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

Seven out of the world’s top 5 male and top 5 female players will be in action.

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Federer, Djokovic, Kerber, Osaka, Halep, Pliskova, and Thiem will all play their second round matches.  In addition, Juan Martin Del Potro returns to the singles court a day after a successful return to doubles with partner Kei Nishikori.  And in what could be the last match of his career, David Ferrer takes on a fellow countryman who is the best candidate to take on the nickname “Little Beast.”

 

Roberto Bautista Agut vs. David Ferrer (WC)

Does Ferrer have one last big win in him before retiring?  The 37-year-old announced this tournament in his home country would be his last.  In his opening round, he’ll face a Spaniard six years his junior with a similar style of play, and similar fighting spirit.  This will be their first career meeting outside of a Major. Their previous three matches were all extended battles decided in four sets.  Ferrer took the first two in 2013, while Bautista Agut prevailed more recently at the 2017 Australian Open. David already accumulated a few impressive victories on his farewell tour, most notably over Sascha Zverev in Miami.  And in what could be a twist of fate, Zverev awaits the winner of this match in the next round. Two weeks ago in Barcelona, Ferrer lost to another fellow Spaniard, Rafael Nadal. A loss on home soil to a dogged competitor like Bautista Agut would seem an appropriate way to go out, though you know Ferrer give his all to the last point.  And a victory is not out of the question, especially on clay which is not Roberto’s strongest surface. And this will surely be an uncomfortable assignment for Bautista Agut. Perhaps I’m picking with my heart, but I think we may just see one more thrilling Ferrer victory before he calls it quits.

Simona Halep (3) vs. Johanna Konta

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This will be the first match of the day on Manolo Santana.  Overall Konta has gotten the better of this rivalry, leading their head-to-head 3-2.  Their biggest encounter was in the Wimbledon quarterfinals two years ago, which Konta won 6-4 in the third to reach her second Major semifinal.  But since that career highlight in her home country, she has struggled with her confidence as well as with injury. Konta only has two victories at a Major since that Wimbledon, has no titles, and is ranked outside the top 40.  And clay has never been a good surface for the 27-year-old. However, Konta got some momentum going on the terra baute just last week, making the final in Rabat. Meanwhile Halep has been steady this year, yet less than stellar.  She has 19 match wins, but has only made one final with no titles. Perhaps reuniting with her former coach Daniel Dobre will help Simona lift a trophy over the next few weeks. This stretch of the clay season has been good to Halep in the past, but she’ll surely feel the pressure of having 2,800 points to defend between Madrid, Rome, and Paris.  Still, Halep will be the favorite against Konta on clay.

Other Notable Matches on Tuesday in Madrid:

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  • Novak Djokovic (1) begins his 2019 Madrid campaign against 21-year-old American Taylor Fritz (Q), who yesterday upset Grigor Dimitrov.
  • Dominic Thiem (5), the second-best clay courter in the world over the past several seasons, also faces a young American, in the 6’11” Reilly Opelka (Q).  
  • Roger Federer (4) will play his first match on clay since May of 2016 against Richard Gasquet.  Federer leads their head-to-head 16-2, but Gasquet’s two victories both came on clay.
  • World No.1 Naomi Osaka (1) vs. 22-year-old Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo (WC).
  • Angelique Kerber (4) vs. Petra Martic, who just won a clay title in Istanbul nine days ago.

 

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Kiki Bertens Believes In Stability And Trust Ahead Of 2020 Season

Kiki Bertens looks for stability in hope of grand slam success in 2020.

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Kiki Bertens (@rogerscup - Twitter)

Kiki Bertens believes stability and trust is the key to success ahead of the 2020 season despite a time of change for the Dutchwoman. 

 

A time of change is approaching for Kiki Bertens as she recently just got married to her physical trainer Remko De Rijke.

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👰🤵 ❤️30-11-2019❤️ what a day!!🥂

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It’s not only off the court, change is approaching for the former Wimbledon quarter-finalist as her and coach Raemon Sluiter parted ways during the off-season.

After the split it would have been easy for Bertens to make a radical change to her coaching team but that is not her style as she has promoted Elise Tamaela to a main coaching role.

Even through a time of change, Bertens believes stability is crucial to success, “It takes me a while to be able to trust someone,” she admitted to Dutch website De Telegraaf. 

