Italian Open Wednesday Preview: The Men’s and Women’s Match of the Day - UBITENNIS
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Italian Open Wednesday Preview: The Men’s and Women’s Match of the Day

The tournament kicks into high gear today, with the top three men and women in the world making their 2019 Italian Open debuts.

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photo by Roberto Dell'Olivo

On the men’s side, Novak, Rafa, and Roger will all play on Campo Centrale, while names like Dominic Thiem and Juan Martin Del Potro will take to the Grandstand.  On the women’s side, World No.1 Naomi Osaka is scheduled on Centrale, while Petra and Simona join Madrid Champion Kiki Bertens on the Grandstand. In today’s highlighted matches, we’ll take a look at both Madrid champions and the impressive young opposition they’ll face on Wednesday.

 

Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Denis Shapovalov

This will be the first match of the evening session.  These two just met for the first time earlier this year, when Djokovic defeated Shapovalov in four sets at the Australian Open.  A seemingly rejuvenated Novak paired with the terra baute will an extremely tough combination for Denis to overcome. Mind you, Shapovalov can play on the clay: he was a semifinalist last year in Madrid.  But his win on Monday over Pablo Carreno Busta was his first of the European clay swing, having gone 0-3 at his three previous events. Djokovic’s defense should prove to be too much for Shapovalov’s shot-making skills.

Kiki Bertens (4) vs. Amanda Anisimova (LL)

This will be the first match of the day session on the Grandstand.  Bertens finds herself at a career-high ranking of No.4 in the world coming off her title run last week in Madrid, where she consecutively defeated three top 10 players.  Kiki is now one of the top favorites for Roland Garros. The 17-year-old Anisimova was a breakout star at this year’s Australian Open, as she reached the round of 16 and upset Aryna Sabalenka.  And last month in Bogota, she won her first WTA title on the clay of Bogota. She lost to Kristina Mladenovic in qualifying, which there’s no shame in, and then defeated an Italian wild card in the first round as a lucky loser.  Bertens cannot afford to experience a Madrid hangover against this up-and-coming star.

Other Notable Matches on Wednesday in Rome:

  • In a rematch from just last week in Madrid, Naomi Osaka (1) vs. Dominika Cibulkova.  Osaka has won all three previous meetings, having never dropped a set.
  • Rafael Nadal (2), who is shockingly without a title on clay this season, vs. Jeremy Chardy.  Nadal is 2-0 against the veteran Frenchman.
  • Stuttgart Champion Petra Kvitova (2) vs. Yulia Putintseva.  Kvitova won their only previous meeting, though it was an over-three hour three-set match.
  • In his first match in Rome since 2016, Roger Federer (3) vs. Joao Sousa of Portugal.
  • Simona Halep (3) vs. Marketa Vondrousova.  Just two months ago in Indian Wells, the 19-year-old upset the reigning French Open champion.
  • Dominic Thiem (5) vs. Fernando Verdasco.  Thiem has never defeated Verdasco in three attempts, including a match on clay last year in Rio de Janeiro.
  • French Open Finalist Sloane Stephens vs. Johanna Konta.  Konta took their only previous meeting earlier this year on a hart court in Brisbane.
  • Juan Martin Del Potro (7) vs. David Goffin.  Del Potro lost in his singles return from injury last week, while Goffin must be feeling confident coming off his defeat yesterday of Stan Wawrinka.

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Roger Federer Withdraws From Toronto And Cincinnati Due To Ongoing Knee Injury

Roger Federer’s knee problems continue as he withdraws from Toronto and Cincinnati.

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Roger Federer (@CincyTennis - Twitter)

Roger Federer’s knee problems continue as he withdraws from Toronto and Cincinnati.

 

The 20-time grand slam champion’s preparations for the US Open have taken a hit after withdrawing from the two Masters 1000 events in Canada and Cincinnati.

Federer’s last match was a comfortable straight sets defeat to Hubert Hurkacz in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

Since then the Swiss has been recovering his knee injury as he looks to play the US Open and win the race to 21 grand slams as him, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are tied on 20.

However Federer will have to do this without any competitive preparation as he withdraws from both Canada and Cincinnati.

Federer though isn’t the only one to have withdrawn from Canada as Alexander Zverev, Matteo Berrettini, Milos Raonic and Pablo Carreno Busta have also announced their withdrawal from the tournament.

Tournament director Karl Hale commented on the withdrawals and admitted he was disappointed, “We are of course disappointed that Milos [Raonic], Alexander [Zverev], Roger [Federer], Matteo [Berrettini] and Pablo [Carreno Busta] will not be competing in Toronto this year,” he told the National Bank Open website.

“For Milos in particular, we know he was looking forward to playing in front of a Canadian crowd in his home tournament. However, we fully understand their decisions and wish them all the best for the rest of the season. We hope they will all return to Toronto in two years’ time.”

