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Potential blockbuster third round matches at Indian Wells

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The Indian Wells Main Draw could feature potential blockbuster third round clashes (Novak Djokovic vs Nick Kyrgios and Roger Federer vs Stan Wawrinka).

 

This year’s Australian Open winner and five-time Indian Wells champion Novak Djokovic could clash against Nick Kyrgios in a blockbuster third-round match at Indian Wells in the Californian desert, the first Masters 1000 tournament of the season.

Djokovic will play in his first tournament since his seventh triumph at last January’s Australian Open. The Serbian player will face a qualifier in the second round before facing Kyrgios, who beat Alexander Zverev in the final of the Acapulco Abierto Mexicano after a three-set win over Rafael Nadal in the third round. The Australian player beat Djokovic in both of his head-to-head matches against the world number 1 player and beat the Serb two years ago in the Round of 16 at Indian Wells.

Kyrgios will clash against either Phillip Kohlschreiber or this year’s Australian Open doubles champion Pierre Hugues Herbert.

Djokovic and Kyrgios have been drawn in the same quarter as Gael Monfils, who has returned to the top 20 for the first time since July 2017 after winning the final in Rotterdam against Stan Wawrinka and reaching the semifinal in Dubai, where he lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the tie-break of the third set.  This quarter of the draw also features last year’s Indian Wells semifinalist Borna Coric, Reilly Opelka and last year’s Hamburg and Beijing champion Nikoloz Basilashvili.

In the second quarter of the draw Alexander Zverev could take on his elder brother Misha in the second round. The Zverev brothers won the doubles title as a team in Acapulco last week. Misha will open against Martin Klizan in the first round. Alexander beat Misha in their first head-to-head clash in Washington last August. Zverev could face Grigor Dimitrov in a possible re-match of the clash they played in 2016 at Indian Wells where the German beat his Bulgarian rival 6-4 3-6 7-5. Zverev could face Milos Raonic in the Round of 16 and Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter final. The Greek star, who won his first title of the year in Marseille and finished runner-up in Dubai to Roger Federer, could take on this year’s Rio de Janeiro finalist Felix Auger Aliassime in an all-Next Gen second round clash, if the young Canadian will beat last week’s Acapulco semifinalist Cameron Norrie from Great Britain

In the third quarter five-time Indian Wells champion Roger Federer will open his campaign against either Italy’s Andreas Seppi or Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk in the second round before a blockbuster third round against either his compatriot Stan Wawrinka or Marton Fucsovics. Federer beat Wawrinka in the Indian Wells final in 2017 to claim his fifth title in the Californian desert. The two Swiss players clashed three times at Indian Wells in 2011, 2013 and 2017. Federer leads 21-3 in his 24 head-to-head matches against Wawrinka and dropped just one of the seven sets played against his compatriot at Coachella Valley.

Federer could face Fabio Fognini in the Round of 16 and either Kei Nishikori or Marin Cilic in the quarter final. Denis Shapovalov and Frances Tiafoe have been drawn in the same section of the draw as Federer. Tiafoe, who reached the Australian open quarter final this year, will play against Nicholas Jerry before a possible clash against 2018 Australian Open semifinal against Kyle Edmund. Shapovalov will face either Taylor Fritz or Steve Johnson.

The Swiss Maestro lifted the 100th title of his career last week beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in a straight-set final.

In the fourth quarter last year’s Miami Open champion John Isner could meet either Karen Khachanov or Tomas Berdych in the fourth round. Khachanov has a win-loss record of 4-5 this and has not won a top-60 player this year.

Rafael Nadal could start his Indian Wells campaign against either US Jared Donaldson or a qualifier in the second round before possible matches against Danil Medvedev in the fourth round and John Isner in the quarter final before a possible super semifinal against Federer.

Juan Martin Del Potro will not defend his title because a knee injury. Only five players have won the Indian Wells since 2003 (the Big Three Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Ivan Ljubicic and Juan Martin Del Potro).

In the doubles tournament US twin brothers Bob and Mike Bryan will be bidding to win their third title at Indian Wells after winning their first title of the season in Delray Beach. Bob and Mike Bryan will face a tough first round against Karen Khachanov and Danil Medvedev.

John Isner, who won this tournament last year alongside Jack Sock, will team up with his compatriot Sam Querrey. The US team will face Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, whowill be be bidding to win their seventh Masters 1000 title. The French doubles team triumphed at Indian Wells in 2016.

Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares will face Denis Shapovalov and Rohan Bopanna in a tough first round. The line-up also features this year’s Australian Open finalist Henri Kontninen and John Peers. Kontinen won the Rotterdam doubles title with Jeremy Chardy. Novak Djokovic will team up with Fabio Fognini.

 

 

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Alexei Popyrin and Alex Bolt crown a perfect day for Australian tennis at Wimbledon’s first qualifying round

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All eight Australian players came through the first Wimbledon qualifying round at Roehampton.

 

Teenager Alexei Popyrin defeated Argentina’s Federico Coria 6-2 7-5. The Aussie 19-year-old Next Gen player is currently in 11th place in the ATP Race to Milan and reached the third round at last January’s Australian Open, where he lost to eventual semifinalist Lucas Pouille. Popyrin has not played a match on grass since playing the Wimbledon Junior tournament in 2016.

Former Australian star Pat Cash, who won at Wimbledon in 1987, has joined Popyrin’s team at Wimbledon and was in his corner.

“I slipped a couple of times here and there, but I like the grass. It suits my game pretty well and we have got a few things to work on with the team, but we will get there”, said Popyrin.

Alex Bolt came back from a set and a break down to beat Italian 17-year-old rising star Jannik Sinner 2-6 7-5 12-10 after 2 hours and 36 minutes.

“I got out of jail free card there. I don’t know how I won that. For a set and and a half Jannik completely outplayed me and I could not have a play on the ball. He was by far the better player on court. He played some quality tennis and I just weathered the storm”, said Bolt.

Jason Kubler overcame Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonen 6-2 5-7 7-5. Kubler was just two points away from losing the match, as he was serving at 4-5 0-30, but he reeled off 12 points to clinch a hard-fought win.

 Germany’s Dustin Brown beat China’s Zhe Li 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 after 1 hour and 21 minutes. The German player of Jamaican origin recently beat Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter final in Stuttgart. Four years ago he upset Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon.

 

 

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Simona Halep Threatens To Boycott Fed Cup If Revamp Takes Place

The 27-year-old has criticised proposals to change the format of the team competition.

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Simona Halep (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Former world No.1 Simona Halep has said she will stop playing in the Fed Cup if the International Tennis Federation removes home and away ties from the competition.

 

In recent months there has been speculation that the women’s team event will soon follow the path of the Davis Cup, which has undergone a controversial reform. Where the finals will take place at the end of a year over a week in a neutral location. The driving force behind the changes to the Davis Cup is Kosmos. An investment company founded by Barcelona footballer Gerald Pique. Kosmos has pledged to invest $3 billion over 25 years.

“I love the Fed Cup and I would never change that,” Reuters News quoted Halep as telling reporters in Eastbourne on Monday.
“If Fed Cup changes I won’t play any more. I like the format now so if they change, it will be tough because Fed Cup means to play home and away.”

Halep helped guide Romania to the semi-finals of the Fed Cup this year in what has been their best performance since 1973. Overall, she has won 22 out of 32 matches played since her debut back in 2010.

“To play at home, it’s the best feeling,” she said.
“I’ve played many years in Fed Cup and the best feeling is to be at home with all the people that come to support and also away you have to manage the emotions and the pressure.”

Earlier this month, ITF president Davis Haggerty vowed to revamp the Fed Cup in order to keep it in line with the men’s equivalent. Although he hasn’t outline an exact date as to when this will take place. Haggerty is seeking re-election this year and has outlined his plans in his manifesto.

“Fed Cup reform is a key focus of the Board in 2019, with the ambition to implement a similar Fed Cup World Cup of Tennis with a minimum of 16 teams in the World Group 2020 and to play one round of qualifying and an eight or 12-team Fed Cup Final in April 2020 in one location. This also aligns with the ITF Gender Equality initiative that we introduced in 2018 and continues to ensure tennis is a welcoming sport.” Sport Business quoted Haggerty as saying.

On Thursday an announcement is expected to be made about the future of the Fed Cup by the ITF in a press conference.

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‘Devastated’ British No.3 Katie Boulter Withdraws From Wimbledon

There is bad news for home fans at this year’s Wimbledon Championships.

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Katie Boulter (photo by Chryslène Caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

One of Britain’s top female players has said they are ‘absolutely devastated’ to withdraw from the Wimbledon Championships after failing to recover in time from injury.

 

Katie Boulter confirmed on Sunday that she has decided to withdraw from the grand slam following medical advice. The world No.127 hasn’t played a match since the Fed Cup back in April due to a back injury. Pulling out of French Open, where she still received a payment of £20,000, as well as a series of grass-court events.

‘As you are all aware, I’ve recently been recovering from a back injury that I suffered during Great Britain’s Fed Cup victory back in April,’ Boulter said in a statement published on social media.
‘The road to recovery has had its ups and downs; at various points along the way I’ve been very close to getting back on court and competing, but unfortunately I’m not quite ready in time for Wimbledon, and on the advice of my medical team, I’ve made the decision to give my recovery a couple more weeks.”

Boulter has been ranked as high as 82nd in the world and claimed two ITF titles in 2018. However, she is yet to achieve such success so far this season. Failing to win back-to-back main draw matches at six consecutive tournaments prior to her back injury.

‘I am absolutely devastated to be missing my home Grand Slam and the opportunity to play in front of our incredible fans but sadly I won’t be 100% fit.’ Boulter explained.
‘Wimbledon is the most special tournament of the year for me and I can’t wait to get back on the grass courts next year. I’d like to thank everyone for their support over the past few months; it’s only motivated me to come back stronger.’

The 22-year-old made her main draw grand slam debut in Wimbledon back in 2017 where she lost in the first round to Christina McHale. 12 months later she won her first ever grand slam match at the All England Club when she defeated Aleksandra Krunic.

The Wimbledon Championships will get underway a week on Monday.

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