Rogers Cup Wednesday Preview: Serena Returns As Khachanov Faces Swiss Foe - UBITENNIS
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Rogers Cup Wednesday Preview: Serena Returns As Khachanov Faces Swiss Foe

Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal, Simona Halep, and Naomi Osaka are all scheduled to play their opening matches on a jam-packed day in Canada.

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Serena Williams (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

With world No.1 Ash Barty’s loss to Sofia Kenin yesterday, Naomi Osaka could surpass Barty in the rankings with a win today.  However, Karolina Pliskova is capable of overtaking both Barty and Osaka with a deep run this week. Also in Toronto, Wimbledon champion Simona Halep will play her first match since her dream win at The All England Club, as will the woman she thumped in the final, Serena Williams.

In Montreal, Rafael Nadal will begin his title defense against a resurgent Dan Evans of Great Britain.  That will open play on Court Central, and be followed by this year’s other Roland Garros men’s singles finalist, Dominic Thiem.  He’ll take on 20-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov, who will look to recapture the magic of his 2017 breakthrough run in Montreal.  And in the night session, Denis’ close friend Felix Auger Aliassime will face the Canadian No.1, Milos Raonic. But Wednesday’s best men’s match may just be on the outer courts, in a big-hitting affair between Karen Khachanov and Stan Wawrinka.  Overall, the biggest factor in Montreal today may be the weather, as rain is forecasted throughout the day. That could throw the tournament schedule into chaos if any men’s singles matches are not completed.

Serena Williams (8) vs. Elise Mertens

After losing her third consecutive Major final at Wimbledon, the common theory regarding Serena’s latest defeat is she just isn’t match tough.  Injuries have limited her match play this season. In an effort to get more match play ahead of the US Open, Serena is making a rare appearance north of the US border.  This is only her ninth appearance at the Rogers Cup, and her first since 2015. But when she has made the trip to Canada, she’s often found success. Serena has advanced to the semifinals or better in all of the last five times she’s played this tournament.  This will be just her seventh tournament of 2019, and she’s yet to win a title since returning from child birth in March of last year. And her opening opposition here is certainly no slouch: a top 20 player Serena has never before faced. Mertens achieved a career highlight by prevailing in Doha six months ago, a run which included three top 10 wins.  But since that event, she’s just 14-14. While Elise has enough game to give Serena a true challenge, Serena didn’t enter this event to lose in her opening round. Her Wimbledon loss will only motivate her further. Assuming Serena is still fully healthy as she was at Wimbledon, she should prevail here.

Karen Khachanov (6) vs. Stan Wawrinka

Wawrinka is 2-0 against Khachanov, with both their matches taking place on hard courts within the past 12 months.  While Stan has taken all four sets they’ve played, three of those sets went to a tiebreak, showing how tight their matches have been.  Khachanov was a semifinalist here a year ago, and pushed Nadal in a high-quality semi despite losing in straight sets. Wawrinka also lost to Nadal here a year ago in two tight sets, one of the first signs than Stan was rediscovering his form following knee surgery.  Khachanov arrives here on a two-match losing streak, with losses to Roberto Bautista Agut at Wimbledon and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga last week in Washington. Considering those two defeats, as well as his two defeats at the hands of Wawrinka, Stan must be considered the favorite in what will likely be another close contest.

Other notable matches on Wednesday:

Rafael Nadal (1) vs. Dan Evans (Q), in their first career meeting.

Kitzbuhel champion Dominic Thiem (2) vs. Denis Shapovalov.  The Canadian arrived in Montreal with a losing record on the season, and on a five-match losing streak.

In a clash of Canadian generations, Milos Raonic (17) vs. Felix Auger Aliassime.

Naomi Osaka (2) vs. Tatjana Maria (Q), in Osaka’s first match since her opening round loss at Wimbledon.

Wimbledon champion Simona Halep (4) vs. Jennifer Brady (Q), who dropped just three games to Kiki Mladenovic on Monday.

Karolina Pliskova (3) vs. Alison Riske (Q), the woman who upset Ash Barty at Wimbledon.

A finalist here last year, Stefanos Tsitsipas (4) vs. Hubert Hurkacz (Alt).  The 22-year-old from Poland got into the draw thanks to Kevin Anderson’s withdrawal, and took out Taylor Fritz yesterday.

19-year-old Indian Wells champ Bianca Andreescu vs. Daria Kasatkina, who upset Angelique Kerber in the last round.

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Angelique Kerber To Retire At Olympic Games

Angelique Kerber has announced that she will retire from tennis after the Olympics.

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(@SzymiPrzybysz - Twitter)

Angelique Kerber has announced that she will be retiring from tennis at the Olympic Games.

The former three-time Grand Slam champion returned to the sport at the United Cup in January after becoming a mother.

It’s been a return full of ups and downs but ultimately Kerber only had one goal at the end of it and that was to play at the Olympics.

Now the 36 year-old will get to achieve that dream, Kerber has announced on Instagram that the Olympics will be her last tournament of her career.

In a post Kerber spoke about her Olympic journey as this is her third ever Olympics and said that this was the finish line.

Kerber will aim to end her career on a high as she has achieved some of the best achievements that this sport has to offer.

A former world number one, three-time Grand Slam champion and Olympic silver medallist at the Rio Olympics.

An incredible career for an incredibly resilient player that the tour will miss deeply.

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Matteo Berrettini battles past Alejandro Tabilo to reach the quarter final in Kitzbuehl

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Matteo Berrettini beat second seed Alejandro Tabilo 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-5) to reach the quarter final at the Generali Open in Kitzbuehl. 

Berrettini has extended his winning streak to seven consecutive matches following his second title of the year in Gstaad against Quentin Halys. The Italian player won 79% of his first service points.  

Berrettini went up 2-2 0-30 but Tabilo hit two aces to hold  serve. Tabilo led 30-15 at 3-4, but Berrettini hit three aces to hold serve. Berrettini earned his first mini-break to take a 5-4 lead after a double fault from Tabilo and won the final two points to close out the tie-break 7-4. 

Tabilo saved four break points in the second game from 0-40 down to hold serve at deuce. Berrettini went up a break in the eight game to take a 5-2 lead. The Italian player was not able to serve out the match at 5-3 in the second set, as Tabilo broke back in the 10th game. Both players went on serve en route to tie-break. Berrettini earned two mini-breaks to take a 5-2 lead. Tabilo pulled one mini-break back, but Berrettini sealed the win on his third match point.

“Having the chance to just play, feeling good and healthy, fighting for matches is just what I wanted for so many matches. So I am enjoying it and I am looking forward for my next match”, said Berrettini.

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Jannik Sinner Withdraws From Olympics Due To Tonsillitis

Jannik Sinner has withdrawn from the Olympics due to tonsillitis.

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(@TheTennisLetter - Twitter)

World number one Jannik Sinner has withdrawn from the Olympics due to tonsillitis.

The Italian was well placed to win a medal in Paris but has now had to withdraw from the games due to illness.

It was supposed to be his first Olympics as he was set to be the top seed in both singles and doubles.

However Sinner seems to still be struggling from his health problems that he had at Wimbledon in his quarter-final match against Daniil Medvedev.

In a statement on Twitter Sinner said he was strongly advised to miss the Olympics and will now watch from home.

Sinner will now be replaced in the singles draw by Andrea Vavassori while Luciano Darderi will now team up with Lorenzo Musetti in doubles.

Now Sinner aims to be healthy in time for his title defence in Canada which starts on the 5th of August.

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