Rogers Cup Tuesday Preview: The Men’s and Women’s Match of the Day
With 14 of the top 15 men and women in the world playing this week in Canada, we’ll be spoiled by some crowded daily schedules. While some big names won’t play their first matches until tomorrow, Tuesday will offer us plenty to watch throughout the day.
In Toronto, Wimbledon Champion Novak Djokovic plays his first singles match since winning his 13th Major, against the player who out Djokovic’d him earlier this year in Melbourne, Hyeon Chung. We’ll also have 19-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov in his return to the tournament where he made a name for himself just one year ago. And speaking of young Canadians, 17-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime has caught the eye of many as a potential future and champion, and this will be his Rogers Cup debut.
In Montreal, Wimbledon Semifinalist Jelena Ostapenko will face a Wimbledon semifinalist of a year ago, Johanna Konta. Two of the hottest players on tour, Daria Kasatkina and Maria Sakkari, will also do battle. And we’ll see if Victoria Azarenka has recovered from the knee injury that forced her to retire last week in San Jose, as she faces a stern opening round test in Kiki Mladenovic.
Nick Kyrgios vs. Stan Wawrinka
This is a rematch from a heated affair at the Rogers Cup in 2015. Kyrgios won that match after Wawrinka retired in the third set, but the result is not what grabbed the headlines. Courtside microphones picked up Kyrgios making derogatory comments regarding Wawrinka’s girlfriend, Donna Vekic. I’m confident Stan would like to avenge that loss at this year’s Rogers Cup. They’ve split their two meetings since that incident, and are 2-2 lifetime against each other. The biggest question mark here is who will be the healthier of the two. Stan of course is still not back to 100% after a season-ending knee surgery from a year ago, while the oft-injured Kyrgios pulled out of the Citi Open last week due to a hip injury. Considering their history, as well as Nick’s bad hip, I expect Stan to pull this one out.
Petra Kvitova vs. Anett Kontaveit
These two have played three times, all in the past year, and all three matches have been tight. Kvitova prevailed in Cincinnati last year as well as earlier this year in Madrid, but Kontaveit won two tiebreaks to upset Kvitova at Roland Garros. It’s been a stellar 2018 for Kvitova, with 38 match wins and five titles through the first six months. But we also know how up-and-down Petra’s form can be from week-to-week, and she’s looked a bit tired in a few of her recent tournaments after so much match play this year. At Wimbledon, the two-champion was upset in the first round by Aliaksandra Sasnovich, losing the third set 6-0. This will be Kvitova’s first match since that surprising loss, against an opponent she lost to the last time they played. However, a month away from competitive tennis should have given Petra some much-needed rest. She should be able to dictate play on the hard court in Montreal. I would be surprised to see Kvitova lose to Kontaveit again here today.
Novak Djokovic Set For US Open Return
Novak Djokovic is all set to return to the US Open for the first time in two years.
Novak Djokovic is set for a return to the US Open after the US senate voted to eliminate some of the COVID-19 restrictions.
The restrictions have been in place for the last two years which have denied foreign travellers the chance to visit America if they are unvaccinated.
As is well documented Djokovic hasn’t had his vaccination which is the reason for his absence at Indian Wells and Miami.
However Djokovic could be set to return to America after the US senate passed a bill to eliminate the COVID-19 restrictions in the country.
US president Joe Biden is expected to put the final signature on the bill which will then allow unvaccinated travellers from abroad to enter the country.
This means that Djokovic will be allowed to play the US Open for the first time since the 2021 final where he missed out on the chance to complete the calendar Grand Slam after losing to Daniil Medvedev.
Djokovic will look to win a fourth US Open title when he returns to Flushing Meadows on the 28th of August.
However in the short-term, Djokovic will look to reclaim his world number one ranking over the clay court season as he plays Monte-Carlo on the 9th of April.
Miami Open Daily Preview: Indian Wells Champs Carlos Alcaraz and Taylor Fritz Collide
On Wednesday in Miami, 2023 Indian Wells champion Carlos Alcaraz faces 2022 champ Taylor Fritz for the first time.
Alcaraz is just three wins away from defending his Miami title, which he needs to do in order to remain World No.1. Wednesday’s other ATP quarterfinal sees Indian Wells semifinalist Jannik Sinner take on Emil Ruusuvuori, who is the first Finnish quarterfinalist at a Masters 1000 tournament in a decade.
In the WTA singles draw, Aryna Sabalenka and Petra Kvitova are one round away from a big-hitting semifinal. But first, they must get past Sorana Cirstea and Ekaterina Alexandrova, respectively.
Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule. Wednesday’s play gets underway at 1:00pm local time.
Ekaterina Alexandrova (18) vs. Petra Kvitova (15) – Not Before 7:00pm on Stadium
Kvitova is 14-5 this season, and has now reached the quarterfinals of both Indian Wells and Miami this month. Petra has also now advanced to the fourth round or better of this event for the fifth straight time, and has not dropped a set this fortnight.
Alexandrova had a losing record this year before arriving in Miami. She defeated Belinda Bencic two rounds ago, and advanced in the last round after Bianca Andreescu’s upsetting ankle injury. This is Ekaterina’s second WTA 1000 quarterfinal, after first achieving that feat last year in Madrid, when she advanced to the semifinals.
Their only previous encounter occurred three years ago at the Australian Open, when Kvitova comfortably prevailed 6-1, 6-2. Ekaterina does not possess the same offensive weaponry of Petra, so on a hard court, the two-time Wimbledon champion is a considerable favorite to win again on Wednesday.
Carlos Alcaraz (1) vs. Taylor Fritz (9) – Not Before 8:30pm on Stadium
Alcaraz is 17-1 on the season, despite missing all of January due to injury. His only loss came to Cam Norrie in the final of Rio, a match in which Carlitos reaggravated his leg injury. He’s yet to drop a set during this tournament.
Fritz is 20-5 in 2023, and has now reached the quarterfinals or better at his last five events. This is Taylor’s first quarterfinal in Miami, and his third consecutive quarterfinal as Masters 1000 events in North America. Like Alcaraz, he’s also yet to lose a set in Miami, but he’s 1-4 in his last five Masters quarterfinals.
This is the first career meeting between the World No.1 and the American No.1. Fritz certainly has the firepower to threaten Alcaraz on this day. But based on Carlitos’ recent sharp form, the 19-year-old is the favorite to advance to the semifinals.
Other Notable Matches on Wednesday:
Sorana Cirstea vs. Aryna Sabalenka (2) – Sabalenka is now a stellar 20-2 on the year, and has allowed her opponents this past week an average of just 2.5 games per set. Cirstea is having an excellent March, having advanced to her second consecutive WTA 1000 quarterfinal, a stage she hadn’t reached since 2017. This is another first-time career meeting.
Emil Ruusuvuori vs. Jannik Sinner (10) – Sinner is vying for his second consecutive Masters semifinal, and has not dropped a set thus far in Miami. This is Ruuuvuori’s maiden Masters 1000 quarterfinal, at the only Masters event where he had ever previously advanced beyond the third round. Jannik is 4-0 against Emil, with all of those wins in straight sets, except a match in Miami a year ago that went to a third-set tiebreak, and saw Sinner save three match points.
Wednesday’s full Order of Play is here.
Christopher Eubanks Uses Celebrity Inspiration To Reach New Milestone In Miami
Christopher Eubanks is in the world’s top 100 for the first time in his career.
Christopher Eubanks has used inspiration from Jamie Foxx to motivate him to new heights as he breaks into the world’s top 100 for the first time.
An amazing run from Eubanks continues as he reaches the quarter-finals of a Masters 1000 for the first time in his career.
The American defeated Adrian Mannarino in two tiebreakers to reach the last eight in Miami in an incredible run.
Eubanks started the tournament in the qualifying rounds but hasn’t let that affect him as he is now into the quarter-finals.
That’s not all in terms of Eubanks’ achievements this week though as he is now a top 100 player for the first time in his career after an astonishing week.
Speaking after the match Eubanks spoke about how it feels to be in the last eight and the emotion that went through his mind when he found out about the milestone, “It feels good, it feels good. Just like yesterday felt good, this feels great,” Eubanks told the ATP website.
“Just something about all of the delays and the stopping, the starting, the warming up and cooling down and warming up, it makes a match like this even sweeter and to think it was for my first Masters 1000 quarter-final is really, really special. It feels great, it feels good right now.
“I think last night was just so many different emotions just because of being down in the breaker, my mind kind of already floated to the idea of a third set, so to be able to come back and win it, it was a lot.
“It was a lot, saving five set points and to be able to come back, it was more just kind of shock that I’d actually won the match and then to find out afterwards that match put me in the Top 100, that’s when the emotion came out. Today feels a little bit more like, ‘Hey, I’m here. Trust it. I’m playing well and let’s just see how long we can keep this thing going.”
Keep it going Eubanks has as he has a quarter-final with Daniil Medvedev to look forward to on Thursday.
However if Eubanks did need any motivation, then it looks like there is a celebrity friend of his that is keen to help him out.
Jamie Foxx as well as NFL legend Chad Johnson came out with messages of support as Eubanks broke new ground on the ATP tour in Miami.
It turns out Eubanks has kept regular contact with the pair with the American looking to use their feedback as motivation to continue to progress on the tour, “It’s amazing man. It’s really, really cool. I’ve known Foxx for two, three years now and he’s become a really, really close friend, someone I can call if I just want to kind of talk through life a little bit,” Eubanks revealed.
“Chad and I actually connected for the first time two or three weeks ago. He posted a video playing tennis and I think we had DM’d in the past and when he posted the video I commented saying, ‘Hey man that looks pretty good.’ He commented back saying, ‘I would love to get on the court with you,’ so I immediately shot him a DM I said, ‘Hey I’m going to be down in Miami for the Miami Open if you want to come out I can see about getting you a credential.’
“We were able to do that and he’s such an avid sports fan. He loves following tennis. He was super excited to be able to meet Carlitos today, he got to meet Tommy the other day. So he’s an all-around sports junkie. It was really cool for him to be able to come out.
“He stuck through one or two rain delays… It’s been really cool to see the outpouring of support. DJ D-Nice is another person who reached out and I got to meet. It’s been really, really cool.”
Eubanks will look to use these celebrity messages to his advantage as he looks to reach a Masters 1000 semi-final for the first time in his career.
Eubanks’ Miami Open Route:
QR1: def Abedallah Shelbayh 6-3 6-3
QR2: def Lukas Klein 6-7(2) 6-3 7-6(4)
R1: def Denis Kudla 7-6(2) 6-2
R2: def Borna Coric 3-6 6-4 6-2
R3: def Gregoire Barrere 6-3 7-6(7)
R4: def Adrian Mannarino 7-6(2) 7-6(5)
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