French Open Day 3: Five Must-See Matches - UBITENNIS
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French Open Day 3: Five Must-See Matches

Will there be any more shocks in store for the seeds at Roland Garros on Tuesday?

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Naomi Osaka (photo by :Gianni Ciaccia)

Title contenders and crowd favourites will take to the court on the third day of the French Open. World No.1 Naomi Osaka plays her first match as she looks to continue her recent dominance in the grand slams. Meanwhile, defending champion Simona Halep is targeting her second consecutive title in Paris. In the men’s draw, Alexander Zverev and Juan Martin del Potro will be hoping to get off to a strong start.

 

Naomi Osaka Vs Anna Karolína Schmiedlová

World No.1 Osaka will kick off her French Open campaign on Tuesday as she bids to become the first woman to win three consecutive grand slam titles since Serena Williams back in 2015. The top seed has endured a mixed past few weeks on the clay. She reached the semi-finals in Stuttgart, before withdrawing from the tournament due to an abdominal injury. Following on from that, she reached the quarter-finals in both Madrid and Rome, but also withdrew from Rome due to a right-hand injury.

Osaka’s first test will be Anna Karolína Schmiedlová. A former top 30 player from Slovakia, who has lost in the first round at Roland Garros the past three times. Schmiedlová looked set to have a stellar 2019 season after reaching the final of her first tournament at the Hobart International in January. However, since then she has only managed to win four main draw matches on the tour.

Despite Osaka’s recent injury woes, her opening match should be relatively straightforward. Uless Schmiedlová manages to find the form which has eluded her in recent months. This year is Osaka’s fourth appearance in the main draw of the tournament.

Alexander Zverev Vs John Millman

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Fresh off winning his first title of the season in Geneva last week, Zverev will be hoping to continue that form in the French capital. Despite the German’s success on the ATP Tour, he is yet to score a breakthrough in a grand slam. Although, Zverev’s best performance in a major was a run to the quarterfinals of the French Open 12 months ago.

The fifth seed faces Australia’s John Millman, who could give him a run for his money. Clay may not be Millman’s best surface, but he is known as a fighter on the court. So far this season, he has achieved a win-loss record of 13-15 on the tour and is yet to win two consecutive matches on the clay in 2019. Furthermore, Millman is yet to win a match at the tournament.

Zverev is expected to progress to the second round as long as he maintains his consistency. Over recent months the 21-year-old has enjoyed a turbulent time due to issues both on and off the court, but is the more skilful all round player of the two. He should come through, but don’t be surprised if he drops a set on route.

Simona Halep Vs Ajla Tomljanović

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Defending champion Halep has already been backed to win another French Open title by former champions such as Justine Henin. The Romanian has already reached one final on the clay this season, which was at the Madrid Open. However, a week later she lost her opening match in Rome to Markéta Vondroušová.

Hoping to cause a major shock is Australia’s Ajla Tomljanović. It was four years ago at the tournament where she stunned Agnieszka Radwanska on route to the fourth round. Her best ever run at a grand slam to date. Since then, her progression on the tour has been blighted by injury. Tomljanović has the potential to trouble big players, illustrated by her win over Aryna Sabalenka earlier this season, but consistency is her problem.

Halep feels at home when playing at the Roland Garros and should be able to tame any threat posed by Tomljanović. The two locked horns last year in Cincinnati with the world No.3 prevailing in three sets. However, this time round Halep has a bigger advantage of playing on the clay against the Australian.

Juan Martin del Potro Vs Nicolas Jarry

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Former US Open champion del Potro could face a stern test in his first round clash. The Argentine is playing in only his fifth tournament of the season after missing part of it due to a knee injury. Nevertheless, he has illustrated that he still has the ability to take on the very best in the world. Taking Novak Djokovic to three sets in an epic encounter at the Italian Open earlier this month.

Del Potro’s challenge comes from Nicolas Jarry in what will be an all-South American clash. 23-year-old Jarry feels at home on the clay and was a former French Open finalist in the boys doubles competition back in 2013. So far in his career, he has won three Challenger and six Futures titles. All of which have been achieved on the clay. More recently, he reached the final of the Geneva Open last week before being edged out by Zverev.

