Wimbledon Day 5 Preview: Five Must-See Matches - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Day 5 Preview: Five Must-See Matches

Friday’s schedule is headlined by a blockbuster third round matchup between two former Major champions.

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That Centre Court affair between Simona Halep and Victoria Azarenka should be a quite a battle, though it’s only one of many appetizing matches on Day 5.  With a ticket to the second week on the line for all the singles players, Friday should provide us with a plethora of great storylines. However, some of the most anticipated matches are in the mixed doubles event, which gets underway today and features superstars such as Serena Williams, Venus Williams, and Andy Murray.

 

Simona Halep (7) vs. Victoria Azarenka

This is a rematch from two years ago at Wimbledon, when Halep prevailed in straight sets on Manic Monday.  Two years prior to that, they played an extremely competitive and compelling quarterfinal at the US Open, which went to Halep 6-4 in the third.  Their overall head-to-head is tired at 2-2, with Azarenka taking their other two meetings back in 2012 before Halep was the player she is today. Azarenka continues to receive tough draws like this during the first week of Majors, as she struggles to get her ranking high enough to be seeded.  While the fire is still there in the two-time Australian Open champion, it’s now been nearly six years since she’s reached a Grand Slam final. Halep of course finally won her first Major last year at Roland Garros, but has struggled in the past year since suffering a back injury in late-2018, and since splitting with Darren Cahill.  Both women have achieved similar results at Wimbledon, both reaching the semifinals on their worst surface. Halep’s movement could be the deciding factor here, but Azarenka has a good shot if she can keep the ball deep in the court and limit her unforced errors. It feels as if Vika is long overdue for a signature win, so I’m giving her the slight edge to fight her way through what should be a great contest.

Karolina Pliskova (3) vs. Su-Wei Hsieh (28)

Pliskova has been the WTA’s second best player through the first six months of 2019.  She already has 37 match wins, three titles, and a seven match winning streak on the grass.  She now owns three career titles on grass, though that success is yet to translate to The All England Club.  Her round of 16 appearance last year was her first time advancing beyond the second round, on a surface that would seemingly be well-suited for her game.  Despite that, she’s a favorite to go deep into the second week on the less crowded half of the draw. But this will be a stern test, as Hsieh often drives her opponents crazy with her unorthodox style of play.  That was fully evident in her defeat of Jelena Ostapenko on Monday, as last year’s semifinalist spent much of their match whining in frustration. Both of Pliskova and Hsieh’s prior matches have been extended affairs.  Pliskova won in Miami last year 7-6 in the third, while Hsieh prevailed earlier this year in Dubai 7-5 in the third. This will likely be another complicated contest, but with all the confidence Karolina has been playing with, and with the wisdom of Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez, she should advance here.

Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Hubert Hurkacz

These two just played five weeks in the first round of Roland Garros, with Djokovic easily advancing in straight sets.  The 22-year-old from Poland was ranked outside the top 100 a year ago, but is now inside the top 50, with his most notable result coming at Indian Wells in March when he reached the quarterfinals.  Many have compared his playing style to that of Andy Murray. While I expect we’ll see him continue to rise in the rankings, he’ll likely be outmatched today by the defending champion. But he should account for himself better on grass than he did on the clay of Paris.

Karen Khachanov (10) vs. Roberto Bautista Agut (23)

Khachanov was truly impressive on Wednesday in his four-set victory over an in-form Feliciano Lopez.  Today he’ll face another Spaniard, who is almost always a tough out on any surface. Bautista Agut made a thrilling run to the quarterfinals in Melbourne earlier this year, highlighted by five set wins over Andy Murray, John Millman, and Marin Cilic.  It also included a straight set victory over Khachanov. Overall Roberto is 3-2 against Karen. Khachanov’s wins have come on clay, while Bautista Agut has triumphed on both hard courts and grass. The 23-year-old Russian is playing much better tennis than six months ago, having recovered from the hangover of his breakout win at the Paris Masters last fall.  Just like the 31-year-old from Spain, Khachanov reached his first Major quarterfinal this season, last month at Roland Garros. I like his chances to hit his way past the veteran, though I expect this to be an extended and back-and-forth encounter.

Daniil Medvedev (11) vs. David Goffin (21)

This should be another good one.  Their only previous meeting was in January at the Australian Open, which Medvedev claimed in straight sets.  But Goffin has been showing signs of regaining his confidence of late. In no small feat, he took a set of Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros.  He then advanced to the final on the grass of Halle, losing to Roger Federer in the final. David will now look at reach the second week of Wimbledon for the third time, as Daniil vies to make his round of 16 debut here.  Despite his success outside the Majors, Medvedev is yet to establish himself at the Slams, with his fourth round appearance in Melbourne being his best result to date. The grass courts should favor the powerful and flat groundstrokes of the 23-year-old Russian, but we’ve seen Goffin diffuse such hitting many times in the past.  I have a hunch David will find a way to do so again here and pull out an extremely tight victory.

Other notable matches on Day 5:

If you like big serving, this one’s for you: 2016 finalist Milos Raonic (15) vs. Reilly Opelka, who upset Stan Wawrinka in five sets on Wednesday.

15-year-old phenom Coco Gauff (Q) will make her Centre Court debut vs. Polona Hercog, who took out Madison Keys in the last round.

Another teenage phenom, Felix Auger-Aliassime (19), vs. 21-year-old Frenchman Ugo Humbert.

In mixed doubles, the team of Andy Murray and Serena Williams make their debut vs. Andreas Mies and Alexa Guarachi.

Also in mixed doubles, the American team of Frances Tiafoe and Venus Williams vs. the British team of Scott Clayton and Sarah Beth Grey.

 

Grand Slam

US Open 2022: Djokovic, Medvedev Early Favorites but Will the Serb Be Allowed to Compete?

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Wimbledon was a great success for the World’s No.1 ranked Novak Djokovic, as the Serbian star claimed another Grand Slam title. However, with the grass season officially behind us, tennis enthusiasts are looking towards the US Open. 

 

The Hard Court season is around the corner, and the usual suspects are topping the bookmaker’s odds to win the final Grand Slam of the season – the US Open – which will take place at Flushing Meadows, New York City. 

US Open 2022 betting odds & favorites to win it all 

To the surprise of nobody, Djokovic is topping the current US Open tennis odds at Caesars sportsbook New York as he looks to finish the Grand Slam season with another success added to his resume. 

Daniil Medvedev is the second favorite to win the competition, and Carlos Alcaraz is the third betting favorite. Interestingly, Rafael Nadal – all-time record holder with 22 Grand Slam titles – is currently priced at +660, making him an outsider to the aforementioned players. 

Tennis fans eagerly anticipated a meeting between Djokovic and Nadal in the Wimbledon finals, but the Spaniard was forced out of the competition due to an injury. A US Open final meeting between the two most successful ranked tennis stars is undoubtedly a match we’re all craving, but can Nadal prove the sportsbooks wrong and battle his way into another final? 

With less than a month until the first round begins, here are the latest available odds to win the US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, taking place between Aug 29 – Sep 11, 2022.      

Players Odds to win the US Open outright 
Novak Djokovic +150 
Danill Medvedev +225
Carlos Alcaraz Garfia+350
Rafael Nadal +550
Stefanos Tsitsipas +1,200 
Alexander Zverev +1,400 
Matteo Berrettini+1,600
Jannik Sinner +1,800 
Felix Auger-Aliassime +2,000
Andrey Rublev +2,500
Taylor Fritz +2,500 
Dominic Thiem +2,800
Denis Shapovalov +3,500 
Miomir Kecmanovic +3,500
Nick Kyrgios +3,500
Hubert Hurkacz +4,000 
Jenson Brooksby +4,000 
Cameron Norrie +4,000 
Casper Ruud +4,000 
Roger Federer +5,000 

Despite owning the favorable betting position to win the US Open outright, Djokovic remains unvaccinated. The current regulations state that non-US citizens must be vaccinated to compete in the US, so he’s ineligible to play. 

