Wimbledon Day 8 Preview: The Ladies’ Quarterfinals - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Day 8 Preview: The Ladies’ Quarterfinals

With the top five seeds failing to reach the ladies’ quarterfinals for the second straight year, is Serena Williams now the favourite to claim her eighth ladies’ singles championship?



Serena Williams (@SI_Tennis - Twitter)

By Matthew Marolf


Perhaps she is, but that outcome is anything but certain. Serena has only played 16 matches in 2019 as she’s battled injuries. She appears healthy now, though she’s still lacking match play, and not as quick around the court at the age of 37. While the other seven women remaining only combine for one Major singles title, they include some considerable grass court threats.

Serena Williams (11) vs. Alison Riske

In what many referred to as the “quarter of death,” the draw has actually opened up quite nicely for Serena. Ash Barty, Angelique Kerber, and Garbine Muguruza all went out early, and Serena won’t have to defeat a top 16 seed to reach the final. Her form has drastically improved as this fortnight has progressed, easily taking her last two matches in straight sets.

Her 29-year-old countrywoman is into her first Major quarterfinal, compared to Serena’s tally of 51. This is Riske’s 30th appearance in a Slam singles draw, and 21 of those times she went out in the first round. Of Ali’s 19 Major match wins, 11 have come at Wimbledon. She arrived at SW19 with a lot of confidence, having won a grass court title in s-Hertogenbosch last month.

Riske has needed four three-setters to reach this stage, three times coming back from a set down. Her upset on Monday over world No.1 Ash Barty was most impressive, but coming back just 24 hours after the best win of your career to play the GOAT on Centre Court will be a tremendous challenge. But if she emotionally recovers and isn’t overwhelmed by the occasion, Riske has the grass court tools to push Serena. However, in their first career meeting, Serena is the favorite to advance to her 37th Major semi-final.

Simona Halep (7) vs. Shuai Zhang

Simona Halep (@TennisChannel – Twitter)

Zhang was 0-5 at The Championships prior to this year, but has now matched her best result at a Major, as she was a surprise quarterfinalist in Australia three years ago. She upset two seeded players named Caroline, in Garcia and Wozniacki, to get here. And the 30-year-old from China holds a 2-1 edge over Halep, having claimed both of their last two matches on hard courts.

As Rennae Stubbs highlighted on ESPN in the US, Shuai can aggressively attack Simona’s weak second serves with her great backhand. But Halep obviously has a lot more experience in a match of this significance, and took apart her last two opponents, Victoria Azarenka and Coco Gauff. This could be an extended affair, but I like Simona’s chances to reach her first Wimbledon semi-final since 2014.

Elina Svitolina (8) vs. Karolina Muchova

What an effort by Muchova to upset one of the tournament favourites yesterday in Karolina Pliskova. The third seed twice served for the match, but the 22-year-old survived and was able to break right before the final set tiebreak would have occurred, taking the match 13-11 in the third. But after the equivalent of four gruelling sets of combat, it’s hard to imagine Muchova having much left today in her first Slam quarterfinal. And despite a prolonged first set on Monday against Petra Martic, Svitolina pulled away in the second, and should be fully fresh on Tuesday.

The eighth seed took their only previous meeting earlier this year in Doha. However, the biggest factor here will likely be Elina’s nerves. The 2018 WTA Finals champion is now into her fifth quarterfinal at a Major, but is yet to win one. And she’s suffered some heart-breaking losses in this round, most notably to Halep at the 2017 French Open where she gave up a huge lead and even held a match point. She’ll be a huge favourite here against an unproven and exhausted opponent, though that will only create more pressure for Svitolina. And grass has been Elina’s worst surface in her career, as she actually had a losing record at The All England Club ahead of this year. While I expect Svitolina will make this a complicated affair, I do think she’ll finally breakthrough to her first Slam semi-final over an exhausted opponent.

Johanna Konta (19) vs. Barbora Strycova

Johanna Konta is back. The British No.1 struggled to win matches following her first Major semi-final here two years ago. But Jo is now into her second consecutive Slam semi-final after impressive comeback victories over both Sloane Stephens and Petra Kvitova. Her opponent is a veteran 33-year-old who came into this tournament with just as many wins as losses on the season.

But after completing the Bertens/Mertens back-to-back upset combo, Strycova is into her second Slam quarterfinal, equalling her result here from five years ago. Barbora has admitted this could be her last Wimbledon, and if so, what a way to go out. And while she will be the underdog today, she is 1-0 versus Konta, having caught Jo during her post-Wimbledon 2017 slump.  As challenging as Strycova’s game can be on a grass court, Konta should make her way to her second Wimbledon semi-final in three years.

