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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David Goffin Slams Hostile French Open Crowd

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A fan at the French Open spat out their chewing gum at David Goffin during a tense first round clash at the tournament on Tuesday. 

Goffin, who is a former quarter-finalist in Paris, described the reception he received from the crowd as ‘total disrespect’ during his clash against home player Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard. A 20-year-old wild card who recently claimed his maiden Tour title in Lyon. The Belgian managed to oust the home player 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3, after more than three-and-half hours of play. 

During one stage of the match, Goffin was seen holding his hand to his ear towards the rowdy crowd. A gesture he felt he had the right to do considering the atmosphere.

“When you are insulted for three and a half hours, you have to tease the public a little,” The I quoted Goffin as saying.
“Clearly, it goes too far, it’s total disrespect. It’s really too much. It’s becoming football, soon there will be smoke bombs, hooligans and there will be fights in the stands.
“It’s starting to become ridiculous. Some people are there more to cause trouble than to create an atmosphere.
“Someone spat out their chewing gum at me. It [the match] was getting complicated. That’s why I wanted to stay calm. IfI started to get angry about it, it could have destabilised me.”

The French Open crowd has a reputation for being highly animated during matches with there being numerous examples throughout the years. Nicolas Jarry received booing when he walked on the court to play Corentin Moutet after an incident between the two earlier this season. 

“This is repeated a lot in the locker room and among the ATP authorities. We’re going to have to do something about that,” Goffin continued.
“I think it only happens in France. At Wimbledon, obviously, there’s not that. Or in Australia either. And at the US Open, it’s still rather quiet. Here [at Roland Garros], it’s really an unhealthy atmosphere.”

However, former French Open junior doubles champion Mpetshi Perricard has praised the support he got from the fans during his match. It was only the second time in his career that the world No.66 has played in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament.

“It was really nice to have so much support,” he said.
“I had a lot in Lyon as well, but that was different because here the guys are really with you from first to the last point. It’sreally very pleasant to have such an audience.
“I like it that they encouraged me. It helped me when I was broken in the fourth [set], and I would like to thank them for it. It’s really fantastic to have these guys there.”

Goffin will be hoping to get more support in his second round match against Alexander Zverev on Thursday. He is making his 13th main draw appearance in Paris at the age of 33. 

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Holger Rune Beats Evans in Straight Sets and Moves into Round 2

Danish 13th seed praises improved mentality; aims to get back to the top five

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Ubitennis/Francesca Micheli

Thirteenth seed Holger Rune came through in straight sets 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 over Dan Evans in cold indoor conditions under the roof on Suzanne-Lenglen and goes on to face Italian Flavio Cobolli in round two.

The defeat for Evans meant that there are now no British men left in the singles draw after disappointing first round losses for Andy Murray and Cameron Norrie.

Rune, who once shared a practice session with Evans, admitted it took time to figure out his opponent’s game style: “It’s not that I know his game inside and out. He likes the slice obviously, and he’s a very good grass court player as well so he plays pretty flat over the net. So, yeah, it took a lot of time to adjust.”

Rune, a two-time former quarter finalist at the French Open, broke serve with the score tied at 4-4 in the first set and then served out to take the opener. A single break of serve was enough again in the second, while he had to dig much deeper in the third set when he went 4-2 down but managed to maintain composure to win the last four games to seal victory. The 21-year-old was very satisfied with his first-round performance and was pleased his intense practice sessions had been paying off.

“It was a good start, I think. Very solid match from start to finish. We had a good preparation, I would say. We had obviously time after Rome to really prepare with my game and physically and mentally, as well. I think we used the time right. So now is just to perform and put everything together. We are working always on my game. I think my game is good. My physicality felt great today, so it’s a thing we have really been working on to be able to stay out there and not feel fatigued and feel explosive even after hours of playing, and I definitely felt that today.”

Rune finished the match with eight aces, and more than double the number of winners (44 to 21), while Evans struggled with his serve making less than 50% of first serves in play along with five double faults. Whilst approaching the net numerous times throughout the match, he was passed sixteen times by some wonderful strokes off both wings by his Danish opponent. Rune was impressed with his mentality afterwards: “Mentally I just had to stay composed. You know, there is always challenges in the matches. Today was a call here and there. I thought I stayed composed. Been working on that, as well.”

Rune, who won 75% of points on his first serve definitely felt like he is on the right path to get him back inside the top five of the rankings: “I feel like I’m kind of back on track, have stability in my team, which is nice in my life. So, it’s going in the right direction. I’m improving on court. Now it’s just about getting that few match wins under the belt, to get some rhythm and gain some confidence in the matches as well. Then, I believe, you know, I’m fitter than last year. I’m playing better and improved. I just need to put everything together.”

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Casper Ruud Downplays French Open Chances After ‘Best start’ To Season

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Casper Ruud says he doesn’t rank himself among the favourites for French Open glory despite a successful clay swing.

The Norwegian comes into Paris with two titles under his belt after winning the Barcelona Open in April followed by the Geneva Open last week. He also reached the final in Monte Carlo, the semi-finals in Estoril and the fourth round in Madrid. Ruud is without a doubt a threat on the surface, especially at the French Open where he has finished runner-up the past two years. 

Although the world No.7 is keen to distance himself from any talk about being a title contender despite his credentials. This year’s men’s draw is being described by some as the most open in recent years with Novak Djokovic yet to find his top level consistently. Meanwhile, Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner have both been troubled by injury issues.

This season has been the best start for me, the best kind of five months that I’ve ever had to begin the year,” Ruud told reporters on Sunday.
“Then Madrid and Rome were two disappointing results for me, and that’s also a little bit why I decided to go to Geneva. 
“I wanted to build up some momentum playing matches again. Obviously winning the tournament is a good feeling. It gives you confidence, but it feels like it’s anyone’s tournament and anyone’s game really. 
“If you look at it’s been several different winners on the clay this year, and in the three Masters 1000 alone there’s been three different winners.
“To me even though Novak hasn’t had the best year as he typically has or at the same level, I think he is still the favourite. He is the No. 1 seeded, and he has 24 slams under his belt, so if there’s anyone who knows when to find their peak and form, it’s probably him.”. 

As for his chances of claiming a maiden major title, Ruud says he doesn’t want to consider himself a favourite as it would put too much pressure on him to perform. He is the seventh seed in this year’s draw.

I wouldn’t put myself in the list (of title favourites) because I don’t want to kind of put pressure on myself, but I would put Novak up there definitely.” He said.
“It’s not a big if, but depending on how Carlos, Jannik, and Rafa feel, I feel like those three are also worth mentioning. If they are injury-free, I would consider them, well, four then. I would go with four guys. 
“It’s tough to kind of leave any of those out due to the fact that Rafa has won here 14 times and then Jannik and Carlos have been the sort of best of the younger generation in the past year or two. So I think that’s a good list of four.”

Ruud will begin his French Open campaign against Brazil’s Felipe Alves.

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