The Mubadala World Tennis Championship: Nadal, Djokovic And Serena Aim To Shine - UBITENNIS
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The Mubadala World Tennis Championship: Nadal, Djokovic And Serena Aim To Shine

Ubitennis provides an ultimate guide to the three-day tennis exhibition held in the United Arab Emirates.

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In recent years Abu Dubai has been the premier location for some of the world’s best players to finalize their preparations for the new season.

 

The World Tennis Championships takes place at the Abu Dhabi International Tennis Centre, which was built in 2004. This year’s exhibition event feature both men’s and women’s matches between December 27th – 29th. There will be one women’s match occurring on the first day, as well as a men’s tournament featuring six players.

Ahead of the competition, here is everything you need to know about the exhibition.

The women

On Thursday there will be a sibling rivalry when Serena and Venus Williams lock horns. The two have 30 grand slam singles titles between them both with Serena winning 23 of those. Together they have also won 14 grand slam titles in doubles. In their head-to-head on the WTA Tour, Serena leads 16-12.

“This is going to be thrilling,” Serena said during an interview with The National.
“I love that Venus and I have had the ultimate rivalry. I have never played anyone I respect more and am wary of more than her. We, year after year and now I can say decade after decade, bring out the best in each other.
“It is never easy playing your best friend but she knows my game inside out, and has been so successful over me so many times. She is my role model and sister and best friend all rolled up into one. I could not be more fortunate to have her as my sister.”

It is only the second year a women’s match has taken place at the Championship and it will be the first time Venus has taken part. 12 months ago Serena, who was on the comeback from giving birth, bowed out in three sets to Jelena Ostapenko.

“Serena played here last year, it was an exciting time for her and her first competitive match of the season.” Venus told reporters in November.
“She went on to have a great year, so I hope I can do the same and have a great year this year.
“I am feeling good about my tennis and I am feeling strong.”

The clash between the Williams sisters will take place on the 27th at approximately 20:00 local time (GMT+4).

The men

As for the players from the ATP Tour, a mini tournament has been held for them annually since January 2009 when Andy Murray defeated Rafael Nadal in the final. This year’s draw will be the 11th edition of the event with four top 10 players taking part.

Nadal will be looking for a confidence boost ahead of 2019. The Spaniard hasn’t played since the US Open due to a series of injury issues. He has been troubled by knee and abdominal problems and has also undergone minor surgery on his ankle. The Spaniard has experienced numerous success at Abu Dhabi in recent years, winning the Championships a record four times.

“(Mubadala) has always been an important tournament for me since it is the best way to prepare the start of the season in Australia.” Nadal told Gulf News.

Granted a bye in the opening round, Nadal will play either Kevin Anderson or Hyeon Chung in the semi-finals. Anderson is the defending champion after scoring wins over Dominic Thiem and Roberto Bautista Agut last year. Since then, the South African has won two ATP titles and reached the final of the Wimbledon Championships.

“The biggest thing was to recover and get the body healthy and everything feels really good,” Anderson told reporters about his off-season on Wednesday. “There’s always a few things you’re working on, on the court, movement, returns and some stuff at the net but all in all things are feeling really good and I’m really excited to get on the court this week.”

22-year-old Chung will be hoping to spoil Anderson’s dream. Chung peaked at a ranking high of 19th back in April, but his campaign on the tour has also been blighted by injury issues.

“I have played Kevin a few times so I know how to play against him and I know he is one of the great players in the world. I will have to play my best.” Chung said about the upcoming match.

In the other section, Novak Djokovic is looking to continue his recent surge in form. The world No.1 has established himself as the best player in men’s tennis over the past six months after winning two grand slam and two Masters 1000 trophies. He currently leads the world rankings by more than 1500 points.

Despite Djokovic’s calibre, his first match in the tournament might not be so easy. Awaiting him will be either Dominic Thiem or Karen Khachanov, who will lock horns in the second match of the draw. Thiem has defeated the Serbian in their two most recent clashes between 2017-2018, but Djokovic was not playing his best tennis on both of those occasions. Meanwhile, Khachanov stunned the world No.1 two months ago in the final of the Paris Masters.

“This is a new season,” said Khachanov. “It will start from zero for everybody. You have to again prove that you are good and you have to get these results. Of course I am feeling more confident right now. But everything starts from zero.”

Djokovic is a former three-time champion of the event. Going undefeated at the Abu Dhabi International Tennis Centre between 2011-2013.

Full order of play

27/12/18
Chung KOR Vs Anderson RSA (16:00)
Thiem AUT Vs Khachanov RUS (18:00)
Williams, Serena Vs Williams, Venus (20:00)

28/12/18
Fifth place match – TBD (15:00)
Nadal ESP Vs Chung KOR or Anderson RSA (17:00)
Novak Djokovic SRB Vs Thiem AUT or Khachanov RUS (19:00)

29/12/18
Third match play-off (17:00)
Final (19:00)
NOTE: Times are estimated and in accordance to the local time zone (GMT +4).

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Beatriz Haddad Maia Provisionally Suspended After Testing Positive For SARMS

Top 100 player Beatriz Haddad Maia has been provisionally suspended after being caught under the ITF Anti-Doping Programme.

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Beatriz Haddad Maia (@TennisChannel - Twitter)

World number 99 Beatriz Haddad Maia has been provisionally suspended by the ITF for testing positive for the drug SARMS. 

 

The incident in question involves the WTA 125k event in Bol, Croatia where the Brazilian’s urine sample was found to contain two types of the SARM drug.

