Wimbledon Day 7 Preview: Six Must-See Matches On Manic Monday - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

Focus

Wimbledon Day 7 Preview: Six Must-See Matches On Manic Monday

Today is the best day of the year on the tennis calendar.

Avatar

Published

on

It’s Manic Monday at The Championships. Tradition dictates the middle Sunday is a day of rest at Wimbledon, which means all 16 fourth round singles matches are presented on the same day, the only Major where this happens. On Centre Court alone, 60 Major singles titles will be represented by Serena, Roger, and Rafa. With so many big matchups throughout the day, here’s your guide to which matches deserve your focus from morning until evening.

 

Karolina Pliskova vs. Kiki Bertens

This will open play at 11:30am local time on No.2 Court. No one could have predicted Karolina Pliskova would be the only top 10 seed in the ladies’ singles draw to advance to the second week of Wimbledon. Prior to last week, Pliskova had a losing record at The All England Club, and had never been farther than the second round. Karolina has openly spoke about her discomfort on the grass of SW19. Her opponent on Monday can relate. Kiki Bertens told the press last week, “Grass isn’t my friend.” Bertens has been one of the best clay court players in the world over the past few years, but she’s just as surprised as anyone to find herself in the round of 16 at Wimbledon. Both women survived intense third round matches to get here. Pliskova was down a set and 4-1 to Michaela Buzarnescu, before the Romanian had an emotional meltdown on court and allowed Karolina back into the match. Bertens upset the five-time champion, Venus Williams, 8-6 in the third. Pliskova leads their head-to-head 2-1, though their first two meetings happened over five years. They did just meet on clay in Stuttgart earlier this year, with Pliskova dropping just four games in victory. Kiki may be a bit emotionally drained following her dramatic upset of Venus on Friday, whereas Karolina may play more freely on Monday knowing she was lucky to escape her last match. And while Pliskova has no previous success at Wimbledon, she does have two grass court titles to her name. I like Pliskova’s chances to reach her sixth quarterfinal out of the last eight Grand Slam events.

Dominika Cibulkova vs. Su-Wei Hsieh

Embed from Getty Images
Concurrently over on Court 18, two of my favorite players to watch on tour will square off. Both are coming off impressive upset victories in week one: Cibulkova took out British Number One Johanna Konta, while Hsieh saved a match point and eliminated World Number One Simona Halep in the best match of the first week. Much like Bertens, I am concerned how much Hsieh will have left emotionally and physically, especially playing less than 48 hours after the biggest singles win of her career. Su-Wei has also never been farther than this stage of a singles draw at a Major, while Cibulkova has reached the quarterfinals or better at a Major seven times, including twice at Wimbledon. Dominika has appeared like a woman on a mission during this fortnight. She came into this tournament with almost as many losses as wins on the year, but is yet to drop a set through three rounds. As some have suggested, perhaps she found motivation is being bumped from her seeding due to the awarding of a seed to Serena Williams. Cibulkova won both previous meetings against Hsieh. While all signs point to a Diminika victory, we’ve seen how unpredictable the ladies’ draw has been. We’ve also seen how effective Hsieh’s slicing and dicing can be in frustrating opponents. Regardless of the result, the contrast in styles should provide plenty of entertainment here.

Angelique Kerber vs. Belinda Bencic

Embed from Getty Images
This will be the opening match on No.1 Court at 1:00pm local time. Kerber has recaptured much of the swagger that brought her two Major championships in 2016, and is a legitimate contender for this title. She played outstandingly against Naomi Osaka on Saturday, serving well and making very few errors. However, this may be her stiffest test yet at this year’s Wimbledon. Just two years ago, Bencic was ranked sixth in the world at the age of 18. But then multiple injuries derailed her career, and she was forced to rebuild her ranking on the IFT circuit. In the last three months of the 2017 season, Bencic won 28 matches and four titles on the ITF level. She started 2018 with an upset win over Venus Williams in Melbourne, though shortly after she was hit with another setback, as she again missed a few more months of action due to injury. Much like the Australian Open, she upset a top seed in her opening round here, ousting Caroline Garcia. This time though she was able to follow-up on that result, and is into her first round of 16 at a Major since the 2016 Australian Open. Surprisingly, Belinda is 3-0 lifetime against Angelique, with all victories coming on hard courts, and prior to Belinda’s injury issues. Is she ready to defeat a red-hot Kerber? I’m not convinced she’s far enough into her comeback to do so. In an open section of the draw, both players will know a huge opportunity lies in front of the winner.

