over her last four matches. And while her serve does not get near the speed of Serena’s, its placement has been superb, as was her 77% first serve percentage in her semifinal against Jelena Ostapenko.

This of course is a rematch from the Wimbledon final of two years, in which Serena avenged her loss to Kerber in Melbourne from earlier that year.  Serena leads their head-to-head 6-2, and has won five of their last six meetings. The angles generated by Kerber will move Serena around the court in different ways than her previous opponents, though Williams should be fully prepared for that considering how many times they’ve played.  And while Serena isn’t quite at her competitive best in just the fourth tournament of her comeback, she’ll need to be much less than her best for Kerber to have a decent shot. But if Williams is ever ripe for an upset in a Major final, it’s now. Will Serena be at all overwhelmed by the weight of the occasion, as she goes for 24th Major?  Playing for such a milestone has gotten to her in the past, when she was upset by Roberta Vinci in the 2015 US Open semifinals while going for the calendar year Grand Slam.  Also keep in mind how kind the draw has been to Serena. Kerber is by far the most accomplished opponent she’s met during this fortnight, and she has beaten Serena before in a Major final.  Kerber definitely has a fighting chance, but if the past two decades of tennis have taught us anything, it’s this: bet against Serena Williams at your own peril.

 

Focus

Novak Djokovic Faces No Regrets Over Olympic Participation After Missing Out On Medal

Novak Djokovic has no regrets about being in Tokyo despite walking away with no Olympic medal for the third consecutive games.

Avatar

Published

on

Novak Djokovic (@BleacherReport - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic has revealed he doesn’t regret competing in Tokyo despite missing out on an Olympic medal.

 

The world number one lost his bronze medal match to Pablo Carreno Busta 6-4 6-7(6) 6-3 in 2 hours and 48 minutes.

A frustrating last 24 hours was capped off with a hard-fought defeat that saw him withdraw from his mixed doubles semi-final due to a left shoulder injury.

As a result Ash Barty and John Peers claimed the bronze medal which sees Djokovic without an Olympic medal for a third consecutive Olympics.

However after the loss to Carreno Busta Djokovic said he has no regrets about competing in Tokyo, “I don’t regret coming to Olympics at all,” Djokovic said to Sasa Ozmo.

“I believe that there are no coincidences in life, everything happens for a reason. I had some heartbreaking losses at Olympics and big tournaments, and I know that those losses have usually made me stronger.

“I do have a regret for not winning a medal for my country, both in singles and mixed. I just didn’t deliver yesterday and today. Level of tennis dropped, also due to exhaustion mentally and physically.

“I know that I will bounce, I will try to keep going for Olympics in Paris, to try to win a medal for my country. I am sorry I disappointed a lit of fans in Serbia, but that’s sport, I gave it all, whatever I had left in the tank, which was not so much.”

After failing to win a medal in Tokyo, Djokovic now has gone three consecutive Olympic games without a medal.

Despite this latest setback Djokovic is still on course to achieve the grand slam ahead of the US Open.

But in his post-match interview the Serb admitted that before he can think about that he has to take care of a few injuries, “I hope that the physical consequences won’t create a problem for me for the US Open,” Djokovic admitted.

“That is something I am not sure about right now, but there are no regrets, you have to give your all for your country. I have withdrawn (from mixed) because of injuries, not only one. I hope that won’t stop me for playing the US Open.”

Djokovic’s next scheduled tournament is in Cincinnati on the 16th of August although it’s possible that the world number one won’t play until the US Open on the 30th of August.

Continue Reading

Focus

Rafael Nadal Returns In Washington Ahead Of Historic US Open Bid

Rafael Nadal returns to action next week when he competes at the Citi Open in Washington.

Avatar

Published

on

Rafael Nadal (@CitiOpen - Twitter)

Rafael Nadal makes his return to the tour in Washington this week ahead of a history-making two weeks in New York.

 

The top seed will enter the Citi Open next week playing his first tournament since losing in the Roland Garros semi-finals to Novak Djokovic.

Nadal leads the field as he prepares for a crucial few weeks coming up with history awaiting at the US Open.

Heading into the tournament at Flushing Meadows, Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are all level at 20 grand slams.

With Federer still recovering from his knee injury and Djokovic looking exhausted from his Olympic bid, Nadal will look to capitalise on a golden opportunity to get in-front in the race to being the greatest of all time.

In Washington, Nadal will begin his campaign against either Jack Sock or Yoshihito Nishioka.

A potential third round meeting with Lloyd Harris could await while Nadal could face 7th seed and in-form Cameron Norrie in the last eight.

Norrie is coming off of a title in Los Cabos having won the third most matches this season behind Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev.

Also in the Spaniard’s half is Grigor Dimitrov, Nick Kyrgios, Benoit Paire, Taylor Fritz and Dan Evans.

In the bottom half of the draw Felix Auger-Aliassime will face Andreas Seppi or a qualifier in the opening round.

The Canadian is also projected to meet Frances Tiafoe and Reilly Opelka en route to the semi-finals.

The likes of Jannik Sinner, Sebastian Korda and Alex De Minaur are also in Auger-Aliassime’s half of the draw

Play starts on Monday with Nadal’s opening match set to take place on Wednesday night local time.

