French Open Day 6 Preview: Five Must-See Matches - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

Grand Slam

French Open Day 6 Preview: Five Must-See Matches

With the third round upon us, seeded players will begin to collide in the singles draws.



Rafael Nadal (photo by Chryslène Caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

On Friday in Paris, Rafael Nadal will face his first opponent ranked inside the top 100, a man who defeated him just 18 months ago, though under very different circumstances. Roger Federer will face the son of a man who was on tour when Roger first played at Roland Garros 20 years ago. And speaking of one-handed backhands, Stan Wawrinka and Grigor Dimitrov will square off, with the winner possibly facing yet another one-handed backhand in the next round, in Stefanos Tsitsipas.


On the women’s side, Naomi Osaka will seek a more comfortable win than her previous two matches, where she fought back from a set and a break down on each occasion. World No.2 Karolina Pliskova is the only other woman remaining who can leave this tournament atop the rankings, but she’ll face a stern test in a seeded player who owns a winning record against her. And 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza may be rounding back into form, though she’ll surely be challenged by top 10 player Elina Svitolina.

Rafael Nadal (2) vs. David Goffin (27)

Goffin defeated a less-than-100% Nadal on an indoor hard court at the 2017 ATP Finals. But trying to become the third person in 89 tries to defeat Rafa at Roland Garros remains the sport’s biggest challenge. Nadal has taken all three of their other previous meetings in straight sets. And Goffin arrived in Paris with a losing record on the year, as he continues to struggle with confidence after battling a few injuries last season. This should be another straight set win for Nadal, in a section of the draw that is setting up beautifully for the 11-time champion.

Elina Svitolina (9) vs. Garbine Muguruza (19)

Embed from Getty Images
Since winning her second Major at Wimbledon nearly two years ago, Muguruza has won just two titles. But as we’ve been before, Garbine can quickly round into form as a fortnight progresses, and is extremely formidable when she gains confidence. And Roland Garros has easily been her best Slam event, where she owns a 26-5 career record. Muguruza has made the second week of this tournament in each of the last five years, an extremely notable accomplishment for a player who normally lacks consistency. Contrarily, consistency is something Svitolina does possess, as well as 13 career titles outside of the Majors. However, at the Majors, while she’s reached four quarterfinals, she’s yet to advance farther. Svitolina arrived in Paris on a three-match losing streak, as she’s been struggling with a knee injury. I’m sure she didn’t mind getting a walkover in the last round, following a solid first round win over Venus Williams. Svitolina is 5-3 against Muguruza, having taken five of their last six matches. But it feels like Muguruza could be revving up again for another run at a Major, so I give her the slight edge over Svitolina, who has only played three matches since March.

Stan Wawrinka (24) vs. Grigor Dimitrov

Embed from Getty Images
Will Dimitrov have anything left after surviving two five-setters this week? He’s already been on court for seven-and-a-half hours, which is a lot for a player who has not done much winning of late. Wawrinka advanced much more easily to this stage, most impressively dropping only five games to up-and-coming clay court specialist Cristian Garin on Wednesday. While they’re 4-4 lifetime against each other, Stan is the man who ousted Dimitrov in the opening rounds of both Wimbledon and the US Open last year. This would be Wawrinka’s first round of 16 at a Major since his knee injury two years ago, and he’ll likely get past a tired Grigor who has never advanced that far at this tournament.

Karolina Pliskova (2) vs. Petra Martic (31)

Embed from Getty Images
Martic actually owns a 3-1 record over the world No.2, so this is a dangerous matchup for the Rome champion despite her current seven-match win streak. Pliskova did get the best of Martic earlier this year in Miami, where she won in straights. In a section of the draw that’s light on top names, Pliskova has a good shot at returning to the semis. She was a semifinalist here two years ago, and possesses the fire power to control her destiny in this match. I like her chances considering her form and more positive attitude since joining forces with Conchita Martinez.

Anastasija Sevastova (12) vs. Elise Mertens (20)

Embed from Getty Images
Here we get a rare meeting between two top 20 players in the first week of a Major, especially on the women’s side where seeds have often fallen quickly in recent years. But these are two of the WTA’s steadiest players of late. Both are also Major semifinalists: Mertens at last year’s Australian Open, and Sevastova at last year’s US Open. Anastasija is certainly the more emotional player, who can get down on herself extremely quickly in a match. But she can also drive her opponents crazy with the variety in her game. Their only previous meeting was on grass two years ago, which Anastasija won in three sets. But I’m giving the slight edge to Mertens, the player with stronger results at the French Open, as well as three clay court titles over the past few seasons. Sevastova has never gone farther than this round in Paris despite having played here many more years than Mertens. Elise reached the round of 16 last year in just her second appearance.

Other notable matches on Day 6:

  • Roger Federer (3) vs. Casper Rudd, a 20-year-old from Norway. Neither man has dropped a set this week.
  • Stefanos Tsitsipas (6) vs. Filip Krajinovic. The 27-year-old Serbian was a surprise finalist at the Paris Indoors 18 months ago. Including challenger events, he owns 16 clay court wins over the past two months.
  • Kei Nishikori (7) vs. Laslo Djere (31). This 23-year-old Serbian won a clay court title earlier this year in Rio de Janeiro, and also reached two other clay semifinals since February.
  • Sloane Stephens (7) vs. Polona Hercog. Sloane is 3-0 against the 25-year-old Slovenian, and just defeated her a few weeks ago in Madrid.
  • Belinda Benic (15) vs. Donna Vekic (23). This should be an interesting encounter between two rising stars in their early-20’s who could meet for years to come on the WTA tour.

Order of play

Court Philippe-Chatrier (10am BST)

Petra Martic (CRO) [31] vs [2] Karolina Pliskova (CZE)

Martin Klizan (SLO) vs [22] Lucas Pouille (FRA) – TO FINISH

Garbine Muguruza (ESP) [19] vs [9] Elina Svitolina (UKR)

David Goffin (BEL) [27] vs [2] Rafael Nadal (SPA)

Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) [6] vs Filip Krajinovic (SRB)

Court Suzanne-Lenglen (10am BST)

Elise Mertens (BEL) [20] vs [12] Anastasija Sevastova (LAT)

Casper Ruud (NOR) vs [3] Roger Federer (SWI)

Sloane Stephens (USA) [7] vs Polona Hercog (SVN)

Stan Wawrinka (SWI) [24] vs Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)

Court Simonne-Mathieu (10am BST)

Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) vs [28] Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP)

Pablo Carreno Busta (SPA) vs Benoit Paire (FRA)

Nicola Mahut (FRA) vs Leonardo Mayer (ARG)

Johanna Konta (GBR) [26] vs Viktoria Kuzmova (SLO)

Court 1 (10am BST)

Kei Nishikori (JPN) [7] vs [31] Laslo Djere (SRB)

Belinda Bencic (SWI) [15] vs [23] Donna Vekic (CRO)

Court 7

Priscilla Hon (AUS) vs [14] Madison Keys (USA) – TO FINISH

Court 12

Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) vs [27] Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) – TO FINISH

Court 14

Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) vs Kaia Kanepi (EST)

Juan Ignacio Londero (ARG) vs Corentin Moutet (FRA)

Grand Slam

Marcos Baghdatis And Iga Swiatek Among Initial Wimbledon Wildcards

Marcos Baghdatis and Iga Swiatek have received a wildcard for Wimbledon as the third grand slam of the year approaches.



Marcos Baghdatis (@BNPPARIBASOPEN - Twitter)

Marcos Baghdatis and defending Juniors champion Iga Swiatek are among the initial wildcards for Wimbledon. 


The initial wildcards for Wimbledon have been announced this morning with former Wimbledon semi-finalist Marcos Baghdatis among the Men’s wildcards.

Having not played since May and not appeared on the main tour since February, Baghdatis is a surprise choice for a wildcard spot given the options.

Players such as Nicolas Mahut, Feliciano Lopez and Dustin Brown were seen as candidates for a main draw wildcard but it seems that at the moment that spot has been given to the Cypriot.

Joining Baghdatis as main draw wildcards on the men’s side is the British trio of James Ward, Jay Clarke and NCAA champion Paul Jubb.

Meanwhile on the women’s side, last year’s Women’s junior champion Iga Swiatek has been given a wildcard after her incredible rise.

Since winning the Juniors title last year, Swiatek has reached her maiden WTA final, risen to number 65 in the world and reached the fourth round at Roland Garros.

Joining Swiatek, as the British wildcards are Harriet Dart, Heather Watson and Katie Swan as there are four more spots to be announced.

As more wildcards are yet to be announced, the likes of Feliciano Lopez, Dustin Brown and Katie Boulter could still receive a main draw wildcard.

Meanwhile in the doubles event Lleyton Hewitt has once again received a doubles wildcard despite ‘retiring.’ The 2002 singles champion will team up with compatriot Jordan Thompson.

Here are the wildcards below, with the singles draws taking place a week on Friday:

Continue Reading


Greg Rusedski Tips Tsitsipas To Become The Next Federer

The Greek sensation has been backed to rise to the top of the world rankings.



Stefanos Tsitsipas (photo by chryslène Caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Former US Open finalist Greg Rusedski has praised Next Gen star Stefano Tsitsipas by saying he has characteristics similar to that of Roger Federer.


The former world No.4 believes the greek has what it takes to conquer the men’s tour. So far this season Tsitsipas has played in four ATP finals, winning titles in Marseille and Estoril. In total, he has won 32 matches on the tour this year. The joint-highest alongside Rafael Nadal. At the age of 20, he is already the first man from his country to reach the semi-final of a grand slam and crack the top 10.

“He’s so much better as a player than he was a year ago and he’s getting better,” Rusedski told Amazon Prime.
“His transitioning game coming forward, playing doubles so much more this year. I think he will be a Wimbledon champion as well as a world number one. He’s that good.”

Continuing his tribute to the world No.6, the Brit believes he plays similar to some of the stars of the game. Tsitsipas is currently 10-15 against top 10 opposition in his career and has defeated every member of the Big Three at least once. The most recent being against Nadal at the Madrid Open.

“He reminds me of a young Roger Federer. A guy who’s got that full package.” Rusedski analyzed.
“He looks a little bit like Bjorn Borg the way he walks around the court but what I like, he’s a complete player and he has this mental fortitude where he believes he belongs.”

Tsitsipas is the top seed at this week’s Fever-Tree Championships in London. He will be hoping for a strong run ahead of the Wimbledon championships, which he reached the fourth round at last year. Looking ahead to the grand slam, he is optimistic about the prospect of ending the dominance of Nadal and Co. It has been 16 years since a player outside of the Big Four (counting Andy Murray) has won Wimbledon.

“I want to be honest. I would love to see something different this year,’ he said.
‘Hopefully, it can be me, but I think it’s good for the sport to have a bit of variety, something different. It’s boring to see all these guys winning all the time. Djokovic is the reigning champion.”

Tsitsipas will play Kye Edmund in his first match at Queen’s.

Continue Reading


Nick Kyrgios Confident of Inflicting ‘Damage’ At Wimbledon, But Not With Andy Murray

The Australian explains why he doesn’t want to play doubles with Murray at The All England Club.



Nick Kyrgios (photo by Chryslène Caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

LONDON: The grass courts of London feels like a second home for Australia’s Nick Kyrgios.


It is a time of year he relishes. Five years ago at Wimbledon, he made his first breakthrough with a run to the quarter-finals. Stunning Rafael Nadal on route. Since then, his love affair with the surface has only got stronger. Even if he is yet to contest a final of a grass-court event on the ATP Tour.

“It’s quite similar to Australia. Ultimately it feels a little bit like home.” Kyrgios told reporters on Monday.
“This is probably my favorite time of the year. Obviously, the Aussie summer is pretty good, but just being in London when the weather is like this is pretty hard to beat. Just playing on grass every day, it’s a lot of fun.” He added.

The 24-year-old kick-started his grass campaign two weeks ago in Surbiton at a Challenger event. Playing in the doubles tournament with Thanassi Kokkinakis, the duo won a match before falling in the quarter-finals. Following on from that, in Stuttgart, he crashed out in the first round to Matteo Barattini, who went on to win the tournament.

The results may not be groundbreaking, but Kyrgios’ belief and confidence remains unhinged heading into the next grand slam of the season. Currently ranked 39th in the world, it is touch and go if he will be seeded at Wimbledon. Depending on how he performs this week at Queen’s.

“I definitely feel like I can do damage.” The former top-20 player commented about his Wimbledon prospects. “I have had a lot of good wins on grass. Obviously made a quarterfinal run when I was a little bit younger, but I think if the stars align, for sure I can do damage there.”

It will take a lot for Kyrgios and his rivals to break the dominance of the Big Four, who has won the Wimbledon trophy every year since 2003. However, he feels that should a shock happen in a grand slam. It is more likely to take place at the grass-court major.

“I’d probably say it is. I say if somebody is serving big and feeling themselves that week, I think for sure they could probably make more of a run.”

The return of Murray

Besides his own goals, Kyrgios is also relishing the return of one of his rivals and friends. Andy Murray is set to play in the doubles at the Fever-Tree Championships alongside Feliciano Lopez. It will the first test for the three-time grand slam champion after undergoing hip resurfacing surgery.

“He’s a warrior. I hit with him a couple times in London, obviously when I took a spell from the French.” Kyrgios said of the former world No.1.
“He’s still hitting the ball unbelievable. I think he’s well good enough to do damage in any doubles of any players, especially this week with Feliciano. I’d almost pay to watch that match. They’re going to be tough to beat.”

Looking further ahead, Murray is still pondering who he will team up with in the doubles at Wimbledon. It will be only the second time he has played doubles at the major and first since 2005. Among the candidates for a partner was Kyrgios, who has now ruled himself out.

“It’s just good to see him back, but I don’t think I want to carry him for Wimbledon dubs. I think he can find someone else to do that for him.” He explained.
“When I hit with him in Wimby a couple weeks ago, we spoke about it. But it’s best-of-five sets, which is tough. I don’t know if my body — if I happen to go deep at Wimbledon, it’s too tough to play doubles.”

Flying solo, Kyrgios is hoping for a boost this week at the Fever-Tree Championships. In his first round on Tuesday, he plays Adrian Mannarino. A player who won an ATP title in s-Hertogenbosch on Sunday.

Continue Reading