Australian Open Day 11 Preview: Will Roger Federer Pose A Threat To Djokovic? - UBITENNIS
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Australian Open Day 11 Preview: Will Roger Federer Pose A Threat To Djokovic?

With scorching hot temperatures on Thursday, who will survive and advance to the finals?

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Both women’s semifinals will be decided during the day session, during the hottest time of the day. They feature three Major champions who are yet to win a Slam on hard courts, and a 21-year-old American new to this stage. Following four straight-set women’s quarterfinals, we are due for some drama today. The first men’s semifinal will be played in this evening, and it will be the 50th career meeting between two of the sport’s all-time greats.

 

Ash Barty (1) vs. Sofia Kenin (14)

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The Australian No.1 continues to impress, as she successfully copes with the pressure of high expectations at her home Slam. While Ash appeared a bit edgy at times on Tuesday against Petra Kvitova, it did not significantly impact her play. She’s now into her second Major semifinal, and will have the experience edge against her opponent. Barty also owns a 4-1 record over Kenin, will all those matches taking place within the last two years. But Sofia’s only win came on a similarly-paced hard court last summer in Canada. And Kenin has quickly proven herself to be one of the WTA’s toughest competitors, and does not give her opposition many easy points. However, I could see Sofia being a little overwhelmed by this occasion, and at times she can get a bit down on herself. With the edge in experience, more variety in her game, and the boisterous Aussie crowd behind her, Barty should be favored to reach her second Major final.

Simona Halep (4) vs. Garbine Muguruza

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Each of these women have won Majors on clay and grass, and are now vying for their first hard court Slam. And they have been the two most impressive WTA players during this fortnight. Halep is yet to drop a set, and many have remarked on how positive she has remained on court through five rounds. But her composure should be thoroughly tested today, by a rejuvenated Muguruza who is back to playing with the focus and determination that won her two Majors. Muguruza dropped sets in her first two matches while she was battling a virus, but has cleanly advanced through her last three rounds against three seeded players. Their last meeting was also in the semifinal of a Slam, at the 2018 French Open. Halep comfortably prevailed on that day 6-1, 6-4. The hot conditions today should favor Garbine’s power, though Simona’s stamina could become an advantage the longer the match goes. And I do expect this to be an extended affair. In what should be a tight contest, I give the slight edge to the speed, endurance, and positivity of Halep.

Novak Djokovic (2) vs. Roger Federer (3)

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Djokovic leads their head-to-head 26-23, and has won nine of their last 12 meetings. Their last encounter at a Major was the best match of 2019: the first Wimbledon final to be decided by a final set tiebreak at 12-12. Djokovic prevailed that day thanks to winning three tiebreak sets, and despite winning less points overall. Federer would get a small dose of revenge a few months ago in the same city, when he defeated Novak in the round robin stage of the ATP Finals. But Federer comes into this match at much less than 100%, and is frankly lucky to still be in this tournament. He came back from an 8-4 deficit in the final set tiebreak against John Millman in the third round, and then somehow saved seven match points against Tennys Sandgren two days ago. Roger appeared to be dealing with multiple injury issues on Tuesday, and will only have 48 hours to try to recover and heal. While Federer has notched some wins over Djokovic of late in best-of-three matches, he hasn’t beaten Novak at a Major since 2012. And he hasn’t defeated Djokovic at a hard court Major since 2009. Roger is a meek (by his high standards) 7-7 in Australian Open semifinals, while Novak has never lost in a semifinal or final in Melbourne. Djokovic is a heavy favorite to reach his eighth championship match down under.

Order of play

Rod Laver Arena

From 00:00am
I. Dodig (4)/F. Polasek (4) v M. Purcell/L. Saville

Not before 3:00am
A. Barty (1) v S. Kenin (14)

 Not before 4:30am
S. Halep (4) v G. Muguruza

From 8:30am
R. Federer (3) v N. Djokovic (2)
TBA v TBA (Legends)

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Kei Nishikori Confirms Safety Amid Hurricane Ian, Sets Out End of Year Plans

Kei Nishikori is set to return to tennis in November.

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Kei Nishikori (@WSOpen - Twitter)

Former US Open finalist Kei Nishikori has confirmed that he and his family are safe as Hurricane Ian continues to cause destruction in America.

 

Nishikori lives and is based in Florida, where Hurricane Ian is doing most of its destruction at the moment.

So far at least two million people are without power with a handful of people losing their life due to the hurricane.

Some of Nishikori’s fans were concerned about his safety but the former top ten player confirmed that he and his family are safe, “Hi everyone, just a quick note to say my family and I are safe,” Nishikori confirmed on social media.

“Thank you for all the messages. It was a scary day and hope things will be back to normal as soon as possible. My thoughts are with all the people facing the results of the storm. I hope everyone stays safe.”

It’s pleasing to hear Nishikori is safe as the storm continues to cause destruction on many people’s livelihoods in the US.

Speaking of Nishikori, the Japanese star has been fairly muted on the court with him not playing a single event this season.

Injuries have been the story of Nishikori’s career and it looks as if that trend has continued in 2022.

However Nishikori could be expected to make his return to the tour in November on the Challenger tour.

That’s because Nishikori has been confirmed to compete in the Calgary and Drummondville challenger events.

The two events take place between the 6th and the 20th of November with Nishikori looking to gain some match time ahead of next year’s Australian Open.

Tournament directors Alain Calle and Danny Da Costa had this to say on Nishikori’s participation, “We’re thrilled to have Kei at our tournaments,” they jointly said in a press release.

“He’s been one of the most prolific players on the Tour since the start of his career, and even though he’s coming back from a major injury, he remains a very talented player. We’re looking forward to seeing him play again in Canada, and there’s no doubt our fans will be, too.”

The events will be Nishikori’s first since Indian Wells in 2021 where he lost to Dan Evans in the second round.

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Novak Djokovic Praises ‘Passionate’ Tel-Aviv Crowd Ahead Of Quarter-Finals

Novak Djokovic is into the quarter-finals in Tel-Aviv and will play Vasek Pospisil on Friday.

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Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic spoke about the crowd in Tel-Aviv ahead of his last eight showdown with Vasek Pospisil.

 

The Wimbledon champion progressed to the quarter-finals in Tel-Aviv with a dominant display over Pablo Andujar.

Djokovic dropped only three games as he returned to imperious form as he looks to boost his ranking over the coming weeks.

Speaking after the match Djokovic spoke about the ‘passionate’ crowd in Tel-Aviv and how it boosted his performance, “Fantastic atmosphere here tonight, thank you very much,” Djokovic said in his on-court atmosphere.

“I like the court, it’s very intimate and it’s very loud. The crowd here is very passionate about the sport, about tennis and I’m really, really happy to be here and to perform here in front of you, so thank you for your support.”

Djokovic’s last appearance in Tel-Aviv came as a teenager in 2006 when he played a Davis Cup tie.

Now 16 years later, Djokovic is relishing the occasion playing in Israel again as he looks to make up significant ground on the world’s top ranked players.

Djokovic will now play good friend Vasek Pospisil in the last eight with the Serb leading the head-to-head 5-0.

Here are the other quarter-finals that will take place on Friday in Tel-Aviv:

Arthur Rinderknech v Roman Safiullin

Constant Lestienne v Maxime Cressy

Liam Broady v Marin Cilic

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Iga Swiatek Annoyed By Scheduling Dilemma Ahead Of Season Finale

Iga Swiatek has admitted it’s unlikely that she will play the Billie Jean King Cup Finals after a scheduling dilemma.

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(@thenet_m - Twitter)

World number one Iga Swiatek admits she is annoyed by facing a scheduling dilemma ahead of the end of the season.

 

Swiatek has dominated the 2022 season having won two Grand Slam titles and five other titles this season.

This means she has qualified for the WTA Finals which will take place on the 31st of October in Texas.

However Swiatek is now becoming the victim of her own success as she now faces a dilemma over whether to represent Poland at the Billie Jean King Finals.

The BJK Cup Finals, take place the week after in Glasgow where Poland will face the Czech Republic and the USA in their Group.

Speaking to Polish media Swiatek admitted she is unsure whether she will compete in Scotland and criticised the WTA for their lack of organization over the events, “I am dissatisfied, although I know that arranging everything is complicated,” Swiatek was quoted by Give Me Sport Women as saying.

Certainly, the fact that the WTA and ITF federations in a sense did not cooperate to facilitate our task is irritating to me. I will definitely take steps to let them know about my dissatisfaction.

“I don’t understand the scheduling. I’m not gonna lie that I’m happy about the fact that if I go deep in [the] Finals, I will have to not only play tired but also jetlagged the next day. So I can’t confirm whether I’ll represent Poland or not. I’m sorry.”

Swiatek’s father, Tomasz, backed up his daughter’s criticism and wishes for more communication between the WTA and players in the future, “It’s an extremely unfortunate deal,” he said.

“And yet we have a very difficult group for that in the BJK Cup. The dates of both events are missed. There is a clash between the ITF (organisers of the BJK Cup) and the WTA (organisers of the WTA Finals). Instead of taking care of the development of women’s tennis, they cannot communicate.”

So far both Swiatek and Ons Jabeur have qualified for the WTA Finals with Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula expected to join them.

Caroline Garcia, Aryna Sabalenka, Daria Kasatkina and Simona hold the other four spots with just weeks left of the season.

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