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.

 

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Novak Djokovic Ready To Face Federer And The Tricky Wimbledon Crowd

The world No.1 is prepared to take part in two fights on Sunday.

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WIMBLEDON: A player with a record 20 grand slam titles to his name is something Novak Djokovic admires, but he is by no means scared of him.

 

The world No.1 will face Roger Federer on Sunday for a chance to win his fifth Wimbledon title and second in a row. It will be the first time the two have clashed this season. In 2018 Djokovic won both of their meetings, which took place on a hard court. On the grass, they have already locked horns at Wimbledon on three previous occasions with the Serbian winning their two most recent matches in 2014 and 2015.

“We all know how good he is anywhere, but especially here (in Wimbledon).” Said Djokovic.
“This surface complements his game very much. He loves to play very fast. Takes away the time from his opponent. Just doesn’t give you any same looks. He just rushes you to everything.’
“So for players, maybe like Nadal or myself that like to have a little more time, it’s a constant pressure that you have to deal with.”

Djokovic has reached the final in four out of the past five grand slam tournaments. The only player to have defeated him so far within that time period was Dominic Thiem at the French Open. An impressive resume for the 32-year-old who currently has 15 major trophies to his name.

Sunday’s final will be the 48th time the two have faced each other on the tour with Djokovic winning 25 of those. Speaking about their rivalry following his win over Rafael Nadal, Federer said he was ‘excited’ for the showdown. The Swiss could achieve two milestones if he wins the Wimbledon title. He would become the first man in history to win the tournament for a ninth time and it will return him back to No.2 in the world rankings.

“I’m excited about the game against Novak.” He previewed. “We’ve played each other so, so much. I don’t mind that, I think it’s more of a clear game plan. Especially we had a great match against each other in Paris (2018 Bercy Masters) recently. I hope we can back it up from there.”

It remains to be seen how the reception will be for Djokovic. During his semi-final match against Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut, it appeared at times that there was more support for the underdog. Something that isn’t too unusual when it comes to the world of sport. Although he does have a mixed experience when it comes to the crowd. In 2018 he said he ‘didn’t deserve to be treated’ the way he was during his clash with home player Kyle Edmund. An encounter marred by a bad call that cost him a break, before he went on to win.

Some may perceive the final as a battle of which player is the most popular at The All England Club. An intriguing idea, but not one Djokovic has any time for.

“I’m going to go out there and fight and give it all. It’s finals of Wimbledon. This is the kind of a match that I always dreamt of as a young boy with the tennis racquet, dreamt of being part of. This is what I worked for. I wanted to be in this position.” He stated.
“I have a chance to fight for a trophy. Regardless of who’s across the net or what is happening around, I’ll definitely give it all.”
“I’ve played with Roger in some epic finals here a couple of years in a row, so I know what to expect,” Djokovic added.

Since 2015, Djokovic has won eight out of the 10 grand slam finals he has contested. His only loss to Federer in a major final was at the 2007 US Open final.

The Wimbledon final will get underway at 14:00 GMT on Sunday.

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Federer And Nadal: Their History In 40 Photos

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Forty matches, forty pictures. The match Federer and Nadal are playing today could be their last one on grass.

 

Let’s see what’s happened before, in pictures.

 

2004

1 – Miami, 3T: Nadal b. Federer 6–3 6–3

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Wimbledon Day 11 Preview: The Gentlemen’s Semi-Finals

It will be the 40th chapter in the sport’s most celebrated rivalry.

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Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal (@SI_Tennis - Twitter)

By Matthew Marolf

 

For the first time in 11 years, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will play on the lawns of The All England Club. Federer is 11-1 at this stage of The Championships, while Nadal is 5-1, with his only loss coming last year at the hands of Novak Djokovic.

The world No.1 and defending champion will compete in the other semi-final, against a 31-year-old veteran making his Major semi-final debut. While that sounds like a mismatch, Roberto Bautista Agut is 2-0 against Djokovic this year. It should be a most compelling gentlemen’s semi-finals day at Wimbledon.

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

This will be their fourth appointment on Centre Court at Wimbledon. They previously met three consecutive years in finals. In 2006, Federer prevailed in four sets. In 2007, Nadal pushed Roger to five sets, but Federer persevered to win his fifth straight title. And in 2008, they played what many refer to as the greatest match of all-time, in which the King of Clay dethroned the King of Grass 9-7 in the fifth. Overall Nadal leads this rivalry 24-15, with a 10-3 edge at Slams. Their head-to-head had been rather one-sided for some time, before Federer turned it around in their momentous five-set final at the 2017 Australian Open. That was one of five victories in a row for Roger over Rafa.  Their most recent meeting was in this same round of the most recent Major, when Nadal easily dispatched of Federer in straight sets on a terribly windy day in Paris.

Of course the grass will boost Federer’s chances, as will the lack of wind. The forecast calls for relatively cool temperatures, and no chance of rain later in the afternoon when this match is scheduled to begin. That means Rafa’s ball won’t bounce quite as high as it would in the heat, just as Roger’s ball won’t have quite as much speed. It also means the roof will not come into play, which would be a big advantage for Federer, who is the better indoor player.  Both men have been in excellent form during this fortnight, and are yet to be truly challenged.

In a rivalry that’s contained several significant turning points, this feels like it could be another. Taking three sets from Nadal on any surface is a tall task, as he remains the sport’s most tenacious competitor. And Rafa has shown no signs of the knee troubles that have plagued him throughout his career. The longer the match goes, the odds of a Nadal victory increase. As fit as Federer is, he’s just a few weeks shy of 38-years-old. And the slightly slower court speeds at SW19 this year will play to Rafa’s favour. It’s a tough match to call, but I’ll go with Nadal to reach his first Wimbledon final since 2011.

Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Roberto Bautista Agut (23)

In the first week of 2019, Bautista Agut upset Djokovic in a stellar match, coming back from a set down to win 6-4 in the third. Two months later in Miami, Roberto repeated that feat, prevailing again despite dropping the first set to the world No.1. But in the biggest match of his career, can the Spaniard again topple the 15-time Major champion on the world’s most prestigious tennis court, and in the best-of-five format?

As impressive as Bautista Agut has been at this tournament, that seems highly unlikely. Djokovic has become more dominant with each passing round. He dismantled David Goffin on Wednesday, who frankly didn’t play all that poorly, yet only managed to take six games. Novak has become a master as taking his level up a notch at the Majors.  When Djokovic is at his best, there’s not much Roberto can do to subdue him. I would be shocked if we did not see Novak in his sixth Wimbledon final come Sunday.

Other notable matches on Day 11:

In the ladies’ doubles semi-finals, the top four seeds will face off on No.1 Court.

First, defending champions Katerina Siniakova and Barbora Krejcikova (2) vs. Nuremberg champs Gabriela Dabrowski and Yifan Xu (4).

Then, French Open champions Timea Babos and Kiki Mladenovic (1), who have not lost a match as a team since March, vs. Su-Wei Hsieh and Barboa Strycova (3), who are on an eight-match winning streak dating back to their Birmingham title the week before Wimbledon

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