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

A trio of past French Open winners will start their campaigns on Monday, but they could be in for a stern test early on.

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Rafael Nadal (photo by @Gianni Ciaccia)

On the opening day of the French Open, the biggest shock was the exit of two-time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber. Today will the focus will be on the stars of the sport with 11-time winner Rafael Nadal, top seed Novak Djokovic and the formidable Serena Williams all taking to the court.

 

Here are the matches to follow at the French Open on Monday.

Rafael Nadal Vs Yannick Hanfmann

In the history of the French Open, only two men have ever defeated Nadal. Robin Soderling in 2009 and Novak Djokovic in 2015. The king of clay has endured a rocky past few months on the tour, but has still managed to reach the semi-finals of three consecutive clay-court tournaments, before winning the Italian Open. Earning his first title of the season.

Nadal first challenger this year will be Yannick Hanfmann, who achieved a ranking high of 99th in 2018. The German came through the qualifying rounds without dropping a set and won two challenger titles last year. Hanfmann turned professional only four years ago and has had a hearing impairment since birth. Meaning he can only hear 60% of what an average person does.

The clash should be one-way territory for Nadal, who has never lost before the third round at Roland Garros. Hanfmann has the ability to test the Spaniard on the clay, but it will take an epic effort for him to do so over three sets. Providing Nadal if fit and healthy, he should progress to the next round with relative ease.

Johanna Konta Vs Antonia Lottner

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Could this be the year Johanna Konta wins a match in Paris? After four consecutive first round losses in the tournament, the British No.1 is quietly confident of ending that streak. 2019 has been Konta’s best season on the clay by a massive margin. Reaching the finals at both Marrakech and Rome. She has already achieved 10 wins on the clay this season, compared to only three victories during 2018.

Qualifier Antonia Lottner will be hoping to spoil Konta’s bid. The 22-year-old hasn’t won a singles title since 2016 (which was on the ITF Tour) and has never won a main draw match at a grand slam. However, Lottner did stun Belinda Bencic earlier this year and has a winning 3-1 record against top 20 players.

Konta is expected to prevail in her opening match, but potentially the biggest threat she could face is herself. In the past, she has admitted that she doesn’t like playing matches at the favourite. Will her mental game cause problems against Lottner?

Novak Djokovic Vs Hubert Hurkacz

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Novak Djokovic will be bidding to win his 22nd consecutive match in a grand slam tournament. The world No.1 is on the verge of becoming the first man in the Open Era to hold all four major titles at once for the second time in his career. Heading into the tournament, the Serbian has enjoyed a solid clay performance. Winning his first title on the surface since 2017 in Madrid, followed by reaching the final in Rome.

Djokovic has a far from easy first round opponent in the form of world No.44 Hubert Hurkacz. The 22-year-old Polish player has climbed the world rankings by almost 150 places within the past year. So far this season he has won just two matches in five clay-court tournaments played prior to this week. However, Hurkacz has also defeated three top 10 players already this year with all of those wins occurring on a hardcourt.

The top seed is expected to come through the match, but could face some stiff resistance from across the court. If Hurkacz finds his A game, the encounter may be closer than expected. Djokovic hasn’t lost his opening match at a grand slam since the 2006 Australian Open.

Petra Kvitova Vs Sorana Cirstea

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Petra Kvitova is one of four women in contention of ending the tournament as world No.1. It was at Roland Garros in 2017 where she started her comeback to the tour following a knife attack. Since then, the Czech has won more WTA titles than any other player within that period. Including this year’s Stuttgart Open, which was played on indoor clay. Kvitova has already won 28 matches this season, which is the joint-highest on the WTA Tour.

Cirstea is more than familiar with Kvitova’s game after playing her on seven previous occasions. The Romanian enters the draw with a confidence boost after reaching the semi-finals in Nuremberg last week. Her best performance on the WTA Tour since 2017. Cirstea has been ranked as high as 21st in the world, back hasn’t won a WTA trophy since 2008.

It would be a huge shock if title contender Kvitova falls at the first hurdle. The Czech should be able to easily progress beyond the first round and thwart the threat her rival poses. She will be the first left-handed player Cirstea has played this year.

UPDATE: KVITOVA HAS WITHDRAWN DUE TO INJURY

Serena Williams Vs Vitalia Diatchenko

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There is huge confusion surrounding the current health of Serena Williams. She withdrew from Rome with a knee injury, but looked in good shape whilst training in Paris last week. To add to the confusion, the former world No.1 was has been spotted in a wheelchair whilst at Disneyland. Overall, she has played only one competitive match on the clay and the French Open is her fifth tournament of the season.

Diatchenko has booked a place in the main draw for the first time since 2016. In recent weeks the Russian has played on the lower-level ITF circuit and won three consecutive tournaments between March and April. Her record in major tournaments is poor. Losing in the first round in seven out of her nine appearances. However, her two victories have occurred at the French Open in 2009 and 2015.

Williams is widely expected to win and is known to peak in time for the grand slams, but there are many unanswered questions. Nevertheless, she is likely to conjure up a way to progress to the second round.

Order of play

Court Philippe-Chatrier – 10:00 BST start
Women’s Singles First Round
C.WOZNIACKI [13] vs V.KUDERMETOVA

Men’s Singles First Round
Y.HANFMANN [Q] vs R.NADAL [2]

Men’s Singles First Round
N.DJOKOVIC [1] vs H.HURKACZ

Women’s Singles First Round
S.WILLIAMS [10] vs V.DIATCHENKO

Court Suzanne-Lenglen – 10:00 BST start
Women’s Singles First Round
P.PARMENTIER vs K.BERTENS [4]

Women’s Singles First Round
S.CIRSTEA vs P.KVITOVA [6]

Men’s Singles First Round
JW.TSONGA vs P.GOJOWCZYK

Men’s Singles First Round
D.THIEM [4] vs T.PAUL [W]

Court Simonne-Mathieu – 10:00 BST start
Women’s Singles First Round
V.KUZMOVA vs A.CORNET

Men’s Singles First Round
M.ZVEREV vs R.GASQUET

Men’s Singles First Round
S.WAWRINKA [24] vs J.KOVALIK

Women’s Singles First Round
B.STRYCOVA vs S.STOSUR

Court 1 -10:00 BST start
Women’s Singles First Round
K.KANEPI vs J.GOERGES [18]

Women’s Singles First Round
J.PEGULA vs A.BARTY [8]

Men’s Singles First Round
A.BEDENE vs B.CORIC [13]

Men’s Singles First Round
J.CHARDY vs K.EDMUND [28]

Court 14 – 10:00 BST start
Men’s Singles First Round
PH.HERBERT vs D.MEDVEDEV [12]

Women’s Singles First Round
Z.DIYAS vs A.ALBIE [W]

Men’s Singles First Round
B.PAIRE vs M.COPIL

Women’s Singles First Round
M.BOUZKOVA [L] vs B.ANDREESCU [22]

Court 7 – 10:00 BST start
Women’s Singles First Round
J.KONTA [26] vs A.LOTTNER [Q]

Women’s Singles First Round
L.SAMSONOVA [Q] vs D.VEKIC [23]

Men’s Singles First Round
S.STAKHOVSKY [L] vs G.SIMON [26]

Men’s Singles First Round
D.SHAPOVALOV vs [20] JL.STRUFF

Court 6 – 10:00 BST start
Men’s Singles First Round
A.VATUTIN vs [Q] C.MOUTET [W]

Women’s Singles First Round
S.ZHANG vs V.LEPCHENKO [Q]

Women’s Singles First Round
E.MERTENS [20] vs T.ZIDANSEK

Men’s Singles First Round
M.JANVIER [W] vs P.CUEVAS

Court 4 – 10:00 BST start
Women’s Singles First Round
L.DAVIS [W] vs Kr.PLISKOVA

Men’s Singles First Round
Y.MADEN [Q] vs K.COPPEJANS [Q]

Men’s Singles First Round
J.MUNAR vs S.CARUSO [Q]