Continue Reading

Focus

Tokyo Olympics Daily Preview: Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova Play for Gold

Avatar

Published

on

Belinda Bencic was understandably quite emotional after her semifinal win on Thursday (twitter.com/ITFTennis)

The women’s singles gold medal match headlines Saturday’s schedule, featuring two surprising finalists.  Prior to this event, both Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova had almost as many losses on the year as wins, and no titles between them.  But on Saturday, they will compete for the biggest win of their careers.

 

Day 8 at the Ariake Tennis Park also includes four bronze medal matches.  For the fourth day in a row, Novak Djokvoic will play twice.  In men’s singles, he faces Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta.  In mixed doubles, the men’s singles No.1 will be across the court from the women’s singles No.1, Ash Barty.  And the bronze medalists will also be decided in women’s singles and doubles.  Bronze medal matches at the Olympic Games often provide some of the most emotional moments of the year, as the losers leave Tokyo with no hardware whatsoever.

Saturday’s play gets underway at 3:00pm local time, and it is forecast to be another toasty day in Tokyo.

Novak Djokovic (1) [SRB] vs. Pablo Carreno Busta (6) [ESP] – 3:00pm on Centre Court

This is the third time out of the last four Olympics that Djokovic finds himself in the men’s singles bronze medal match.  13 years ago in Beijing, Novak defeated James Blake to win the bronze.  Nine years ago in London, he lost to Juan Martin Del Potro, and walked away empty-handed.  On Saturday in Tokyo, he faces a player he is 4-1 against, with his only loss coming in the form of his shocking default at last summer’s US Open.  That was the day Djokovic struck a ball in anger after losing the 11th game of the first set, which hit a lines judge in the throat.  If not for that error in judgment, Novak might already own 21 Major titles.  He avenged that embarrassing loss to Carreno Busta a month later in Paris, defeating the Spaniard in the fall version of Roland Garros.  Outside of the 2020 US Open, their only hard court encounter was a year earlier in Cincinnati, which Djokovic won in straight sets. 

Novak was remarkably despondent after suffering two losses on Friday, especially after failing to close out Sascha Zverev despite being up a set and a break.  He played some lackluster tennis in the second half of that semifinal, and he will not enjoy playing at 3:00pm on Saturday, the hottest part of the day.  But he is still a favorite to win his second bronze medal in men’s singles, as there’s nothing on court Carreno Busta does especially better than Djokovic.  Novak should be able to control his destiny on this day.

Belinda Bencic (9) [SUI] vs. Marketa Vondrousova [CZE] – Third on Centre Court

This should be a highly-compelling battle, between two players who utilize the variety in their games extremely well.  Their only previous meeting took place earlier this year on a hard court in Miami, with Vondrousova prevailing 6-4 in the third.  The 22-year-old Czech was a shocking finalist two years ago at the French Open.  She was sidelined by injury for about six months shortly thereafter, and didn’t fully rediscover that form until this past week.  She only possesses one career WTA title, which came over four years ago at a WTA 250 event in Switzerland, Bencic’s home country. 

24-year-old Belinda has endured plenty of injury setbacks in her career, but is the more accomplished player with four career titles, all of them at either the 500 or 1000 level.  Her backhand may be the best shot on the court, but Vondrousova’s lefty serve, paired with frequent drop shots, have proven to be a dangerous combination throughout this event.  In her last eight sets played, no opponent has won more than four games.  And those opponents include two top four seeds: Naomi Osaka and Elina Svitolina.  Bencic has survived much tighter battles to this stage, claiming a trio of consecutive three-setters. 

Between her victories over Osaka and Svitolina, Vondrousova averaged 77% of first serve points won.  If she can maintain that against Bencic, she’ll be hard to overcome.  But with a gold medal in the balance, Belinda’s experience edge in big matches should prove crucial.  And she has previous success representing her country, as she won back-to-back Hopman Cups alongside Roger Federer.  Belinda Bencic is the favorite to stand atop the medal podium on Saturday night in Tokyo.

Other Notable Matches on Saturday:

Elina Svitolina (4) [UKR] vs. Elena Rybakina (15) [KAZ] – They have split their two previous matches, though neither were on a hard court.  While this is not exactly a tournament final, it’s worth noting Svitolina is 15-3 lifetime in career finals, which is a lot different than Rybakina’s record of 2-5, with her most recent loss in a final coming at the hands of Svitolina.

Veronika Kudermetova and Elena Vesnina [ROC] vs. Laura Pigossi and Luisa Stefani [BRA] – Kudermetova and Vesnina were narrowly defeated in the Wimbledon final 9-7 in the third, and lost another close match in Thursday’s semifinals, decided by a 10-point tiebreak.  Pigossi and Stefani do not usually team together, but they saved four match points in their second round matchup.

Ash Barty and John Peers [AUS] vs. Nina Stojanovic and Novak Djokovic [SRB] – It is an extremely rare occasion for both the men’s and women’s No.1’s, as well as the reigning Wimbledon champions, to share a court.  Barty and Peers are the far more experienced doubles players, though Djokovic will surely play some inspired tennis as he tries to win another medal for Serbia.

Saturday’s full Order of Play is here.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending