Wimbledon Day 7 Preview: Five Must-See Matches - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Day 7 Preview: Five Must-See Matches

It’s the best day of the tennis year, with all round of 16 singles matches being played within a 12-hour period on Manic Monday at The Championships.

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Elina Svitolina (@WilsonTennis - Twitter)

By Matthew Marolf

 

An astounding 80 Major singles titles are represented by the players who advanced to the second week of the ladies’ and gentlemen’s singles draws. In a unique day on the tennis calendar, Serena, Roger, Rafa, Novak, Petra, Simona, and Ash will all take to the courts of The All England Club on Day 7. With so much action taking place all over the grounds at SW19, this preview will take you through the best matches to focus on as the day progresses.

Elina Svitolina (8) vs. Petra Martic (24)

Out of the four women’s singles matches that start off the day at 11:00am local time, this may be the closest and most exciting contest. Svitolina is into the fourth round of Wimbledon for the second time in three years, but is yet to advance farther. The eighth seed missed all of April due to a knee injury, and went just 2-3 in May on the clay.  She also lost in the opening round of both her grass court tune-up events. But the 24-year-old Ukranian appears to be healthy again, and competed well through the first week of this tournament. Her 28-year-old opponent is currently at a career-high ranking of 24th in the world, coming off her first Major quarterfinal last month in Paris.

Just like Svitolina, this is Martic’s second time into the round of 16 here. And Petra has truly battled her way to this stage, requiring three sets in each of her first three matches. Svitolina leads their head-to-head 3-1, though they’ve never met outside of a clay court. Elina’s movement and consistency should be enough to overcome the tricky style of Petra. However, Martic is fully capable of throwing enough different speeds and slices at Svitolina to make this compelling, and Svitolina can often make a straightforward match quite complicated for herself.

Roberto Bautista Agut (23) vs. Benoit Paire (28)

Rafa and Serena will play on the main stadiums at 1:00pm, but they’ll both be very heavy favourites. This match out on Court 18 will likely be a much more competitive encounter. Both these men are prone to dramatic battles at Grand Slam events. Bautista Agut reached his first Slam quarterfinal earlier this year in Australia, but needed to survive three five-setters to get there. He reached his third Wimbledon round of 16 in much different fashion: without dropping a set.

Roberto impressively took out the tenth seed, Karen Khachanov, in straight sets on Friday. Meanwhile Paire is now into his fourth round of 16 at a Major, but is yet to forge farther ahead. Like Roberto, he also struggles to advance easily at Majors. At Roland Garros, none of his four matches were straight sets, and two went the distance.  But the 30-year-old Frenchman is having a great season, with 29 match wins and two clay court titles. However, Bautista Agut has never lost to Paire, with eight victories counting challenger events and qualifying rounds. Paire has plenty of flair and variety which the grass can reward, but Roberto must be considered the favourite considering their head-to-head.

Petra Kvitova (6) vs. Johanna Konta (19)

This will be the second match of the day on Centre Court, and it could be a classic grass court serving affair between two of the WTA’s best servers. Both women have played excellent such matches here in past years. Kvitova’s 2014 match with Venus Williams comes to mind, which Petra claimed 7-5 in the third after just the second break of the entire match. And two years ago against Donna Vekic, Konta survived an outstanding service clash to prevail 10-8 in the third.

Kvitova arrived in London unsure if she could even compete due to a left arm injury, but she’s looked sharp through three rounds. Konta has also played well, and fought back from a set down against a game Sloane Stephens on Saturday. Kvitova is 3-1 against Konta, though they’ve split their two grass court meetings. As well-liked as the two-time Wimbledon champion is, the British crowd will still be loudly behind their female No.1. And Johanna is playing with a lot of confidence, having accumulated 15 clay court wins on historically her worst surface. This should be an electric occasion, with a three-setter seeming likely. I give Konta the slight edge: she’s the healthier player, and currently has more momentum. And it’s been five years since Kvitova has reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, having struggled here since her last title.

Simona Halep (7) vs. Coco Gauff (Q)

At the same time Kvitova/Konta play on Centre, this match will occur on No.1 Court. Is this where the fairytale story of the 15-year-old qualifier comes to an end? To this dismay of many fans who have been enthralled by Coco’s shocking and thrilling run, a Halep victory appears the most likely outcome. Including qualifying, Gauff has already played six matches over the last two weeks. Competing that much at this level is completely new for the American upstart.

And Halep played some excellent tennis on Friday, allowing two-time Major champion Victoria Azarenka just four games. Simona just has too much experience, too much defence, and too much consistency for Gauff. While it was an American teenager that took out Halep at the French Open, in 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova, I just don’t see that happening again here. But even if Coco’s tournament comes to an end today, what an amazing ride it’s been.

Roger Federer (2) vs. Matteo Berrettini (17)

This will be the final match of the day on Centre Court. When the draws were finalized, this was the opponent that I felt could best challenge Federer ahead of the semi=finals. The 23-year-old Italian has come into his own in 2019, with 34 match wins at all levels, and two tour-level titles. Last month on the grass of Stuttgart, the 6’5” Berrettini grabbed the trophy after not being broken all week. Matteo has a great game for the grass, with a big serve and penetrating groundstrokes.

But what will he have left after a four-hour, nineteen minute epic against Diego Schwartzman on Saturday in which he saved three match points? Coming back just 48 hours later after all the physical and emotional energy spent in that five-setter to play the eight-time champion on Centre Court is a huge undertaking. While he can still push Federer if he plays his best, Roger is fresh and in great form, and is a solid favourite to reach an absurd 17th quarterfinal at The Championships.

Other notable matches on Day 7:

Seven-time champion Serena Williams (11) vs. Carla Suarez Navarro (30). Serena has completely dominated Carla throughout their careers, with a 6-0 record. Suarez Navarro has never won more than five games in any of their matches.

Two-Time champion Rafael Nadal (3) vs. Joao Sousa, the first Portuguese man to advance this far at Wimbledon. He eliminated the Brit’s last male hope, Dan Evans, in five sets on Saturday evening.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Ugo Humbert of France. The 21-year-old only possessed one win at a Major prior to this fortnight.

French Open champion Ash Barty (1) vs. Alison Riske, a 29-year-old from the United States who won a grass court event in s-Hertogenbosch last month.

Karolina Pliskova (3), the player many have named the best active woman yet to win a Major, vs. Karolina Muchova, a 22-year-old who is also from the Czech Republic.

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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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