Women’s Singles First Round
G.GATTO-MONTICONE vs [Q] S.KENIN

Court 5 – 10:00 BST start
Men’s Singles First Round
P.CARRENO BUSTA vs J.SOUSA

Women’s Singles First Round
A.PAVLYUCHENKOVA vs M.MINELLA

Men’s Singles First Round
H.LAAKSONEN [L] vs P.MARTINEZ [Q]

Women’s Singles First Round
M.BUZARNESCU [30] vs E.ALEXANDROVA

Court 8 – 10:00 BST start
Women’s Singles First Round
D.PARRY [W] vs V.LAPKO

Men’s Singles First Round
R.CARBALLES BAENA vs A.MULLER [Q]

Women’s Singles First Round
Y.PUTINTSEVA vs R.PETERSON

Men’s Singles First Round
R.ALBOT vs T.SANDGREN [Q]

Court 9 – 10:00 BST start
Men’s Singles First Round
N.BASILASHVILI [15] vs JI.LONDERO

Men’s Singles First Round
R.OPELKA vs C.GARIN

Women’s Singles First Round
D.COLLINS vs T.MARIA

Women’s Singles First Round
A.RISKE vs A.PETKOVIC

Court 10 – 10:00 BST start
Men’s Singles First Round
M.KECMANOVIC vs D.KUDLA

Women’s Singles First Round
A.SHARMA vs S.ROGERS

Men’s Singles First Round
L.HARRIS vs L.ROSOL [L]

Women’s Singles First Round
K.NARA [Q] vs D.JAKUPOVIC

Court 12 – 10:00 BST start
Men’s Singles First Round
F.KRAJINOVIC vs F.TIAFOE [32]

Men’s Singles First Round
G.ANDREOZZI vs G.PELLA [19]

Women’s Singles First Round
A.BOLSOVA [Q] vs V.ZVONAREVA

Women’s Singles First Round
SW.HSIEH [25] vs V.GOLUBIC

Court 13 – 10:00 BST start
Men’s Singles First Round
A.DE MINAUR [21] vs B.KLAHN

Women’s Singles First Round
L.KUMKHUM vs A.SEVASTOVA [12]

Women’s Singles First Round
D.YASTREMSKA vs C.SUAREZ NAVARRO [28]

Men’s Singles First Round
R.MOLLEKER [Q] vs A.BUBLIK

ATP

Mikhail Kukushkin beat Italian Next Gen star Jannick Sinner in St. Petersburg

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Mikhail Kukushkin beat 18-year-old Italian 18-year-old Italian Next Gen rising star Jannick Sinner 6-3 7-6 (7-4) after 1 hour and 40 minutes. Kukushkin fended off nine of the eleven break points he faced.

 

Sinner, who turned 18 last month and received a wild-card to take part at the next November’s ATP Next Gen Finals in Milan, did not convert three break points in the first game, but Kukushkin saved them to hold his first game.

Kukushkin, who won his only title in St.Petersburg in 2010, was the first to break serve in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Sinner earned three break points but Kukushkin fended them off. Sinner saved a break point in the eighth game but Kukushkin served out the opening set on his first set point.

Kukushkin went up a break in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead, Sinner converted his second break-back point to draw level to 2-2. Kukushkin got a break lead for the second time but Sinner rallied from the break down for the second time to draw level to 4-4. Sinner earned set point at 5-4 to force a decider, but Kukushkin saved it to draw level to 5-5. Kukushkin got a mini-break in the tie-break to win the tie-break 7-4.

Adrian Mannarino, who won his first ATP Tour title in s’Hertogenbosch, beat Stefano Travaglia 7-5 6-2 after 1 hour and 19 minutes. Travaglia held his first two service games at love and broke serve to open up a 4-1 lead. Mannarino converted his first break-back point for 3-4. Both players held their serve to draw level to 5-5. Travaglia saved a break point, but he made two double faults to drop his serve in the 11th game for 5-6. Mannarino served out the first set on his first point.

Travaglia saved a break point at the start of the second set, but Mannarino converted his second chance.

Travaglia earned two break-back points in the second game but did Mannarino saved them to open up a 2-0 lead. Mannarino went up a 3-0 lead. The Frenchman saved a break point in the sixth game to race out to a 5-1 lead and sealed the win on his first match point.

 

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Jamie Murray Wants More Funding For Scottish Tennis Ahead Of Challenger Event

Jamie Murray wants more funding for Scottish Tennis after admitting disappointing response from the LTA.

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Jamie Murray (@the_LTA - Twitter)

Jamie Murray has spoken out on his frustration at the LTA for not giving Scottish enough funding ahead of the Glasgow Challenger event. 

 

The seven-time grand slam champion is getting ready for the Murray Trophy in Glasgow which begins this week where he will be competing.

However one of the concerns right now is the lack of funding it is receiving despite the success of the Murray brothers, who have won a combined ten grand slams between them.

Ahead of the event in Glasgow, the doubles specialist think more can be done to capitalise on their success, “I think so. Certainly from what we’ve achieved over the last however many years, going back to our junior days of playing,” Murray said to STV News.

“If you think about the Scottish players that have represented us in Davis Cup and won ties, I would say they do (deserve more funding), We’re a country after all, not a county.

“Things could have been better over the last ten years to make the most of what Andy has been achieving. Up here Tennis Scotland are doing their best to take things forward. We haven’t always had the best deal from the money that the LTA gets to hand out to Tennis Scotland.”

It’s certainly an issue that has been raging on for the last few years that both Andy and Jamie Murray have been very passionate about.

But only time will tell whether the Lawn Tennis Association listen to the concerns of the two men have been responsible for Great Britain’s recent tennis success.

As for Murray he will be partnering John-Patrick Smith in the event, which is taking place this week and is looking to continue his momentum after winning the US Open mixed doubles title.

Now for the Brit, his main goal is to win Wimbledon as he looks to achieve more doubles success, “It’s been exciting for me in the last few years to go to these level of tournaments and feel you’ve got a genuine chance to win,” Murray admitted.

“For me, Wimbledon would be the biggest goal until the end of my career, to win the men’s doubles. It didn’t work out for me this year but next year. There’s always next year.”

 

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Karolina Pliskova lifts her fourth title of the season in Zhengzhou

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Number 1 seed Karolina Pliskova cruised past number 7 seed Petra Martic 6-3 6-2 after 1 hour and 36 minutes in the final of the Zhengzhou Open, an inaugural WTA Premier tournament. The final was postponed by six hours after torrential rain.

 

Pliskova came back from 0-2 in the first set by winning 12 of the next 15 games to win her fourth title this season after Brisbane, Rome and Eastbourne. The Czech player is the fifth top seed to win a tournament this season after Aryna Sabalenka in Shenzhen, Alison Van Uytvanck in Budapest, Caroline Garcia in Nottingham and Anastasjia Sevastova in Jurmala.

Pliskova took a re-match against Martic, who beat the Czech player in four of their previous five head-to-head matches and won their third round clash at Roland Garros.

Pliskova saved two of her three break points and converted four of her eight break points.

Martic earned an early break with a forehand return winner to open up a 2-0 lead in the first set. As the match resumed after a rain delay Martic did not convert a double break point. Pliskova broke back in the fourth game with a forehand winner to draw level to 2-2.

Pliskova saved a break point chance in the seventh game with a forehand down the line. The Czech player broke serve in the eighth game, when Martic made a forehand error and sealed the first set 6-3 with a service winner.

Pliskova dropped only six points on her first serve in the second set and broke serve in the third game when Martic sent a backhand slice wide. The former world number 1 player held her serve with an ace before breaking for the second time in the fifth game. She hit four winners to seal the win, as she was serving for the match at 5-2.

“I think I played good matches. Of course, not all the matches were perfect, the week never can be really perfect because it’s so many days and so many things can be just different every day. I beat tough players, which I maybe lost to a couple of times before. I think that was the biggest plus of this week, especially with Petra. These wins are always important. It doesn’t matter where you play, which tournament you play, but it’s always important. To get the trophy is always special. It does not matter really which tournament or how big the tournament is, it’s always good”, said Pliskova.  

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