French Open Day 10 Preview: The Quarter-Finals Commence - UBITENNIS
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Grand Slam

French Open Day 10 Preview: The Quarter-Finals Commence

Five former French Open singles champions remain in the draw, as we head toward what’s shaping up to be an historic final few rounds in Paris.

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Stan Wawrinka (photo by Chryslène Caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic are all three wins away from setting new milestones in the sport.  On the women’s side, three of last year’s semifinalists are still alive, and all three could foreseeably return to that stage again this year.  In total, 57 Major singles titles are still represented in the singles draws. Joining the champions in the last eight of each draw are some exciting young players fighting for their own glory.  We should be in for some classic matchups over the next six days.

 

Roger Federer (3) vs. Stan Wawrinka (24)

This is a rematch from the last time Federer played Roland Garros.  It was also the last time Wawrinka defeated Federer. In this same round four years ago, Stan prevailed in straight sets on his way to winning his second Major.  That’s one of only three victories for Wawrinka over Federer out of 25 tries, with the other two also coming on clay. But the big question here is what will Stan have left after his five-hour, nine-minute odyssey with Stefanos Tsitsipas two days ago?  Federer meanwhile has cruised to this stage without facing a seeded player, and without dropping a set. This may be a case where extending points, as well as the match, could be to the 37-year-old’s advantage. And while Stan owns three clay court wins over Roger, Federer owns four over Wawrinka.  This feels like a perfect opportunity for Federer to return to the French Open semifinals for the first time since 2012.

Rafael Nadal (2) vs. Kei Nishikori (7)

Even more so than Wawrinka, Nishikori is going to be completely wiped coming into this quarterfinal.  As per usual, Kei has found himself in too many extended battles early on at Majors. He’s coming off two straight five-setters: one of which was completed just yesterday, and both of which required him to overcome a fifth set deficit.  In the past two rounds alone, Nishikori spent over eight hours on court. And Kei is 2-10 lifetime versus Nadal, with his only two wins coming in best-of-three matches on hard courts. Rafa should advance to his twelfth semifinal here without complications.

Sloane Stephens (7) vs. Johanna Konta (26)

It’s last year’s finalist against a first-time quarterfinalist who had never won a match here prior to this fortnight.  While that sounds like a mismatch, Konta got the best of Stephens on clay just a few weeks ago in Rome. In fact, Johanna has won both of their previous meetings, with the other coming on a hard court earlier this year.  Konta’s success on clay this season has come out of nowhere, after almost two full years of struggling with injuries and confidence, and no prior results on the surface. But the British No.1 now owns 14 clay wins over the past six weeks.  All that being said, Stephens is still the favorite here. She remains the better clay court player, and looked quite sharp in taking out former champion Garbine Muguruza on Sunday.

Petra Martic (31) vs. Marketa Vondrousova

This will be the biggest match in both women’s careers to date, with one moving on to repeat that feat in two days.  Martic is a 28-year-old from Croatia who finally broke through to her first Major quarterfinal in her fifth try. It comes seven years after her first time in the fourth round of a Slam, with years of injuries in between.  Vondrousova is nearly 10 years her junior, a left-handed 19-year-old from the Czech Republic. Marketa has now reached the round of 16 or better at two of the last three Majors, and will debut inside the top 30 on Monday. Martic will debut inside the top 25, and the winner will move inside the top 20.  Petra owns a 4-0 edge in their head-to-head, which includes the final of Istanbul just six weeks ago on clay. But I have a feeling Vondrousova may get her first win today. Despite being much younger, she’s often the more composed of the two players. Vondrousova has plenty of game, and doesn’t strike me as a player who will be overwhelmed by this occasion.

Order of play –Play on all courts to start at 2pm GMT

COURT PHILIPPE-CHATRIER

  • S. STEPHENS [7] vs. J. KONTA [26]
  • K.NISHIKORI [7] vs. R.NADAL [2]

COURT SUZANNE LENGLEN

  • S.WAWRINKA [24] vs. R.FEDERER [3]
  • M. VONDROUSOVA vs. Petra MARTIC [31]

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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ATP

Nick Kyrgios Confident of Inflicting ‘Damage’ At Wimbledon, But Not With Andy Murray

The Australian explains why he doesn’t want to play doubles with Murray at The All England Club.

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Nick Kyrgios (photo by Chryslène Caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

LONDON: The grass courts of London feels like a second home for Australia’s Nick Kyrgios.

 

It is a time of year he relishes. Five years ago at Wimbledon, he made his first breakthrough with a run to the quarter-finals. Stunning Rafael Nadal on route. Since then, his love affair with the surface has only got stronger. Even if he is yet to contest a final of a grass-court event on the ATP Tour.

“It’s quite similar to Australia. Ultimately it feels a little bit like home.” Kyrgios told reporters on Monday.
“This is probably my favorite time of the year. Obviously, the Aussie summer is pretty good, but just being in London when the weather is like this is pretty hard to beat. Just playing on grass every day, it’s a lot of fun.” He added.

The 24-year-old kick-started his grass campaign two weeks ago in Surbiton at a Challenger event. Playing in the doubles tournament with Thanassi Kokkinakis, the duo won a match before falling in the quarter-finals. Following on from that, in Stuttgart, he crashed out in the first round to Matteo Barattini, who went on to win the tournament.

The results may not be groundbreaking, but Kyrgios’ belief and confidence remains unhinged heading into the next grand slam of the season. Currently ranked 39th in the world, it is touch and go if he will be seeded at Wimbledon. Depending on how he performs this week at Queen’s.

“I definitely feel like I can do damage.” The former top-20 player commented about his Wimbledon prospects. “I have had a lot of good wins on grass. Obviously made a quarterfinal run when I was a little bit younger, but I think if the stars align, for sure I can do damage there.”

It will take a lot for Kyrgios and his rivals to break the dominance of the Big Four, who has won the Wimbledon trophy every year since 2003. However, he feels that should a shock happen in a grand slam. It is more likely to take place at the grass-court major.

“I’d probably say it is. I say if somebody is serving big and feeling themselves that week, I think for sure they could probably make more of a run.”

The return of Murray

Besides his own goals, Kyrgios is also relishing the return of one of his rivals and friends. Andy Murray is set to play in the doubles at the Fever-Tree Championships alongside Feliciano Lopez. It will the first test for the three-time grand slam champion after undergoing hip resurfacing surgery.

“He’s a warrior. I hit with him a couple times in London, obviously when I took a spell from the French.” Kyrgios said of the former world No.1.
“He’s still hitting the ball unbelievable. I think he’s well good enough to do damage in any doubles of any players, especially this week with Feliciano. I’d almost pay to watch that match. They’re going to be tough to beat.”

Looking further ahead, Murray is still pondering who he will team up with in the doubles at Wimbledon. It will be only the second time he has played doubles at the major and first since 2005. Among the candidates for a partner was Kyrgios, who has now ruled himself out.

“It’s just good to see him back, but I don’t think I want to carry him for Wimbledon dubs. I think he can find someone else to do that for him.” He explained.
“When I hit with him in Wimby a couple weeks ago, we spoke about it. But it’s best-of-five sets, which is tough. I don’t know if my body — if I happen to go deep at Wimbledon, it’s too tough to play doubles.”

Flying solo, Kyrgios is hoping for a boost this week at the Fever-Tree Championships. In his first round on Tuesday, he plays Adrian Mannarino. A player who won an ATP title in s-Hertogenbosch on Sunday.

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