Kevin Anderson vs. Gael Monfils

Embed from Getty Images
Next up on No.1 Court, we have a battle of power against speed. For Gael Monfils, this is actually his first time in the second week of The Championships in ten appearances. He’s coming off an upset off Sam Querrey, a man who’s found a lot of success on the lawns of The All England Club in recent years. Querrey also plays a very similar style to Kevin Anderson. Monfils was able to absorb Sam’s power and dictate the rallies. He’s also done the same thing to Anderson every time they’ve met. Gael holds a 5-0 record over Kevin, winning 10 of the 11 sets they’ve played. That being said, they haven’t met in nearly two years, and Anderson has been a different player over the past year. Kevin’s also had more success at Wimbledon, as this is the fourth year out of the last five in which he’s made the fourth round. The problem is he’s yet to advance any farther. In fact, Anderson is only 2-10 in the fourth round of Majors. Kevin has faced a similar road block at Masters 1,000 events, where he was 0-10 in quarterfinals until her finally won at that stage in Madrid this year. Anderson has admirably been open regarding his mental struggles. As much as he’s worked to battle through them, they still persist. We just saw him choke away a two set lead to Diego Schwartzman in the fourth round of Roland Garros last month. At the same time, I don’t trust Monfils to rise to the occasion in two consecutive big-time matches. I have no idea how this match will play out, but I’m sure it will be compelling.

John Isner vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas

Embed from Getty Images
This will be the third match of Day 7 on No.3 Court. Just like Monfils, this is Isner’s first Wimbledon round of 16 appearance in 10 tries. The 6’10” big man has never liked the low-bouncing balls the grass courts supply, so he’s happy to find the balls are bouncing a bit higher this year. Meanwhile the 19-year-old from Greece has reached the fourth round in just his second Wimbledon. His athleticism and tenacity were on full display during the first week of The Championships, most notably surviving a five-set thriller against Jared Donaldson. Isner also escaped a tight five-setter in his second round, saving match points against Ruben Bemelmans. Their only meeting was in Shanghai last fall, and to no one’s surprise, it was decided in two tiebreaks, which Isner won. If John is ever going to make a run at Wimbledon, this is likely his best chance. His big serve and experience edge should get him through, though I don’t discount the fighting Greek’s chances either, in a match that will likely be decided by a few pivotal points.

Rafael Nadal vs. Jiri Vesely

Embed from Getty Images
The final match on the day’s Centre Court schedule will be Nadal’s opportunity to get passed the fourth round of Wimbledon for the first time in seven years. His opposition is eerily similar to the man who defeated him on this day last year, Gilles Muller: a big-serving lefty. The 6’6” Vesely has already eliminated two top 20 seeds from this tournament, though Fabio Fognini and Diego Schwartzman are not their best on grass. This is Jiri’s second appearance in the Wimbledon round of 16, the only Major where he has achieved that feat. Jiri was ranked inside the top 40 a few years ago, but came into Wimbledon barely ranked inside the top 100, and with a losing record of the year. While Vesely fits the prototype of the players Nadal has lost to at Wimbledon in recent years, this year the conditions are more in Rafa’s favor. Nadal won their only previous meeting, though that was on clay. An upset here is not unfathomable, but with Rafa eager to make a run at The Championships, I suspect he’ll advance.

Order of play

Play starts at 11.30am unless otherwise stated

Centre Court (play starts at 1pm)
1-Roger Federer (Switzerland) v 22-Adrian Mannarino (France)
25-Serena Williams (U.S.) v Evgeniya Rodina (Russia)
Jiri Vesely (Czech Republic) v 2-Rafa Nadal (Spain)

Court One
11-Angelique Kerber (Germany) v Belinda Bencic (Switzerland)
Gael Monfils (France) v 8-Kevin Anderson (South Africa)
Karen Khachanov (Russia) v 12-Novak Djokovic (Serbia)

Court Two
7-Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic) v 20-Kiki Bertens (Netherlands)
24-Kei Nishikori (Japan) v Ernests Gulbis (Latvia)
5-Juan Martin del Potro (Argentina) v Gilles Simon (France)

Court Three
12-Jelena Ostapenko (Latvia) v Aliaksandra Sasnovich (Belarus)
13-Julia Goerges (Germany) v Donna Vekic (Croatia)
9-John Isner (U.S.) v 31-Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece)

Court 12
Camila Giorgi (Italy) v Ekaterina Makarova (Russia)
Mackenzie McDonald (U.S.) v 13-Milos Raonic (Canada)

Court 18
Su-Wei Hsieh (Taipei) v Dominika Cibulkova (Slovakia)
Alison van Uytvanck (Belgium) v Daria Kasatkina (Russia

Focus

‘An Incredible Job’ – Nick Kyrgios Hails Strict Australian Open Quarantine Measures

The outspoken Australian also explains why he believes it is right to publicly criticise top names such as Novak Djokovic.

