Miami Open Day 6 Preview: The Men’s and Women’s Match of the Day - UBITENNIS
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Miami Open Day 6 Preview: The Men’s and Women’s Match of the Day

It’s the first weekend of action at the brand-new Miami Open, which relocated this year to the Hard Rock Stadium, home of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.

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Alexander Zverev (@AustralianOpen - Twitter)

By Matthew Marolf

 

Rain disrupted play at multiple times during the past week, but after a jam-packed Order of Play on Friday, the tournament is back on schedule. 

The men’s bottom half of the singles draw will complete their second round matches on Saturday, while the women’s top half will play their third rounds. And with this being a two-week event just like Indian Wells, the doubles draws feature many top singles players with some unique pairings, and are well worth your attention.

Sascha Zverev (2) vs. David Ferrer (WC)

David Ferrer (@mundotenis31 – Twitter)

Zverev is ranked third in the world, but seeded second in Miami due to the absence of Rafael Nadal. Ferrer was given a wild card to compete in one of his last professional tournaments, as he’ll retire at the Madrid Masters later this spring. The 36-year-old Spaniard got off to a strong start on Thursday, taking out American Sam Querrey in straight sets.  Sascha holds a 4-2 edge in their career head-to-head, and has won their last four meetings. That includes a match last year in Miami, where Zverev came back to win after dropping the first set.

They also played just last month in Acapulco, where Sascha comfortably won the second set after claiming a first set tiebreak. In a non-tour match earlier this year, they met at the Hopman Cup, where the 21-year-old German prevailed in an extended battle decided by a third set tiebreak. A finalist in Miami last year, Zverev is definitely the favourite, but Ferrer is fully capable of making this interesting. He’ll be the sentimental favourite for sure, and will have the full support of the Miami crowd on Saturday evening.

Angelique Kerber (8) vs. Bianca Andreescu

Bianca Andreescu (@Bandreescu_ – Twitter)

In the other night match inside Hard Rock Stadium, it’s a rematch of the fantastic Indian Wells final from just six days ago. Coming off that life-changing victory, an early loss in Miami would have been understandable for the 18-year-old Canadian. But Andreescu fought back from down a set in her opening round this week, and won in straight sets just yesterday. Now she’ll face a three-time Major champion who will be thirsty for revenge.

Last Sunday, Andreescu was able to outhit Kerber deep in the third set despite exhaustion and the onset of cramps.  During a changeover in that third set, Bianca told her coach, “I’m so tired.” But she would then say, “I want this so bad!” Her determination has been tremendously impressive, as is her record of 28-3 this year at all levels. This run though must come to an end at some point, and this feels like the match where that could happen. That being said, I’ve been wrong in betting against Bianca a few times in the past week alone.

Other notable matches on Day 6:

Naomi Osaka (@TENNIS – Twitter)

In his first match since losing the Indian Wells final to Dominic Thiem, Roger Federer (4) vs. Radu Albot, who upset Fabio Fognini in Indian Wells. Last year after losing the Indian Wells final, Federer lost his opening round match in Miami to Thanasi Kokkinakis.

In a rematch of a three-setter from this year’s Australian Open, Naomi Osaka (1) vs. Su-Wei Hsieh, who can drive her opponents crazy with her unique playing style.

ATP

Ranking Points At The Olympics A Distant Dream For The Men’s Elite

Novak Djokovic onced described the Olympics as ‘a fifth grand slam.’ So why are players not being awarded for their performance by their governing body?

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LONDON: 31 years have passed since tennis was reintroduced back into the Olympic Games. Since then the likes of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Andy Murray have all claimed medals for their countries. Yet the event continues to be plagued by one aspect putting some players off participating. 

 

Points are the holy grail for many on the tour, particularly those lower down in the rankings. They range from one point in Futures events to 2000 for those who triumph in the grand slams. Looking at the Olympic tennis event at-a-glance, it seems common sense that points should be awarded there too. However, it is not as simple as it seems. 

The four-year event is under the jurisdiction of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). A different governing body to that of the ATP. Whilst the two are in a partnership, they still ultimately compete against each other. Something departing ATP CEO Chris Kermode admits is a barrier. 

“It’s (ATP points) the only equity the ATP has.”  Kermode said during a press confrence on Wednesday.
“We tried and we had discussions, but for instance, quite a few of our tournaments in the summer, even the Masters events, suffer from repercussions caused by the Olympics.’
“Was there a way the Olympics compensate those tournaments for points and stuff like that? We had those conversations, but we never got across the line.”

Simon Higson, who is the head of communications for the ATP, has previously echoed a similar sentiment to that of Kermode. Saying there have been ‘collaborative discussions’ with the ITF and International Olympic Committee. Which was previously confirmed to Ubitennis back in April

There appears to be little enthusiasm from either side about the chances of an agreement coming soon. Ubitennis spoke with a representative from the ITF last month. Heather Bowler in their director of communications. Addressing the upcoming 2020 Games in Tokyo, she empathized the ITF’s commitment to continue investment into the event in the future.

”Over the last 30 years, tennis has successfully established itself as an integral part of the Olympic and Paralympic programmes, and the ITF continues to work with the IOC, IPC and other stakeholders to maximise both the athlete and fan engagement and experience.” Said Bowler. 

Whilst working in partnership with those organizations are positive, with regards to the ATP it isn’t so black and white. Illustrated best by their continuous differences over the team tournaments. The newly revamped Davis Cup belongs to the ITF, but from January they will face an annual rivalry from the ATP Cup. 

“No ranking points will be awarded at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Tennis Event, but the ITF will continue to liaise with the ATP and WTA about future Games.” Bowler states without further elaboration.

The irony is that it is the player’s ranking that is used to partly determined their place in the Olympics. Providing they meet their Davis\Fed Cup participation requirements or have launched a successful appeal to the ITF. 

Roger Federer has already announced his intention to play in Tokyo. The 2008 Olympic champion has twice been a flag bearer for Switzerland. For him, the event is like no other with the elevated feel of national pride.

“It is just something completely different to the tour tournaments that we have,” he told CNN in October.
 “Obviously, I do feel like I represent Switzerland wherever I go, it is always Roger Federer from Switzerland. I just feel at the Olympics it is next level.”

Clearly, there is something about the Olympics that attracts the likes of Federer. The feeling of representing your country in a sporting extravaganza that dates back to 1896. It is an event that captures the attention of the world. The 2016 Rio Games attracted a worldwide audience of 5.2 billion TV viewers according to one IOC report.

So with such a milestone event, will an agreement for ranking points eventually occur? 

“I don’t know. You can ask the new man,’ was the discouraging response from kermode. 

Nothing is going to happen soon. The hope now lies with Kermode’s replacement, Andrea Gaudenzi, who played in the 1996 Summer Olympics. Will he work on striking a deal?

Let’s wait and see. 

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ATP

Alexander Zverev Denies Using Phone During Match At ATP Finals

The world No.7 has insisted that he didn’t break any rules at the season-ending event.

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LONDON: Reigning ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev has denied allegations that he was swiping through his phone during a sit down in his latest match in London

 

A series of Twitter users posted footage of the German placing his hand in his bag. It appeared as if he was using a phone or some sort of electronic device. Using his thumb to either press a button or swipe something. Despite the allegations, Zverev has denied any wrongdoing. 

“My phone was in the locker room. I always leave it there. I don’t know what they saw, but it was definitely not a phone.” Zverev replied when quizzed in his press conference. 

Under rules set out by the ATP, it is an offence for players to use their phones during matches and they could potentially be penalised. The rule is in place as part of fight against match-fixing in the sport. 

“A player is not allowed to use any electronic devices (e.g. CD players, mobile phones, etc.) during matches, unless approved by the Supervisor.” The 2019 ATP rulebook states. 

Despite the 22-year-old stating his innocence, questions remain about what he was looking at inside his bag. Which is located next up the chair of the match umpire. Asked to explain, he said it might have been ‘an empty water bottle.’ 

 

Zverev will play his final match of the round-robin stage at the ATP Finals against Daniil Medvedev. He is currently 1-1 in the group after defeating Rafael Nadal before losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas on Wednesday. 

“Days like this happen. It’s just how it is in sports.” Said Zverev after his latest loss. “Against Rafa, I played a great match. Today I didn’t. This is just how it is sometimes, even though I have to give credit to him. He played really well.”
“There are a lot of things that I did not do great, and I have to change that to have a chance on Friday.”

There are three possible scenarios in which Zverev can qualify for the semi-finals. The most simple is that if both he and Nadal or Tsitsipas win their next matches. He can also qualify if he loses to Medvedev in three sets and Tsitsipas wins. 

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ATP

Jean Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau beat Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the doubles tournament in London

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Former ATP Finals champions Jean Julien Rojer from the Netherlands and Horia Tecau from Romania beat 2019 year-end number 1 team Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 6-2 5-7 10-8 after 90 minutes in Max Mirnyi Group of the doubles tournament at the ATP Finals in London.

 

Tecau broke serve with a backhand crosscourt winner to take a 3-1 lead in the opening set. The Romanian player went up a double break with a backhand crosscourt winner at 5-2 to seal the opening set after 28 minutes.

Cabal and Farah did not convert any of their break points in the ninth game of the second set before breaking serve for the first time in the match two games later to claim the second set 7-5 forcing the match to the decisive set.

Rojer and Tecau went up a 6-2 lead in the Match Tie-Break. Cabal and Farah won four consecutive points to draw level to 6-6. Rojer and Tecau rallied from 7-8 down by winning three consecutive points to claim the Match Tie-Break 10-8.

Rojer and Tecau have now a 1-1 record in Group Max Mirnyi. The Dutch and Romanian team took the re-match against Cabal and Farah, who won their previous head-to-head clash in five sets at Wimbledon en route to their maiden Grand Slam doubles title.

“I am happy with our form. We lost the first match and knew we would need to bounce back against a very good team. We played a very good first set, prior to them making adjustments in the second set. We played a really good Match tie-break”, said Rojer.

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