Experience could play a crucial role in this clash, which will favour Del Potro. The biggest question is if Jarry can continue his recent surge in form. The Chilean has been inconsistent on the tour in recent months, but has a fresh burst of confidence. Something Del Potro needs to watch out for in order to avoid a shock exit.

Jelena Ostapenko Vs Victoria Azarenka

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In the battle of the former grand slam champions, Victoria Azarenka is hoping to triumph in her first ever meeting with Jelena Ostapenko. The two-time Australian Open winner has also reached the quarterfinals of a duo of clay-court events this season, as well as the final of the Monterrey Open. However, her last win at the French Open was all the way back in 2015 and it is her worst performing grand slam in terms of wins achieved.

2017 champion Ostapenko is still trying to find that spark to light up her season. The Latvian has previously blamed her lacklustre start to the year on an injury which hampered her preparation for the off-season back in December. In total, she has only managed to win seven out of 22 matches played so far this year (including Fed Cup).

The edge has to be given to Azarenka in this intriguing clash. Both are extremely talented players, but the Belarusian at present is currently in the better shape of the two. The winner of this match will play Osaka.

Order of play

Court Philippe-Chatrier – 10:00 BST start
Men’s Singles First Round
J.MILLMAN vs A.ZVEREV [5]

Women’s Singles First Round
N.OSAKA [1] vs AK.SCHMIEDLOVA

Women’s Singles First Round
S.HALEP [3] vs A.TOMLJANOVIC

Men’s Singles First Round
T.DANIEL vs G.MONFILS [14]

Court Suzanne-Lenglen – 10:00 BST start
Men’s Singles First Round
N.JARRY vs JM.DEL POTRO [8]

Women’s Singles First Round
C.GARCIA [24] vs M.BARTHEL

Men’s Singles First Round
S.BOLELLI [Q] vs L.POUILLE [22]

Women’s Singles First Round
E.RODINA vs M.KEYS [14]

Court Simonne-Mathieu – 10:00 BST start
Men’s Singles First Round
F.FOGNINI [9] vs A.SEPPI

Women’s Singles First Round
J.OSTAPENKO vs V.AZARENKA

Women’s Singles First Round
A.SABALENKA [11] vs D.CIBULKOVA

Men’s Singles First Round
S.TRAVAGLIA [Q] vs A.MANNARINO

Court 1 – 10:00 BST start
Women’s Singles First Round
D.KASATKINA vs [21] J.PAOLINI [Q]

Men’s Singles First Round
S.JOHNSON vs R.BAUTISTA AGUT [18]

Men’s Singles First Round
K.KHACHANOV [10] vs CM.STEBE

Women’s Singles First Round
E.BOUCHARD vs L.TSURENKO [27]

Court 14 – 10:00 BST start
Men’s Singles First Round
T.FRITZ vs B.TOMIC

Women’s Singles First Round
C.PAQUET [W] vs M.LINETTE

Men’s Singles First Round
G.BARRERE [W] vs M.EBDEN

Women’s Singles First Round
A.TATISHVILI vs M.SAKKARI [29]

Court 7 – 10:00 BST start
Men’s Singles First Round
C.NORRIE vs E.BENCHETRIT [Q]

Women’s Singles First Round
K.MUCHOVA vs A.KONTAVEIT [17]

Men’s Singles First Round
F.VERDASCO [23] vs D.EVANS

Women’s Singles First Round
I.SWIATEK vs S.JANICIJEVIC [W]

Court 6 – 10:00 BST start
Women’s Singles First Round
M.PUIG vs K.FLIPKENS

Men’s Singles First Round
I.KARLOVIC vs F.LOPEZ

Men’s Singles First Round
A.HOANG [W] vs D.DZUMHUR

Court 4 – 10:00 BST start
Men’s Doubles First Round
L.BAMBRIDGE & J.O’MARA vs K.SKUPSKI & N.SKUPSKI

Men’s Doubles First Round
G.PELLA & D.SCHWARTZMAN vs H.GASTON & C.TABUR [W]

