Rogers Cup Monday Preview: The Men’s & Women’s Match of the Day - UBITENNIS
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Rogers Cup Monday Preview: The Men’s & Women’s Match of the Day

This year, the women play in Toronto, while the men play in Montreal.

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Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland is pictured in action during day three of ATP Fever-Tree Championships tennis tournament at Queen's Club in west London on June 19, 2019.

This will be Serena Williams’ first time playing the Rogers Cup since 2015, and only for the ninth time in her career.  This is a tournament Serena has often skipped, but she’s in Canada this year due to her eagerness for match play ahead of the US Open, which starts in just three weeks.  She’s joined in Toronto by the balance of the WTA top 10 with the exception of Petra Kvitova, who withdrew due to a forearm injury. But recent Slam champions Ash Barty, Naomi Osaka, and Simona Halep, who is also the defending champion here, are all present.

 

The ATP event in Montreal will be lacking the presence of both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.  They’re taking an extra week to rest after their grueling Wimbledon final of a few weeks ago. But Rafael Nadal headlines a field that contains all the rest of the ATP top 10.  Rafa is the defending and four-time champion at this event. He’s joined by Kitzbuhel champ of two days ago Dominic Thiem, 2017 champ Sascha Zverev, and last year’s finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Stan Wawrinka vs. Grigor Dimitrov

This will be their fourth meeting since July of last year, with Stan prevailing in all three recent meetings at Majors.  Grigor had previously owned a 4-2 edge in their head-to-head before those last three defeats. While Wawrinka has spent the past 18 months steadily rebuilding his ranking after knee surgery, Dimitrov has been losing just as much as winning.  Grigor is 19-19 over the last 52 weeks, and is currently playing with almost no confidence. At Wimbledon last month, he let a two-set-to-one lead slip away in the first round with little resistance, taking just four games in the last two sets.  Ranked outside the top 50 and seeking match play, he uncharacteristically entered both Atlanta and Los Cabos in the last two weeks, but went just 1-2. And running into a three-time Major winner in the first round of this Masters 1,000 event is a rough draw for a wayward Grigor.  There is nothing to indicate anything other than a Wawrinka victory.

Anett Kontaveit (16) vs. Maria Sharapova (WC)

With only 11 matches played so far this year, Sharapova finds herself ranked 82nd in the world.  A shoulder injury forced her to miss nearly six months of action in 2019.  And this has historically been a difficult event for the 32-year-old, who is just 11-6 lifetime in Canada, and has only once been beyond the third round.  She needed a wild card just to get into this draw, and she faces a top 20 player in her opening round Sharapova took their only previous meeting, though that was two years ago on clay.  And Kontaveit is a much-improved player since 2017, with a steady game that is much less error-prone than Sharapova’s. While Maria remains one of the sport’s strongest fighters, this will be an uphill climb for a veteran who has been plagued with injuries and lacks match play.

Other notable matches on Monday:

Canadian No.1 Milos Raonic (17) vs. Lucas Pouille.  Raonic won their first three matches, but Pouille took their Australian Open quarterfinal earlier this year.

In a battle of two top 30 players, 20 year-old Sofia Kenin, already twice a champion this year, vs. Wimbledon doubles champion Su-Wei Hsieh.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev And Taylor Fritz Looking Forward To Diriyah Cup

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev and Taylor Fritz will start their Australian preparations in Saudi Arabia next week.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas (@WeAreTennisTR - Twitter)

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev and Taylor Fritz are looking forward to boosting their Australian Open preparations when they compete in the Diriyah Cup in Saudi Arabia.

 

The tournament takes place from the 8th-10th of December with the 12 player tournament offering the perfect preparation for the first Grand Slam of the year.

As well as Tsitsipas, Rublev and Fritz, the field includes some of the world’s best players including Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Cameron Norrie, Nick Kyrgios, Dominic Thiem and Stan Wawrinka.

Speaking ahead of the event Tsitsipas claimed that the event will be very good preparation ahead of the Australian Open which starts on the 16th of January, “This is going to be very good preparation for me,” Tsitsipas told The National.

“Most players choose to have an off period from tennis but for me, it’s very important to get matches in before I travel to Australia. So having good competitors to compete against (top players), this is the best preparation that I can have before starting the 2023 season.

“I know that the people in Saudi Arabia may not have the opportunity to see tennis players like us very often. So, for sure, I’m going to give it my best. I’m going to have a good time.”

Saudi Arabia has held a whole host of events including formula one and Golf events with there being more and more concerns from fans over sports-washing given the country’s human rights record.

However the Greek isn’t too concerned about that and is looking forward to exploring the country’s culture:

“I’m happy they’re introducing a big event like this, and in the heart of Saudi Arabia to give opportunities to citizens from all over the world to explore this beautiful country, through its sports, through its very rich heritage and culture, and through other activities that are available within the country.”

As for Fritz, the American is coming off a career best season having won his maiden Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells as well as reaching the semi-finals at the ATP Finals.

The 25 year-old said that playing against the best players in the world will only help his preparations for the Australian Open, “I think it’s going to help prepare for the Australian Open and for the rest of the year because I can start out by playing against the best players in the world,” Fritz claimed.

“The field is so strong, so it’s always great to surround yourself with a lot of great players. People should come to support because hopefully it’ll be a lot of good tennis.

“Hopefully they’ll be cheering for me to win. They can expect a lot of big hitting, big serving, and hopefully some nice shot-making.”

Finally Rublev said that competing in Saudi Arabia will help find his level with the Russian having an inconsistent end to the season at the ATP Finals.

Rublev is looking to break more ground in 2023 as he searches for his Grand Slam breakthrough, “I think it’s really great because sometimes when you finish the season and you have eight weeks of not playing tournaments, you start to feel a bit stressed or nervous because you can’t tell if you’re improving or not,” Rublev admitted.

“So these kind of events help to check how your level is at the moment because you compete against other great players.”

The tournament begins on Thursday and will last for three days.

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Emma Raducanu Draws Inspiration From Andy Murray Ahead Of 2023

Emma Raducanu spoke about Andy Murray’s influence on her career.

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(@HeartThamesNews - Twitter)

Emma Raducanu has spoke about Andy Murray’s influence on her career and is optimistic about turning her form in 2023.

 

The former US Open hasn’t had too bad of an off-season after receiving her MBE for her services to sport.

Raducanu made history in 2021 as she won the US Open as a qualifier at 18 years of age.

However the Brit has yet to back that up with Raducanu changing coach on a number of occasions as she looks for some stability in 2023.

Speaking in a recent interview with Grazia Raducanu said that she believes that momentum can change quickly in tennis and that confidence is the key to success, “[In tennis] it could look like it’s all going down, down, down and just not getting any better,” Raducanu was quoted by tennishead as saying.

“Just one match can have a big influence on your confidence and once you have confidence and the momentum comes, you feel like you can’t lose. It’s a very individual sport – people are friendly but it’s difficult to be really close with those you’re competing with.”

One player that can relate to what Raducanu is saying is Andy Murray with confidence being a key theme of the highs and lows of Murray’s career.

Raducanu said that she talks to Murray regularly about the highs and lows of tennis, “Andy Murray is so good to talk to because he’s been through pretty much what I’ve been going through,” Raducanu said.

“I have always looked up to him and watched him winning his first Wimbledon and the Olympics.”

Raducanu will hope that she can use Murray’s words as inspiration for next season as she currently sits at 75 in the world.

The Brit will start her season in 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand on the 2nd of January.

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Fernando Verdasco Given Two Month Doping Ban

Fernando Verdasco has been banned from tennis until the 8th of January.

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Fernando Verdasco (@UniversTennis - Twitter)

Fernando Verdasco will miss the first week of the 2023 season after being provisionally suspended for two months after testing positive for the drug methylphenidate.

 

The former world number seven tested positive for the drug at the Challenger event in Rio De Janeiro and has accepted a voluntary ban until the 8th of January.

As well as testing positive for the drug methylphenidate, Verdasco had also forgot to renew his Therapeutic Use Exemption despite the Spaniard admitting that he was diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

In a statement published today the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA), explained why his ban has been shortened from two years to two months, “The ITIA accepts that the player did not intend to cheat, that his violation was inadvertent and unintentional, and that he bears no significant fault or negligence for it,” they said in a statement on his website.

“In the specific circumstances of this case, based on the player’s degree of fault the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme allows for the applicable period of ineligibility to be reduced from two years to two months.”

The 39 year-old will as a result miss the first week of the new season with the Spaniard being currently ranked at world number 125.

In 2022, Verdasco’s best results on the ATP tour were quarter-final performances in Buenos Aires and Estoril while he also won a challenger title in Monterrey in March.

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