French Open Day 9 Preview: Five Must-See Matches - UBITENNIS
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Grand Slam

French Open Day 9 Preview: Five Must-See Matches

In a true rarity, today’s fourth round line-up includes two clashes between top 10 seeds within the same singles draw.

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Alexander Zverev (photo by Chryslène Caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Those top 10 battles are in the men’s draw, where all top 10 seeds advanced to this stage. Of course we lost one of those seeds yesterday, in the fantastic epic that was penned by Stan Wawrinka and Stefanos Tsitsipas. Meanwhile, the world No.1, who is also the winner of the last three Majors, can reach the quarterfinals without meeting a seed at all.

 

In the women’s draw, only three top 10 seeds remain. In fact, half of the women on today’s schedule will be making their round of 16 debut at a Major. It’s a huge opportunity for the new blood to make a deep run, but some women who have done so before are eager to return to the last weekend of a Slam.

Sascha Zverev (5) vs. Fabio Fognini (9)

Both men are vying for their second Major quarterfinal, a feat they first accomplished at this tournament. They met on clay earlier this year, with Fognini prevailing in straight sets on the way to the biggest title of his career in Monte Carlo. Zverev took both of their other matches back in 2017, one of which was on clay. The 22-year-old must be short on stamina at this point, considering the amount of tennis played over the past two weeks. First there was his title run in Geneva, and then the 13 sets it took him to advance to this round. He played five of those sets just two days ago against the other Monte Carlo finalist, Dusan Lajovic. However, it is worth noting Fognini played 12 sets of his own last week, winning each of his first three rounds in four. I would not be at all surprised by another extended battle here, but I think this day may belong to the Italian. Zverev is still yet to round into top form, and the clay favors the 32-year-old veteran.

Juan Martin Del Potro (8) vs. Karen Khachanov (10)

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This is the other matchup between two top 10 seeds, featuring two heavy hitters who will not hesitate to club the ball. All three of their previous meetings took place last year, with Del Potro winning all three. One of those took place at a Major, as Juan Martin needed four sets and nearly four hours to knock Karen out of last year’s Australian Open. But Del Potro is not quite the same player he was a year ago. He missed about six months of action due to a knee injury last fall, and aggravated that knee during his second round win over Yoshihito Nishioka. That being said, he had no problem dismissing Jordan Thompson on Saturday, dropping just eight games. Khachanov has now reached the fourth round here in each of the past three years, but is yet to go farther at any Major. Is the 23-year-old ready to breakthrough? This match has a similar feel to yesterday’s Wawrinka/Tsitsipas encounter, with a veteran who has been recovering from a serious knee injury defending his turf against the next generation. I think Khachanov has enough game, and enough confidence in himself, to push Del Potro just a bit farther than his knee will allow the big man to go. The Paris Indoors champion of last year may be poised for more success in this city.

Dominic Thiem (4) vs. Gael Monfils (14)

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This could be just as good as, if not better than, the day’s matches between top 10 seeds. The athleticism and shot-making abilities of both men could combine to create a classic. But that’s only if Monfils finds way to be competitive against Thiem, something he’s never done before. Gael is 0-4 against Dominic, and when they played last year on the clay of Buenos Aires, he won just three games. Monfils has had a much stronger season in 2019, and he played excellently in week 1, not dropping a set. On the other side of the net, Thiem dropped a set in each of his first three rounds. The 25-year-old’d inability to get cleanly through the first week is turning into a pattern at the Majors, and causes him trouble come the second week. That could happen here, especially with the French crowd playing a factor. While you can never be sure what you’ll get from him day-to-day, I expect an inspired effort from Gael here at home. Will it be enough to upset last year’s finalist? I would be tempted to say yes, if it weren’t for how lopsided their history has been.

Simona Halep (3) vs. Iga Swiatek

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Here we have a three-time finalist, and last year’s champion, against a new face on tour. The WTA has an informative piece regarding the 18-year-old here. She quickly rose through the rankings by racking up seven ITF titles, and will move into the top 65 with this fourth round run. Aside from a random 6-0 set she lost to Monica Puig on Saturday, she’s been destroying opponents here, with no other player winning more than three games in a set. That includes Qiang Wang, the sixteenth seed. Iga’s been the one dictating play in all her matches. Against Wang, she struck 33 winners and only 12 unforced errors. But the youngster from Poland is yet to face a player with the defensive skills of Simona Halep. The world No.3 hasn’t played her best tennis this year, but she could be rediscovering her form just in time for her title defense. On Saturday against Lesia Tsurenko, Halep lost just three games. While Swiatek surely has a bright future, that future may not immediately materialize. Halep will be a strong favorite in their first career meeting.

Ash Barty (8) vs. Sofia Kenin

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It was the spunky 20-year-old American who upset Serena Williams on Saturday. But taking out another top 10 seed after the biggest win of your life is a lot to ask. While Barty has never excelled on clay, her success from the past few seasons is now translating to this surface. After reaching her first Major quarterfinal in her home country earlier this year, the Australian is now a favorite to reach her second one consecutively. However, it’s not fair to count out Kenin, who has shown just how strong a competitor she is many times over the past year. If she can put her upset of Serena out of her mind, this could be a close one.

