Grand Slams Champions Stand In The Way Of Naomi Osaka, Elina Svitolina At French Open - UBITENNIS
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Grand Slam

Grand Slams Champions Stand In The Way Of Naomi Osaka, Elina Svitolina At French Open

The draw for the women’s tournament has been made on Thursday evening with a series of top players set to be firmly tested in the opening rounds.

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Naomi Osaka will have to defeat at least one grand slam champion on route to the third round of the French Open as she bids to win her first ever WTA title on the clay.

 

The world No.1 headlines this year’s field at Roland Garros, which features 128 players. 21-year-old Osaka will open up her campaign against Anna Karolína Schmiedlová. A Slovakian player that has been ranked as high as 26th in the world, but hasn’t won a match at the French Open since 2014. Then in the second round, Osaka will have to play the winner of an intriguing opening clash between 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko and Victoria Azarenka. The risks do not end there with Greece’s Maria Sakkari standing as a potential third round opponent. Sakkari recently won the Moroccan Open and reached the semi-finals of Rome as a qualifier.

Osaka is bidding to win her third grand slam in a row. Something last achieved by Serena Williams back in 2015. However, she has endured a from from perfect clay season so far. Withdrawing from both Stuttgart and Rome midway through due to injury. The top seed has reached the quarter-finals or better at her past three tournaments.

Ninth seed Elina Svitolina last recorded a victory on the tour back in March in Indian Wells. Since then, she was sidelined by injury before losing two opening matches at clay-court tournaments. In Paris, she faces a tough start to her campaign in the shape of veteran player Venus Williams. Further, in the draw, Garbine Muguruza is a potential rival in the round of 32 followed by last year’s runner-up Sloane Stephens. Svitolina is a two-time quarter-finalist at Roland Garros.

Defending champion Simona Halep finds herself in a strong position during the first week. The Romanian will not play a player ranked higher than 27th until at least the fourth round. She will start against Ajla Tomljanović, followed by either Chloe Piquet or Magda Linette if she wins. Halep has contested the final of the tournament three times since 2014.

Venus’ sister Serena is somebody that many will be keeping an eye on in the women’s draw. The 22-time grand slam champion has only played one competitive match on the clay so far this season before withdrawing from the Italian Open with a knee injury. She will open up against Vitalia Diatchenko, who has been playing mainly on the ITF tour in recent months. Further on, she could take on rising star Bianca Andreescu in the third round, followed by Ashleigh Barty.

Elsewhere in the draw, world No.2 Karolina Pliskova starts against Madison Brengle as she seeks her first grand slam trophy. Petra Kvitova faces Sorana Cirstea and Kiki Bertens will play home player Pauline Parmentier. Finally, Aryna Sabalenka faces a difficult opening match against Dominika Cibulkova.

The women’s draw will start on Sunday at 10am local time.

The projected path based on rankings

Fourth round
Osaka-Keys
Serena-Barty
Halep-Wang Q.
Sabalenka-Kvitova
Bertens-Bencic
Svitolina-Stephens
Sevastova-Kerber
Pliskova-Wozniacki

Quarter-finals
Osaka-Barty
Halep-Kvitova
Bertens-Stephens
Pliskova-Kerber

Semi-finals
Osaka-Halep
Bertens-Pliskova

The full draw

Top


Bottom


 

Grand Slam

Andy Murray’s Hunt For A Wimbledon Doubles Partner Sparks Interest From Women’s Elite

The chance to play alongside the former world No.1 at SW19 has attracted a lot of interest from past and present players from the WTA Tour.

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Sir Andy Murray of Great Britain is pictured during day four of ATP Fever-Tree Championships tennis tournament at Queen's Club in west London on June 20, 2019.

LONDON: Andy Murray’s recent difficulty in finding a mixed doubles partner for the upcoming Wimbledon Championships has prompted a series of WTA players to offer their services.

 

The three-time grand slam champion returned to competitive tennis on Thursday at The Fever-Tree Championships. Winning his first round doubles match alongside Feliciano Lopez. After the victory, the former world No.1 confirmed that he will be playing with Pierre-Hughes Herbert at the All England Club and he is also interested in contesting the mixed doubles.

“I’ve asked singles players who had already committed to playing doubles, and they didn’t want to commit to playing in three events, which I completely understand because it’s a lot. If you have ambitions to go far in the singles, you maybe don’t want to commit to playing all three.” He said.

One of those players Murray approached was French Open champion Ash Barty, who declined his offer. The Australian is currently in the race for world No.1 and is seen as one of the favorites to claim the ladies singles title in three weeks time.

“I’m sure I will find another great partner, providing I feel good enough to play the men’s and mixed doubles. That said, I need to wait and see how I’m feeling first.” Murray wrote in a piece for the BBC.

Fortunately for Murray, the offers to play alongside him has started flying in on social media. Kirsten Flikens, who is a top 30 doubles player, was one of the first to come forward. The Belgian teamed up with Murray before at the 2006 Wimbledon championships as well as the now-defunct International Premier Tennis League (IPTL).

Barbora Strycova has already won two doubles titles on the WTA Tour this season with Hsieh Su-Wei. On Instagram, the Czech expressed her willingness to work alongside the Brit.

“I heard rumors that you got rejected a couple of times when finding a partner for mixed doubles in Wimbledon. I swear I wouldn’t do the same mistake as that.” Strycova wrote.

Elsewhere on social media, there was a couple of other light-hearted offers made.

https://twitter.com/BillieJeanKing/status/1141872812841472001

https://twitter.com/CoCoVandey/status/1141860447936585728

https://twitter.com/caseydellacqua/status/1141861486538547200

It is safe to say that Murray can easily find a partner for Wimbledon, which will get underway a week on Monday. The only question is who will it be?

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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.

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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:

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ATP

Greg Rusedski Tips Tsitsipas To Become The Next Federer

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

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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.

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