Australian Open Qualifying Heads To The Middle East As Player Field Is Revelled - UBITENNIS
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Australian Open Qualifying Heads To The Middle East As Player Field Is Revelled

The upcoming event will be a historic one for tennis.

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For the first time in Australian Open history the qualifying tournament for the ‘Happy Slam’ will not be held in the country.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the quarantine process those arriving in Australia have to go through, officials have sought the help of two other countries to stage their events. The Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha will be home to the men’s tournament. First opened in 1992, the venue usually holds the Qatar Open (ATP 250) which will not be taking place in 2021.

It’s our pleasure to have the opportunity of hosting the qualifying rounds of the 2021 Australian Open, and we are glad to welcome all the participating players to Doha. We promise them an exceptional experience which will live up to Qatar’s globally recognised reputation as a major destination for world sports,” Karim Alami from the Qatari Tennis Federation said in a statement.
“Selecting Doha to host the 2021 Australian Open qualifiers due to coronavirus pandemic reflects the global trust in Qatar’s abilities, and we are not going to leave any stoned unturned in organising a world-class event,” he added.

Among those set to participate in the 128-player draw will be Spanish rising star Carlos Alcaraz who was recently named ATP Newcomer of the Year after winning three Challenger titles before his 18th birthday. Other youngsters set to play include Lorenzo Musetti and Sebastian Korda.

Also on the entry list are former top 20 players Ivo Karlovic, Ernests Gulbis and Viktor Troicki. There is a strong chance that this could be Troicki’s last time trying to qualify for the Grand Slam after being appointed the Davis Cup captain of Serbia.

“We are very grateful to our friends in Qatar for hosting the Australian Open 2021 men’s qualifying event in Doha,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said.
“Staging the AO qualifying event, and providing players with the opportunity to both earn prize money and win the chance to play Grand Slam tennis during this difficult time has been a key objective in all our planning.”

A full list of entrants is yet to be published by the organisers.

UAE for the women

As for the WTA players seeking a route into the Grand Slam main draw, they will be playing their qualifying rounds at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium and Complex in Dubai. As is currently stands all 16 seeds will be ranked in the world’s top 125.

Heading the field will be Spain’s Aliona Bolsova who is yet to play in the main draw of the Australian Open. Kaja Juvan, Oceane Dodin and Greet Minnen are the highest ranked players after Bolsova.

Also taking part will be a former Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard and 2019 US Open semi-finalist Tsvetana Pironkova. Timea Babos, Sara Errani and Timea Babos will also be playing.

“Tennis players are a regular here, both for training and time off, and they know what Dubai has to offer. We are sure they will be looking forward to the qualifying tournament here and giving off their best in a totally safe environment, with all the necessary COVID-19 precautions and protocols in place,” the Dubai Sports Council said in a statement.

Both the men’s and women’s tournaments will take place between January 10-13. A total of 16 main draw spots is up for grabs.