Men’s Doubles First Round
M.AREVALO & MA.REYES-VARELA vs R.HAASE & F.NIELSEN [14]

Court 5 – 10:00 BST start
Men’s Doubles First Round
A.KRAJICEK & A.SITAK [16] vs CP.HSIEH & C.RUNGKAT

Men’s Doubles First Round
L.MAYER & J.SOUSA vs H.KONTINEN & J.PEERS [8]

Men’s Doubles First Round
L.KUBOT & M.MELO [1] vs R.CARBALLES BAENA & J.MUNAR

Court 8 – 10:00 BST start
Men’s Doubles First Round
M.BERRETTINI vs L.SONEGO & J.MURRAY & B.SOARES [2]

Men’s Doubles First Round
C.GARIN & JI.LONDERO vs JJ.ROJER & H.TECAU [10]

Men’s Doubles First Round
K.KRAWIETZ & A.MIES vs M.GUINARD & A.RINDERKNECH [W]

Men’s Doubles First Round
R.KLAASEN & M.VENUS [6] vs R.BOPANNA & M.COPIL

Court 9 – 10:00 BST start
Men’s Singles First Round
G.GARCIA-LOPEZ [Q] vs F.DELBONIS

Women’s Singles First Round
A.BLINKOVA [Q] vs M.GASPARYAN

Women’s Singles First Round
T.BABOS [L] vs P.HON [W]

Women’s Singles First Round
E.RYBAKINA [Q] vs K.SINIAKOVA

Court 10 – 10:00 BST start
Men’s Singles First Round
Y.NISHIOKA vs M.MCDONALD

Men’s Doubles First Round
I.DODIG & E.ROGER-VASSELIN [12] vs M.KECMANOVIC & C.RUUD

Men’s Doubles First Round
A.BEDENE & H.HURKACZ vs M.DANIELL & W.KOOLHOF

Men’s Doubles First Round
J.CHARDY & F.MARTIN vs B.MCLACHLAN & JL.STRUFF [15]

Court 11 – 10:00 BST start
Men’s Doubles First Round
M.MIDDELKOOP & T.PUETZ vs R.JEBAVY & A.MOLTENI

Men’s Singles First Round
D.LAJOVIC [30] vs T.MONTEIRO [Q]

Men’s Doubles First Round
D.MOLCHANOV & I.ZELENAY vs M.GONZALEZ & H.ZEBALLOS [9]

Women’s Singles First Round
D.GAVRILOVA vs A.KRUNIC

Court 12 – 10:00 BST start
Women’s Singles First Round
I.BEGU & L.ZHU

Men’s Doubles First Round
M.BRYAN & B.BRYAN [7] & P.CARRENO BUSTA & G.GRANOLLERS

Men’s Singles First Round
A.DAVIDOVICH FOKINA [L] vs J.THOMPSON

Women’s Singles First Round
S.ZHENG vs Q.WANG [16]

Court 13 – 10:00 BST start
Men’s Singles First Round
M.YMER [Q] vs B.ROLA [Q]

Women’s Singles First Round
A.ANISIMOVA vs H.TAN [W]

Men’s Singles First Round
M.KLIZAN vs M.KUKUSHKIN

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Roger Federer Survives Tsonga Test To Reach Halle Quarter-Finals

Roger Federer reached the quarter-finals in Halle after a tough three set win over Jo-Wilfred Tsonga.

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Roger Federer (@ATP_Tour - Twitter)

Roger Federer edged out Jo-Wilfred Tsonga 7-6(5) 4-6 7-5 to reach the quarter-finals in Halle as he searches for a 10th title. 

 

The nine-time champion didn’t have it all his own way against the dangerous Frenchman as he edge to victory to reach the last eight.

A crucial break in the eleventh game sealed the win for Federer as he had his first test on a grass court in 2019 as he bids for a 10th title.

Tomorrow, Federer will face Roberto Bautista Agut in the last eight.

Today would test Federer’s grass-court ability as he was up against a player that had beaten him on grass before and was capable of outpowering him.

There were signs of that early on in the match as Tsonga used his first serve to dominate play and cause trouble for the nine-time champion.

It wasn’t only on serve that the Frenchman looked comfortable as he even created two break points on the Federer serve early on.

However some short and sharp points for the 37 year-old sealed a crucial hold of serve as he looked to build on his first round win over Millman.

After saving set point with a big serve down the middle, Tsonga felt confident in his game as a first set tiebreak loomed between the pair.

Despite leading by the early mini-break, Tsonga had become too predictable with his serving patterns and Federer used his experience to take advantage.

A mini-break of his own and another big serve sealed the deal for Federer as he took the tiebreak 7-5 in 50 minutes.

The consensus was that the opening set was crucial in Tsonga’s chances of getting a much-needed win and that’s what it turned out to be as he had lost the momentum.

Another serve out wide became too regular for Federer on return as he smashed home a forehand winner for the break in the first game.

However it was too late to rule out Tsonga just yet, remember he did overturn a two set deficit against Federer eight years ago at Wimbledon.

These memories are still in Tsonga’s memory today and after pressurising Federer, he finally earned his reward as the Swiss couldn’t handle a powerful forehand as he conceded the break advantage.

There was a new-found aggression about Tsonga towards the end of the second set as the momentum was now with him.

Some stunning forehands had Federer on the ropes and a break in the last game secured the set as this match would be heading to a deciding set.

The momentum was firmly with the Frenchman as he created a few break points to put the nine-time champion under pressure.

For Federer now, he had to raise his level as Tsonga was now dominating the majority of the rallies with his powerful forehand.

Despite the opportunities though, the world number 77 couldn’t convert and would eventually be punished as the top seed pounced in the big moment.

Some smart returning saw a break in 11th game and a hold to 30 sealed the win as he reaches the quarter-finals in what was a big test.

Next up for Federer in his bid to win a 10th title is Roberto Bautista Agut tomorrow.

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On-Court Coaching: A Terrible Idea Or The Next Logical Step In Men’s Tennis?

Whilst the WTA Tour has relished the on-court coaching rule for the past 11 years, opinion among the men’s tennis elite reflect a completely different scenario.

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Nick Kyrgios of Australia is pictured in action during day four of ATP Fever-Tree Championships tennis tournament at Queen's Club in west London on June 19, 2019. (photo by Alberto Pezzali)

LONDON: Five games into his opening match Fernando Verdasco looked lost on the court at The Queen’s Club. Down a double break and only able to take two points off his opponents serve, he glared towards the camp in the crowd. They could not say anything without getting Verdasco a penalty. Something his female counterparts don’t fear.

 

On-court coaching has been allowed on the WTA Tour since 2008. A process where the coaches of players are allowed to interact with them during changeovers to issue advice and so forth. The bosses of the WTA at the time said it was done to add entertainment value and give insight to fans watching. 11 years on from that decision, other tournaments have started their own experiments.

The US Open, which was the first major to introduce equal prize money back in 1973, has outlined their plans. Involving allowing coaches to shout to players from the sidelines in between points. A move that was undoubtedly triggered by last year’s women’s final where Serena Williams was penalized for receiving coaching. Something her guru Patrick Martogolou, who is a supporter of on-court coaching, initially admitted to before she later denied took place. It was assumed that organizers wanted to implement this change in 2019, but it appears that this will not happen now.

Should these changes occur, it will move men’s tennis closer to the prospect of on-court coaching. Something that raises one crucial question – do the players want it on the ATP Tour?

“I personally don’t feel that there is a need for it. Obviously, the WTA does it, but I feel there is no need because I’m used to not having it on the court.” Kyle Edmund said at the Fever-Tree Championships on Sunday.

Critics of the technique argue that it takes away the player’s ability to think for themselves. Making them mentally weaker. In the Open Era, there has never been a grand slam main draw where the competitors could seek help from anybody else during matches. However, what about a compromise similar to the one proposed by the US Open?

“With the debate concerning having coaching off the court in terms of speaking, as other sports do, I’d say I’m more interested in that aspect.” Edmund indicates.

