Madrid Open Thursday Preview: The Men’s and Women’s Match of the Day - UBITENNIS
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Madrid Open Thursday Preview: The Men’s and Women’s Match of the Day

Thursday’s schedule at Caja Magica is phenomenal, highlighted by the top three men and women in the world: Novak, Rafa, Roger, Naomi, Petra, and Simona.

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Fabio Fognini (photo by Roberto Dell Olivo)

The men will play all their round of 16 matches, while the women will play their quarterfinals.  In total, 62 Major singles titles are still remaining in these draws. We’re in for some blockbuster matchups on Thursday in Spain’s capital.

Dominic Thiem (5) vs. Fabio Fognini (10)

This is a battle between the winners of the two most important clay court tournaments last month.  Fognini took the biggest title of his career in Monte Carlo, while Thiem prevailed in Barcelona. Both men defeated Rafael Nadal on the way to those titles.  Dominic didn’t drop a set in five matches two weeks ago in Barcelona. Thiem is 2-1 against Fognini, but Fabio took their most recent encounter last year in Rome.  This is the Italian’s first week of play since his title run in Monte Carlo, as he pulled out of Barcelona and Estoril with a hamstring injury. A finalist last year at this tournament, Thiem should get past this dangerous yet unpredictable clay court opposition.  The winner will face the winner between Roger Federer and Gael Monfils.

Petra Kvitova (2) vs. Kiki Bertens (7)

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These two just met in the semifinals of Stuttgart two weeks, with Kvitova pulling out a three-set win.  Their only other clay court meeting was last year in the final of Madrid, which Petra also won in three sets.  Kvitova holds the overall edge in their head-to-head, 3-2. Petra is capable of outhitting Kiki, though Bertens has groundstrokes that can push Kvitova deep and wide, taking her off the offensive.  Both are two of the most confident players on tour right now, so this should be a good one. Neither woman has dropped a set so far this week. Kvitova is the defending champion, and comes into this on a seven-match win streak coming off her title in Stuttgart.  However, I think Bertens is due for a win in this rivalry, and may rise to the occasion on this day.

Other Notable Matches on Thursday in Madrid:

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  • Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Jeremy Chardy.  Chardy has never defeated Djokovic despite 12 tries, and never even taken a set.
  • Rafael Nadal (2) vs. Frances Tiafoe.  Rafa easily won their only previous meeting over an exhausted Tiafoe earlier this year in Melbourne.
  • Roger Federer (4) vs. Gael Monfils (15).  Federer owns a 9-3 advantage over Monfils.
  • Kei Nishikori (6) vs. Stan Wawrinka.  Wawrinka leads their head-to-head 6-4.  All of those matches were on hard courts except for their first back in 2012, which Stan won in straight sets.
  • Sascha Zverev (3) vs. Hubert Hurkacz (Q).  This will be the first meeting between these two 22-year-olds.
  • Naomi Osaka (1) vs. Belinda Bencic.  Bencic upset Osaka earlier this year in Indian Wells.
  • Simona Halep (3) vs. Ash Barty (9).  Barty defeated Halep in January at Brisbane, though Halep was just returning from injury at the time.  And clay should greatly favor Simona, who won 6-0, 6-0 yesterday, claiming 48 of 60 points played.
  • Sloane Stephens (8) vs. Petra Martic.  Stephens took out Martic in two tiebreak sets at this year’s Australian Open.  

 

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Emma Raducanu Finding Positives Ahead Of Eastbourne Return And ‘Pristine’ Wimbledon Experience

Emma Raducanu will play Eastbourne for the first time this week.

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Emma Raducanu is finding the positives as she looks forward to a big next few weeks.

The former US Open champion is preparing to play Wimbledon for the first time in two years.

Last year, Raducanu was undergoing multiple wrist surgeries but now the Brit returns to her home Grand Slam.

In an exclusive interview with Porsche Raducanu described Wimbledon as ‘Pristine’ as she prepares for a big two weeks at SW19, “I’m looking forward to competing at Wimbledon this year,” Raducanu explained.

“Obviously, Wimbledon is Wimbledon, and that speaks for itself, but I’m most looking forward to the stage which I missed last year and now I’m looking forward to coming back and being in a better place than I was in 2022!

“For me, it’s always about the rich history and traditions, like the pristine grass courts and iconic white dress code. It’s always the tournament that every player dreams of winning.

“The courts at Wimbledon are obviously pristine and look beautiful. The aesthetics and tradition that come with the tournament are unparalleled. Being a British player at Wimbledon is incredible, the atmosphere is hard to put into words.

“I particularly love court 1 because I feel the fans get more involved, that coupled with everything else that Wimbledon brings gives you extra motivation to perform well.”

Heading into Wimbledon, Raducanu enters the tournament with a semi-final in Nottingham and is now prepared to play in Eastbourne for the first time.

Ahead of Eastbourne, Raducanu admitted she is finding the positives in her preparation and is looking forward to her experience in Eastbourne, “Preparation has been going well thanks. I have had a good last few days training in London before Eastbourne this week so excited to get going,” Raducanu stated.