As of now Toronto still has Rafael Nadal, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Denis Shapovalov are still expected to play.

The draw takes place at 12pm local time on Saturday with main draw action beginning on Monday.

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Ash Barty Reveals ‘Excitement’ After Mixed Doubles Medal In Tokyo

Ash Barty has revealed her excitement after her and John Peers won Australia’s first Olympic tennis medal for 17 years.

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Ash Barty and John Peers (@ITFTennis - Twitter)

Ash Barty revealed her excitement at winning Bronze in the mixed doubles in Tokyo with John Peers.

 

The world number one along with doubles specialist John Peers claimed Australia’s first tennis medal at the Olympics since 2004.

Despite benefiting from a bronze medal match withdrawal from Novak Djokovic and Nina Stojanovic, that hasn’t taken away the happiness of claiming an Olympic medal.

Speaking to the Channel 7 programmes Sunrise Barty proudly spoke about the achievement, “It’s been an amazing week for both John and I,” Barty was quoted as saying by Tennis Australia.

“We’ve played some great tennis, probably the best we’ve ever played together. To walk away with a medal and contribute to the team total here in Australia has been incredible.

“Johnny and I, we put ourselves in a position all week to play good tennis and I feel like we really deserve this one. We were so close to being in that gold medal play-off and I think for both of us, it’s been awesome. We’ve played great. I felt like we really deserved this one for Australia.

“No, I think for us it’s excitement. I just hope as athletes, as a whole Australian team that’s here – all 480 odd of us – we can bring a smile to people’s faces at home when they’re sitting on the couch enjoying watching us trying (to) go out there and do Australia proud.”

As for John Peers it was an achievement of a lifetime, inspired by the traditional Olympic spirit, “Any chance you get to represent your country and to do it alongside Ash, to be able to say we’re the first mixed doubles medallists at an Olympics for Australia is something really special,” the 33 year-old commented.

“There was so much uncertainty leading into the Games and to be able to see the way the Australian team’s come together and sort of really bonded has really shown the Australian spirit, the way that all the athletes get behind each other.

“To be able to show the Olympics is going on in uncertain times is just something really special and unique and hopefully it can be the turning point for the world, and Australia, to come out the other side.”

Both will be hoping that this week will be the start of something special for Australian tennis as they will look to capitalise on this success in three years time in Paris.

Next for John Peers will be Washington next week where he and Filip Polasek are the top seeds.

While Ash Barty will be starting her preparations for the US Open in Cincinnati which starts on the 16th of August.

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Czech Republican Trailblazers Inspire Krejcikova and Siniakova To Olympic Gold In Tokyo

Barbora Krejcikova and Katarina Siniakova reflect on Czech Republic’s Olympic past after Olympic gold.

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Barbora Krejcikova and Katarina Siniakova (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova admit that former Czech Republican trailblazers inspired them to win doubles gold in Tokyo.

 

The top seeds claimed gold with a 7-5 6-1 win over Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic and Viktorija Golubic.

After edging a tight opening set, the Czech Republican duo eased to victory to claim gold in Tokyo.

It was a historic gold as the pair went one better than trailblazers Jana Novotna and Helena Sukova who won silver in Seoul 1988 and Atlanta 1992.

After the victory today Krejcikova paid tribute to those before them and said that they were inspired by those who came before them, “The motivation we got from the previous medallists is really big,” the Roland Garros champion told the ITF website.

“I think we got really inspired by them. I think we really need to thank them because without them we just wouldn’t have the motivation and the inspiration.

“It’s really big. We’re really happy and really grateful that we could be here. We did such a great job during these 10 days and we have this beautiful gold medal. It’s pretty much a dream come true.”

While Katerina Siniakova also outlined how special it is to win the gold medal as the top seeds remain the team to beat in the Women’s doubles game, “It’s really special this one,” Siniakova admitted.

“I really enjoyed my whole time here. It was really tough and I’m so glad we kept fighting and in the end we have this one, this gold medal. It’s really amazing. I feel so honoured I got to represent my country.”

The Czech Republican will be favourites to win their fourth grand slam at the US Open in late August.

As for Bencic and Golubic, it has been a successful tournament especially for Bencic who won Olympic gold yesterday.

After the match Bencic admitted it’s not just about Olympic medals and that its about the memories created, “It’s not just about the medals or the titles, it’s about the memories you create that will last forever,” Bencic claimed.

“To share this with Viki is unbelievable. The whole week I never felt like I was in a normal tournament or playing alone. She was alongside me the entire way. I always tell her we won this gold medal together as well.

“When we will be 80 years old and have a coffee, we will talk about these moments and I cannot wait for that.”

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