Other notable matches on Day 9:

  • Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Jan-Lennard Struff. The 29-year-old from Germany is into his first Major fourth round after an upset of Borna Coric, in a match that went to 11-9 in the fifth.
  • Madison Keys (14) vs. Katerina Siniakova. Siniakova upset Naomi Osaka two days ago, and will be the underdog again here against Keys, who has reached the quarters or better at four of the last six Slams.
  • Amanda Anisimova vs. Aliona Bolsova (Q), in the first meeting between the 17-year-old American and the 21-year-old Spaniard, both playing for their first major quarterfinal.

Order of play

Court Philippe-Chatrier (10am BST)

Sofia Kenin vs Ashleigh Barty

Novak Djokovic vs Jan-Lennard Struff

Dominic Thiem vs Gael Monfils

Simona Halep vs Iga Swiatek

Court Suzanne-Lenglen (10am BST)

Katerina Siniakova vs Madison Keys

Kei Nishikori vs Benoit Paire – TO FINISH

Fabio Fognini vs Alexander Zverev

Karen Khachanov vs Juan Martin del Potro

Amanda Anisimova vs Aliona Bolsova

Grand Slam

US Open Leads The Way In Grand Slam Sponsorship Deals, Says Study

An insight into the multi-million dollar business of grand slam tennis.

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Five out of the 10 most expensive rights deals in grand slam tennis belong to the US Open according to a report published by a global intelligence service.

 

SportBusiness has valued the American major as having deals worth in excess of $67 million. Their findings are based on ‘industry sources’ and takes into account only rights fees and not ‘account value.’ Besides the US Open, Wimbledon and the Australian Open have two deals that have made the top 10. Meanwhile, Roland Garros only has one, but it is the second highest.

The top deal regarding the US Open is a $20 million yearly agreement with JP Morgan Chase. A financial services company that is ranked as one of the largest banks in the world in terms of assets. They have been a prime sponsor since 2005 and reportedly signed a new three-year deal in 2018. The US Open also has high-value deals, with Emirates ($17M), American Express ($10M), Mercedes-Benz (10M) and Rolex ($10M).

Currently the richest grand slam in terms of sponsorship revenue, it comes as no surprise that this year’s US Open Prize money is also a record for the majors. The pool will be worth $57 million with both the men’s and women’s singles champion taking home $3,850,000. An increase of $50,000 compared to last year. Runners-up will each receive $1,900,000.

Elsewhere, the French Open benefits heavily from their partnership with banking group BNP Paribas. A deal worth $17.5 a year. Roland Garros has the second highest share of the total grand slam revenue after the US Open, but there is little to separate them. SportsBusiness concludes Flushing Meadows leads with a 29% share, followed by the French Open with 28% and Australian Open with 27%. The only notable difference is that Wimbledon lags behind at 16%. However, Wimbledon’s revenue exceeded $50M for the first time this year.

Another notable trend identified by SportsBusiness is the growing presence of Chinese investments. A series of new deals this year included the Australian Open scoring a $14.1M deal with beverage company Luzhou Laojiao. Meanwhile, Wimbledon joined forces with their first ever Asian sponsor Oppo in a deal worth $11M. Later this year, China will host the WTA Finals for the first time in its history with a record prize money pool of $14M. Double of what was on offer last year at the year-end tournament in Singapore.

List of the 10 most expensive grand slam deals

  1. JP Morgan Chase and the US Open ($20M)
  2. BNP Paribas and the French Open ($17.5M)
  3. Emirates and the US Open ($17M)
  4. Kia Motors and the Australian Open ($14.1M)
  5. Luzhou Laojiao and the Australian Open (14.1M)
  6. Rolex and Wimbledon (12.3M)
  7. Oppo and Wimbledon ($11M)
  8. American Express and the US Open ($10M)
  9. Mercedes-Benz and the US Open ($10M)
  10. Rolex and the US Open (£10M)

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Grand Slam

How Many Points Are Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer And Co. Defending Until The US Open?

The full breakdown of how many points every member in the top 20 on the men’s tour have to defend over the coming weeks.

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It has been just over a week since Novak Djokovic won his 16th major title at Wimbledon, but the focus has already switched to the final grand slam of the season.

 

The US Open will begin during the final week of August. Held at Flushing Meadows in New York, the tournament will have the biggest prize money pool in grand slam history. Totalling to an amount of more than $57 million. Between now and then, players will be battling to defend their rankings points on the North American hard courts with this time of the year being more crucial for some than others.

Under the current ranking format, any points a player wins at a tournament are theirs until the following year. Then they have the chance to defend those points. For example Djokovic is the current Cincinnati Open champion and won 1000 points in 2018. Therefore, this year, he is defending 1000 points in the tournament.

Regning US Open champion Djokovic has the most points to defend during this period with his tally being 3090 points. In fact, the world No.1 in the only person in the top 20 defending more than 2000 points. A true testament to his consistency last year.