“Yes, I took a lot of positives from Nottingham. I performed well, and it showed me that my game is strong on the grass, so yes, it’s given me positivity heading into Wimbledon. Most importantly for me though at Wimbledon I feel in a place where I’m in love with the sport. Whatever happens this Wimbledon, I have full belief in myself for the years to come too.

“I’ve never played in Eastbourne, it’s on the water which I like, minus the wind maybe and it’s another home tournament where I get to play in front of a home crowd! That’s the best part.”

Raducanu will face fellow Grand Slam champion Sloane Stephens in a blockbuster opening round match on Tuesday.

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Tommy Paul Downs Lorenzo Musetti Wins Maiden Grass Court Title At Queen’s Club

Tommy Paul is the new American number one!

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Tommy Paul has won his maiden grass court title at Queen’s Club after defeating Lorenzo Musetti 6-1 7-6(8).

The fifth seed was too good for the Italian who never really got going as Paul claimed his first title at ATP 500 level.

It was Paul’s third ATP title of his career and moves to world number 12 after an impressive week.

Heading into the final, Paul had beaten Jack Draper and Sebastian Korda and the American continued his red-hot form in the opening set.

Incredible movement on the grass as Paul played efficient counter-attacking tennis as he frustrated Musetti early on.

The American secured the early break for a 3-0 lead as the world number 13 dictated with power and touch.

Looking for a response, Musetti aimed to dictate play on the backhand and the Italian’s serve was firing in the next game as he secured his only hold of the match.

However, Paul was too consistent and solid as the American broke again and would soon win the opening set 6-1.

In the second set, Musetti started more positively as he was more proactive and aggressive as he looked to control his power more.

Paul managed to outlast Musetti’s early power to keep moving the Italian about and creating angles to hit winners into.

After a controlled start, Musetti produced a reckless seventh game as erratic unforced errors saw Paul break for a 4-3 lead.

The American was calm and collected for the majority of the match but when serving for the match Paul faltered under pressure.

Too many missed first serves saw Musetti with an opportunity to break back and the Italian didn’t need a second invitation as a crisp backhand return winner sealed the break back to level the set at 5-5.

An inspired Musetti applied pressure on Paul with some phenomenal hitting from the baseline as he secured consistent winners.

The American held his nerve to force a second set tiebreak as the American looked to overcome some jitters.

It looked like Musetti was going to cruise to the tiebreak but the Italian squandered a 4-1 lead in what was a highly entertaining tiebreak.

In the end Paul would win the tiebreak 10-8 and secure his first ATP 500 title as well as becoming the new American number one.

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Jannik Sinner Wins Maiden Grass-Court Title In Halle

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Jannik Sinner - Parigi 2024 (foto X @ATPTour_ES)

Jannik Sinner has reached another milestone in his blossoming career after claiming his first title on grass at the Terra Wortmann Open in Halle. 

The world No.1 ousted fifth seed and doubles partner Hubert Hurkacz 7-6(8), 7-6,(2), in a tightly contested encounter. Sinner was sternly tested by the big-hitting Pole who knocked French Open finalist Alexander Zverev out of the tournament on Saturday. Nevertheless, he managed to come out on top to become only the eighth player in PIF ATP ranking history to claim a trophy in his first tournament as world No.1.

“This means a lot,” Sinner told TennisTV. “It was a tough match against Hubi. I knew that I had to serve really well. You play only a couple of really important points throughout the whole set. I tried to produce in the best possible way in the important moments. 
“I’m very happy about this tournament because it’s my first time winning (a title) on a grass court. It’s a good feeling.”

Proceedings got underway with a 53-minuite opening set which saw no breaks of serves during the first 12 games played. However, each player had one opportunity to do so during the early stages. In the tiebreak, Sinner continued to be troubled by Hurkacz after failing to maintain a 5-2 lead. Then at 6-5, he was unable to convert his first set point due to an ace from his opponent. He missed a second opportunity to do so before prevailing on his third by hitting a shot deep to the baseline that his rival returned into the net. Making Sinner the first player to take a set off Hurkacz this week. 

It was a case of deja vu in the second frame with both players standing strong behind their serve. Hurkacz was unable to find a way to break but he did win over the crowd after hitting a fantastic over-the-shoulder passing shot without looking to win a point. 

Meanwhile, Sinner continued to weather the storm as he closed in on victory. The second tiebreaker saw him capitalised on back-to-back unforced errors from his rival en route to a 5-1 lead. Two points later he earned his first match point with the help of another costly mistake from across the court before closing the match out with ease.

Sinner’s latest victory is only the second time he has beaten a top 10 player on the grass with his first triumph being against Carlos Alcaraz at Wimbledon two years ago. He is also the second player to win Halle whilst ranked No.1 in the world after Roger Federer. 

Heading into Wimbledon, the 22-year-old has won four ATP trophies so far this season on three different surfaces. He has now won 38 out of his last 41 matches played. 

“I’m looking forward to it,” Sinner said of the next Grand Slam. “Last year I made the semis and played some good tennis. So let’s see what’s coming this year. 
“For sure I’m more confident on this surface. Obviously, the grass here (in Halle) might be a bit different to Wimbledon but I have a week to prepare so hopefully it is going to be a good tournament.”

Sinner is the 17th active male player to win a tour-level title on all three surfaces. 

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