French Open Day 14 Preview: The Women’s Final - UBITENNIS
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Grand Slam

French Open Day 14 Preview: The Women’s Final

Also on Saturday, Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem will complete their semifinal.

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Ash Barty (photo by Gianni Ciaccia)

Three years ago, Ash Barty returned to the sport after walking away from tennis at the age of 18.  She had played some cricket in Australia during her hiatus, and entered a mid-level ITF event with no ranking.  As is her way, she quietly built up her ranking over the next few years. But 2019 has been her true breakthrough.  Barty reached her first Major quarterfinal at her home Slam, then won the biggest title of her career in Miami. And after no previous success on this surface, she’s advanced to her first Slam final on clay, following a bizarrely streaky semifinal against Amanda Anisimova.  She’ll debut in the top three on Monday, and would be the new world No.2 with a win today.

 

Three years ago, Marketa Vondrousova was ranked outside the top 300.  Only 16-years-old at the time, she played in the junior event here at Roland Garros, and didn’t play again the rest of the year due to an elbow inury.  She returned the next year and won her first 20 matches at ITF events. And in just her second WTA-level event, she won the title in Bienne, Switzerland.  In 2018, Vondrousova advanced to the second week of a Major for the first time. This year she’s now reached the quarterfinals or better in her last six events, and has advanced to her first Slam final without dropping a set.  Marketa will debut in the top 16 on Monday, and would move all the way up to No.11 with a win today.

Ash Barty (8) vs. Marketa Vondrousova

This is a most unlikely Major final, but it should be a lot of fun.  Both players possess such variety in their games, yet have plenty of contrast in their styles, which will create some compelling rallies all around the court.  They’ve met twice before, with Barty taking both matches, one on grass and one on a hard court. One would think the clay would play to Vondrousova’s advantage.  Her lefty serve will bounce higher, while the clay will take some pace off Ash’s big forehand. The cool temperatures forecast for Saturday will only slow the ball down more.  But the key to victory for both players may be how they handle this moment. The 19-year-old Vondrousova is yet to show any significant signs of nerves during this fortnight, but she’ll surely be feeling them on this occasion.  Barty meanwhile let a 5-0 first set lead slip away in yesterday’s semifinals, yet took advantage of her 17-year-old opponent’s inexperience to come back from a set and a break down. Could a similar story play out today? Perhaps, but Marketa showed her grit yesterday in coming back from a set down twice against Johanna Konta, who had been serving excellently at this tournament.  Neither player should be overly tired just one day removed from the semis, though Barty went through much more of an emotional roller coaster in her match. In what should be a tight contest between two first-time finalists, I’m giving the slight edge to Barty. Of the two players, she’s the less likely to get down on herself if the match isn’t going her way, and Ash has much more experience in big matches.

Other Notable Matches on Day 14:

Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem play for the right to face Rafael Nadal in tomorrow’s men’s final.  They split the first two sets, and Thiem is up 3-1 in the third. The wind and rain should not be a factor as they were yesterday, conditions Thiem dealt with much more positively than Djokovic.  The winner will play for a fourth day in a row on Sunday against a fresh King of Clay.

In the men’s doubles final with two unseeded teams, Frenchmen Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin vs. Germans Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies.

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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