Roger Federer potentially has the chance to reclaim the world No.2 spot from Rafael Nadal depending on how both men perform. The Swiss player has 780 points at stake, compared to 1720 for his rival. However, Federer will only play one tournament prior to New York compared to two for Nadal. He will miss the Roger’s Cup in Canada in order to have a longer rest period.

At the other end of the spectrum, Gael Monfils only has 90 points to defend. This time last year the Frenchman was struggling with injury and retired from his second round match at the US Open due to his wrist.

Here is a full breakdown of the amount of points the top 20 players are defending from now until the end of the US Open:-

Ranking (as of 23/7/19)
Player
 2018 performance
Points Defending
1 Novak Djokovic  – R3 Rogers Cup
– Cincinnati Champion
– US Open champion
3090
2 Rafael Nadal – Rogers Cup champion
– SF US Open
1720
3 Roger Federer – Cincinnati Finalist
-R4 US Open
780
4 Dominic Thiem -QF Hamburg
-R2 Kitzbuhel
-R2 Rogers Cup
-QF US Open
460
5 Alexander Zverev – Washington champion
– QF Rogers Cup
– R2 Cincinnati
-R3 US Open
780
6 Stefanos Tsitsipas -SF Washington
-Rogers Cup finalist
-R1 Cincinnati
-R2 US Open
835
7 Kei Nishikori -QF Washington
-R1 Rogers Cup
-R2 Cincinnati
-SF US Open
865
8 Karen Khachanov -R2 Washington
-SF Rogers Cup
-R3 Cincinnati
-R3 US Open
540
9 Daniil Medvedev -R2 Washington
-R3 Rogers Cup
-R1 Cincinnati
-Winston Salem champion
-R3 US Open
510
10 Fabio Fognini -Bastad champion
-Los Cabos champion
-R2 Gstaad
-R2 Rogers Cup
-R2 US Open
590
11 Kevin Anderson -SF Rogers Cup
-R3 Cincinnati
-R4 US Open
630
12 Juan Martin del Potro -Los Cabos finalist
-QF Cincinnati
-US Open finalist
1530
13 Roberto Bautista Agut -Gstaad finalist
-R1 US Open
160
14 John Isner -Atlanta champion
-R2 Washington
-R3 Rogers Cup
-R1 Cincinnati
-QF US Open
710
15 Borna Coric -R2 Gstaad
-R2 Rogers Cup
-R2 Cincinnati
-R4 US Open
270
16 Nikoloz Basilashvili – Hamburg champion
-R1 Kitzbuhel
-R2 Winston Salem
-R4 US Open
700
17 Marin Cilic -QF Rogers Cup
-SF Cincinnati
-QF US Open
900
18 David Goffin -QF Washington
-R1 Rogers Cup
-SF Cincinnati
-R4 US Open
640
19 Gael Monfils -R2 Hamburg
-R2 US Open
90
20 Matteo Berrettini -R2 Bastad
-Gstaad champion
-QF Kitzbuhel
-R3 Winston Salem
-R1 US Open
345

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Tim Henman Backs Djokovic To Break Federer’s Grand Slam Record

The former world No.4 shares his views about the two tennis legends.

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Former British No.1 Tim Henman believes Novak Djokovic is in a strong position to win more major titles than Roger Federer before he retires from the sport.

 

The world No.1 recently defeated Federer in a five-set epic at Wimbledon to clinch his 16th grand slam title. Placing him third on the all-time list behind Rafael Nadal (18) and Federer (20). Djokovic has won four out of the past five grand slam tournaments. The only exception occurred at the French Open where he lost in the semi-finals to Dominic Thiem.

Speaking to sports agency Omnisport during a HSBC event that took place earlier in the week, Henman believes age is on Djokovicv’s side in his bid to break the record of his Swiss Rival. Out of the Big Three the Serbian is the youngest at 32. Nadal is a year older at 33 and Federer turns 38 later this year.

“It’s going to be very interesting to watch,” said Henman.
“He’s five years younger than Federer so he’s got much more time on his side.
“The level of play that Djokovic is at right now, it really wouldn’t surprise me if he did overtake Federer in the future.”

Shortly after his latest win, Djokovic stated that he has no intention of retiring anytime soon. Citing inspiration from Federer and his ability to continue playing at his age. Giving him more than enough time to become the most decorated singles player in grand slam history on the men’s tour.

“Roger hopes to inspire people to keep going at 37,” he said. “I’m one of them. The fact that they have made history of this sport motivates me as well, inspires me to try to do what they have done, what they’ve achieved, and even more.”

Besides the dominance of Djokovic, Henman also said that nobody should be writing off Federer yet. The world No.3 had two match points to win the Wimbledon trophy for a record ninth time, but failed to convert.

“I don’t think so. I think it’s very difficult to write these guys off that are playing at such a high level.” Henman replied when asked if Wimbledon was Federer’s last shot at grand slam glory.
“Federer’s not going to be around forever but I think it’s important we all enjoy him while he’s still playing.”

Djokovic is set to return to action next month at the Rogers Cup in Canada. Meanwhile, Federer will not be returning to competition until the Cincinnati Open, which takes place after the Canadian Masters 1000 event.

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