Rogers Cup Finals Preview: Will It Be Double Delight For Rafa And Serena? - UBITENNIS
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Rogers Cup Finals Preview: Will It Be Double Delight For Rafa And Serena?

All singles and doubles titles will be decided today between Toronto and Montreal.

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In the singles finals, we’ll see two of the best of all-time try to stave off surging young newcomers.  Serena Williams will play for her first title in over two-and-a-half years, but Canada’s new teen sensation stands in her way.  And Rafael Nadal vies to defend a hard court title for the first time in his entire career, but the new Russian No.1, who is also the hottest player in the US Open Series, stands in his way.  In a rare occurrence, both singles finals at an event of this magnitude will feature first-time meetings.

 

Rafael Nadal (1) vs. Daniil Medvedev (8)

Nadal got the benefit of a Monfils retirement in the semifinals.  And Medvedev is yet to drop a set this week, so both men should have full tanks for this one.  Daniil has been on a tear over the last 12 months, with 62 match wins. This is his seventh final during that time, and he owns a 3-3 record in the six previous championship matches.  Medvedev has been playing so well this summer, with the only two sets he’s dropped in the past two weeks coming in last week’s Washington final at the hands of Nick Kyrgios. He has the kind of big game that can bother Nadal, with a strong serve and penetrating groundstrokes.  But this will be the biggest final of his career, against an 18-time Major champion. I just fear his game might shrink a bit under these circumstances. Daniil does not come off as the type of player who craves the spotlight. And Nadal will be eager to cushion his ranking points lead over Roger Federer.  A loss today would leave him only 85 points ahead of Roger in the race for the second seed at the US Open, and there’s plenty of speculation that Nadal will against skip the Masters 1,000 event next week in Cincinnati as he did last year. All things considered, I like Rafa’s chances to defend his title in a tight three-setter.

Serena Williams vs. Bianca Andreescu

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As Tumaini Carayol highlighted on Twitter, Bianca Andreescu is now on a 40-4 run at all levels, a run which started last November when she was ranked 178th in the world.  Prior to this week, the highlight of her season was in Indian Wells, where she took out four top 20 players in a shocking title win.  In the coming four months, she would only complete four matches due to a shoulder injury. But accordingly to Bianca, this week’s run at her country’s biggest tournament means even more to her than her Indian Wells title.  Prior to yesterday’s stellar semifinal against Sofia Kenin, she won four consecutive three-setters, which included two wins over top 5 opposition. It’s not often nowadays that a crowd is thoroughly against Serena Williams, but they certainly will be today.  But I don’t think Serena will let that bother her: she’s been all business this week in Toronto. She fell behind early in three of her four matches, but quickly recovered to win rather comfortably in each case. However, in her fourth final since her life-threatening child birth, will the memories of her last three losses in finals impact her play?  While I’m sure they’ll be prevalent in her mind, she’ll feel less pressure since this is not a Grand Slam event. The bigger factor today will be her opponent, as the 19-year-old Andreescu has quickly shown herself to be one of the sports’ fiercest competitors. She does not have any big holes in her game, and it doesn’t seem like she’ll be overwhelmed by this occasion, or her opponent.  And despite the tape on her leg, Andreescu appears to still be quicker around the court than Serena. Also remember this: Bianca is 6-0 against top 10 players. I’ve bet against Andreescu throughout her run this week, and she’s continually proved me wrong, so I’m going with Bianca to pull off another thrilling upset in front of an electric Canadian crowd.

Other notable matches on Sunday:

In the women’s doubles final, two-time Major champions Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova (1) vs. Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Demi Schuurs (3).  This is a rematch from Wimbledon last month, when Krejcikova and Siniakova prevailed in the quarterfinals.

In the men’s doubles final, the Dutch team of Robin Haase and Wesley Koolhof vs. Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos.  As Dutch writer Ilan Woolley pointed out on Twitter, this is Koolhof’s seventh doubles final of the year, though he’s yet to win one.

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ATP and WTA removes rankings points from Wimbledon

Players playing Wimbledon have no ranking points to play for.

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The ATP responded in regards to the ban on Russian and Belorussian players that was made by the tournament.

 

The ATP has officially responded to Wimbledon banning all Russian and Belorussian in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine which has wreaked havoc on the world of sports.

Russian and Belorussian players up to this point have been playing under their name and not their country.

The ATP released a statement in regards to the decision that was made.

The move essentially makes Wimbledon an exhibition event meaning players who decide to play won’t be able to move up in the world rankings and points won’t have to be defended.

Wimbledon made the announcement in April that they would placing the ban as the All England Club stated the possibility of the Russian government using players success as propaganda for the reason behind the move.

The ATP responded by saying the ban violated their agreement and discriminating against players since they compete as individuals. Removing points seemed like the only feasable move to make.

Russian and Belorussian players are allowed to play at the French Open which begins this Sunday in Paris. Danil Medvedev who is currently the 2nd ranked player in the world was asked about the move.

I’m not in ATP taking the decisions, I’m not in Wimbledon taking the decisions. Maybe it’s government pushing them, maybe it’s their decision. There a lot of mistakes behind this. So if I can play I’m going to be happy to play. I love Wimbledon as a tournament.”