Currently ranked 99, Haddad Maia lost in the opening round to Sara Sorriibes Tormo at the event in Croatia and with immediate effect has been suspended.

In their statement the ITF said that the 23 year-old had been suspended under article 8.1.3(c) of the Anti-Doping Programme.

“Ms. Haddad Maia, a 23-year-old player from Brazil, provided a urine sample on 4 June 2019 in association with her participation in the WTA Croatia Bol Open held in Bol, Croatia from 3 June to 9 June,” the ITF said in the statement on Tuesday afternoon.

“That sample was sent to the World Anti-Doping Agency (“WADA”) accredited laboratory in Montreal, Canada for analysis, and was found to contain SARM S-22 and SARM LGD-4033 metabolite. SARM S-22 and SARM LGD-4033 are Non-Specified substances, which are prohibited under category S1 of the 2019 WADA Prohibited List (Anabolic Agents), and therefore are also prohibited under the Programme. Positive tests for Non-Specified Substances carry a mandatory Provisional Suspension.”

It is understood that Haddad Maia will appeal her case and is now the third Brazilian to be caught under the Anti-Doping programme after Thomaz Bellucci and Joao Souza.

Recently Haddad Maia had beaten former world number one Garbine Muguruza at Wimbledon before losing to Harriet Dart in the next round.

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Jack Sock Feeling Refreshed Ahead Of Tennis Return In Atlanta

Jack Sock is feeling ready to go ahead of his return to Tennis in Atlanta on Tuesday evening.

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Jack Sock (@BNPPARIBASOPEN - Twitter)

Jack Sock is feeling refreshed and raring to go as he looks to make his return to Tennis this week in Atlanta. 

 

After missing six months of action due to two torn ligaments in his thumb, Jack Sock is ready to make his return this week in Atlanta.

Although the injury was frustrating, Sock sees it as a blessing in disguise as he finished 2018 with a 8-22 record in singles, “It’s very unfortunate to get injured obviously, but I think it was potentially the biggest blessing in disguise for my career,” Sock told atptour.com.

“So to be able to take those months and get a new mentality, enjoy playing the sport again and get excited about playing and come back out, I’ll be ready to fire.” 

Even though Sock is making his return to action this week in singles and doubles, the American admits that it will take a while for the thumb to loosen up, “It’s still a little stiff,” Sock said.

“I was hoping to maybe start a little bit earlier than this and maybe have played a couple tournaments leading into the US Open Series, but you don’t realise how much you need your thumb in daily life and in tennis and how I hold it, the forehand was the last thing I was able to do.”

Now the two-time doubles grand slam champion is feeling refreshed and is looking forward to the challenge of being the underdog, “Overall I feel very refreshed. I’m excited to play again, which I haven’t been able to say that in a long time,” he explained.

“I’m definitely excited to get out there and compete again. I’m just going to go play tennis for the first time in a while. I’m just going to go be happy on the court and enjoy playing and I’ll be the underdog now, which will be nice.

“I’ll be the ranking underdog and be able to go out and play free and have a smile on my face. If I win, amazing. If I don’t win, I’m out there playing again. It’s not going to bother me.”

The 26 year-old is now 180 in the world in singles as he looks to reclaim some of the form that got him to the ATP World Tour Finals in 2017 and 2018 in doubles.

It will be a testing first round for Sock as he plays talented Serbian and Antalya finalist Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round at 7pm local time on Tuesday evening.

 

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Rudolf Molleker knocks out two-time champion Leonardo Mayer in Hamburg

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German 18-year-old Next Gen player Rudolf Molleker knocked out 2014 and 2017 Hamburg champion Leonardo Mayer 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 after 1 hour and 39 minutes at the Hamburg European Open.

 

Molleker beat Mayer in 2017 in the Hamburg qualifying round, but Mayer got a spot in the main draw as a lucky loser and went on to win the title.

Molleker fended off all three break points in two consecutive games of the first set, before saving two set points in the tie-break. He sealed the second set with a single break.

The German teenager saved two break points in the seventh game with two service games with two service winners and one more chance in the ninth game to set up a tie-break. Mayer took the lead twice at 6-5 and 8-7, but Molleker saved both chances with two winners and sealed the tie-break on the 18th point after a double fault from Mayer.

Molleker earned an early break at the start of the second set and held his service games in the next games before sealing the win with a service winner at 5-4 to secure his spot in the round of 16.

Marton Fucsovics cruised past Phillip Kohlschreiber 6-3 6-0 dropping just 16 points on serve. Fucsovics got an early break in the fourth game to clinch the opening set 6-3. The Hungarian player broke three times in a one-sided second set and sealed the win with a service winner.

Andrey Rublev, who lost in the second round at Wimbledon and Umag, edged this year’s Munich and Houston champion Christian Garin 6-4 7-6 (7-5) after 1 hour and 39 minutes to score his second win over the Chilean player this year. Rublev broke three times to seal the opening set 6-4. The Russian player got the break back at 4-5 in the second set to set up a tie-break, which he sealed 7-5.

Jeremy Chardy came back from losing the first set to beat Jeremy Chardy 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-3 after 2 hours and 34 minutes. Paire fended off a set point at 4-5 in the opening set to clinch the tie-break 7-4. Paire got a late break in the second set, but Chardy won two games at 5-5 to force the match to the third set. Chardy went up a double break to seal the third set 6-3.

Martin Klizan converted all five break points to cruise past Daniel Altmaier 6-2 6-2.

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