Wimbledon Day 2 Preview: Five Must-See Matches - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Day 2 Preview: Five Must-See Matches

Day 2 at The Championships will see the defending women’s champion start play on Centre Court, followed by the reigning French Open men’s and women’s champions. But with 64 singles matches to be commenced, there’s a lot to keep your eyes on throughout the day. In total, the action will include 10 Major singles champions.

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Rafael Nadal (zimbio.com)

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) [3] 33 vs Naomi Broady (GBR) 34
2 Dudi Sela (ISR) 127 vs Rafael Nadal (ESP) [2] 128
3 Simona Halep (ROU) [1] 1 vs Kurumi Nara (JPN) 2

No.1 COURT – SHOW COURT – 13:00 START
1 Kyle Edmund (GBR) [21] 73 vs Alex Bolt (AUS) 74
2 Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 31 vs Petra Kvitova (CZE) [8] 32
3 Tennys Sandgren (USA) 79 vs Novak Djokovic (SRB) [12] 80

No.2 COURT – SHOW COURT – 11:30 START
1 Johanna Konta (GBR) [22] 9 vs Natalia Vikhlyantseva (RUS) 10
2 James Duckworth (AUS) 95 vs Alexander Zverev (GER) [4] 96
3 Dominic Thiem (AUT) [7] 65 vs Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) 66
4 Vitalia Diatchenko (RUS) 23 vs Maria Sharapova (RUS) [24] 24

No.3 COURT – SHOW COURT – 11:30 START
1 Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) [5] 97 vs Peter Gojowczyk (GER) 98
2 Angelique Kerber (GER) [11] 49 vs Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 50
3 Matthew Ebden (AUS) 111 vs David Goffin (BEL) [10] 112
4 Belinda Bencic (SUI) 63 vs Caroline Garcia (FRA) [6] 64

COURT 12 – SHOW COURT – 11:30 START
1 Ashleigh Barty (AUS) [17] 41 vs Stefanie Voegele (SUI) 42
2 Nick Kyrgios (AUS) [15] 81 vs Denis Istomin (UZB) 82
3 Jack Sock (USA) [18] 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) [19] 120
3 Monica Niculescu (ROU) 55 vs Naomi Osaka (JPN) [18] 56
4 Jana Fett (CRO) 47 vs Daria Kasatkina (RUS) [14] 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) [0] 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) [27] 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) [0] 62

COURT 8 – 11:30 START
1 Daria Gavrilova (AUS) [26] 25 vs Zarina Diyas (KAZ) 26
2 Diego Schwartzman (ARG) [14] 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) [27] 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) [30] 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) [24] 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) [30] 8
2 Pablo Cuevas (URU) 117 vs Simone Bolelli (ITA) [0] 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) [28] 40
3 Marco Cecchinato (ITA) [29] 121 vs Alex De Minaur (AUS) 122
NOT BEFORE 18.00
4 Danielle Collins (USA) 15 vs Elise Mertens (BEL) [15] 16

MATCHES TO BE ARRANGED
NOT BEFORE 17.00
1 Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 103 vs Denis Shapovalov (CAN) [26] 104
2 Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) [12] 17 vs Katy Dunne (GBR) 18

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Daniil Medvedev Suffers Wimbledon Setback In Halle

Daniil Medvedev preparations for Wimbledon suffered a setback in Halle.

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(ubitennis/Francesca Micheli)

Daniil Medvedev has suffered a setback ahead of Wimbledon after he was beaten in the second round in Halle by Zhizhen Zhang.

The world number five entered Halle having lost in the fourth round of Roland Garros to Alex De Minaur.

Medvedev doesn’t have the best record on grass and that once again was the case in his 6-3 2-6 7-6(5) defeat to Zhang.

The third seed broke serve on more occasions than his Chinese opponent but ultimately lacked quality in the final set tiebreak.

After the match Zhang was happy with the way he handled the tiebreak, “A really tough match. Last time I lost a third-set tie-break [in Stuttgart last week]. And today again, a third-set tie-break. I was thinking, ‘Okay, it’s time. The perfect moment to get revenge’,” Zhang explained.

“I’m super happy that today I handled it to the end.”

Now Medvedev heads to Wimbledon, where he had his best result last year losing to Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals.

Meanwhile Zhang will now face Christopher Eubanks in the quarter-finals after the American knocked out defending champion Alexander Bublik.

The other quarter-final confirmed will see Arthur Fils taking on Alexander Zverev.

Zverev defeated Lorenzo Sonego 6-4 7-6(5) and said the following after his victory, “Extremely happy with my performance,” Zverev told the ATP website.

“I felt like it was good tennis and I’m happy to be in the quarters. I’m enjoying the moments on these beautiful courts, happy to be playing the way I am. Hopefully I can continue building, continue playing better.”

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Former Champion Ash Barty To Make Wimbledon Return In Invitational Doubles

Ash Barty is set to return to tennis at Wimbledon.

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Former Wimbledon champion Ash Barty will return to the tennis court at SW19.

The Australian hasn’t played tennis since announcing her retirement from the sport after winning the Australian Open in 2022.

