Indian Wells Day 4 Preview: The Men’s and Women’s Match of the Day - UBITENNIS
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Indian Wells Day 4 Preview: The Men’s and Women’s Match of the Day

It’s the first weekend of action in one of the biggest non-Majors of the year. Serena, Venus, Roger, Rafa, and Novak are all present on the grounds they refer to as tennis paradise.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime - Toronto 2018 (via Twitter, @rogerscup)

The tournament kicked into high gear last night, in an excellent battle which saw Serena Williams take out Victoria Azarenka. Saturday will see the beginning of the second round in men’s singles, and the conclusion of the second round in women’s singles. The men’s most intriguing matchup will see two of the ATP’s hottest rising stars collide. On the women’s side, two former Major champions, and two of the WTA’s most likable players, will square off. Also, keep an eye on the doubles matches over the course of this tournament. Many singles players also play doubles at Indian Wells, making for the year’s most unique and entertaining doubles draws.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (9) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime

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This will be the first career meeting between the 20-year-old from Greece and the 18-year-old from Canada. Tsitsipas is the newest member of the top 10, and has carried over his momentum of 2018 into 2019. Of course he upset Roger Federer in Australia, in his first run to a Major semifinal. He then won the ATP 250 event in Marseille, and made the final last week in Dubai, where Federer avenged the loss from Melbourne. Concurrently, Auger-Aliassime comes into this second round encounter having won seven of his last nine matches. He advanced to his first career final just two weeks ago at the ATP 500 event in Rio de Janeiro, with some impressive victories over strong clay court players. Felix is now inside the top 60 for the first time in his young career. This could easily be a preview of a rivalry for many years to come. The advantage must be given to the more accomplished player in Tsitsipas, especially on a hard court, as well as in a tournament of this magnitude. However, Felix is obviously playing with a lot of confidence, and should be able to make this interesting.

Petra Kvitova (3) vs. Venus Williams

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This match has big rankings implications for Venus Williams. She is currently 36th in the world, just a few spots away from being seeded at this and other big tournaments. But she is defending semifinal points from last year here. A loss today would drop her outside the top 50. Venus survived a tough first round match with Andrea Petkovic on Thursday, but received medical attention during the match for undisclosed reasons. She appeared to have far from a full tank of energy. Hopefully she’ll be close to 100% on Saturday, as she’s facing the WTA’s best player in the first two months of 2019. Kvitova made her first Major final in nearly five years at the Australian Open. She also made the final in Dubai, and won the title in Sydney. Petra already has 17 match wins on the year. By comparison, Venus only won 17 matches in all of 2018. Kvitova holds a 4-2 edge in their career head-to-head, though Venus won the last time they met. That was in the 2017 US Open quarterfinals, a great match which went to a third set tiebreak. Also in Venus’ favor is Petra’s lackluster record at Indian Wells of 13-8. However, Kvitova is by far the more in-form player. She’ll also enjoy the cooler conditions the desert is currently experiencing, as she does not like playing in the heat. While Petra can be quite the streaky player, she should prevail here.

Other notable matches on Day 4

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  • Defending Champion Naomi Osaka (1) vs. Kristina Mladenovic, who defeated Osaka in Naomi’s only match since her Australian Open title.
  • Novak Djokovic (1), in his first match since his own Australian Open title, vs. Bjorn Frantangelo, who took a set off Djokovic in their only previous meeting three years ago at this same tournament.
  • In a big-serving affair, Canadian No.1 Milos Raonic (13) vs. California Native Sam Querrey.
  • Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan (4) vs. two young Russians inside the top 15 of the singles rankings, Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev.

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Tomas Berdych Suffers Another Setback After Miami Open Withdrawal

Tomas Berdych has had to withdraw from the Miami Open after suffering a back injury.

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Tomas Berdych (@ATP_Tour - Twitter)

Tomas Berdych has suffered another injury setback after withdrawing from the Miami Open this week. 

The former Wimbledon finalist received a setback to his comeback after withdrawing from his first round match with Bernard Tomic due to a back injury.

Had Berdych won his first round match he would have played Novak Djokovic in the second round but his latest injury setback means that potential match-up will not happen.

Speaking on Twitter the Czech Republican explained that he needed time to recover from his back injury, “Not a good day in the office, unfortunately, I have had to pull out from my first round match,” Berdych said.

“My back is not in the 100% conditions and I have to be careful with my decisions. Need time to recover and be strong again.”

After reaching the Doha final, Montpellier semi-finals and the fourth round at the Australian Open, this is an untimely setback for Berdych who was hoping to reach the heights of 2013 once again.

As a result of his withdrawal Bernard Tomic will play a qualifier or Lucky Loser tomorrow in the first round.

Tipsarevic’s Emotional Return 

In early Miami Open results, Janko Tipsarevic made an emotional return to the ATP Tour with a 6-3 6-3 win over Bradley Klahn.

The Serbian, who has had his injuries, broke the American four times to reach the second round at the new Miami venue.

