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

Today’s featured matches are headlined by the male and female Australian No.1’s.

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Nick Kyrgios (image via twitter.com/atp_Tour)

French Open champion Ash Barty is also the current world No.1, and in Toronto today she’ll face a stern test in a 20-year-old American.  Meanwhile, 39-year-old American Venus Williams takes to the court against another tour veteran in Carla Suarez Navarro. And another Slam champion, Vika Azarenka, will play Camila Giorgi, a finalist in Washington just two days ago.

 

Both the men’s side and the women’s draws will feature all-Canadian matchups which include two of tennis’ most impressive young stars.  Also in Montreal, Washington champ Nick Kyrgios, just 48 hours after winning one of the biggest titles of his career, will take on the British No.1.  And 2017 champion Sascha Zverev will attempt to get his season back on track against the British No.3.

Ash Barty (1) vs. Sofia Kenin

Barty is 3-0 against Kenin, including their most recent match in the round of 16 at Roland Garros.  Sofia pushed the soon-to-be champion to three sets on that day, just a round after upsetting Serena Williams.  It’s been a breakout year for Kenin, who has 40 wins over the last 52 weeks, and two titles since January. This will be Barty’s first match since losing her 15-match winning streak in the fourth round of Wimbledon, where she was upset by another American, Alison Riske.  However, Ash does hold a six-match winning streak on North American hard courts, having won the title in Miami earlier this year. Barty already has 39 match wins in 2019, but is she due for a letdown? It feels like she is after all the tennis she’s played this year, and her spunky young opposition has shown us she’s capable of a big upset.

Nick Kyrgios vs. Kyle Edmund

Can Nick continue his great play from last week in DC?  If history is any indication, it seems unlikely. After his stellar title run in Acapulco earlier this year, he lost in the opening round of Indian Wells.  Overall, in the tournaments following his five previous career titles, he only possesses a total of eight match wins. Though he has won both previous matches against Edmund, both played on grass.  And 2019 has been a tough year for Kyle as he’s battled a knee injury. If Kyrgios brings his level of play from last week onto the court today, he should comfortably advance. But Nick is anything but a reliable competitor, and he was visibly struggling with a right arm injury over the last few days.  One thing that is for sure? When Kyrgios is involved, it won’t be boring.

Other notable matches on Tuesday:

Carla Suarez Navarro vs. Venus Williams.  Venus owns a 7-3 career edge, but only has 14 wins this year, and arrives on a three-match losing streak.

It will be a 19-year-old Canadian phenom against a former Canadian teenage phenom: Indian Wells champion Bianca Andreescu vs. Genie Bouchard (WC).

And in the other all-Canadian battle, Felix Auger Aliassime vs. Vasek Pospisil (WC).  These two played as a team in the doubles draw just yesterday.

Victoria Azarenka vs. Camila Giorgi.  The Italian has taken both of their previous meetings.

Sascha Zverev (3) vs. Cameron Norrie.  Since winning the 2018 ATP Finals, Zverev is yet to win a title.

In men’s doubles, it’s the 2017 Wimbledon champs against this year’s Queens Club champs: Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo (2) vs. Feliciano Lopez and Andy Murray (WC).

 

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Simona Halep ‘Happy To Be Back’ Amid Uncertainty Over US Open Plans

The Romanian still has reservations about her future plans after taking her first international flight in five months.

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World No.2 Simona Halep admits the prospect of travelling from Europe to America will be ‘mentally tough’ as she ponders whether or not to play at the US Open.

 

The reigning Wimbledon champion is set to return to competitive tennis in the Czech Republic where she will play her first tournament in five months at the Prague Open. Halep was originally due to make her return in Palermo but withdrew from the event due to ‘travelling anxiety’ despite being assured she wouldn’t have to go through quarantine. Speculation has mounted in recent weeks about if the Romanian would travel to the US Open later this year with the 28-year-old confirming she will make her final decision after Prague.

“I haven’t made the final decision yet,” AFP quoted Halep as telling reporters during a virtual press conference on Sunday.
“The travelling from Europe is a little bit tough with changing flights — we don’t have straight flights — so it’s going to be tough for me personally, mentally,” she told a video conference.
“I don’t want to put myself into that stress. As I said I haven’t decided yet, but the conditions are tough for me at this moment.”

Three members of the top 10 on the women’s Tour have already pulled out of the New York major, which will be played behind closed doors for the first time in history. Ash Barty, Kiki Bertens and Elina Svitolina have all withdrawn from the major due to concerns. In comparison, only one member of the top 10 on the men’s Tour, Rafael Nadal, has withdrawn specifically related to COVID-19 concerns.

Prague is Halep’s first international trip after being in lockdown in Romania since February. A country which reported 1,378 new coronavirus cases and 50 new related deaths on Friday in what was their highest 24-hour figure since the pandemic began.

