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

Emma Raducanu Looking For Experience After Splitting With Coach

Emma Raducanu revealed her post-US Open plans as she prepares for life on the main WTA tour.

Avatar

Published

on

Emma Raducanu (@CambridgeAwe - Twitter)

Emma Raducanu is looking for more experience in her team after splitting from her short-term coach Andrew Richardson.

 

The US Open champion revealed the news at the ‘homecoming party’ set up at the National Tennis Centre in London where the Duchess of Cambridge was present.

Speaking at the event Raducanu said that she needed more experience as she will now play on the main tour on a regular basis, “At this stage of my career I really need someone that has had that WTA Tour experience at that high level,” Raducanu was quoted as saying by the BBC website.

“Especially right now as I’m so new to it, I think I really need someone just to guide me who has already been through that themselves. “Never did I even dream of winning the US Open and now I’m ranked 22 in the world, which is pretty crazy to me.”

Richardson was always a short-term arrangement with him now committed to improving his 10 year-old son.

As for Raducanu she is now 22 in the world and faces unfamiliar territory in playing a full-time schedule.

After winning the US Open as a qualifier, Raducanu has received unlimited amount of attention and expectation which is something she will need guidance with.

Now Raducanu will set out a schedule in the next few days with the Brit set to return as early as Indian Wells which starts on the 6th of October, “I got back on court a few days ago, and yesterday I did a full training day,” she explained.

“I was feeling pretty good about myself and my game, and I am very excited to compete again. All the opportunities I am getting have been very fun, but where I really want to be is on the tennis court, as I’m just thriving out there.

“I haven’t decided on my schedule yet – I will decide in the next few days where I am going to go to – but wherever I play next, I’m going to make sure I’m ready. I don’t want to jump into things too early.”

Should the 18 year-old make a strong end to the season then she could make the WTA Finals in Guadalajara.

Although she is 14th in the race, players such as Ash Barty and Naomi Osaka could miss the event and it’s something that is on the back of the mind of Raducanu, “The WTA Finals I would never even dream of before, because it was just so far out of reach and out of sight, but coming reasonably close to it now, I think it would be great if I qualified,” she admitted.

“But if not, it’s a complete bonus, because my priority is just putting in the best possible pre-season that I can, so I can start strong next year and next season.”

Continue Reading

Focus

Berrettini pulls off comeback win over Auger Aliassime at Laver Cup

Matteo Berrettini contributed to a 3-1 overall scoreline for Team Europe over Team World after day one of the Laver Cup.

Avatar

Published

on

Matteo Berrettini (@LaverCup - Twitter)

The Italian fought back from a set down to beat the Canadian and give team Europe a commanding lead.

 

In the longest match in Laver Cup history so far Matteo Berrettini needed a match tiebreak to beat the world number 11 and good friend Felix Auger Aliassime 6-7, 7-5, 10-8 in a match that lasted two hours and 52 minutes.

The Italian hit 15 winners and served seven aces while the Montreal native hit 37 unforced errors in the loss.

“I was fighting and I felt the match was really hard and Felix (Auger-Aliassime) was playing well and he didn’t give me anything and he made no mistakes and he was serving really well and I felt a different energy because we are playing for a team, not just myself and they helped me a lot”.

The first set stayed on serve until 2-2 when it was the Italian with the first two breakpoints of the match but the Canadian was able to save both and hold serve.

The next game was a rollercoaster and the Montreal native responded by earning four chances to break and after 13 minutes finally made the breakthrough to take a 4-2 lead.

At 5-3, the world number 11 found himself with two set points but failed to convert and the Italian fought back and got the break back and at 6-5 the Canadian had five more set points but again the Italian saved all five and the set was decided by a tiebreaker.

Auger Aliassime got the early break to take a 2-0 lead and that break was enough for him to finally serve out the first set and take a 1-0 set lead. The world number seven was keen to bounce back and had two early chances to break at 1-1 but the Canadian saved both and held serve once again.

The very next game it was the Montreal native turn to apply the pressure on the Berrettini serve but the Italian managed to save both breakpoints he faced and held serve.

At 5-5, the Canadian kept pushing earning two more break points but couldn’t get the breakthrough, and the very next game the Rome native pounced and managed to get the crucial break to win the second set and force a match tiebreak.

The breaker was extremely tight until 3-3 when the Canadian managed to get the break and jumped out to a 5-3 lead before losing two straight points and the breaker was even at five.

Once again the world number 11 got the break again and was up 7-5 but again lost two straight points and we were even at seven and then at 9-8 Berrettini with the rally of the match sealed the win with a great passing shot.

After the match in his post-match interview, the Italian was asked about being selected to play doubles in the night session.

“I am going to be honest when they told me I would be playing singles and doubles I didn’t expect to play a match that long so I spoke with the captain and we will see but I am still young”.

Day 1 results

Casper Ruud got the ball rolling for Team Europe as he beat the American Rielly Opelka in the first match of the day in straight sets 6-3, 7-6 to give his team the first point of the tournament.

In the first match of the night session Andrey Rublev gave Team Europe a convincing 3-0 lead as he came back to beat the Argentine Diego Schwartzman 4-6, 6-3, 11-9 in the match tiebreaker.

Finally in the last match of the day Team World got their first point as the duo of John Isner and Denis Shapovalov came back from a set down to beat the doubles pairing of Matteo Berrettini and Alexander Zverev 4-6, 7-6, 10-1.

Day 2 preview:

Day 2 features some amazing matchups in both the day and night session with Stefanos Tsitsipas starting the day against the Aussie Nick Krygios before John Isner takes on Alexander Zverev.

In the night session Denis Shapovalov takes on the US Open champion from Russia Danil Medvedev with another doubles match wrapping things up as the team of Andrey Rublev and Tsitispas will take on John Isner and Nick Kyrgios.

Continue Reading

ATP

ATP Moves Closer To Staging Five More 12-Day Masters 1000 Events After Board Approval

Changes are coming to the men’s Tour which includes a brand new ‘profit-sharing formular’ for players.

Avatar

Published

on

Masters tournaments in North America, Europe and Asia are set to be expanded over the coming months after the ATP Board recently approved some ‘key aspects’ of their strategic plan.

 

In a letter issued to players, ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said an agreement has been reached concerning a variety of topics, which include the expansion of various Masters 1000 events. It is understood that the plan is for Rome, Madrid, Canada, Cincinnati and Shanghai to be increased to 12-day events instead of just one week. Putting them more in line with Indian Wells and Miami. Tennis.com reports that under the new structure, ATP 250 events will also take place during the second week of those tournaments and they could receive a subsidy from the ATP Tour, provided by extra fees paid by the Masters tournaments.

Masters 1000 events are the third highest-ranked category events in men’s tennis after Grand Slams and the ATP Finals in terms of prize money and ranking points on offer. The series was first introduced back in 1990 but it wasn’t until 2009 that the name ‘Masters 1000’ was born. The number represents how many ranking points the winner receives.

Besides the proposed changes to the Masters series, the Board has also given a green light to “a new Profit-Sharing formula” and “long-term prize money levels.” The prize money increase is reportedly said to be 2.5 percent of a base level, plus a bonus pool with a 50 percent share of the collective profit of the Masters events.

“This represents significant progress for our sport and the way our player and tournament members operate under the equal partnership of the ATP Tour. It is only through the spirit of this partnership, transparency, and alignment of interests that we can truly maximise your potential and switch our focus to the competition we face in the border sports and entertainment landscape,” Gaudenzi wrote in his letter to players.

Part of the plan also include making changes to ATP Media, who are in charge of broadcasting the events. At present it is currently jointly owned by the Tour and each of the Masters 1000 events. However, in the future it has been proposed that those tournaments trade in their ownership rights for shares in ATP media. Exact details about this process have not been publicly disclosed and it is unclear if all of the tournaments would agree to such a move.

The ATP also wants to create a ‘Tennis Data Innovations’ which will be an independent entity.

All of these proposed changes are still subject to further agreement around additional matters. The ATP have been working on details of their strategic plan for the past 18 months.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending