Miami Open Day 12 Preview: The Men’s Semifinals - UBITENNIS
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Miami Open Day 12 Preview: The Men’s Semifinals

We have two Canadian teenagers in the semifinals, but they face stiff competition in the defending champion and the GOAT.

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Roger Federer at the 2019 Australian Open (photo Roberto Dell'Olivo)

It was just two weeks ago in Indian Wells where another Canadian teenager, Bianca Andreescu, won the women’s title. Can Denis Shapovalov or Felix Auger Aliassime replicate that feat? The women’s doubles semifinals will also be played on Friday, with two very different matchups. One features two of the top eight teams in the world, while the other four of the top singles players in the world. And as an added bonus, the men’s double semifinals were rained out yesterday, and have been added to Friday’s Order of Play. Today’s doubles matches include some singles players you rarely see in the doubles draws.

 

Roger Federer (4) vs. Denis Shapovalov (20)

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This will be the first career meeting between the 20-time Major champion and the teen sensation nearly half his age. It certainly won’t be the first time Federer will look across the net and see a lefty with a crushing forehand. Roger has won with more ease in each match as he’s progressed through this draw. Shapovalov has faced a trickier draw, and a tougher time advancing to this semifinal. As Steph Trudel highlighted on Twitter, Denis has three times had to come back from a set down over the past week. The 19-year-old is not new to playing a Masters 1,000 semifinal, as this is his third time competing on this stage. Of course the tennis world was first introduced to him in the summer of 2017, when he upset Juan Martin Del Potro and Rafael Nadal on his way to the Rogers Cup semifinal in his home country. And just last May in Madrid, he advanced to the semis on clay. On both of those occasions, he lost in the semifinals to Sascha Zverev. Facing a man with 100 career titles is not exactly an easy draw either. But Denis has a real shot at upsetting the living legend. He’s shown us before he does not shy away when on the court with all-time greats, and his aggressive style paired with his lefty strokes give him a legitimate chance. However, it’s hard not tip Federer as the favorite, especially given his 13 hard court wins over the past five weeks.

John Isner (7) vs. Felix Auger Aliassime (Q)

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The 2018 champion is on a 10-match winning streak in Miami, and now plays a newcomer to this stage of Masters 1,000 events who is 15 years his junior. As per the ATP, the 18-year-old Canadian is the youngest Miami Open semifinalist ever, and the third-youngest Masters 1,000 event semifinalist. He’s already won seven matches in Miami over the past two weeks, including two rounds of qualifying. Felix hasn’t dropped a set in his last three matches, two of which were victories over top 20 players. He’ll already move up 24 spots in the rankings with this semifinal appearance, and would move all the way into the top 20 with a win today. Isner meanwhile needs a win today to keep himself in the top 10. The 33-year-old American has slowly been building momentum since a rough few months, when he went on a six-match losing streak between October and January. Isner now has 12 wins on American hard courts over the past two months. He’s easily advanced to his second consecutive semifinal in Miami, at least by Isner standards. He’s taken all four of his matches in straight sets, though seven of those eight sets were decided by a tiebreak. With Auger Aliassime also having a strong serve, I have a feeling we’re in for a few more tiebreaks today. That’s advantage Isner based on the past week’s results.

Other notable matches on Day 12

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  • Australian Open Champions Sam Stosur and Shuai Zhang (6) vs. 2019’s No.1 team, Hao-Ching Chan and Latisha Chan (8)
  • Indian Wells Champions Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka vs. Wild Cards Victoria Azarenka and Ash Barty
  • The best men’s team in the world, Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo (1) vs. the best men’s team of all-time, Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan (3)
  • The regular doubles pairing of Ivan Dodig and Edouard Roger-Vasselin vs. the new pairing of Wesley Koolhof and Stefanos Tsitsipas, the 20-year-old Greek now ranked inside the top 10 in singles.

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Dominic Thiem rallies from one set down against Roberto Bautista Agut to reach the final at Thiem’s 7 in Kitzbuhel

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Dominic Thiem came back from losing the first set to beat Roberto Bautista Agut 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 6-2 en route to reaching the final at the Thiem’s 7 tournament. Thiem earned two breaks in the third and fifth games to race out to a 4-1 lead. Bautista Agut got both breaks back in the sixth and eighth games to draw level to 4-4 forcing the match to the tie-break. The Spanish player won the tie-break 7-5 to take the opening set.

 

Thiem slowly found his rhythm again in the second set and earned two break points in the fourth game but he was not able to convert them. The home star dropped only two points on his serve until the end of the second set and converted two of the three break points to clinch the second set 6-2.

Thiem earned a break in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead and held on his next service games. The tournament organizer sealed the third set 6-2 with his double break with a blistering return on the match point in the eighth game securing his spot in the final. Thiem will face either Andrey Rublev or Matteo Berrettini in the final.

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Former Roland Garros champions and five top 20 players to highlight a great edition of the Ladies Open in Palermo

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The Ladies Open WTA International in Palermo will be the first tournament to be held next August since last February.

 

The Italian tournament will feature a great line-up which includes two confirmed past Roland Garros champions Svetlana Kuznetsova and Jelena Ostapenko and five top 20 players. There is a good chance that 2018 French Open and 2019 Wimbledon champion Simona Halep could be added in the field.

“We are glad about Simona Halep’s great interest in Palermo Ladies Open. We will be waiting for her at the Country Club for an historic edition of the Palermo tournament. We have been in contact with Halep’s manager for some time. We have been talking for days about her potential participation in Palermo. She is one of the best players in the world and her presence would contribute to make an already high-level tournament extrahordinary. We will leave our doors open to her for as long as possible, as well as for other top ten players that will want to resume their season in Palermo”, said tournament’s CEO Oliviero Palma.

The other stars who have signed up to the Ladies Open are 2019 Roland Garros champion Marketa Vondrousova, two Grand Slam semifinalists Elise Mertens (2018 Australian Open) and Anastasija Sevastova (2018 US Open), Aryna Sabalenka (winner at the Wuhan Open in 2018 and 2019, WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai in 2019 and Doha in 2020) and Elina Rybakina (winner in Hobart and finalist in St. Petersburg and Dubai in 2020), Dayana Yastremska (winner of three tournaments in Hong Kong in 2018, Thailand and Strasbourg in 2019).

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Lorenzo Sonego and Liudmila Samsonova lift the titles in Perugia

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Lorenzo Sonego and Liudmila Samsonova won the Zzz Quill Tennis Tour in Perugia. Sonego followed up his Italian title won the previous week in Todi with a 3-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 win over Croatia’s Viktor Galovic (world number 269 and number 7 seed) in the final of the Perugia tournament.

 

“Galovic started very well. It was difficult to adjust to his game and improve during the match. I maintained the right attitude and I managed to win the title. I enjoyed two fantastic weeks in Todi and Perugia. This confirmed my good work in training in the past two weeks. I gave my best and I am confident for the rest of the season”, said Sonego.

World number 117 Liudmila Samsonova won the women’s title came back from one set down to beat world number 307 Stefania Rubini 4-6 6-4 7-6 (8-6) in the women’s final after saving two match points.

“I won a very tough final with a lot of ups and downs. I am happy that I played many matches. It was one of my goals on the eve of the tournament. I showed that I am able to keep the level of my tennis high, when I play focused”, said Samsonova.   

 

 

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