Barty defeated Danielle Collins in the final and stunningly announced that she would retire from competitive tennis at 25 years old.

Since then the former world number one has had a child as well as competing in exhibition golf tournaments.

However, it now seems like Barty is ready to phase herself back into the tennis world as it has now been announced that she will return to Wimbledon to play the invitational doubles.

It’s unclear who her partner will be at this point but it will be the Australian’s first appearance at SW19 since winning the Wimbledon title in 2021.

Fans will be hoping that this could lead to a potential return to the tour just like Caroline Wozniacki did at last year’s Wimbledon before returning a few months later.

That does look unlikely though given Barty’s mindset and comfortability with her current lifestyle.

Furthermore, Barty will also be joining BBC’s punditry team for the actual Championships.

The main tournament will start on the first of July with the invitational doubles starting on Tuesday 9th of July.

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Andy Murray Retires against Thompson; Third Seed Dimitrov Also Out at Queens

Andy Murray suffered a heart-breaking exit. Taylor Fritz downs Raonic, while Rinky Hijikata also progresses to last eight.

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Former Wimbledon champion Andy Murray retired after just five games against Australian Jordan Thompson with a back injury that has been niggling him for the last few weeks.

He had been trying his best to manage it, but ultimately succumbed to a loss of strength and coordination and control in his right leg.

The 37-year-old Scot has been on the tour for eighteen years and completed his 1,000th match in the round before, but it was evident during his warm up that something was off. He was not stretching up fully when practising serves, whilst also landed tentatively on his feet.

In fact, former five-time champion Murray looked in some difficulty even walking down the steps walking towards the court. “When I walked up the stairs before going out, and in the pre-match warm up, my back was uncomfortable,” said Murray in a BBC interview afterwards. “I don’t know exactly what the problem is. I hadn’t experienced that before. I have no idea how long it will take to get better and what the treatment options are.”

It was clear that Murray regretted choosing to play today. “The atmosphere was pretty awkward on court; everyone can see there is a problem I don’t know whether I should play or stop. It’s disappointing for the crowd and everyone who has paid to come and watch. In hindsight I wish I hadn’t gone out.”

The pair had met once before back in 2017, also at Queens. But Murray had won Wimbledon the year before; his body was seven years younger than now and far less battered and bruised. It remains to be seen whether the former world number one can be fit in time for this year’s Championships.

Meanwhile Sebastian Korda put in a gritty display to overcome an under-par Grigor Dimitrov in three tough sets 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.

In a very even match with winners and unforced errors almost equal, it was former champion Dimitrov who was regularly under pressure in his service games and offered 14 breakpoints in total. He was behind in numerous baseline duels dropping the ball short many times, enabling Korda, who reached the semi-finals last year, to come in and attack first. The American was also very solid from the forecourt winning 73% at net, as well as winning 83% of points behind his first serve.

The third set looked like it was heading to a tie-break but Korda hit a razor-sharp forehand down the line winner at 30-30 in the final game before world number ten Dimitrov overcooked a forehand to hand the victory to his younger opponent.

“It was a big struggle,” said Korda on court afterwards. “We were both serving really well and holding serve and waiting for our chances. There weren’t many but the ones that came, we tried to get one.”

He downplayed his recent wrist injury and instead was grateful to be playing on the centre court grass: “it’s incredible to play at Queens, definitely one of my favourite tournaments to come to, everything is so amazing. I’m very happy with how it’s going so far. I am super happy. Hopefully I can keep playing some good tennis this week and leading into Wimbledon as well.”

In today’s opening match, qualifier Rinky Hijikata squeezed past Matteo Arnaldi 7-6 (7-0), 7-6 (9-7). While the Italian blasted 37 winners, Hijikata remarkably only offered five unforced errors throughout the two sets. The Australian cruised through the opening breaker without losing a point. However, the second set decider was far closer.

Hijikata squandered five match points and a 6-3 lead in the second set tie-break. A wild forehand miss meant the players crossed at six points each and another put him set point down. But he regrouped after a tremendous rally and won the final three points to reach the quarter finals on his debut at Queens.

“I was pretty nervous,” said Hijikata after the win. “I definitely made it tough for myself today but Matteo was coming up with some really good stuff under pressure and he is a quality player and pretty tricky to put away, but I’m glad to get through today. It’s pretty sweet playing on this court, so thank you to everyone for coming out today.”

Hijikata has been struggling for match wins of late and highlighted his resilience and also gave thanks to his coach: “It’s been a tricky couple of months but I’ve been trying to persevere and keep working hard with my coach, so a lot of the credit goes to him. It hasn’t been easy but a week like this makes it all worthwhile. I was looking forward to the grass swing for the last few months and I always love playing on this surface at a tournament like this, let’s see what I can do for the rest of the grass court season.”

In the last match of the day, American Taylor Fritz defeated Milos Raonic, who had smashed 47 aces in the round before, in straight sets 7-6 (7-5), 6-4. There were no breaks of serve in the first set, lasting 44 minutes, while fourth seed Fritz broke to go 5-4 up in the second and then served out a love game and faces Thompson for a place in the semi-finals.

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