Cincinnati Open Thursday Preview: The Men’s and Women’s Match of the Day - UBITENNIS
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Cincinnati Open Thursday Preview: The Men’s and Women’s Match of the Day

These are the two must-see matches to follow at the Western and Southern Open on Thursday.

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All third round matches are scheduled to play on Thursday, but a few players like Simona Halep and Juan Martin Del Potro were unable to complete their second round matches on Wednesday.  They’ll need to play twice on Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals.

Grigor Dimitrov vs. Novak Djokovic

Dimitrov is the defending champion in Cincinnati, and will lose 910 points with a loss today.  Djokovic is looking prevail at the only Masters 1,000 event he’s never won, and to earn enough ranking points to secure himself a top eight seed at the US Open.  Unless David Goffin makes a deep run in Cincinnati, Novak has already done so, which would mean he couldn’t face Nadal or Federer before the quarterfinals in New York.  These two are pretty good friends off the court, but their on-court history has been decidedly one-sided. Djokovic owns a 7-1 record against Dimitrov, with Grigor’s only victory coming five years ago in Madrid.  They met earlier this year at Queen’s Club, with Novak winning rather easily. Neither of these players have exactly lit up the summer hard court season as of yet. Dimitrov struggled his way to the quarterfinals last week in Toronto, where he was soundly defeated by Kevin Anderson.  And he didn’t look his best yesterday in victory over Mischa Zverev. Meanwhile Djokovic was upset last week by Stefanos Tsitsipas, and is yet to reach his top level this week in Cincinnati. Based on their head-to-head, and considering the pressure Dimitrov will have on him to defend so many points, Djokovic is the clear favorite here.

Other notable men’s matches on Thursday:

  • In a battle of the top Canadians, Milos Raonic vs. Denis Shapovalov
  • Kevin Anderson vs. David Goffin
  • Marin Cilic vs. Karen Khachanov, who’s playing the best tennis of his young career.
  • Roger Federer vs. Leonardo Mayer
  • Stan Wawrinka vs. Martin Fucsovics, in a rematch from last week, when they played deep into a third set tiebreak.

Angelique Kerber vs. Madison Keys

This is a rematch from this year’s Australian Open quarterfinals, where Kerber dismantled Keys, dropping just three games in a match that lasted only 51 minutes.  Just like the men’s match of the day, there is a 7-1 head-to-head record in this matchup, in favor of Kerber. Keys’ only victory was in 2014 on the grass of Eastbourne.  Their last four meetings have all been on hard courts, and Kerber has won them all in straight sets. The oft-injured Keys pulled out of both San Jose and Montreal due to an ongoing wrist injury, but played very well yesterday in a comfortable win over the always-dangerous Camila Giorgi.  If Keys is feeling 100%, this US hard court event may be a good chance for the American to upset Kerber. The Wimbledon champion lost her opening round last week at the Rogers Cup, and survived a near-three hour match last night over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. But as we saw in Melbourne, Kerber’s defense nullifies so much of Keys’ offense, and Madison does not possess a backup plan.  This is not a good matchup for Keys, as the finalist from last year’s US Open works to build her confidence heading into New York this year.

Other notable women’s matches on Thursday:

  • US Open Champion Sloane Stephens vs. Elise Mertens, who already has 39 match wins this year.
  • Caroline Garcia vs. a red-hot Aryna Sabalenka
  • Petra Kvitova vs. Kristina Mladenovic

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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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