ATP Finals Day 2 Preview: Title Favourite Novak Djokovic Faces Isner Test - UBITENNIS
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ATP Finals Day 2 Preview: Title Favourite Novak Djokovic Faces Isner Test

New World No.1 Novak Djokovic will play his first match of the tournament on Monday in London, along with three men standing 6’6” or higher in the Guga Kuerten Group.

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11 of the last 15 ATP Finals have been won by either Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic. However, both of the last two years saw first-time champions crowned. Will that trend continue in 2018? Federer got off to a rocky start on Sunday, dropping his opening match to Kei Nishikori in straight sets. But considering Djokovic’s results since July of this year, it will be a steep climb to the trophy for the rest of the field.

Sascha Zverev vs. Marin Cilic


Cilic won their first career head-to-head meeting three years ago in Washington, DC. But in the five times they’ve played since, Zverev has prevailed every time. That includes a round robin match last year at this tournament. In fact, Cilic has never performed well in his three previous appearances at the ATP Finals, winning only one of nine matches at the O2 in London. Meanwhile in Zverev’s ATP Finals debut last year, the victory over Cilic was his only one. Just as neither player has done well at this tournament, neither comes into this tournament with much momentum. Since his last title at Washington, DC in July, Sascha has not made it to another final, and is just 12-8 during that time. Same goes for Marin: no finals since his last title at Queen’s Club in June, with a record of 14-9. That includes choking away a match to Sam Querrey on home soil in the Davis Cup semifinals. Cilic has seemingly not mentally recovered from that loss, evidenced by his 3-4 record since. With that in mind, as well as their recent head-to-head, Zverev should be favored to get the win on Monday.

Head-to-head (Zverev leads 5-1)

Novak Djokovic vs. John Isner

John Isner (zimbio.com)

Djokovic is the top seed in London, thanks to his 31-2 during the second half of 2018. That includes four titles: two Majors and two Masters 1,000 events. Novak is looking to tie Federer with his sixth title at the ATP Finals. For John Isner, this is his first time qualifying for this tournament. While he only got in due to the withdrawals by Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin Del Potro, he’s had the season of his career. John won his biggest title to date in Miami, advanced to his first Major semifinal at Wimbledon, and made his third Major quarterfinal at the US Open. Djokovic is 8-2 lifetime against Isner, with the American’s only victories coming on US hard courts. The low-bouncing courts at the O2 will do the 6’10” Isner no favors, but you can never count out Isner in the best-of-three format. He of course often ends up in tiebreaks, and he’ll only need to win two on Monday to pull off the upset. However, judging by Novak’s form of late, I don’t think Djokovic will allow that to happen.

Head-to-head (Djokovic leads 8-2)

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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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