Avatar

Published

on

Nick Kyrgios says he feels safer playing tennis than last year following a series of COVID-19 measures that have been implemented ahead of the Australian Open.

 

The former top-20 star has hailed the action taken by authorities which has triggered a somewhat mixed response from other players. Those playing in the first Grand Slam of the season are currently going through a 14-day quarantine with 72 players being unable to leave their room after being deemed a close contact of somebody who has tested positive for the virus. A series of positive tests was detected on flights en route to the country.

Although some players have criticised the process with allegations of poor room standards and preferential treatment for the top players who are currently based in Adelaide instead of Melbourne. Spain’s Paula Badosa tested positive for COVID-19 on the sixth day of her quarantine and had symptoms. In a recent interview with the Marca newspaper, Badosa says she feels ‘abandoned’ by authorities during what is the ‘worst experience’ of her career.

However, Kyrgios has hailed the comprehensive approach that has been taken by the authorities. He was one of the few players not to travel to Europe or North America during the second part of last year due to concerns related to the Pandemic. Compatriot Ash Barty was another to do the same.

“In Melbourne, with obviously the bubble, they’ve done an incredible job there. The authorities aren’t letting up and [are] making sure everyone is sticking by the rules,” Kyrgios told CNN.
“I actually feel quite safe. I didn’t really feel safe during last year, traveling and playing overseas, I thought it was a bit too soon to play.
“I think now the conditions are safe enough and everyone is going to work together and make sure we do it the right way.
“I don’t want to put anyone else at risk. I have loved ones that I don’t want to even have the chance to expose to Covid so I think it’s safe enough.”

Renowned for his at times fiery behaviour on the Tour and outspoken tone, the 25-year-old has no intention of changing his habits. Last summer he hit out at a series of his peers over their behaviour during the pandemic and blasted the Adria Tour. An exhibition series co-founded by Novak Djokovic which had to end early following an outbreak of the virus among players and staff members.

Djokovic is one of the players who Kyrgios has criticised the most in recent times. On January 18th he called the 17-time Grand Slam champion a ‘tool’ on Twitter after his letter to Craig Tiley was leaked to the public. Nevertheless, Kyrgios has no regrets over his comments as he feels it is vital to hold the top names accountable as he drew parallels between Djokovic and NBA great LeBron James.

I think it’s very important, especially one of the leaders of our sport. He’s technically our LeBron James,” he said.
“He has to set an example for all tennis players out there and set an example for tennis,”
added Kyrgios. “I think when he was doing some of the things that he was doing during the global pandemic, it just wasn’t the right time.
“I know everyone makes mistakes. Even some of us go off track sometimes but I think we need to hold each other accountable.
“I’m not doing any of this stuff for media attention, these are the morals that I’ve grown up with. I was just trying to do my part.”

Due to a combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and injury, Kyrgios hasn’t played a full competitive match on the ATP Tour since his fourth round loss to Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open almost a year ago.

Continue Reading

Focus

The Slow And Successful Rise Of Veronika Kudermetova

Let us look at the long path to success at high levels of the current Russian number two, who just finished as the runner-up in Abu Dhabi.

Avatar

Published

on

By

Veronika Kudermetova - Roland Garros 2019 (foto Roberto Dell'Olivo)
Prev1 of 4
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

While waiting for the end of the Australian quarantine, UbiTennis continues our analysis of the players involved in the first tournament of the year, the WTA 500 in Abu Dhabi.

After the article dedicated to Ekaterina Alexandrova, I shall continue with the Russian line by discussing Veronika Kudermetova. For her, the week in the Emirates was a very positive one, given that for the first time in her career she managed to reach the final of a WTA 500 event (the new denomination of the Premier tournaments, which assign 470 points to the winner). During the tournament, Kudermetova defeated Kontaveit, Turati, Badosa, Svitolina and Kostyuk, losing only to Aryna Sabalenka (who, between the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, has an active winning streak of 15 matches). Veronika’s excellent moment is validated by the best ranking she achieved this week at N.36 – had she won the final, she would have become the Russian N.1, overtaking Alexandrova. 

