French Open Day 13 Preview: The Men’s and Women’s Semifinals - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

Grand Slam

French Open Day 13 Preview: The Men’s and Women’s Semifinals

In a unique day at Roland Garros, all four singles semifinals are scheduled for Friday, to be played across three different courts.

Published

on

Roger Federer (photo by :Gianni Ciaccia)

The women’s quarterfinals are a day behind schedule due to Wednesday’s rainout. And unfortunately, there is also a big threat of rain today, especially at 11:00am local time when the women’s semifinals are set to start. But once play begins, the day will be headlined by Federer/Nadal XXXIX. In fact, both men’s semifinals could be scintillating, with the top four players in the world all advancing to this stage. That includes the three most prolific men’s singles champions at the Majors in the Open Era.

 

The women’s semifinals are the polar opposite. None of the four semifinalists had even been past the second round of this tournament before this fortnight. And each player has a different playing style and personality, with some great stories attached to them. If the rain allows all play to be concluded, it could be one of the most compelling days of the tennis year.

Rafael Nadal (2) vs. Roger Federer (3)

Embed from Getty Images
Federer has won their last five meetings, bringing his deficit in their rivalry from 10-23 to 15-23. Nadal hasn’t prevailed since the 2014 Australian Open, though they haven’t met on clay since May of 2013. On the terra baute, Rafa holds a decisive 13-2 edge, with Roger’s only victories coming in best-of-three matches from 2007 and 2009. At the French Open, Nadal is 5-0, with four of those occasions being the championship match, most recently in 2011. Roger turned this rivalry around at the 2017 Australian Open, with an improved backhand thanks to a larger frame. Does Federer have a shot here? While Roger has dominated Nadal of late, defeating Rafa in best-of-five on clay, and on the spacious Court Philippe-Chatrier, remains the sport’s greatest challenge. That’s especially true at this stage of the tournament, as Nadal is 11-0 in French Open semifinals. And Federer’s recent struggles with break point conversions make the task all the more insurmountable. It would be a total shock if Rafa is not playing for his 12th Coupe des Mousquetaires come Sunday.

Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Dominic Thiem (4)

Embed from Getty Images
This has prolonged battle written all over it, which could be costly for the winner come Sunday. With this being the second men’s semifinal of the day, rain could prevent this match from being completed. Djokovic holds a 6-2 edge over Thiem, though Dominic’s taken two of the last three. That includes their quarterfinal clash here two years ago. Their most recent encounter was a few weeks ago on the clay of Madrid, which was Novak’s first win in this rivalry in two years. Thiem dropped a set in each of his first three matches, while Djokovic has won all 15 sets played this tournament. Novak hasn’t lost a match at a Grand Slam event in 52 weeks, and I like Djokovic’s chances to reach his fourth straight Major final, following a thoroughly challenging fight from Thiem.

Ash Barty (8) vs. Amanda Anisimova

Embed from Getty Images
How will the 17-year-old American perform just 24 hours removed from her breakthrough upset of the defending champion, Simona Halep? That may be the ultimate decider in this one. Anisimova showed us yesterday how capable she is of controlling a match, especially with her backhand. But coming back a day after the biggest win of your life to play a new biggest match of your life is a lot for a player of any age. This teenager though did not seem at all overwhelmed by the moment in just her fourth Major appearance. Barty meanwhile has been playing Majors since 2012, though her career didn’t take off until she returned to the sport three years ago after a sabbatical playing cricket. But Ash is still only 23 years of age, and her game previously only successful on faster courts has evolved, bringing her to an unexpected first Major semifinal at the only clay Slam. The Australian has plenty of weapons to complicate matters for the young star, but in their first career meeting, I favor Anisimova. For a teenager, she’s demonstrated a remarkable amount of composure this season, and I don’t see her crumbling under the pressure of playing for her first Major final.

Johanna Konta (26) vs. Marketa Vondrousova

Embed from Getty Images
The winner here will reach their first championship match at a Major. For Konta, this is her third Slam semifinal, and her first in nearly two years. She’s now reached a Major semifinal on all three surfaces. She had no clay resume to speak of until this season, but has accumulated 15 wins on the surface over the past six weeks. This run truly came out of nowhere, as she was 3-6 at her last six Grand Slam events. She has spoken of how her new coach this season, Dimitri Zavialoff, has freed her up to add more variety to her game. The results have been impressive, especially in the quarterfinal against Sloane Stephens, where she put on a serving clinic. In the second set of that match, she won 20 of 21 service points played. While her opponent today is inexperienced at this level, she will not be an easy out. The 19-year-old from the Czech Republic has now reached the quarterfinals or better in each of her last six tournaments. Her last loss was actually at the hands of Konta, a three-set quarterfinal in Rome. Vondrousova took their other previous meeting last year on a hard court, at a time when Konta was struggling with her form. As stellar as Johanna’s play has been of late, Vondrousova has also been excellent, and is yet to drop a set this fortnight. And other than a slight lapse when trying to close out her quarterfinal match against Petra Martic, she’s shown few signs of nerves during the biggest run of her career. In a match that feels it could go either way, I’m favoring Vondrousova. It feels Konta is due for a bit of a letdown in form, while Marketa has been so steady all season.

Other Notable Matches on Day 13

  • In the mixed doubles final, Gabriela Dabrowski and Mate Pavic (2) vs. Latisha Chan and Ivan Dodig. Pavic and Dodig were Davis Cup champions for Croatia just six months ago.
  • In the women’s doubles semifinals, Timea Babos and Frenchwoman Kiki Mladenovic (2), finalists at two of the last three Majors, vs. Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka (6), who are both top 20 singles players and winners of both Indian Wells and Miami as a team.
  • In the other semifinal, Kirsten Flipkens and Johanna Larsson (15), vs. the Chinese team of Yingying Duan and Saisai Zheng.

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.

Published

on

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:

Continue Reading

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.

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending