ATP Finals Day 3 Preview: Roger Federer Targets Redemption In Critical Match - UBITENNIS
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ATP Finals Day 3 Preview: Roger Federer Targets Redemption In Critical Match

Kevin Anderson plays Kei Nishikori for the top spot in the Lleyton Hewitt Group, while Roger Federer plays Dominic Thiem to stay out of last place.

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Tuesday at The O2 Arena will see Roger Federer enter into unfamiliar territory. For the first time in his 16 appearances at the ATP Finals, the Swiss player is set-loss going into his second match after losing to Kei Nishikori on Sunday. In danger of failing to progress beyond the group stages, Federer is hoping to get back on track when he plays Dominic Thiem. Meanwhile, In the other match, Kevin Anderson could become the first African player to reach the semifinals of the tournament in his debut. The historic milestone could be achieved depending on the outcome of his match against Nishikori and if Federer wins his. 

Lleyton Hewitt Group Standings:

Kevin Anderson vs. Kei Nishikori

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This is their third meeting within the last 16 days, and their fourth match on an indoor hard court this year. Anderson upended Nishikori for the biggest title of the South African’s career in Vienna. Kei then avenged that loss just four days later in Paris. They also played the final of the New York Open back in February, which Anderson won in a third set tiebreak. While Kevin is 2-1 against Kei in 2018, Nishikori holds a 6-3 edge in their careers. Both players have great indoor hard court records this year, and the winner will be in a commanding position in the Lleyton Hewitt Group. Considering their recent history, their contrasting styles, and the significance of this match for both players, a close contest seems likely. Coming off the upset of Federer, his self-described idol, I could see Nishikori having a bit of a mental letdown on Tuesday. And Anderson has proven over the course of this season what a strong competitor he has become in tight situations. With that mind, I’m leaning ever-so-slightly in Anderson’s favor.

Head-to-head

Roger Federer vs. Dominic Thiem

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Thiem is one of the rare players to have a winning record against Federer. All three of their matches took place in 2016, a season when Roger never really reached peak form. And all three of those matches took place on different surfaces. Federer prevailed on a hard court in Brisbane, while Thiem was victorious on clay in Rome and on grass in Stuttgart. Normally Roger would be heavily favored on an indoor hard court against Thiem, but I’m not fully convinced he should be today. Federer hit 34 unforced errors on Sunday in a sloppy and cranky performance against Nishikori. And as Brett Haber highlighted on Tennis Channel in the US, Roger is 2-5 against top 10 opposition in 2018. His last top 10 win came in February, with five straight losses since that time. Thiem is in the midst of the strongest fall season of his career. And Dominic played some very good ball in defeat on Sunday, specifically in a 23-minute second set tiebreak. It seems Federer could be vulnerable for another upset, which would put him at serious risk of not advancing out of the round robin stage for only the second time in sixteen ATP Finals appearances. He’ll need to significantly reduce his error count, and arrive to court in a more positive disposition, to take out an in-form Dominic Thiem on Tuesday.

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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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