Brisbane Draw: Rematches Of 2018 Finals Look Set As Big Names Look To Flourish - UBITENNIS
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Brisbane Draw: Rematches Of 2018 Finals Look Set As Big Names Look To Flourish

Rafael Nadal and Naomi Osaka look to gain early momentum in their 2019 seasons as it’s early flashbacks for defending champions Elina Svitolina and Nick Kyrgios.

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Rafael Nadal (zimbio.com)

Big names look to start their 2019 season in Brisbane as 2018 finals could be revisited in the opening rounds. 

 

The draw for the Brisbane International has been set, which always sees a competitive field in both men’s and women’s singles draws.

Defending champions Elina Svitolina and Nick Kyrgios have been given potential 2018 final rematches in their opening encounters.

In Kyrgios’ case he will face the player he beat to win the title 12 months ago, Ryan Harrison, in the first round of the 2019 edition.

The Australian’s preparations has been hindered slightly though after a nasty spider bite has seen him arrive in Brisbane later than usual.

“I’ve been in the hospital the past couple of days on a drip, getting antibiotics,” Kyrgios said on the incident.

“I think I’ll be okay but it’s definitely impacted my preparation and it’s still pretty irritated. I haven’t been able to step on court or do anything really the last couple of days. But it’s getting better, definitely progressing.”

Should the defending champion compete in Brisbane his potential quarter-final is Kyle Edmund, who will face the winner of the qualifiers in his match of the week.

Other headline acts in the men’s draw include Rafael Nadal, Kei Nishikori, Grigor Dimitrov and a returning Andy Murray, who this time last year had hip surgery.

The Brit is using a protected ranking this week and will face Australian wildcard James Duckworth in the first round, a rematch of the US Open.

In terms of other headline potential matches a clash with Jo-Wilfred Tsonga could await Rafael Nadal should the Frenchman beat a qualifier in round one.

It will be Nadal’s first official tournament since retiring at the US Open semi-finals to Juan Martin Del Potro. The Spaniard’s potential last eight opponent is Alex De Minaur

Svitolina Begins Hunt For Maiden Slam Title

Elina Svitolina (zimbio.com)

On the women’s defending champion Elina Svitolina could have a potential rematch with Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the second round. The Ukrainian beat Sasnovich to win the Brisbane title in 2018 as she begins her mission to win a first grand slam title at the Australian Open.

After winning the WTA Finals momentum is certainly on Svitolina’s side as she looks to successfully defend her Brisbane title.

This week’s tournament sees seven of the top 10 women play in Brisbane this week with only the top three women in the world absent.

The pick of the first round women’s ties sees world number nine Kiki Bertens face world number 12 Elise Mertens while former US Open champion Sloane Stephens faces former top 10 player Johanna Konta.

It is sure to be a fiery start to the 2019 ATP and WTA season with the action in Brisbane starting on Monday.

 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas ‘Happy’ To Follow In Grandfather’s Footsteps At Olympics

The Greek speaks out about carrying his family’s legacy at the Games.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas never met his grandfather but the two of them do have something in common – they are both Olympians.

 

The world No.4 has already created history in Tokyo by winning his first round match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on Sunday to become the first male player from his country to win a singles match since 1924. Greece has won two medals at the Games but both of them were during its inaugural edition back in 1896.

Tsitsipas’ debut in Tokyo enables him to continue his family legacy of playing in the sporting extravaganza. His grandfather was Sergei Salnikov who played football for the Soviet Union during the 1950s. In 1956 Salnikov was part of the team who won Olympic gold in Melbourne. After retiring from the sport, he went on to manage the FC Spartak Moscow and the Afghanistan national team before passing away in 1984 aged 58.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to meet him. But my mom told me stories of his career and how he got it…. He kind of inspires me in a way,” said Tsitsipas. “I know what kind of athlete he was, with all the achievements and all the trophies. I’m proud of him.
“It’s something good, a legacy that is being carried on in the family. I’m happy to be the next in the family to be competing at the Olympics.”

It isn’t just a medal in the singles Tsitsipas has his eyes on, he will also be bidding for success in the mixed doubles alongside Maria Sakkari. The two previously paired up at the 2019 Hopman Cup where they finished second in their group.

“We have already played once (together), and we had great success,” Sakkari told reporters on Monday. “We know each other really well, and we are much better players two-and-a-half years later, and we are both really pumped to play together. Of course, I cannot predict that we will get a medal. We will try our best and I think we give ourselves the best chance we can.”

Tsitsipas will return to action tomorrow in the men’s singles where he will play Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

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Carlos Alcaraz reaches his first ATP Tour final in Umag

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Spanish Next Gen star Carlos Alcaraz secured a spot in his first ATP tour-level final with a 6-2 7-6 (7-3) at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open in Umag. 

 

Alcaraz has become the youngest ATP Tour finalist since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori won the Delray Beach title in 2008. 

Alcaraz broke twice to open up a 4-0 lead and held his next service games to close out the first set 6-2. 

Ramos Vinolas came back from a break down three times in the second set, when Alcaraz served for the match. Alcaraz battled through the second-set tie-break to clinch the win after two hours. 

Alcaraz set up a final against Richard Gasquet, who battled past German qualifier Daniel Altmeier 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-3 after three hours and 11 minutes. 

Gasquet has become the second oldest finalist in tournament history. The 35-year-old saved seven of hi sten break points, but he converted just just 3 of his 17 break points.  

Gasquet rallied from a break down twice to draw level to 4-4 before winning the tie-break 7-2. Altmeier converted his third break point in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. Altmeier saved three break points in the second game, before Gasquet converted his second break point in the sixth game to win the second set 6-3. 

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Novak Djokovic Cruises Past Dellien In Olympics Opener

Novak Djokovic’s bid for a historic golden slam continued in Tokyo.

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Novak Djokovic (@ITFTennis - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic cruised past Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 to open his bid for a gold medal at the Olympics.

 

The world number one’s bid to achieve the golden slam is on after thrashing the Bolivian in humid conditions.

A perfect start for the Serbian who is looking to achieve the one thing he is yet to achieve and that’s win a gold medal.

Next for Djokovic will be Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.

In 32C temperatures, Djokovic was looking to start his campaign off against Bolivian veteran Hugo Dellien.

The slow paced courts would suit Dellien as he engaged in some long rallies with the world number one early on.

Despite creating three break points in the fourth game, Djokovic would fail to break early on.

However Djokovic increased his level mixing up the pace and depth of his shots to create angles for simple winners.

On his fifth break point Djokovic would break for a 4-2 lead and the top seed would break for a second time as Dellien had no answers for the Serb’s defensive skills. First set to Djokovic in 33 minutes.

A similar pattern evolved in the second set only this time Djokovic did get a break in the fourth game, breaking to love.

Accurate serving and construction of points gave Djokovic an easy first round match as another break secured the match and sealed his spot into the second round.

A fine performance in tough conditions gave Djokovic’s bid for history the best possible start.

Next for Djokovic will be Jan-Lennard Struff who beat Thiago Monteiro 6-3 6-4.

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