 

It should be emphasized, however, that all the talk about the rankings is muddled by the rules introduced with the pandemic, rules that tend to maintain the status quo, and in fact disfavour up-and-coming players like Kudermetova. Had only the results obtained in 2020 been counted, Veronika would have ended the season ranked 29th instead of 46th. Then, by factoring in the final reached in the UAE last Wednesday, her spot in the Top 30 would have been cemented even further. It might seem senseless to keep referring to a virtual ranking based on past rules (which are slated to come back in March, though), but I think it helps to identify the players who are doing better, despite the many difficulties of the current period. In fact, we know that we are playing less than usual, and this makes it more difficult to build that momentum which, thanks to above average conditions of form and enthusiasm, translates into significant leaps in quality and standing.

As for Kudermetova, there are at least two aspects of her career that, in my opinion, make her particularly interesting: the difficulties she faced to find financial support in her teenage years, and the comparison with her peers born in 1997, a special year for women’s tennis. In fact, Veronika was born in the same year as successful and precocious players such as Bencic, Ostapenko and Osaka, as well as Konjuh (unfortunately stopped by injuries) and Kasatkina, her Russian “twin” with whom she shared the years on the junior tour. Let’s start from those years.

On page 2, Kudermetova’s beginnings 

Prev1 of 4
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

Continue Reading

Focus

Do Your Players Understand The Tennis Score System? – If They Don’t, They’ll Struggle Mentally

The more unrealistic expectations players have got, the more they are going to struggle with their thoughts and emotions.

Avatar

Published

on

By

A frustrated coach calls. Asks for a mental tool to help “fix” their player’s mentality. But it’s not always a mental tool that is required. Often, it’s about going back to the basics. It’s about educating players about the realities of tennis. First step is getting players to know how to count. Second step is educating players about the score system. Close to every coach gets the first step done properly. The second step, not so much. And let me be the first to say, I have not been any better myself. 

 

So how do we start to educate players about the score system of tennis? 

A bold but true statement, that needs to be taken into account. “Tennis players are a bunch of losers” as Kelsey Anderson once entitled a blog post of hers. The reality is that tennis players lose a lot when playing matches. 

Craig O’Shannesy has made statistics in tennis easy to understand and digest. Craig’s work is a cornerstone in helping players with more realistic expectations. More realistic expectations equal less frustration and anger on court. 

So, let’s have a look at a key static to help educate the player you are coaching. 

Roger Federer
-103 titles
-1200+ match wins.
-20 Grand Slams
-Nearly $130 million in prize money

Undeniably one of the best tennis players to ever live. 

How many percentages of the points he has played in his professional career has he won? 

Before I knew the statistic, I guessed 70% or even 75%. After all, we are talking about Roger Federer.

I was wrong!

55%. 

Meaning that Roger Federer has lost 45 % of the points that he has played in his professional career. Almost half the points he has played. I was astonished the first time I heard this statistic! 

We are not talking about your average professional, it’s a player that has dominated the sport together with the rest of the so called “big three”. 

Talking about “the big three”. Interestingly Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are the only 2 other players to equal Federer on 55 % of points won in their professional career. 

So what does this statistic mean to players?

A lot of players believe that they should be winning 8/10 points to win a match. That they have to destroy the other player. They play 3 good points and then miss an easy put-away forehand and yell “I’m sooooo bad!”. 

The reality is that if a player is only messing up on every 4th point, they are doing an unbelievable job. Tennis is a game of mistakes. No matter how hard players try they can’t avoid making mistakes. We want to minimize unforced errors but player’s thinking that they can go through a match without making mistakes and losing a lot of points is simply unrealistic. 

When a player’s internal reality is different from the reality they are faced with in matches, it will lead to frustration and anger. The frustration and anger will be termed as bad behavior and a mental problem. The mental problem is often attempted to be fixed with mental tools. Could be a physical routine or a breathing technique. While the mental tools can treat the symptom and be very helpful in acute situations, it’s important to address the cause of why the frustration and anger arises in the first place. 

From the 55% statistic on Federer how is it possible to help the players with more realistic expectations? 

Here are 2 coaching advice to reinforce to players:

“Expect to lose almost every other point even in the matches that you are winning” 

“If you can keep you opponent from winning 2 points in a row for long enough – eventually you’ll win”

Remember that unrealistic expectations lead to players experiencing frustration and anger. The better we educate players about the realities of tennis, the more realistic expectations they will have. The more realistic expectations the more focus and mental energy can be spent focusing on their gameplan and executing their shots. The more focus on executing their shots, the bigger opportunity of performing well. The better the player perform, the bigger the opportunity of winning the match. 

By Adam Blicher
Danish Sport Psychologist Consultant Adam Blicher is a member of the International Sport Mental Coach Association

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending