Over the past 15 years at Wimbledon, the “Big Four” have combined to win every Gentlemen’s Singles Trophy. Is it finally time for some new blood to crash that exclusive party? And since the year 2000, the Williams sisters have raised the Venus Rosewater Dish 12 of 18 times. Only four ladies’ finals have not featured at least one of them. With Neither Venus nor Serena arriving at SW19 at their best, chances are the champion will have a last name other than Williams. The eras of dominance we’ve bear witness to during this millennium are surely coming to an end very soon. While we enjoy the twilight of their careers, the questions remain: who will step up to take their place, and when?
Here are the most intriguing matchups to follow on Day 2.
Rafael Nadal vs. Dudi Sela
Twice in his career, Nadal has won the Roland Garros-Wimbledon double, most notably of course in 2008 when he dethroned Roger Federer at The All England Club in what many consider to be the greatest match of all-time. However, Nadal has not been passed the fourth round at Wimbledon since 2011, and is just 8-5 at SW19 in his last five appearances. The grass has troubled Nadal for a long time now, though many have spoken of how this year’s hot and dry conditions may work in his favor. Rafa also may benefit from a nice draw, as Juan Martin Del Potro is the only true title contender in his quarter. That being said, Nadal has been prone to shocking upsets to players you would never suspect in recent years at Wimbledon. And lest we forget, he withdrew or retired from every tournament he entered prior to the clay court season, though his body appeared to be fully healthy on the clay. His opponent on Tuesday has some nice memories at Wimbledon, as he upset John Isner just last year. Sela though should not pose any threat to Nadal, who is 2-0 lifetime against the 5’9” Israeli. Let’s see how comfortable Rafa looks on the grass as he starts his campaign for a third Wimbledon title.
Petra Kvitova vs. Aliaksandra Sasnovich
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Here’s another left-handed, two-time Wimbledon Champion who comes into this tournament with a lot of confidence. Kvitova leads the WTA with five titles and 38 match wins in 2018. Most recently, she won the tournament just two weeks ago on the grass of Birmingham. While Petra has never faced her first round opponent, Sasnovich should not cause her any trouble. Sasnovich went 0-2 in her grass court warm-up events. I’m most curious to see if Kvitova is 100% healthy and rested, considering she withdrew from Eastbourne last week due to a hamstring injury. Hopefully that was just a precaution, and a reason to get some rest ahead of this fortnight. If so, I consider her the favorite to win her third Wimbledon title.
Angelique Kerber vs. Vera Zvonareva
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In this first round matchup, we have two former Wimbledon finalists. Though for Zvonareva, this is her first Major appearance in three-and-a-half years. In 2010, Vera finished the year at a career-high ranking of two in the world, in a season highlighted by consecutive Major finals at Wimbledon and the US Open. Her career was derailed by injuries in the coming years, and she then took an extended hiatus from the sport as she became a wife and mother. Her comeback began last year on the ITF circuit, and she came through qualifying last week to make her first Wimbledon appearance since 2014. Of course Zvonareva may be best known for her on-court emotional meltdowns, highlighted by tears, racket abuse, and her patented towel-over-the-head during changeovers. Kerber has bounced back nicely from her dismal 2017, and already has 32 wins this year. While she’s yet to win the title at The All England Club, Angelique is fully comfortable on the grass. She was the finalist two years ago, and last year lost to eventual champion Garbine Muguruza in a great fourth-round battle. Kerber is playing with a lot of confidence, coming off a quarterfinal at Roland Garros on her weakest surface. She also reached the semifinals just a few days ago in Eastbourne, narrowing going down in defeat to Caroline Wozniacki. This will be Angelique’s and Vera’s first-ever career meeting. It could be a fun one if Zvonareva can dial up her shot-making skills of yesteryear. While it will be nice to see Vera back on court, Kerber will be a heavy favorite.
Caroline Garcia vs. Belinda Bencic
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2017 was a breakout year for the Frenchwoman, when she won back-to-back titles to close out the year and qualify for her first WTA Finals. 2018 though hasn’t seen Caroline continue that success. This year she has no titles to date, and hasn’t even made a tournament final. Two weeks ago on the grass of Mallorca, she lost to a qualifier. Bencic is still struggling to come back from multiple injuries, and is just 4-8 on the year. But Belinda showed us she’s a dangerous unseeded opponent in Melbourne, where she upset Venus Williams in the first round. These two have never played before, so there’s no head-to-head history to speak of. Garcia should prevail here, though I also wouldn’t be surprised to see the 21-year-old Bencic pull off another Major upset. We already saw the fourth and fifth women’s seeds fall on Day 1, and this is a tricky first round draw for the sixth seed.
Denis Shapovalov vs. Jeremy Chardy
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19-year-old Canadian phenom Denis Shapovalov has drawn one of the hottest players on tour in the opening round. In the past month, Chardy is 12-2 on grass. The 31-year-old Frenchman won a Challenger title in Great Britain, then made a run to the final at s-Hertogenbosch. Chardy followed those results up with a semifinal appearance at Queen’s Club. The grass courts are a great surface for Jeremy when his go-for-broke groundstrokes hit their spots. On the other side of the net, it’s hard to believe it was just one year ago that Shapovalov made his Major debut at The All England Club. He’s since made the fourth round at the US Open, as well as two Masters 1,000 semifinals. The lefty’s game would seem to be well-suited for the grass, but he went just 1-3 on grass in June. Hitting a slump early in his career after achieving such big results is hardly surprising, and many players take more time to acclimate to playing on grass. Even though Shapovalov is the seeded player, I’d consider him the underdog. If both players are on, this could be a compelling, hard-hitting affair.
Full order of play
CENTRE COURT – SHOW COURT – 13:00 START
1 Garbine Muguruza (ESP)  33 vs Naomi Broady (GBR) 34
2 Dudi Sela (ISR) 127 vs Rafael Nadal (ESP)  128
3 Simona Halep (ROU)  1 vs Kurumi Nara (JPN) 2
No.1 COURT – SHOW COURT – 13:00 START
1 Kyle Edmund (GBR)  73 vs Alex Bolt (AUS) 74
2 Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 31 vs Petra Kvitova (CZE)  32
3 Tennys Sandgren (USA) 79 vs Novak Djokovic (SRB)  80
No.2 COURT – SHOW COURT – 11:30 START
1 Johanna Konta (GBR)  9 vs Natalia Vikhlyantseva (RUS) 10
2 James Duckworth (AUS) 95 vs Alexander Zverev (GER)  96
3 Dominic Thiem (AUT)  65 vs Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) 66
4 Vitalia Diatchenko (RUS) 23 vs Maria Sharapova (RUS)  24
No.3 COURT – SHOW COURT – 11:30 START
1 Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG)  97 vs Peter Gojowczyk (GER) 98
2 Angelique Kerber (GER)  49 vs Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 50
3 Matthew Ebden (AUS) 111 vs David Goffin (BEL)  112
4 Belinda Bencic (SUI) 63 vs Caroline Garcia (FRA)  64
COURT 12 – SHOW COURT – 11:30 START
1 Ashleigh Barty (AUS)  41 vs Stefanie Voegele (SUI) 42
2 Nick Kyrgios (AUS)  81 vs Denis Istomin (UZB) 82
3 Jack Sock (USA)  105 vs Matteo Berrettini (ITA) 106
4 Heather Watson (GBR) 19 vs Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 20
COURT 18 – SHOW COURT – 11:30 START
1 Ernests Gulbis (LAT) 91 vs Jay Clarke (GBR) 92
2 Taro Daniel (JPN) 119 vs Fabio Fognini (ITA)  120
3 Monica Niculescu (ROU) 55 vs Naomi Osaka (JPN)  56
4 Jana Fett (CRO) 47 vs Daria Kasatkina (RUS)  48
COURT 4 – 11:30 START
1 Ana Bogdan (ROU) 5 vs Lara Arruabarrena (ESP) 6
2 Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) 35 vs Polona Hercog (SLO) 36
3 Vasek Pospisil (CAN) 125 vs Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 126
4 Benoit Paire (FRA) 101 vs Jason Jung (TPE)  102
COURT 5 – 11:30 START
1 Alize Cornet (FRA) 11 vs Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 12
2 Marius Copil (ROU) 83 vs Robin Haase (NED) 84
3 Julien Benneteau (FRA) 69 vs Marton Fucsovics (HUN) 70
4 Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) 13 vs Sachia Vickery (USA) 14
COURT 6 – 11:30 START
1 Damir Dzumhur (BIH)  89 vs Maximilian Marterer (GER) 90
2 Jennifer Brady (USA) 37 vs Kateryna Kozlova (UKR) 38
3 Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) 123 vs Mischa Zverev (GER) 124
4 Magda Linette (POL) 45 vs Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 46
COURT 7 – 11:30 START
1 Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 99 vs Federico Delbonis (ARG) 100
2 Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) 93 vs Taylor Fritz (USA) 94
3 Pauline Parmentier (FRA) 29 vs Taylor Townsend (USA) 30
4 Alison Riske (USA) 61 vs Mariana Duque-Marino (COL)  62
COURT 8 – 11:30 START
1 Daria Gavrilova (AUS)  25 vs Zarina Diyas (KAZ) 26
2 Diego Schwartzman (ARG)  113 vs Mirza Basic (BIH) 114
3 David Ferrer (ESP) 67 vs Karen Khachanov (RUS) 68
4 Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) 59 vs Kaia Kanepi (EST) 60
COURT 9 – 11:30 START
1 Jiri Vesely (CZE) 115 vs Florian Mayer (GER) 116
2 Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 109 vs Stephane Robert (FRA) 110
3 Sofia Kenin (USA) 21 vs Maria Sakkari (GRE) 22
4 Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP)  57 vs Carina Witthoeft (GER) 58
COURT 11 – 11:30 START
1 Ana Konjuh (CRO) 51 vs Claire Liu (USA) 52
2 Frances Tiafoe (USA) 71 vs Fernando Verdasco (ESP)  72
3 Gilles Simon (FRA) 107 vs Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 108
COURT 14 – 11:30 START
1 Christian Harrison (USA) 87 vs Kei Nishikori (JPN)  88
2 Gabriella Taylor (GBR) 43 vs Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) 44
3 Katie Boulter (GBR) 53 vs Veronica Cepede Royg (PAR) 54
COURT 15 – 11:30 START
1 Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE) 7 vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)  8
2 Pablo Cuevas (URU) 117 vs Simone Bolelli (ITA)  118
3 Guido Andreozzi (ARG) 77 vs Horacio Zeballos (ARG) 78
COURT 16 – 11:30 START
1 Shuai Peng (CHN) 27 vs Samantha Stosur (AUS) 28
2 Yuichi Sugita (JPN) 75 vs Bradley Klahn (USA) 76
3 Saisai Zheng (CHN) 3 vs Qiang Wang (CHN) 4
COURT 17 – 11:30 START
1 Bernard Tomic (AUS) 85 vs Hubert Hurkacz (POL) 86
2 Denisa Allertova (CZE) 39 vs Anett Kontaveit (EST)  40
3 Marco Cecchinato (ITA)  121 vs Alex De Minaur (AUS) 122
NOT BEFORE 18.00
4 Danielle Collins (USA) 15 vs Elise Mertens (BEL)  16
MATCHES TO BE ARRANGED
NOT BEFORE 17.00
1 Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 103 vs Denis Shapovalov (CAN)  104
2 Jelena Ostapenko (LAT)  17 vs Katy Dunne (GBR) 18
Andy Murray Set For 2017 Rematch With Wawrinka As Thiem Handed Tough Route In Paris
Dominic Thiem is given a hard draw at Roland Garros as Andy Murray meets a familiar foe in his first match.
Andy Murray set for a 2017 Roland Garros rematch with Stan Wawrinka as Dominic Thiem handed difficult draw in Paris.
The Roland Garros draw has served up some tasty first round encounters with the main talking points taking place in the third quarter.
In that third quarter, sees a rematch between two grand slam champions from an epic semi-final in 2017.
Of course that match is Andy Murray taking on Stan Wawrinka in what is Murray’s first appearance in Paris since that match.
A couple of days ago, the duo were practicing in a sign of reminiscing their past, now they will do more than that when they take on each other in the first round.
However the tasty matches don’t stop there as the recent US Open champion Dominic Thiem has been given a rotten draw which includes a first round match against another former US Open champion, Marin Cilic.
Should Thiem beat Cilic then he could face tall American Reilly Opelka and Rome semi-finalist Casper Ruud before even getting to the second week.
Felix Auger-Aliassime, Andy Murray or Stan Wawrinka could wait in round four for the Austrian while Rome finalist Diego Schwartzman could be a last eight opponent.
Gael Monfils and Alexander Bublik will also clash in the pick of the first round in the third quarter.
Thiem is also in Rafael Nadal’s half, the man who is looking to win a 13th Roland Garros title.
The Spaniard will kick things off against Egor Gerasimov with Dan Evans or Kei Nishikori potentially awaiting in R3.
After a promising first week, Nadal could face John Isner or Fabio Fognini in the last 16, with Alexander Zverev awaiting in the quarter-finals.
The German, who recently lost an epic US Open final, will begin against Dennis Novak, with Alex De Minaur awaiting Zverev in R3. While the pick of the first rounds in Jannik Sinner against David Goffin.
In the top half, Novak Djokovic will begin against Mikael Ymer as he is arguably the best player in the world right now.
Hubert Hurkacz and Karen Khachanov are likely to stand in his way en route to the quarter-finals.
Potential last eight matches include Matteo Berrettini, Jan Lennard Struff and Pablo Carreno Busta.
While Roberto Bautista Agut will face Richard Gasquet in the pick of the first round matches in the second quarter.
Finally in the second quarter Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas are on a quarter-final collision course with each other but face tough opening matches.
Medvedev takes on talented Hungarian Marton Fucsovics while Tsitsipas plays Jaume Munar.
Denis Shapovalov, Grigor Dimitrov and Andrey Rublev are among those lurking in the second quarter.
A tasty two weeks in Paris are set, with the main draw beginning on Sunday in the French capital.
Internazionali d’Italia Day 8 Preview: The Men’s and Women’s Championships
The top two seeds will play for the women’s title, while Novak Djokovic vies for his fifth championship against whatever is left of the phenomenal Diego Schwartzman.
The 28-year-old Argentine has reached his first Masters 1,000 final. Less than 48 hours ago, he earned his first career win over Rafael Nadal. And late last night, Diego played a spectacular, three-plus-hour semifinal against Denis Shapovalov. Coming back to defeat the world No.1, who’s only loss this year was his own doing, seems unfathomable. However, Novak brought his New York crankiness with him to Rome this week, becoming extremely frustrated on court.
This is the third Rome final in four years for Simona Halep, though she’s yet to obtain the winner’s trophy. But the top seed is on a 13-match winning streak, and won her last two events played. Her opponent is on a nine-match winning streak in Rome, and looking to successfully defend her title.
Simona Halep (1) vs. Karolina Pliskova (2) – 2:30pm local time
Halep leads their head-to-head 7-4, though Pliskova has claimed the last two. They’ve split their two matches contested on clay. That includes their most prominent encounter, in the 2017 Roland Garros semifinals, which Halep won in three sets. Simona was pushed to the limit yesterday by Garbine Muguruza, with her semifinal lasting an hour longer than Karolina’s straight set win over Marketa Vondrousova. But Halep should still feel fresh for today’s championship match. She did not play in New York, and all her other matches this week were straight-setters. Simona also should take a lot of confidence from out-dueling Muguruza yesterday afternoon. Much like Garbine, Pliskova has looked better this week with every passing round, and will look to utilize her power to overcome the two-time Major champion. By contrast, Halep will use her speed and returning ability. And based on Halep’s current form, her third Rome final may be the charm.
Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Diego Schwartzman (8) – not before 5:00pm local time
This is the 10th championship in Rome for Djokovic, with a 4-5 record previously. He’s actually lost his last three finals here, to Rafael Nadal, Sascha Zverev, and Andy Murray. Schwartzman will be the first seeded player Novak faces this week, though his opponents have caused him much anguish thus far. Diego’s efforts have been remarkable, playing an astoundingly high level. While Schwartzman is 0-4 against Djokovic, he’s pushed Novak in their two previous battles on clay. They went to a final set three years ago at Roland Garros as well as last year in the semifinals of this event. But expecting Diego to do so again today following his last two matches seems unrealistic. Djokovic is the favorite to win his fifth title, and gain momentum just six days ahead of the French Open.
Internazionali d’Italia Day 7 Preview: The Singles Semifinals & Doubles Finals
Following Diego Schwartzman’s stunning defeat of Rafael Nadal, are more upsets to come?
The most marquee match of the day is a WTA blockbuster between two Roland Garros champions. The other women’s semifinal will be decided between two Major finalists from the Czech Republic. On the men’s side, four-time Rome champion Novak Djokovic is yet to face a seeded player, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been challenged by his competition, with another red-hot opponent today. And just 24 hours after what he described as his “best match ever,” Diego Schwartzman faces one of the ATP’s best players since the tour restart, who is poised to make his top 10 debut.
Simona Halep (1) vs. Garbine Muguruza (9)
It’s the 2016 French Open champion against the 2018 champ, both of whom are two-time Major winners. Top-seeded Halep has looked stellar this week, and is yet to drop a set. Muguruza’s road has been considerably more challenging. She’s had to fight hard to outlast some stiff opposition: Sloane Stephens, Coco Gauff, Johanna Konta, and Victoria Azarenka. So while that’s built Garbine’s confidence, it also means she’s spent almost twice as much time on court. Muguruza leads their head-to-head 4-2, which includes their most recent meeting, earlier this year in the Australian Open semifinals. However, their only two matches on clay have gone to Halep. And Simona is on a 12-match winning streak, having won her last two events played. These slow-playing courts in Rome favor the speed and defense of the top seed. A fresh Halep is the favorite to reach her third Rome final in the last four years.
Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Casper Ruud
Djokovic has not looked his best thus far, yet has survived some high quality tennis from the likes of Filip Krajinovic and Dominik Koepfer. Casper Ruud is another dangerous unseeded player who comes into this match with a lot of momentum. This week he already took out Karen Khachanov, Marin Cilic, and Matteo Berrettini. The 21-year-old from Norway arrived in Rome with only two match wins at Masters 1,000 events. But Casper can play on the clay: earlier this season he reached the final in Santiago, and won his first ATP title in Buenos Aires. However, defeating the world No.1 in their first career meeting is a big ask. Novak’s only loss this year was his default at the US Open, and I don’t expect that to change today.
Karolina Pliskova (2) vs. Marketa Vondrousova (12)
Vondrousova was the surprise finalist at last year’s Roland Garros. But due to injury, she would only play three more matches in 2019. It’s been a struggle for the 21-year-old lefty to return to form. Marketa was just 4-8 in this abbreviated season prior to this event. After surviving a few close calls earlier this week, she steamrolled two-time champion Elina Svitolina yesterday 6-3, 6-0. Today she faces another former champion. The winner here a year ago, Pliskova is on an eight-match winning streak at this event. Karolina dropped a set yesterday to Elise Mertens, but there’s no shame in that: Mertens is a tough out. And Karolina closed out that match with a 6-0 third set, playing her best tennis yet this week. In their only prior encounter, Karolina prevailed in straight sets last year on a hard court in Miami. Vondrousova’s variety could prove frustrating, and playing a much-younger countrywoman can be tricky. But Pliskova remains the favorite to reach her second consecutive final in Rome.
Diego Schwartzman (8) vs. Denis Shapovalov (12)
This is Diego’s second straight year advancing to the semifinals of this event, which are the only two occasions he’s done so at a Masters 1,000 tournament. For Shapovalov, it’s his fifth Masters 1,000 semi, and he reached the final last year in Bercy. Their first career meeting will also be one of the most important matches of their careers to date. Shapovalov has accumulated eight match wins over the last three weeks, reaching his first Major quarterfinal in New York. That’s a lot of tennis for the 21-year-old Canadian, including back-to-back three-setters over the last two days. But a lack of energy doesn’t ever seem to be Denis’ problem. And it would only be natural for Schwartzman to have a letdown coming off his first-career win over the King of Clay. With Mikhail Youzhny helping Shapovalov improve his shot selection, his offense is becoming more sustainable. He should be favored to play in Monday’s final.
Other Notable Matches on Day 7:
In the women’s doubles final, 2019 Wimbledon champions Su-Wei Hsieh and Barbora Strycova (1) vs. Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru, who are in their first tournament as a team.
In the men’s doubles final, 2019 US Open finalists Marcel Garollers and Horacio Zeballos (4) vs. Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin, the 2019 French Open finalists.
Full order of play is here.
Elina Svitolina reaches her first semifinal in six months in Strasbourg
French Open Capacity Slashed To 1000 Per Day
Casper Ruud cruises past Fabio Fognini to reach the quarter final in Hamburg
Simona Halep Could Face 2019 Nemesis As She Hunts Second French Open Title
Andy Murray Set For 2017 Rematch With Wawrinka As Thiem Handed Tough Route In Paris
EXCLUSIVE: Full Details Of Novak Djokovic’s Letter To Players As Stand Off With Federer And Nadal Emerges
Rafael Nadal Takes A Swipe At Djokovic’s Players’ Association
Novak Djokovic Disqualified From US Open
The Most Unpredictable US Open Ever: Previewing The Women’s Draw
Serena Williams Says She ‘Did What She Could’ But Still Falls Short At US Open
Flink: “Zverev wasted the lead, but Thiem would have been more affected by a loss”
(VIDEO) Dominic Thiem Finally Wins A Grand Slam
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Steve Flink: Once Again Naomi Osaka Wins The US Open Without The Crowd On Her Side
Steve Flink: “Djokovic Was Unlucky, But The US Open Officials Had No Other Option”
Steve Flink: “Djokovic is still the man to beat at the US Open. The Canadians are on fire!”
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