A match with Roberto Bautista Agut awaits for Tipsarevic next who will be eagerly-awaiting the challenge. There were also wins for Argentinian duo Federico Delbonis and Guido Andreozzi as well as Roberto Carballes Baena.

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Bianca Andreescu becomes the youngest WTA Premier Mandatory champion at Indian Wells

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Canadian 18-year-old Bianca Andreescu edged past Angelique Kerber 6-4 3-6 6-4 to become the youngest WTA Premier Mandatory champion and the fourth youngest winner at Indian Wells behind Martina Hingis, Serena Williams and Monica Seles.

Bianca Andreescu has won her maiden WTA title. With this win she has won 28 of her 31 matches this season and becomes the first wild-card to win the Indian Wells title.

Andreescu started the first set with an immediate break on her fourth break point chance in the opening game after Kerber’s second double fault. The Canadian teenager held her serve with a hold of serve at 15 to open up a 2-0 lead.

In the third game Andreescu hit a forehand slice to draw level to 30-30, but Kerber held her serve for 1-2, as Andreescu sent her forehand wide.

Andreescu held her serve at 30 in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. The teenager got to 30-all on Kerber’s serve, but the German player hit a big forehand and held her serve for 2-3. In the sixth game Andreescu hit a forehand winner to earn a game point and held her serve with her first ace. Andreescu made a double fault at 30-15 in the 10th game but she held her serve to close out the first set 6-4 in 40 minutes. Kerber won all her points on her second serve, compared to Kerber’s 55%. The German player made 14 unforced errors in the first set.

In the second set Andreeu got to 30-30, but she hit her backhand into the net to hold serve for 1-1. In the best game of the match Kerber saved two break points to hold her serve for 2-1. Andreescu battled hard to hold her serve but Kerber came back from 30-40 down to convert her only break point of the set after two deuces thanks to a forehand error from Andreescu. The player consolidated the break with a hold at 30 to open up a 4-1 lead. Kerber held her next service games to close out the second set 6-3.

Andreescu opened the third set with a hold at 30 to take a 1-0 lead. The Canadian held serve in the third game at deuce for 2-1, but she missed a chance for a break point, when she netted a short forehand. Andreescu required medical treatment on her arm after the third game.

Kerber converted her second break point to take a 3-2 lead, when Andreescu hit a shot into the net. Andreescu broke straight back at 15 to draw level to 3-3 and held serve at love for 4-3. The Canadian got the second consecutive break on her second break point chance in the eighth game to earn her chance to serve for the match, but Kerber saved three championship points to break back in the ninth game on return at deuce, when Andreescu hit her drop-shot into the net.

Andreescu closed out the match with another break in the 10th game on her fourth championhip point. She hit a forehand winner at 30-30 and closed out the match, when Kerber hit the net, and fell to the ground in celebration.

“I would like to congratulate Angelique Kerber for an amazing tournament. It was amazing to share the court with you today. You are an incredible champion and an inspiration. Hopefully this moment can be an inspiration for many young athletes because, like I always say, if you believe in yourself anything is possible. My mother told me throughout the years ‘if you work hard, you dream to get big. Then you can accomplish so many things and that’s what I’ve been doing throughout. This moment has become a reality and it’s really crazy. To my team – thank you for being there for me throughout so many years. It’s really means so much to share this moment right now”, said Andreescu.

 Angelique Kerber congratulated with Andreescu on her amazing week in the post match speech.

“I would like to say congratulations to Bianca for your unbelievable tournament, for your win here. You played amazing during the whole tournament and you really deserved to win the title”, said Kerber.

 

 

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Rafael Nadal Withdraws From Federer Clash With Knee Injury, Withdraws From Miami

Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from his BNP Paribas Open semi-final with Roger Federer due to a knee injury.

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Rafael Nadal (@BNPPARIBASOPEN - Twitter)

Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from his Indian Wells semi-final with Roger Federer after suffering a right knee injury.

The Spaniard injured his during his 7-6(2) 7-6(2) win over Karen Khachanov in the quarter-finals. As a result he has also withdrawn from next week’s Miami Open.

It was reported that Nadal had a 15 minute practice before a 10 minute conversation with his team where they made the decision to withdraw from the semi-final.

After the announcement Nadal emphasised his disappointment at the withdrawal, “I wanted to try my best to be competitive, but during the warmup I felt my knee was not good enough for the level I need to play,” Nadal explained.

“It’s tough for me to accept all these things that I’m going through in my career. Sometimes I feel sad because I’m in a disadvantage to all my opponents. 

[I need to] be positive and grateful for all the things tennis has given to me. I feel fortunate for all the things I’ve done in my life and the world of tennis.”

It is a bitterly disappointing setback for Nadal who would’ve been hoping to close the gap between him and Novak Djokovic at the top of the rankings.

Next for the Spaniard will be Monte-Carlo in mid-April after also announcing his withdrawal from next week’s Miami Open, “The plan for the clay season is Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, Roma and Roland Garros. That has been my calendar throughout my career and I hope to be able to complete it one more time.”

As for Roger Federer, he will now play either Dominic Thiem or Milos Raonic in tomorrow’s final as he looks to win his sixth title in California.

 

 

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