He also added that if he couldn’t play there this year he would try to play next year and play good.

The WTA has also followed suit but this time has also penalized some of the warm-up tournaments.

Wimbledon is currently scheduled to start on June 27th and will culminate with the final on Sunday July 10th.

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Rafael Nadal Dismisses Favourite Status And Talks About Foot Pain Ahead Of Roland Garros

Rafael Nadal begins against Jordan Thompson on Monday.

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Rafael Nadal (@RolandGarros - Twitter)

Rafael Nadal has dismissed that he is the favourite for Roland Garros after admitting that his foot pain is still present.

 

Nadal searches for his 14th Roland Garros title over the next two weeks but enters with doubts.

This is after the Spaniard went out at the quarter-final stage in Madrid to eventual champion Carlos Alcaraz.

That was followed by a third round exit in Rome where he, literally, limped out to Denis Shapovalov.

Now Nadal approaches the tournament in a situation where it is unknown whether he can claim a 22nd grand slam title in the French capital.

Speaking in his pre-tournament press conference Nadal dismissed his chances and claimed his foot pain is still present, “I mean, for sure not, because the results says that I am not, but is something that never worried much to me, no?,” Nadal said when asked if he was the favourite to win the title.

“Of course one of the candidates. I considered myself during all my tennis career one of the candidates here, because I achieve tournaments before here, and now on Friday, before the tournament start, I don’t think I am the
favourite at all. But you never know what can happen.

“It’s not about gonna disappear now. It’s about if the pain is high and strong enough to allow me to play with real chances or not. But in my case, is something that I live every day with that, so is nothing new for me and is not a big surprise.

“So I am here just to play tennis and to try to make the best result possible here in Roland Garros, no? And if I don’t believe that this thing can happen, probably I will not be here.

“So I am just working as much as I can, and practicing as good as possible. My real goal is just put me in a position that I am healthy and playing enough good tennis to give myself good chances.”

Time will tell whether Nadal has healed in time to be a contender for Roland Garros and claim his second grand slam of the season.

One thing we do know though is that the Spaniard has a tricky draw with Novak Djokovic looming in the last eight and Carlos Alcaraz awaiting in the semi-finals.

Despite the tough draw Nadal admitted he doesn’t really think about the draw until he faces the players he has to play, “I mean, mentally for me it doesn’t matter,” Nadal said.

“In terms of tennis, of course the top of the draw you see the names, of course is a very tough one. But we are in a Grand Slam, and you never know what can happen, no? You know, remain a lot of things to happen, to probably arrive to the matches that you are thinking, you know.

“I mean, the only thing that I can say is of course I know everything. For me never have been a problem that. I am probably humble enough in that case to just be focused on my first match. Doesn’t matter if I know where I am exactly and what, you know, possible opponents I can have.

“Only thing that I would like is be the player that, one of the players that you think can face these other great players.”

Before Nadal can think about Djokovic or Alcaraz, the 21-time grand slam champion will have to overcome his first obstacle in Jordan Thompson on Monday.

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Novak Djokovic Drawn Against Nadal And Alcaraz In Top Half Of Roland Garros Draw

Novak Djokovic begins his Roland Garros campaign against Yoshihito Nishioka.

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Novak Djokovic (@RolandGarros - Twitter)

World number one Novak Djokovic has been drawn against Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz in the top half of the men’s draw at Roland Garros.

 

Djokovic is looking to claim a record-equalling 21st grand slam title at Roland Garros as well as successfully defend his title.

However to do that the Serb will have to go through both Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz en route to the final.

In his opening match Djokovic will face Yoshihito Nishioka before possibly facing Alex Molcan who is coached by Djokovic’s former coach Marian Vajda.

Jenson Brooksby and Diego Schwartzman stand in Djokovic’s way of a blockbuster quarter-final with 13-time champion Rafael Nadal.

The winner of that match could face Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals with the Spaniard projected to meet Alexander Zverev in the last eight.

Meanwhile Nadal will open his campaign against Jordan Thompson before potentially facing Stan Wawrinka in a rematch of the 2017 final.

Botic Van De Zandschulp and Felix Auger-Aliassime are potential opponents for Nadal before a titanic quarter-final match.

Meanwhile in the second quarter of the draw Alcaraz and Zverev both face qualifiers in the opening round.

Alcaraz could face Sebastian Korda, who he lost to in Monte-Carlo, and Cameron Norrie en route to the last eight.

While Zverev would face Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Taylor Fritz before a showdown with Alcaraz.

In the bottom half of the draw Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas could meet in the last eight.

Tsitsipas, who was two sets to love up in last year’s final, will face Lorenzo Musetti in the opening round.

There could be a last 16 meeting for Tsitsipas with Denis Shapovalov however the Canadian will face in-form rising star Holger Rune in the opening round.

Ruud’s opening match will be against Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, who is playing his final Roland Garros of his career.

In the bottom quarter, Andrey Rublev will meet Soonwoo Kwon in his opening match with the Russian potentially facing Jannik Sinner in the last 16.

While Daniil Medvedev takes on Facundo Bagnis in his opening match in what will be his second tournament back since surgery.

Medvedev could be scheduled to meet Miami Open semi-finalist Miomir Kecmanovic in the third round.

Here is the draw with play beginning on Monday:

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