Wimbledon Day 6 Preview: Five Must-See Matches - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Day 6 Preview: Five Must-See Matches

Saturday’s schedule is simply stellar, with 65 Major singles championships represented in these halves of the ladies’ and gentlemen’s draws.

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Johanna Konta (@LTA - Twitter)

By Matthew Marolf

 

The British No.1 will face the 2017 US Open champion. A 23-time Major singles champion gets an early test in a rematch from last year’s semi-finals. A 20-time Major singles champion runs into his first seeded opposition, in a Slam semi-finalist from earlier this year. And an 18-time Major singles champion takes on a two-time Wimbledon semi-finalist. Who will survive and advance to the second week of The Championships?

Sloane Stephens (9) vs. Johanna Konta (19)

This is a rematch from the French Open quarterfinals last month, when Konta put on quite a serving display and easily dispatched of last year’s Roland Garros finalist. A semi-finalist at her home Slam two years ago, Johanna saw her ranking drop as low as 50th in the world last year during a severely rough patch in her career.

And while clay was never a good surface for Konta, she went on a terra baute tear this season, rediscovering her mojo. Johanna is now 3-0 against Sloane, with all those victories coming in 2019. And her serve should do even more damage on the grass. With the British crowd on No.1 Court firmly behind her, I like Konta’s chances to make it 4-0 against Stephens.

Serena Williams (11) vs. Julia Goerges (18)

Speaking of 4-0, that’s Serena’s record against Goerges. She’s never even dropped a set to the 30-year-old German.  In last year’s semi-finals, Serena prevailed 6-2, 6-4. But Williams has battled injuries throughout 2019, and her slowed movement has been evident in her first two matches during this fortnight.

And that could prove costly when facing the offensive weapons of Goerges on this surface. Julia has been playing good grass court tennis, advancing to the final in Birmingham a few weeks ago. While this matchup still favours the seven-time champion, I expect Goerges to make this a much tighter battle than their previous encounters.

Roger Federer (2) vs. Lucas Pouille (27)

Roger Federer (@ATP_Tour – Twitter)

The 25-year-old Frenchman was a quarterfinalist here three years ago, and followed that up by also reaching the quarters in New York. In an impressive effort, Pouille took out Rafael Nadal in a fifth set tiebreak in the 2016 US Open. But he underperformed in the next two seasons, leading to him hiring 2006 Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo as his new coach. The results came immediately, as Lucas reached his first Slam semi-final in Australia six months ago.

But the success did not last, as Pouille subsequently lost in the opening round of his next five tournaments. He reacted by playing a challenger event in Bordeaux, which got him back on the winning track as he claimed that clay court title. Lucas then went on to lose a heart-breaking five-setter to Martin Klizan in the second round of his home Major, though he did pick up a few impressive grass court wins over Feliciano Lopez and Daniil Medvedev leading up to this event.

Pouille was defeated in straight sets in his only previous match against Federer, which was five years ago on a hard court. After dropping the opening set of his first round match, Roger has looked sharp this first week. While Pouille will be his first true test here, Federer should advance comfortably. Lucas does not possess the fire power to trouble Roger on his favourite surface.

Rafael Nadal (3) vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Tsonga holds a relatively strong 4-7 record against this all-time great, which includes a win in their only grass court meeting. However, that was eight years ago, and in a best-of-three match at Queen’s Club. And it’s been a challenging few years for the 34-year-old Frenchman. After undergoing knee surgery last year, Tsonga ended 2018 ranked outside the top 200.

Despite that, he’s been able to accumulate 21 tour-level wins this season. And a few weeks ago in Halle, he pushed Federer all the way to 7-5 in the third before going down in defeat. He’ll likely embrace the opportunity to return to Centre Court, and always has a chance on this surface when he’s firing winners.

But Nadal is currently in top form, and will feel even more confident after eliminating Nick Kyrgios in a contentious second round match on Thursday. After several years of early round exists at SW19, Rafa should smoothly navigate his way to the second week of Wimbledon for the third straight year.

Kiki Bertens (4) vs. Barbora Strycova

The No.4 seed is lucky to still be alive in this tournament. American Taylor Townsend had an easy forehand on match point in the second round, but dumped it into the net. Bertens was able to then take the second set in a tiebreak, and ran away with the third 6-2. While she’ll find relief in having a second life this fortnight, the competition only intensifies here.

Strycova reached her only Major quarterfinal five years ago here, and has a game well-suited for the grass. Also, the 33-year-old Czech beat Bertens in their only previous meeting. Kiki herself was a quarterfinalist here a year ago, a surprising result considering her losing record at The All England Club up until that time. Strycova is still a threat, though her best singles days are likely behind her. Bertens should play more freely today after surviving Thursday’s scare, and book herself a spot on Manic Monday.

Other notable matches on Day 6:

French Open champion Ash Barty (1) vs. 22-year-old Brit Harriet Dart.

Two-Time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova (3) vs. Magda Linette, who upset Amanda Anisimova in the last round.

Kei Nishikori (8) vs. Steve Johnson, who survived a five setter over Alex de Minaur two days ago.

In the second round of the gentlemen’s doubles, Andy Murray and Pierre-Hugues Herbert vs. Nikola Mektic and Franko Skugor (6).

And in their debut as a team, and their respective second matches of the day, Andy Murray and Serena Williams vs. Andreas Mies and Alexa Guarachi.

ATP

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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