“And I don’t want to spend that time on something like that. We’re going to continue in the same way for next year. The results were not as expected in the Grand Slams but I had other good weeks. It’s really not that I felt different playing in the Slams than in other weeks in which I could win titles.”

Although the formula to winning a grand slam has yet to be solved, the world number nine has achieved great consistency having won 55 matches in 2019, which also included the biggest title of her career in Madrid.

A new era await for Bertens with her new coach and plenty of praise was given to Elise Tamaela ahead of the new season, “For me the most important thing is that that person knows a lot about tennis. I have to be able to fully trust her,” Bertens said.

“To be able to laugh with that person, eat with her. I prefer to keep the equipment to the minimum possible and be able to feel comfortable in terms of confidence. Sometimes more people in the team only bring more opinions. And that style is not mine.”

This simplistic formula has worked for Bertens in the past and as the 2020 season approaches, she’s not looking to change it.

However will inexperience lead to the same results at grand slams, with the level of the Women’s game rising, Bertens may find that breaking the boundaries of stability is needed.

The former world number four will start her march towards more glory in Brisbane on the 6th of January.

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Caroline Wozniacki Announces Retirement After Australian Open

Caroline Wozniacki has announced that she will retire from tennis after the Australian Open in January.

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Caroline Wozniacki (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Caroline Wozniacki has announced that she will retire from tennis after the Australian Open as a new chapter in her life approaches. 

 

The Dane won 30 WTA singles titles in her career and spent 71 weeks as world number one although a grand slam had haunted her for most of her career.

However that changed in 2018 after an epic win over Simona Halep sealed a dream come true as she won her first grand slam at the Australian Open.

Since winning her maiden slam though, it has been an uphill struggle on the court for Wozniacki as she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

Some days the former world number one and on some days, it is a constant battle for her to even wake up in the morning.

Now with other priorities taking over having been married to former NBA player David Lee since June and already studying Business at Harvard, Wozniacki today took the decision to retire from tennis after the Australian Open.

https://twitter.com/MPTenisPodcast/status/1202972268831367168

In a statement on Instagram, Woznaicki told her followers that she had accomplished everything she wanted to and looks forward to the future, “I’ve accomplished everything I could ever dream of on the court,” she said.

“I’ve always told myself, when the time comes, that there are things away from tennis that I want to do more, then it’s time to be done. In recent months, I’ve realized that there is a lot more in life that I’d like to accomplish off the court.

“Getting married to David was one of those goals and starting a family with him while continuing to travel the world and helping raise awareness about rheumatoid arthritis (project upcoming) are all passions of mine moving forward.

“This has nothing to do with my health and this isn’t a goodbye, I look forward to sharing my exciting journey ahead with all of you!

“Finally, I want to thank with all my heart, the fans, my friends, my sponsors, my team, especially my father as my coach, my husband, and my family for decades of support! Without all of you I could have never have done this!”

Although this retirement may have been coming, not many people would have predicted it would come at the scene of her grand slam breakthrough.

Now in the last stretch of her career, the Dane will want to finish on a high as she looks to celebrate a career that has lasted nearly 15 years.

 

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Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep and Venus Williams are the stand-out names in Adelaide

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Four top 10 players Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova and Kiki Bertens and former Grand Slam champions Venus Williams and Angelique Kerber will grab the headlines at the Adelaide International from 12 to 18 January 2020.

 

A total of seven Grand Slam champions and five former world number one players will take part in the Adelaide WTA tourament.

This year’s Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty leads a star-studded line-up, which includes 2019 Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, Kiki Bertens and seven other members of the top 20.

The Main Draw also features Sofia Kenin, Alison Riske, Sloane Stephens and Danielle Collins, World Number 30 Quang Wang. World Number 12 and this Rome WTA Premier finalist Johanna Konta will play her first tournament since the US Open following a knee injury.

Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams has been announced as the Top 20 wildcard.

“It is always exciting to play at a new tournament in front of new fans. I have had so many memorable times times in Australia over the years and I am looking forward to discovering Adelaide and all it has to offer”, said Venus Williams.

The men’s line-up includes 2019 Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic, Alex De Minaur, Lucas Pouille and Andrey Rublev.

“The full list of players is a real who’s who of tennis, from Australia’s favourite Ashleigh Barty to the iconic Venus Williams, right through to the young talent of Alex De Minaur and the experienced campaigner Novak Djokovic in the men’s field”, said South Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment David Ridgway.

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