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

While all-time greats Serena and Rafa will be heavy favourites, the day’s best semifinals will involve some of tennis’ most promising young talents.

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Bianca Andreescu (@SportsCentre - Twitter)

By Matthew Marolf 

 

Due to rain in Montreal last night, the last quarterfinal between Roberto Bautista Agut and Gael Monfils will be played at 1pm local time today, with the winner’s reward being a match with Rafael Nadal just a few hours later. In between those two matches, we’ll see the first-ever all-Russian semi-final at a Masters 1,000 event.

In Toronto, Serena Williams will headline the evening session against a 21-year-old qualifier, who benefited from the retirement of Simona Halep last night. The afternoon session will see a 19-year-old Canadian favourite face a 20-year-old American, both of whom have quickly become two of the WTA’s fiercest competitors.

Bianca Andreescu vs. Sofia Kenin

Just as she did at Indian Wells back in March, Andreescu just won’t die at this tournament. She’s now won four consecutive three-setters in the last four days, including wins over both the third and fifth seeds. Yesterday she appeared to be completely down and out against Karolina Pliskova. After losing the second set 6-2, she left the court to have her upper leg taped up. Bianca was clearly in pain, and her movement hampered, yet managed to hold her serve and capitalize on a terrible Pliskova service game at 4-4 to claim victory.

Today she faces the last player to defeat her in a completed match on a hard court. In Acapulco earlier this year, Kenin overcame a third set deficit to prevail 7-5. Andreescu would avenge that loss just a few weeks later in Miami.  They were scheduled to play again at Roland Garros, but Bianca withdrew due to injury. Kenin would go on to upset Serena Williams at that tournament, one of many impressive wins she’s accumulated this year. Sofia herself defeated both the top seed and sixth seed this week.

The biggest factors today will be Andreescu’s leg injury, as well as the amount of physical and emotional energy she’s already spent this week. Kenin has spent considerably less time on court, playing only one three-setter.  The American should be favoured to reach the biggest final of her career.

Karen Khachanov (6) vs. Daniil Medvedev (8)

This is a battle between two 23-year-olds to be the Russian No.1.  Khachanov currently holds that title, but Medvedev would surpass him in next week’s rankings with a win today. Khachanov is playing for his second Masters 1,000 final, while it would be the first for Medvedev. Neither man was tested in yesterday’s quarterfinals, so they should be fully fresh today. They’ve split their two previous meetings: Medvedev prevailed at the 2017 Next Gen Finals, but Khachanov won in three in their home country of Russia last October. Khachanov has achieved more success on big stages, with his Masters 1,000 title last year at the Paris Indoors, and his Major quarterfinal at this year’s French Open.

Medvedev is yet to get beyond the fourth round of a Major, but he’s easily been the most consistent performer outside the Slams. Daniil owns an astounding 61 match wins over the past 52 weeks, with three titles and three additional finals. One of those finals was just last week in Washington, where Nick Kyrgios bested him in two tiebreak sets. And Medvedev has followed that up by destroying his opposition this week, dropping only 13 games in six sets played.

There isn’t too much to separate these two, considering their similar playing styles, making this a hard one to call.  But I’m giving the slight edge to Khachanov, who has more big match experience, and flourishes while playing in French-speaking cities. In a match of this importance between two countrymen of the same generation, the advantage goes to the player with more belief.

Other notable matches on Saturday:

In the only quarterfinal still to be played, Roberto Bautista Agut (10) vs. Gael Monfils (16), with the winner to face Rafael Nadal in the evening.

Serena Williams (8) vs. Marie Bouzkova (Q).  Serena looked fierce in gaining her first victory over Naomi Osaka last night.

 

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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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(@FOS - Twitter)

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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