Other notable matches on Day 8:

In the second round of mixed doubles on Centre Court, Andy Murray and Serena Williams vs. Fabrice Martin and Raquel Atawo (14).

In the quarterfinals of gentlemen’s doubles on No.1 Court, Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo (1) vs. Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin (11).

In the quarterfinals of ladies’ doubles on No.2 Court, Timea Babos and Kiki Mladenovic (1) vs. Nicole Melichar and Kveta Peshke (7).


Roger Federer Can Win Australian Open, Says Laver

The 81-year-old speaks out about the world No.3.



Roger Federer (@usopen on Twitter)

Tennis legend Rod Laver has back world No.3 Roger Federer to add to his record-breaking grand slam tally in the future.


The 38-year-old currently holds the record for most major singles won by a man at 20. However, both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are closing in on that tally. Djokovic is currently on 16 and Nadal in one adrift on 19 following his latest triumph at the US Open. Meanwhile, Federer has only featured in the final in one out of the last six grand slam tournaments. Doing so at Wimbledon in July where he failed to convert two championship points against Djokovic. His last major title took place at the 2017 Australian Open.

Despite the recent lack of major silverware for the Swiss Maestro, Australian great Laver believes he can still challenge for the biggest titles in the sport. Saying that it is possible that Federer could continue playing until the age of 40.

“He seems to be fine and that’s what counts. If you love the game as much as you do, that’s fine.” He commented on Federer’s longevity in the sport.
“I also give Roger a very good chance of winning the Australian Open again in Melbourne in January.”

Laver admits that it is possible that the two other members of the Big Three could end their careers with more titles than Federer. Nadal is five years younger than him and Djokovic is six. However, he believes there is one thing that separates him from the others.

“Nadal, Djokovic and Federer are all big champions. But Roger surpasses tennis, the world of sport, and sports in general in a way that no one in history has done before him. He is the most recognized athlete in the world and a figurehead for this great game.

The first encounter between Laver and Federer took place 13 years ago in Melbourne at the Australian Open. Since then, the two have formed a bond with Laver saying they ‘clicked’ straight away.

The biggest example of the friendship between the two is perhaps best illustrated by the Laver Cup. An annual team tournament where Europe takes on the rest of the world. Similar to that of Golf’s Ryder Cup. Named in honour of the tennis great, Federer is one of the co-founders of the event. Which has since been granted a place within the ATP Calendar. Although no ranking points are on offer.

This year’s edition will be held in Switzerland for the first time. Critics have been quick to point out the disparity between the two teams. Europe consists of all players ranked inside the top 20 compared to one from the world team. However, Laver dismissed the significance.

“I do not think so. The team World has excelled in both Laver Cups in doubles and also celebrated one or two big victories in singles. I expect it to be exciting.” He said.

The three-day 2019 Laver Cup will get underway in Geneva on Friday.

List of players participating

 Team Europe
Captain:  Björn Borg
Vice-captain:  Thomas Enqvist
Player Rank
 Rafael Nadal 2
 Roger Federer 3
 Dominic Thiem 5
 Alexander Zverev 6
 Stefanos Tsitsipas 7
 Fabio Fognini 11
 Team World
Captain:  John McEnroe
Vice-captain:  Patrick McEnroe
Player Rank
 John Isner 20
 Milos Raonic 24
 Nick Kyrgios 27
 Taylor Fritz 30
 Denis Shapovalov 33
 Jack Sock 208

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Daniil Medvedev Gave Rafa Fans The Scare Of A Lifetime

Charleston Post and Courier columnist James Beck reflects on the US Open men’s final and what the future might have in store.



NEW YORK — Rafa, you gave your followers quite a scare.


No. 19 looked like it was in the books when you got the first break point of the ninth game of the third set. But it wasn’t, and the second break point flew by as well.

Oh well, it was just 5-4, Daniil Medvedev. There was still time to close out the match in three sets. But after deadlocking the set at 5-5, you won only one point in the last two games of the set.


Settle back, Rafa Nadal fans. It might be a long night.

The men’s final of Sunday’s U.S. Open was going the distance, even though Nadal served with double game points in the decisive 10th game of the fourth set, but still lost the set.

Nadal even served for the match with a 5-2 lead in the fifth set. He lost that one on a time violation first-serve penalty leading to a double fault to end the game.

Was it time to get worried about Rafa getting No. 19 this night? Was this going to be a Serena-like  case of bad fortune for Nadal? Of course, Serena Williams one day earlier had failed again for an all-time tying No. 24 Grand Slam title.

It could have happened to Nadal, too. Anything could have, judging from the way his tall and amazingly agile and quick Russian opponent was playing.


