Wimbledon Day 9 Preview: The Gentlemen’s Quarter-finals - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Day 9 Preview: The Gentlemen’s Quarter-finals

The eight remaining men represent 50 Major singles titles.

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Of course 49 of those belong to “the big three:” Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic. There’s a lot of anticipation for a rematch of “the greatest match of all-time” from 10 years ago between Federer and Nadal, but many substantial obstacles stand in their way. And most of them are substantial in height: the 6’10” Isner, the 6’8” Anderson, the 6’6” Del Potro, and the 6’5” Raonic. The men’s tournament is yet to feature a memorable, high-quality, extended battle. The second week will likely make up for what the first week lacked.

Novak Djokovic vs. Kei Nishikori

This will open play on Centre Court, and this matchup has historically not been kind to Nishikori. Djokovic leads their head-to-head 13-2, and has won their last 12 meetings. Novak has refused to lose to Kei following Nishikori’s big upset in the semifinals of the 2014 US Open. Kei’s game just does not match up well to Novak: Djokovic does everything just a little bit better. Nishikori needs to catch Djokovic on an off day to have a real shot. This is the first meeting on grass, a surface which should give Djokovic an even bigger advantage. For Nishikori, this is his first Wimbledon quarterfinal, while it’s the tenth for Djokovic, a three-time champion. All the data indicates a Djokovic victory, though we’ve seen Novak succumb to pressure several times of late when pressed by an opponent. If Nishikori can apply some scoreboard pressure, an upset is not unfathomable. Still, Djokovic should advance to his eighth semifinal at SW19.

Roger Federer vs. Kevin Anderson

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Roger Federer starting the day on No.1 Court? This is a true rarity to see the 20-time Major champion outside of Centre Court. Here we have another lopsided head-to-head, as Federer has won all four matches and all eight sets played. They’ve never met on grass, but that should only increase Roger’s chances. Federer was interviewed by ESPN in the US earlier in the tournament, and asked if he would prefer playing Jan-Lennard Struff or Ivo Karlovic in his third round match. Surprisingly, Federer said Karlovic, as he’d feel confident blocking Ivo’s big serves back into play, and getting into Karlovic’s service games. He’ll likely feel the same way about Anderson, and this helps explain why the South Africa has had no success against Federer. Need further proof that Roger is a big favorite? This is Federer’s 16th Wimbledon quarterfinal, and his 53rd at a Major. For the 32-year-old Anderson, it’s his first at The Championships, and his third at a major. Anderson’s struggles with competing in the latter stages of Majors and Masters 1,000 events are well-documented. Federer’s level through four rounds has been pretty intimidating: he’s yet to drop a set, or even drop serve. Anderson’s only hope will be to have the best serving day of his life, and to find freedom in telling himself no one expects him to win.

Rafael Nadal vs. Juan Martin Del Potro

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In the second quarterfinal of the day on Centre Court, we finally have a more competitive rivalry. Nadal is 10-5 lifetime against Del Potro, though they’ve split their last four matches. This is their third meeting in the last four Majors, and Nadal was able to run away with both those matches over a tired Del Potro. I fear Juan Martin will come into this encounter with a half-empty tank as well. Del Potro is coming off a near four-and-a-half hour fourth round match against Gilles Simon, with the final set just being completed on Tuesday. Simon tortured the big man with a lot of grinding, exhausting rallies. But we’ve seen Del Potro bounce back from matches such as that before. Last year at the US Open, he fought through illness to come back from two sets down to defeat Dominic Thiem, and yet still found a way to upset Roger Federer in the next round. And when he lost an extended battle to Federer during the 2012 London Olympics at The All England Club, he came back less than 48 hours later to win the bronze medal over Djokovic. Speaking of the Olympics, the semifinals of the 2016 Games in Rio were the last time Del Potro beat Nadal, in a thrilling contest decided in a final set tiebreak. Let’s not forget this is Nadal’s first Wimbledon quarterfinal since 2011, and we’ve seen over the past seven years how vulnerable he can be on grass. While it’s hard to bet against Nadal here, an energized Del Potro would be a legitimate threat.

John Isner vs. Milos Raonic

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The final match of the day on No.1 Court will likely come down to just one or two points in each set, with several tiebreaks highly likely. These two men have hit a combined 252 aces through eight matches, with Isner blasting 64 in his second round five-set win alone. Isner owns a 3-1 record over Raonic, but Milos won the last time they played, at Cincinnati in 2016. All of those matches were on hard courts, and seven of their nine sets have gone to tiebreaks. Isner is in the midst of a career-year. He already won the biggest title of his life at the Miami Masters, and is now into his second career Major quarterfinal, his first since the 2011 US Open. This will be Raonic’s fourth Wimbledon quarterfinal in five years, and his eighth Major quarterfinal overall. 2018 has been another injury-plagued season for the Canadian, who most recently missed the French Open due to a knee injury, and withdrew from Queen’s Club due to a pectoral injury. Raonic has shown no ill effects of those injuries during this fortnight, and has benefited from a kind draw. Up to this point, his opponents have averaged a ranking of 126th in the world. But Isner has played three opponents ranked 98th or worse, so he’s also had it pretty good. Like Federer, Isner is yet to be broken in this tournament, though it’s entirely possible for either man to win this match without breaking serve. If this does come down to tiebreaks, Isner is 22-18 in them this year, while Raonic is 12-4. That’s pretty favorable to Milos, who also has the experience edge on this stage. The winner’s reward? A probable date with Roger Federer on Friday.

Selected order of play

Centre Court (1pm):
(12) N Djokovic (Serbia) v (24) K Nishikori (Japan)
(5) J M del Potro (Arg) v (2) R Nadal

No 1 Court (1pm):
(1) R Federer (Switz) v (8) K Anderson (SA)
(13) M Raonic (Can) v (9) J Isner (US)

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Acapulco Faces Safety Issues Ahead Of ATP 500 Tournament

Acapulco faces safety and infrastructure issues before the ATP 500 tournament next week.

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Acapulco has faced safety concerns ahead of the tournament as players have been advised to stay in the tournament hotels or tennis venues.

As exclusively revealed by James Gray of the i newspaper, Acapulco is facing security and infrastructure concerns ahead of the tournament.

ATP players have reportedly been told in an email to stay confined to the tournament hotels and the tennis venue as crime rates have increased in the city.

Organisers in Mexico have reassured people that players will be able to train safely with the following statement, “The Arena GNP, venue for the Mexican Open of Tennis, and the host hotel are currently operational to carry out the tournament,” the tournament organisers told the i newspaper.

“Since Tuesday, we have been receiving players in Acapulco, and they have already had the opportunity to train at the venue.”

However there are still infrastructural problems including lack of flights to Acapulco as well as other safety concerns which have been affected by Hurricane Otis.

Despite the problems the ATP seem confident that the event will be safe and secure ahead of the ATP 500 event, “It is not uncommon for players to receive security advisories from ATP as a precautionary measure across more than 250 Tour and Challenger Tour events each season,” A spokesperson told the i newspaper.

“The advisory sent for Acapulco factors in the additional complexity of Hurricane Otis’ disruption. There have been major efforts and investment to restore the Acapulco venue in recent months.”

The ATP 500 event in Acapulco will take place next week with Alex De Minaur being the defending champion.

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Ons Jabeur’s Latest Withdrawal Raises Doubts Over Season Ambitions

Ons Jabeur will be hoping to re-energize herself ahead of a big few months in her career.

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Ons Jabeur’s latest withdrawal in Dubai has raised doubts over how successful the Tunisian can be this season.

Despite having high hopes for revitalizing her season in Dubai, Ons Jabeur has had another setback in 2024.

The Tunisian was forced to withdraw from one of her favourite tournaments of the year in Dubai due to a knee injury.

This withdrawal came days after Jabeur said she was ready for the challenge in Dubai and was excited to compete in front of a passionate crowd in Dubai.

In a statement Jabeur explained her injury and why she was unable to compete in Dubai this week, “After consultation of my doctors and team we have decided that I will have to withdraw from Dubai this week and go for more medical treatments,” Jabeur was quoted by tennishead as saying.

“Looking forward to reconnect with all on the courts for the US swing. Thank you for your continuous support.”

This latest setback isn’t a coincidence though as Jabeur has struggled with injuries ever since her Wimbledon final.

The mental and physical toll that the last eight months have taken of Jabeur are starting to show.

There doesn’t seem to be a plan in place as Jabeur has been open about her mental health struggles since that comprehensive defeat to Marketa Vondrousova at Wimbledon.

That’s a potential problem for Jabeur going forwards as it continues to get tougher for the world number six to find motivation going forwards.

A long break away from tennis may be beneficial for Jabeur as it feels like this summer may be the Tunisian’s last opportunity at Grand Slam glory.

An innovative and new approach may be required for Jabeur as her physical and mental stamina continues to fade with every week.

However will Jabeur manage reinvent herself before it’s too late? Only time will tell and SW19 may be the final destination in that bid.

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Iga Swiatek ‘Proud’ After Claiming Doha Title

World number one Iga Swiatek won her 18th career title in Doha.

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Iga Swiatek defeated Elena Rybakina 7-6(8) 6-2 to claim the title in Doha.

The world number one sealed an 18th career title with a straight sets win over Rybakina.

Swiatek had previously struggled to beat the Kazakh and that continued at the start of the opening set with the Pole conceding a double break deficit at 4-1.

However Swiatek was resilient as she won four games in a row to get back on track in the opening set.

Rybakina broke in the eleventh game and had the opportunity to serve for the opening set but couldn’t take the opportunity.

In the tiebreak, Swiatek converted her fourth set point as she claimed a mammoth tiebreak 10-8.

After that Swiatek seized control as she broke twice after saving two break points in the second game.

The Pole held comfortably to claim her maiden title of the 2024 season in what was her first tournament since a third round exit at the Australian Open.

In her-post match speech Swiatek admitted that she is proud of her performance in Doha this week, “You don’t even know hard it was not to think about it,” Swiatek was quoted by France 24 as saying after winning her 13th match in Doha.

“I came here and was pretty stressed because I felt the expectations. I wanted to do everything step by step like I always do. I’m really happy. I’m really proud of myself.”

Swiatek will now look to continue that form in Dubai next week where she takes on either Sloane Stephens or Clara Burel in her opening round match.

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