Nick Kyrgios could potentially be the kind of person who would benefit from a change in the rules. In a recent interview with The Telegraph, he admits that he struggles mentally during the big tournaments. So potentially having somebody to speak to him during matches could help.

However, the Australian doesn’t have a mentor and is a fierce critic of on-court coaching. Arguing that it could create an uneven playing ground if it was implemented in men’s tennis.

“I don’t agree with it at all. I think on-court coaching shouldn’t be a part of the sport.” He stated.
“I don’t think — like, it’s supposed to be one on one. You’re supposed to figure out things yourself when you’re out there on the court.”
“For guys who don’t have a coach, like myself or guys who can’t afford a coach, it’s not really a level playing field when you have a guy that’s literally talking to their players on the court. It makes no sense.”

Kyrgios’ view is one that has been backed by one of the biggest names in men’s tennis – Roger Federer. In the German city of Halle, the Swiss Maestro was questioned about on-court coaching.

“I don‘t support on-court coaching, I think that I have the best team in the world, and so I don‘t think it‘s fair that I could profit from that and another guy, who has maybe no coach can‘t benefit at all.” Federer explained.

2019 prize money rankings (as of 17/6/2019)
1. Rafael Nadal $6.28M
20. Jan Lennard-Struff $910, 090
50. Filip Krajinovic $521, 146
100. Marcelo Melo $306, 269
200. Elias Ymer $83, 342

A logical step forward?

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Daniil Medvedev was straight to the point when asked his own opinion of the subject. Saying such a change will have zero benefits for him. Although he believes changing the rules is only logical. During numerous matches coaches in the crowd has been caught making gestures towards their players. Something that is hard to police for the umpires.

“I am for it. Not because it will benefit me because I don’t think it will. Even if I asked my coach to come onto the court one time per match.” Medvedev told Ubitennis.
“But when we see a lot of sports it is allowed. During matches, they can say anything and when you are working with your coach almost 365 days a year and he can’t say anything, it’s a bit strange.’
“It won’t change a lot (for me), but I think it should be legalized.”

There is also the role of technology in the debate. Application software company SAP works alongside the WTA. Under the rules, they are able to provide coaches with real-time data so they can feedback to players during matches. Something some argue enhances the quality of matches.

“The WTA introduced the on-court coaching rule in 2008. That gave SAP the opportunity to bring real-time data to players and coaches as they need it,” SAP’s Global Sponsorships Technology Lead Jenni Lewis told intel.co.uk.
“And they need it as the match is happening, so the coach can go out during on-court coaching and share that information.”

Tennis is a sport that has developed a reputation of priding itself on its history and rightfully so. However, the downside is trying to maintain a balance between traditionalists and those driving for change. Illustrated by past debates concerning the use of tiebreakers in the final set of grand slam matches, the unique rules set out at the next Gen Finals and the fallout over the Davis Cup revamp.

Given these sticking points, would the ATP really want to bother with on-court coaching?

Only time will tell.

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Matteo Berrettini: “The top 10 and a Grand Slam semifinal are my goals”

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Last week’s Stuttgart champion Matteo Berrettini beat sixth seed Nikoloz Basilashviil 6-4 6-4 after 70 minutes to set up an all-Italian second round match at the Moventi Open in Halle.

 

Before this week’s week match Basilashvili led over Berrettini 2-1 in his previous head-to-head matches, but the Italian player beat his Georgian rival in the first round in Winston Salem last year.

Berrettini saved both break points he faced to stay unbroken in the sixth consecutive match on grass this season. Last week the 23-year-old Italian player won the Stuttgart tournament without dropping his serve in the whole tournament.

In his opening round match in Halle Berrettini produced another solid performance breaking serve in the fifth game of the first set and in the ninth game of the second set.

“I take a match at a time. It is strange to be ranked world number 22 but I would lie if I said that the top 10 and a Grand Slam semifinal are not my goals. I am surprised that I adjusted so well to different conditions. It’s always difficult to play another tournament after winning a title the previous week. In Stuttgart I beat unbelievable guys. I never lost my serve, but all the matches were so close. I am really happy for what I did on the court because it was mentally really difficult to stay there and I am really proud of myself”, said Berrettini.

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