Nadal looked like he had a lock on No. 19 again before wasting two match points with Medvedev serving the ninth game of the fifth set.

Rafa even had to fight off a break point in the 10th game before ending the nearly five-hour marathon with a perfectly place serve down the middle.

He went flat on his back in disbelief, and Medvedev went around the net. The two embraced.

It, indeed, was one of the most memorable moments in the history of Grand Slam tennis.

Finally, a 7-5, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 victory that pushed Nadal’s Grand Slam championship total to within one of Roger Federer’s all-time record.


This was simply an amazing match that left a packed Arthur Ashe Stadium, mostly of Nadal supporters, drained. It was that riveting.

This had to be one of the greatest U.S. Open finals ever.

Medvedev put on an unthinkable display of grit and talent, a sheer desire to win. Medvedev and Nadal  were like acrobats at times as they moved around the court to pull off amazing tennis stunts. Anything was possible because of the two players’ athletic abilities.

Nadal is definitely for real. But if his 23-year-old Russian opponent is for real, as he certainly appeared Sunday night, the Australian Open isn’t going to be a picnic for Federer, Nadal or the injured Novak Djokovic, or anyone else.

And then there’s the French Open where Rafa will be heavily favored to get No. 20 if he fails in Melbourne. Of course, if Rafa plays the way he did in the first two sets on Sunday, he may notch No. 20 Down Under.


What happens if both Nadal and Federer are tied for the all-time lead with 20 Grand Slam titles each?

If they’re deadlocked in another year or two, it might be time for a permanent dual timeout for both players. As sad as such a day would be, it would be a day to celebrate. Co-record holders wouldn’t be a bad way to go since retirement is inevitable for these two great players.

Although Federer demonstrated at Wimbledon and Nadal showed Sunday night, they can still rival the best tennis has to offer, but the rest of the men’s tennis game isn’t going to take a break waiting for these two greats to retire. Medvedev and his likes will continue to close the gap until there isn’t one.


As a result of what happened in Sunday’s U.S. Open final, the days ahead will add even more pressure for both Nadal and Federer each time a Grand Slam rolls around.

Federer already has felt that pressure, both here and at Wimbledon, as he tried to widen his lead over Nadal and Djokovic. Even Nadal seemed to feel some of the same pressure Sunday night while trying to close out Medvedev.

After defeating Federer in the Wimbledon final, Djokovic called Federer “one of the greatest ever” in his acceptance comments after the match. Federer frowned, but Djokovic was right.

Djokovic knows, because he’s not out of the all-time race just yet.

It would be nice if Federer and Nadal could/or would retire at the same time, and join Rod Laver as the greatest men’s tennis players ever. But just not quite yet.


James Beck is the long-time tennis columnist for the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier newspaper. He can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. See his Post and Courier columns at 


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US Open A Ratings Hit In North America

Both the men’s and women’s finals managed to attract some record TV viewing figures.



Bianca Andreescu’s win over Serena Williams in the final of the US Open was the most watched women’s final on ESPN of all time, according to official figures.


The Canadian 19-year-old rallied to a 6-3, 7-5, win over the former world No.1 to claim her first grand slam title. Her triumphed attracted an overnight rating of 2.7 million on ESPN. A 13% increase on last year (2.4) when Naomi Osaka defeated Williams. At its peak, which was towards the end of the second set, the rating was as high as 3.9. ESPN has also confirmed that the 2019 women’s final was their joint-highest US Open rating of all time.

Across the border, Andreescu’s win also made history in her home country of Canada. An average audience of 3.4 million watched her match on TSN and RDS with a peak of 5.3 million. Making in the networks most watched tennis match in history. It is also the most-watched broadcast since the Toronto Raptors won the 2019 NBA Championships. TSN has also noted that Andreescu’s run has helped them achieve a 69% rise in views compared to 2018 to 10.7 million people watching the grand slam at some point. Meanwhile, their digital platforms have achieved a 145% year-on-year rise with 13 million impressions on TSN’s social media platforms.

There was also success for the networks with the men’s final. Rafael Nadal edged out Daniil Medvedev in a dramatic five-set encounter. The Spaniard was leading by two sets, before his opponent drew back to draw level. Forcing a tense decider. Their encounter was ESPN’s most popular men’s US Open final since 2015 and a 33% increase on 12 months ago. It attracted an overnight rating of 2.0. The 2015 clash between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer scored a 2.4 rating.

The strong broadcast numbers coincide with what has been a record year for the New York major. A record 737,872 fans attended the event over two weeks with the Arthur Ashe Stadium managing to have 23 out of 24 sell out sessions. The number doesn’t include the ‘Fan Week’ that took place before the start of the main draw. 115,355 people attended that to bring the overall figure to 853,227.

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