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

All round of 16 singles matches will be played on an extremely busy day in Canada.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime - Indian Wells 2019 (Luigi Serra)

Overall 49 Major singles titles are represented by the players remaining in the men’s and women’s singles draws, with 41 of them belonging to Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal.  They’ll both be considerable favorites in their matches on Thursday. The day’s most intriguing matchups involve two Canadian teenagers who are in the midst of breakout seasons, and pursuing further glory at their country’s biggest tournament.

 

Karen Khachanov (6) vs. Felix Auger Aliassime

This will be the first career meeting between the 23-year-old Russian and the 19-year-old Canadian, who is celebrating his birthday today.  This is the teenager’s first time playing in the city he was born. Felix already has solid wins this week over two veteran countrymen, Vasek Pospisil and Milos Raonic, though Raonic was forced to retire after they split the first two sets.  Khachanov yesterday notched his first win over Stan Wawrinka with some high quality play. He’ll be a step up in competition for the young Canadian. I’m surprised this was not scheduled for the evening session, which would allow Felix the opportunity of playing in front of an enthusiastic crowd in prime time.  Still, the day session folks will be exuberantly behind the birthday boy. And Felix may need all their energy to overcome a confident Khachanov, who has rediscovered his form after a slow start to 2019. Karen will be the favorite in what could be the beginning of a rivalry to play out for many years to come.

Kiki Bertens (5) vs. Bianca Andreescu

19-year-old Andreescu shocked the tennis world by winning Indian Wells back in March.  But this is only her third tournament since, as she’s given her body time to recoup from injuries.  Bianca was already pushed to three sets in both of the last two days, and yesterday had to battle back from 5-3 down in the third before winning the last four games to take out Daria Kasatkina.  She did so despite looking physically spent during that third set, so how much will she have left today? Meanwhile Bertens has only spent one hour on court this week, dropping just three games to an American qualifier yesterday.  The fifth seed should prevail here, but as we’ve learned this season, count out the ultra-competitive Andreescu at your own peril. That’s especially true on North American hard courts, where she owns 20 match wins at all levels this year.

Other notable matches on Thursday:

Serena Williams (8) vs. Ekaterina Alexandrova (Q).  Serena looked pretty impressive yesterday against Elise Mertens.  This will be her first meeting against the 24-year-old qualifier from Russia.

Rafael Nadal (1) vs. Guido Pella.  Rafa is 3-0 against Guido having never dropped a set.

Naomi Osaka (2) vs. Iga Swiatek (Q).  The 18-year-old from Poland defeated Caroline Wozniacki just last night.

Dominic Thiem (2) vs. Marin Cilic (14).  Thiem earned his first-ever Rogers Cup win yesterday against Denis Shapovalov.  Cilic has really been struggling this season, with almost as many losses as wins.

In a battle of former French Open champions, Simona Halep (4) vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova (WC).  Halep just barely survived yesterday over Jennifer Brady in a third set tiebreak, and was clearly less than 100%.

2017 champion Sascha Zverev (3) vs. Nikolaz Basilashvili (13).  Basilashvili defeated Zverev two weeks ago on clay in a third set tiebreak.

Karolina Pliskova (3) vs. Anett Kontaveit (16).  Pliskova took both previous meetings, including a hard court match earlier this year in Indian Wells.

Gael Monfils (16) vs. Hubert Hurkacz (Alt).  Hurkacz upset last year’s finalist, Stefanos Tsitsipas, in the last round.

In a match between two former Rogers Cup champions, both of whom won when the WTA tournament was staged in Toronto, Elina Svitolina (6) vs. Belinda Bencic (11).

 

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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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