Djokovic hasn’t given up hope

The unvaccinated tennis stand-out was removed from the Australian Open in January, as the government declared he’d disobeyed strict Covid-19 regulations. 

The 35-year-old is now facing a similar fate at Flushing Meadows but has insisted on continuing his US Open training camp. 

As it currently stands, Djokovic won’t play at the US Open. Still, the Serbian star remains hopeful and recently took to social media with a video clip of himself preparing for the tournament. 

I am preparing as if I will be allowed to compete while I await to hear if there is any room for me to travel to the US,’ Djokovic wrote on Twitter. 
‘Fingers crossed!’ 

After posting a video of himself preparing, fans showed their support in abundance with the hashtag #LetNovakPlay. 

Further support for the Serbian star has continued with a petition on Change.Org. As of Saturday morning, close to 45,000 people had signed the petition requesting the US Tennis Association and the federal government to agree for Djokovic to gain entry into the US. 

‘I just wanted to take a moment and say to all of you how grateful I am to see so many messages of support and love from all around the world these days,’ Djokovic wrote to his fans. 
‘It feels special that people connect with my tennis career in such a loving and supportive way and wish for me to continue to compete.’ 

Several US politicians have expressed their opinions on the matter and have insisted that US President Joe Biden ease the rules so that Djokovic can participate at the upcoming Open. 

American politicians aren’t the only ones speaking up against Biden’s rules. The Serbia-American Voting Alliance (SAVA) has also written a letter asking the President to reconsider the regulations preventing Djokovic from competing in the United States. It read, “The US Open is the biggest tennis tournament in the world, and it won’t be what it is without Novak Djokovic. 
“Considering the economic situation and the crisis at all levels, America must not allow the US Open not to take place in its full glory and capacity, which means the arrival of Novak Djokovic, who has been crowned three times at the US Open, Novak does not pose any security threat, is one of the healthiest people in the world due to his disciplined life and serves as a role model and inspiration to millions around the world. 
“It is in America’s interest that the biggest tournament in the world hosts the best player in the world, especially since he just won the seventh Wimbledon in London.”  

Should the restriction be removed, Djokovic has the opportunity to level Rafael Nadal for the most Grand Slam titles of all time (22). 

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Grand Slam

McEnroe Labels Novak Djokovic’s Possible US Open Ban As ‘Crazy’

The American tennis great says he ‘respects’ Djokovic’s decision not to get vaccinated against covid-19.

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Novak Djokovic at the 2021 Rolex Paris Masters (Credit: Roberto Dell'Olivo)

John McEnroe says he is hoping that a solution can be found for Novak Djokovic to play at the US Open later this year.

 

As it currently stands 21-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic will not be allowed to play in New York due to government rules related to the entry of unvaccinated individuals. To travel to America, visitors are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they qualify for a special exemption. Djokovic has not been jabbed and stated after his Wimbledon triumph that he is not planning to do so. 

On Wednesday the United States Tennis Association (USTA) issued their entry lists for the US Open which also included Djokovic in the men’s draw. However, they also posted a statement confirming that they will ‘respect’ the American government’s rules concerning unvaccinated players. 

“The US Open does not have a vaccination mandate in place for players, but it will respect the U.S. government’s position regarding travel into the country for unvaccinated non-U.S. citizens,” the USTA said. 

Weighing in on the debate, former world No.1 McEnroe described the prospect of Djokovic missing the US Open as ‘crazy’ during an interview with Tennis 365. The Serbian has won four out of the last seven Grand Slam tournaments. He missed this year’s Australian Open following a high-profile legal dispute over the legitimacy of his visa which resulted in his deportation.

“We have to find a way to get Novak into the US Open,” said McEnroe. “How can he not be there? He has just won Wimbledon, he is a great champion and he should be in the US Open.
“I don’t agree with his decision not to get vaccinated, but I respect it. He is one of the fittest guys in the world and everything he puts into his body, he is watching carefully.
“Now we are saying that because of his choice, he can’t play at the US Open. I mean, come on. He has already been deported from Australia for the same reason and here we are again.
“I hope someone finds a way to sort this out. It’s crazy that Novak misses the US Open at this stage.”

Djokovic has won the US Open three times in his career with his most recent triumph occurring in 2018. He also won the title in 2011 and 2015. The 35-year-old was also runner-up at the tournament on six other occasions.

Should he be unsuccessful in trying to enter America, it is unclear when Djokovic will play his next tournament. He has previously hinted that he could feature in the Laver Cup that will take place in September. 

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US Open: Unvaccinated Novak Djokovic On Entry List But Former Champion Thiem Is Missing

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Novak Djokovic (SRB) - Credit: AELTC/Simon Bruty

Novak Djokovic has automatically entered himself to play at this year’s US Open even though there is a strong chance that he will not be allowed to participate. 

 

The 21-time Grand Slam champion has been included in the provisional entry list which was published on Wednesday. However, organizers confirmed that they will ‘respect’ the US Government’s rules on the admission of vaccinated individuals into the country. As it currently stands those who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 are not allowed to enter the country unless they qualify for a special exemption. 

“The US Open does not have a vaccination mandate in place for players, but it will respect the U.S. government’s position regarding travel into the country for unvaccinated non-U.S. citizens,” the USTA said in a statement. 

Djokovic is one of those who are not vaccinated against the virus. Following his win over Nick Kyrgios in the Wimbledon final, the former world No.1 stated that he still has no intention of being jabbed. Even though it could result in his missing a series of key Masters 1000 events across the summer, as well as the US Open. Djokovic has previously said he is cautious about injecting substances into his body due to concerns about how he may react. The COVID-19 vaccination has been deemed safe by the World Health Organization. 

“I’m not vaccinated and I’m not planning to get vaccinated so the only good news I can have is them removing the mandated green vaccine card or whatever you call it to enter the United States or exemption,” Djokovic told reporters at Wimbledon. “I don’t know. I don’t think the exemption is realistically possible. If that is a possibility, I don’t know what exemption would be about.”

As Djokovic hopes for a change in the law for him to play, 2020 champion Dominic Thiem will be relying on receiving a wild card for him to participate. The Austrian has decided not to join the entry list with the use of his protected ranking. Thiem was unable to defend his title last year due to a right wrist injury which ended up sidelining him from the Tour for months. 

Elsewhere, a trio of former top 20 players are using their protected ranking to join the field. Stan Wawrinka, Borna Coric and Kyle Edmund are all using their passes. Wawrinka and Coric have both started their comeback from injury but Edmund hasn’t played a singles tournament since October 2020. Aljaz Bedene, who is set to retire from the Sport at the end of this season, is also using his protected ranking. 

Williams joins the women’s field

In the women’s tournament, Serena Williams has used her protected ranking of 16th to join the field. The American recently played her first tournament for 12 months at Wimbledon where she lost in the first round to France’s Harmony Tan. Williams, who is one major title away from equalling Margaret Court’s record of 24, has also entered herself into other tournaments leading up to the US Open. 

Reigning champion Emma Raducanu is 10th on the list and will be hoping to repeat her heroics from last year where as a qualifier she won 10 matches in a row without dropping a set en route to the title. Since then, the Brit hasn’t featured in another Tour final and has been hampered by various physical issues. 

Raducanu and Williams are two out of six former US Open champions on the entry list. The others are Naomi Osaka, Angelique Kerber, Sloane Stephens and Bianca Andreescu. 

Venus Williams, who last won the tournament back in 2001, isn’t on the list. However, she could enter via wild card if she is given one. 

The 2022 US Open main draw will begin on August 29th. The full list of men’s entries can be seen HERE and the women’s HERE

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