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.

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Angelique Kerber Splits With Rainer Schuettler After Eight Month Partnership

Angelique Kerber has parted ways with Rainer Schuettler after an eight month partnership which ended in Wimbledon disappointment.

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Angelique Kerber (@Wimbledon - Twitter)

Three time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber has split with her coach Rainer Schuettler after an eight month partnership. 

 

It’s been a topsy-turvy year for the German so far after reaching the finals in Indian Wells and Eastbourne as well as being 11th in the Race To Shenzhen rankings.

However after losing in the first week of all three of her grand slams so far, last year’s Wimbledon champion has decider to end her partnership with Rainer Scheuttler.

The 31 year-old made the announcement on Twitter as she admitted it was a tough decision to make but a necessary one to make, “Moving forward, it’s never easy to change – especially when you work with great people like Rainer,” Kerber said.

“But for now, we’ve decided that it’s the right time for a fresh start. He has become a friend and I‘m thankful for his hard work & dedication in the last months.”

A couple of days ago, Kerber also said it was time to embrace the challenges moving forward as she looks to improve her sluggish form ,“This time of year feels very different compared to last year, but it’s still part of the same journey,” Kerber explained on Twitter.

“Whether you‘ve won or lost the last match- it‘s done, it‘s over and it can‘t be changed. It‘s about the lessons you learn from both outcomes that will determine your path. 

“There have always been ups and downs, twists and turns in my career that I accept as part of my story as an athlete. Even more, I‘ve learned to deal with it and embrace the challenge moving forward.”

Although Kerber and Schuettler have become good friends, the results never really translated when it really mattered most as Kerber couldn’t keep her focus on the big occasions.

A very brave decision to do it more than half way through the season though as Kerber looks to finish the season strong in a frustrating year.

Next for the former world number one is the Rogers Cup in Toronto, which starts on the 5th August.

 

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Johanna Konta Speaks About Charity Work Ahead Of Second Half Of Season

Johanna Konta talks about her work with charity as she looks to end the season strong.

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Johanna Konta (@the_LTA - Twitter)

Johanna Konta has spoken about her charity work as she prepares for the final grand slam of the season. 

 

It has been an encouraging 2019 so far for the Brit after reaching the finals in Rabat and Madrid as well as reaching the last four at Roland Garros.

Although that was met with disappointment and criticism at Wimbledon after her quarter-final exit to Barbora Strycova, Konta is looking to continue the momentum in the American summer.

However for now, the world number 15 is taking her mind off tennis to focus on her charity work and in particular tackling homelessness.

Recently Konta visited the prime minister on the subject and spoke to the WTA Website about why she feels passionately about homelessness, “Homelessness has always been a big thing that’s close to my heart, that I want to help,” Konta said.

“I met a young lady called Kenny, who has come through Centre Point and it’s through them that she’s got her shift here with The Clink.”

The Brit is an ambassador for the charity CentrePoint, who support young homeless people in London since 1969 as homelessness has been a big problem in the UK.

The Clink provided catering for the event an 10 Downing Street, which was about bringing young people who are at risk of violence and helping them talk to businesses and role models to see how they can not take to crime.

On her visit, Konta explained why it was a dream come true to go to 10 Downing Street, “I feel like you’re walking through history, especially as you walk up the stairs and you see all the Prime Ministers through time. It’s inspiring and I feel very lucky.”

Next for Konta is the Rogers Cup in Toronto, which starts on the 5th of August as she prepares for the final grand slam of the year at the US Open.

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Wimbledon Day 13 Preview: The Gentlemen’s Final

In a championship match with significant GOAT implications, Roger Federer plays for a record-extending 21st Major, as Djokovic defends his title and vies for his 16th.

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Roger Federer (@Wimbledon - Twitter)

By Matthew Marolf

 

In 25 days, Roger Federer will turn 38 years of age. Remarkably, here he is in his 31st Major final, and his 12th at The All England Club. His most recent Slam final came 18 months ago in Australia, where he defeated Marin Cilic in five sets. Playing the French Open last month for the first time since 2015, and advancing to the semi-finals on his worst surface, provided Roger with considerable confidence. After falling to Rafael Nadal in Paris, he avenged that loss here on Friday in a thrilling semi-final. But in order to win his ninth Wimbledon, he’ll need to do something he’s never done before: defeat both Nadal and Djokovic at the same Grand Slam event.

One year ago, Novak Djokovic arrived at SW19 ranked outside the top 20. After holding all four Majors at once, he hadn’t claimed another in over two years. But a semi-final victory over Nadal would propel Djokovic to win three consecutive Slams. He’s now the definitive world No.1, and looks to pull within four Major titles of Federer, and within two of Nadal.

Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Roger Federer (2)

This is their third time playing in the gentlemen’s singles final. In 2014, Djokovic pulled out the win in five sets, a turning point in Novak’s career having lost his last five Major Finals outside of Australia. A year later, Djokovic prevailed in four. Overall Novak has the slight edge in their head-to-head 25-22, and has taken eight of their last 10 meetings. At Majors, Djokovic leads 9-6, and hasn’t lost to Federer at a Slam in seven years, which was their first Wimbledon matchup in the 2012 semi-finals.

Both men needed three sets and about three hours to win their semi-finals, though Federer’s match against Nadal was the tighter and more draining affair. For Roger, coming back less than 48 hours later to play the other GOAT contender, who is also nearly six years younger than Federer, is a huge ask. But if Roger plays with the same energy he did on Friday, he has a shot. He’ll need to serve even better than in the semi-finals, as he faces the best returner in the game.

The crowd could play a critical role here. They’ll undoubtedly be raucously behind Roger, and we saw on Friday against Roberto Bautista Agut how bothered Novak can get by crowds cheering for his opponent. He receives it as disrespect, though he often seems to thrive on it. But Novak would be wise to not outwardly mock the Centre Court audience today, as it will only increase their enthusiasm for Federer. On paper, Djokovic is a solid favourite. There’s no real weakness in his game, and the best-of-five format plays to his advantage, especially if this goes the distance.

However, we saw on Friday the magic Roger is still capable of on Centre Court. He’ll know this may be one of his last chances to win a Major, though will that inspire him or unsettle him? We saw Serena Williams tighten up under similar circumstances yesterday. While I don’t think this will be a blowout like the ladies’ championship match, Djokovic will be too much for Federer to overcome in the end. Novak will be joining Simona Halep at the champions ball on Sunday evening.

Other notable matches on Day 13:

In the ladies’ doubles final re-scheduled for today due to the length of the gentlemen’s doubles final, singles standouts Su-Wei Hsieh and Barbora Strycova (3) vs. Gabriela Dabrowski and Yifan Xu (4), who upset the defending champion in the semi-finals.  Singles semi-finalist Strycova would become the new doubles No.1 with a win today.

In the mixed doubles final, which has unfortunately been bumped to No.1 Court, French Open champions Ivan Dodig and Latisha Chan (8) vs. 42-year-old Roberto Lindstedt and Jelena Ostapenko, who is a former junior champion here, and was a singles semifinalist a year ago.

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