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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Bianca Andreescu Looking Forward To Roland Garros Challenge After Training In Spain

Bianca Andreescu is looking forward to Roland Garros after improving her fitness at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca.

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Bianca Andreescu (@TennisCanada - Twitter)

Bianca Andreescu is looking forward to the challenge at Roland Garros after training in Mallorca, Spain. 

 

The Indian Wells champion hasn’t played a WTA match since retiring to Anett Kontaveit in Miami in March as she has been recovering from a shoulder injury.

However it seems the Canadian is raring to go ahead of the French Open next week after a couple of weeks of training at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca.

Speaking to the Rafa Nadal Academy, Andreescu has said she is looking forward to the French Open after improving her fitness, “It’s actually going really well, I’m progressing in my tennis day-by-day,” the Canadian said in Mallorca.

“This is a good period for me because I’m working on my fitness, which is very important for the clay season. So I’m really looking forward to what I can do at the French Open. Clay is one of my favourite surfaces, so I’m looking forward to one of my favourite slams.”

The 18 year-old will be the 22nd seed for Roland Garros as she looks to make a deep run in Paris. With her game of variety and unpredictability causing trouble on the American hard courts, you can only imagine how well it will translate on the clay.

As well as her preparation for Roland Garros, Andreescu also spoke about her time in Mallorca and why she likes going back to Spain, “The courts are incredible, the people are very nice and the food is good,” she said.

“Spain is my favourite country. I’ve been to Barcelona and Madrid and now Mallorca I got to visit, it’s been really nice.”

Now Andreescu looks for a week of training in Paris as she will find out who her first round opponent is on Thursday evening, when the draw is made.

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Rafael Nadal claims his ninth title in Rome

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Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic 6-0 4-6 6-1 in the eagerly awaited final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on the Centre Court in Rome to claim his ninth title of his legendary career in the Italian capital. Nadal has become the first player in history to win 34 Masters 1000 titles.

 

Nadal and Djokovic met for the 54th time in their careers and for the 26time in a final. Djokovic entered the Rome final with a 28-25 win-loss record and beat Nadal in three sets in this year’s Australian Open final by the scoreline of 6-3 6-2 6-3.

The top 2 players of the ATP Ranking won 12 of the last 14 Rome titles.

Nadal took a bagel win in a one-sided first set with three consecutive breaks and earned 59 % of his return points. Nadal broke in the first game of the opening set after a loose forehand from Djokovic. Nadal went up a double break to open a 3-0 lead with a forehand down the line and claimed the opening set in the sixth game with a service winner after 38 minutes.

Djokovic bounced back in the second set and earned a break point in the fourth game, but Nadal saved it with a forehand down the line winner.

The Serbian player saved three break points he faced in the seventh game of the second set and fended off another chance at 4-4. Nadal wasted a game point in the 10th game and sent a forehand long to drop serve in the 10th game. With his only break Djokovic claimed the second set 6-4 forcing the match to the third set.

The Serbian player earned his first break point of the match at 2-1 in the second set with a forehand, but Nadal saved it with an inside.in forehand winner. Nadal brought up three break points at 3-3 0-40 with a lob that Djokovic smashed into the net.

Djokovic saved the 4th fourth break point of the second set at 4-4 before breaking serve at deuce in the 10th game to close out the second set 6-4, when Nadal missed wide.

Nadal started the decisive set with an immediate break at deuce in the opening game. Djokovic saved a break point in the third game at deuce, but dropped his serve for the second time at 30 in the fifth game to trail 1-4 after a backhand error Nadal wrapped up the match with his third break in the seventh game on his first match point at deuce to clinch his ninth title in Rome and his 34th Masters 1000 trophy. Nadal has lifted his first title of the 2019 season and his first tournament since last August’s Rogers Cup.

Nadal won the Rome title for the second consecutive year becoming the first player to successfully defend a title in 2019. The Spanish player had not won a single tournament in 2019, but he reached three consecutive semifinals in Monte-Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid.

The Spanish player becomes the oldest Rome champion in the history of the Rome tournament.

Nadal received the Rome trophy from former Roland Garros and Rome champion Gustavo Kuerten during a ceremony attended by Italian tennis legend Nicola Pietrangeli and Italian tennis Federation President Angelo Binaghi.

“For me it’s always an honour to play in Rome. I played here for the first time in 2005. I thank the crowd for their support. I played the first set very well. The most important thing is to return to my best level. All titles are special, but this win means a lot to me, because Rome has a very important place in the history of our sport. I had a very difficult week. For me, as I have said ever day, winning titles is important, but for me the most important thing is to feel myself competitive and healthy. And then with the feeling I am improving.” Nadal said during a post-match interview with TennisTV.

 “I know if I reach my level, you can win or you can lose, but normally I will have my chances. Especially on this surface. I am very happy with my victory. It was a great match, I played well and now I’m just enjoying the moment.” Nadal summarised.

 “It is always special playing against Novak, against Roger (Federer). These kind of matches has been tradition in the sport for the last 10 or so years.” he said.

 “Novak is having a great season. Winning in Australia and winning last week in Madrid. It’s an important win for me, but what means a lot is winning again here in Rome. It is one of the most important events of the year.”

Nadal did not drop a set en route to reaching the final, while four-time Rome champion Djokovic won two three-set marathon matches against Juan Martin Del Porto in the quarter final and Diego Schwartzman in the semifinal and spent 5 hours and 34 minutes compared to Nadal ‘s 3 hours and 22 minutes.

“No, I don’t want to talk about the fatigue. Simply Nadal was the better player today.” Djokovic said during the trophy presentation.

 

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Rafael Nadal Claims Revenge On Tsitsipas To Reach 50th Masters 1000 Final

Rafael Nadal is into the Rome final after a 6-3 6-4 win over Stefanos Tsitsipas as he makes his 50th Masters 1000 final.

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Rafael Nadal (@ATP_Tour - Twitter)

Rafael Nadal claimed revenge on Stefanos Tsitsipas with a 6-3 6-4 win to reach his 50th Masters 1000 final in Rome. 

 

The world number two got his revenge from his defeat to the Greek star last week in Madrid by cruising to victory I the Rome semi-finals.

It’s his first final since the Australian Open and the 50th Masters 1000 final of his career as he looks for an eighth Rome title.

In the final Nadal will play either world number one Novak Djokovic or Diego Schwartzman.

It was a fast start from the Spaniard who broke in the second game for a 2-0 lead as he looked to send a clear message after recent struggles.

The world number seven though started to show why he should never be underestimated with his power from the back of the court and his positivity.

However some stunning forehands saw Nadal hold in a nine minute game as he sealed a 3-0 lead as he changed things up in his tactics.

Unlike in Madrid, the seven-time Rome champion used his forehand more than his backhand to punish Tsitsipas and be aggressive in the key moments.

Despite some good serving from Tsitsipas, it was Nadal who held firm to take the first set 6-3 and take the early advantage in this semi-final.

The second set saw Tsitsipas angry at the umpire at a few line calls as Nadal took advantage of the Madrid finalist’s emotional rollercoaster.

Some strokes of brilliance once again saw Nadal in the ascendancy as he broke in the third game for a 2-1 lead as Tsitsipas grew frustrated.

Despite Nadal threatening to break again Tsitsipas remained firm on serve as he wanted to force Nadal to at least serve out the match.

But some more insane shot-making and some fatigue from the Greek saw the former world number one close out the match and once again reach the final in Rome.

It was a good few weeks for Tsitsipas, who looks good to have a deep run at Roland Garros in just over a week’s time.

As for Nadal, it is his first final since the Australian Open and the 50th Masters 1000 final of his career, which comes as perfect timing ahead of the defence of his Roland Garros title.

A match against world number one Novak Djokovic or Diego Schwartzman now awaits the Spaniard in his bid for an eighth title in the Italian capital.

 

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