“I’m a bit nervous but things are very controlled here and very safe so I feel safe,” she said upon arrival in the Czech capital.
“I’m happy to be back, I’m happy to be healthy.”

It will be double duty for Halep in Prague. Besides being the top seed in the singles draw, she will also be playing the doubles alongside local favourite Barbora Strycova. Who reached the semi-final of Wimbledon last year before losing to Serena Williams. It is the first time ever the two are playing alongside each other on the Tour.

“I’m sure we will have fun. I’m sure that she will understand if I miss easy balls at the net, and I hope we’ll enjoy it.” Halep commented on their collaboration.

Halep will start her singles campaign against Slovenia’s Polona Hercog.

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REPORT: Madrid Open To Be Axed Amid COVID-19 Concerns In Latest Setback For Tennis

Hopes of Spain holding their top tennis event in 2020 are over.

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The world of tennis is set to suffer another severe blow with multiple media sources confirming that organisers of Spain’s most prestigious tennis tournament will officially cancel their event on Tuesday. 

 

The Mutua Madrid Open will be removed from the 2020 calendar following a meeting involving tournament owner Iron Tiriac. Recently doubts have been cast on the event after local health officials called for it to be suspended due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Although the final decision was up to Tiriac and his team. It had been due to take place between September 12 to 20, following the conclusion of the US Open. 

“We have to be realistic now, we have to accept that health is always the priority. We must not endanger anyone, neither the fans, nor the players, nor the staff, all those who come to Madrid in September,” tournament director Feliciano Lopez told L’Equipe over the weekend. 

Spain has seen their rate of COVID-19 cases rapidly rise since the country ended its lockdown. According to El Pais, the number of cases recorded within 24 hours is eight times the amount compared to 40 days ago. Rising from 334 (June 20) to 2,789 (between July 29 and 30). On Friday July 31st there were 3092 new cases in the country in what is a post-lockdown record.

Held at the Caja Magica, the Madrid Open is a key event for both men and women. It is currently classed as a Masters 1000 for the men and as a Premier Mandatory for the women. Last year each of the singles champions took home €1,202,520 in prize money. It was originally set to be played in May but was postponed due to the pandemic.

The demise of Madrid this year is another setback for what is becoming a rapidly thinning 2020 tennis calendar. Within the past two weeks China has confirmed that they will not be hosting any tournaments this year, Japan’s scrapped it’s premier women’s event and the Italian Open has been advised to not allow any fans to their event this year. 

As a result of the latest development, only two WTA clay-court events will take place after the US Open leading up to Roland Garros. They are both set to get underway on September 21st in Rome and Strasbourg. As for the men, Rome will be their only point of call. 

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Serena Williams leads a high-quality line-up in Lexington

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Twenty-three time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams will be the top seed at the inaugural edition of the Lexington Open from 10th August 2020 on the same week as the Prague Open. The Lexington Open will be the first US tournament of the US hard court season, which will continue with the Western and Southern Open and the US Open, which will be held in the same venue at Flushing Meadows in New York. 

 

Serena was very close to tie Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles, but lost four times in a Major final after giving birth to her daughter Olympia. 

The US legend will play her first match since she hepled the US team beat Latvia in the Fed Cup last March in Everett. There Serena beat Jelena Ostapenko but she was defeated by Anastasija Sevastova. 

Williams will lead a star-studded line-up, which features this year’s Australian Open finalist and former Roland Garros and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, Aryna Sabalenka, Sloane Stephens, Johanna Konta, Amanda Anisimova and Yulia Putintseva, Ons Jabeur, Victoria Azarenka, Heather Watson and US rising star Cori Gauff. 

Sabalenka won two consecutive editions of the Wuhan tournament in 2018 and 2019, in Shenzhen in 2019, the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai in 2019 and the Doha final in 2020. 

Stephens won her first Grand Slam title at the US Open in 2017 and reached the final at 2018 Roland Garros. She finished runner-up to Elina Svitolina at the 2018 WTA Finals in Singapore. The US player lost to Canadian teenager Leylah Annie Fernandez in Monterrey in her last WTA Tour match before the pandemic. 

Amanda Anisimova won her maiden WTA title in Bogotà in 2019 in her first professional tour tournament on clay. Last year the young US player beat Simona Halep en route to becoming the youngest semifinalist at the French Open since 2006. This year Amanda lost to Serena Williams in the semifinal in Auckland last January. 

Johanna Konta reached the French Open semifinal and the Rome Final in 2019. The British player enjoyed her best year in 2017, when she won the Miami title and reached the Wimbledon semifinal rising to her best ranking at world number 4. 

The Top seed Open will be the first WTA tournament to be played in the United States since the coronavirus pandemic swept across the United States. The Kentucky tournament will feature a 32-player singles draw and a 16-player doubles field. 

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