Women’s qualifying entry list   
RankingFirst NameLast NameNation
103AlionaBolsovaESP
104KajaJuvanSLO
107OceaneDodinFRA
110GreetMinnenBEL
111Anna-LenaFriedsamGER
113KatarzynaKawaPOL
114AnnaKalinskayaRUS
115TimeaBabosHUN
116StefanieVoegeleSUI
118KatarinaZavatskaUKR
119IrinaBaraROU
120TerezaMartincovaCZE
121CatherineMcNallyUSA
122YsalineBonaventureBEL
124VitaliaDiatchenkoRUS
125MargaritaGasparyanRUS
127LiudmilaSamsonovaRUS
128MayarSherifEGY
131SaraErraniITA
132ElisabettaCocciarettoITA
133CatherineBellisUSA
134OlgaGovortsovaBLR
135Anna KarolinaSchmiedlovaSVK
136TsvetanaPironkovaBUL
137MihaelaBuzarnescuROU
138ViktorijaGolubicSUI
139ViktoriyaTomovaBUL
141EugenieBouchardCAN
142RenataZarazuaMEX
143FrancescaDi LorenzoUSA
144MonicaNiculescuROU
145NataliaVikhlyantsevaRUS
146LesiaTsurenkoUKR
147KristinaKucovaSVK
149BarbaraHaasAUT
150HarrietDartGBR
151CarolineDolehideUSA
152ClaraTausonDEN
153XinyuWangCHN
154Usue MaitaneArconadaUSA
155KamillaRakhimovaRUS
156MagdalenaFrechPOL
157LeonieKungSUI
158SachiaVickeryUSA
158 SRKimberlyBirrellAUS
159Elena-GabrielaRuseROU
160KurumiNaraJPN
161WhitneyOsuigweUSA
162CristinaBucsaESP
163AnhelinaKalininaUKR
165LaraArruabarrenaESP
167GiuliaGatto-MonticoneITA
168JaquelineCristianROU
171 SRRebeccaMarinoCAN
175VeronicaCepede RoygPAR
176LesleyPattinama KerkhoveNED
177AllieKiickUSA
178CaglaBuyukakcayTUR
179AntoniaLottnerGER
180AnkitaRainaIND
181VarvaraLepchenkoUSA
182MayoHibiJPN
183OlgaDanilovicSRB
184YukiNaitoJPN
185XiaodiYouCHN
186Maria CamilaOsorio SerranoCOL
187ChloePaquetFRA
189MartinaDi GiuseppeITA
190GeorginaGarcia PerezESP
191NatalijaKosticSRB
192MariamBolkvadzeGEO
193Laura IoanaPaarROU
195SamanthaMurray SharanGBR
196MarinaMelnikovaRUS
197IndyDe VroomeNED
198AsiaMuhammadUSA
199BibianeSchoofsNED
200Jia-JingLuCHN
201RobinAndersonUSA
202IsabellaShinikovaBUL
203RebeccaSramkovaSVK
204Na-LaeHanKOR
205GabrielaTalabaROU
206Reka-LucaJaniHUN
207XinyunHanCHN
208DanielaSeguelCHI
208 SRKarmanThandiIND
209JanaFettCRO
210ElitsaKostovaBUL
211ChihiroMuramatsuJPN
212PemraOzgenTUR
213RichelHogenkampNED
216AnastasiyaKomardinaRUS
217EkaterineGorgodzeGEO
218ClaireLiuUSA
219DanielleLaoUSA
220DalmaGalfiHUN
221DariaSnigurUKR
222MajaChwalinskaPOL
223En-ShuoLiangTPE
223 SRNaikthaBainsGBR
224EvaGuerrero AlvarezESP
225ValeriaSavinykhRUS
226JuliaGrabherAUT
227VictoriaKanRUS
229YueYuanCHN
230TerezaMrdezaCRO
231AleksandraKrunicSRB
232HaileyBaptisteUSA
233NuriaParrizas DiazESP
234HarmonyTanFRA
235EllenPerezAUS
236ClaraBurelFRA
237MarieBenoitBEL
238KyokaOkamuraJPN
239GabrielaCeBRA
240JovanaJovicSRB
241FrancescaJonesGBR
243DalilaJakupovicSLO

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Wimbledon Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic Plays Carlos Alcaraz for the Gentlemen’s Singles Championship

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Carlos Alcaraz after winning his semifinal on Friday (twitter.com/wimbledon)

Day 14 at The Championships hosts the championship matches in gentlemen’s singles and mixed doubles.

One year ago, Novak Djokovic was on a 34 match Wimbledon win streak, playing for his fifth consecutive title, and had not lost a match on Centre Court in a full decade.  But in a spectacular five-hour five-setter, Carlos Alcaraz upset the all-time great to win his first Wimbledon title.  On Sunday, we get the rematch, as Djokovic looks to avenge that painful loss, and Alcaraz looks to defend a Major title, and win back-to-back Majors, for the first time.


Carlos Alcaraz (3) vs. Novak Djokovic (2) – 2:00pm on Centre Court

They followed up last year’s championship match here with another fantastic final just a month later in Cincinnati, where Djokovic saved championship point to eventually win in a third-set tiebreak, and after nearly four hours of play.  Novak would go on three weeks later to win the US Open, while Carlitos was not the same player for some time.  Alcaraz would not reach another final at any event for over six months, until this past March in Indian Wells. 

Despite a few surprising losses, and an injury that disrupted his season, Alcaraz is now a strong 32-6 on the year, and a superb 17-1 at Majors.  Carlitos has been able to quickly rebound from upsets at smaller events, like his loss to Jack Draper a few weeks ago at Queen’s Club, and up his level for the big events.  He’s dropped five sets through six matches, most of which have contained some sloppy play at times, yet Carlitos has played his best when it mattered most to reach his fourth Major final.  And he’s 3-0 thus far in Major finals.

2024 has been a surprisingly subpar season in the illustrious career of Djokovic.  Not only has he not won a title to date, he hadn’t advanced to a final until now.  Playing a more limited schedule, he’s just 23-6 this season.  And it was just a month ago that he was forced to withdraw from the Roland Garros quarterfinals after suffering a knee injury, which required surgery and put his Wimbledon status in doubt.  Yet Novak has recovered almost miraculously, dropping only two sets to this stage, though he did receive a quarterfinal walkover of his own from an injured Alex de Minaur.

Overall Djokovic is 3-2 against Alcaraz, and they’ve split two meetings at Majors, both of which took place a year ago.  In the 2023 Roland Garros semifinals, Carlitos started cramping after just two sets of play, and provided little resistance in sets three and four.  That made his five-set victory in this final a month later all the more surprising.

Novak has not appeared to be significantly hampered by his surgically-repaired knee, though there’s no way it can be 100%.  So if another five-setter takes place on Sunday, that has to favor Carlitos, especially since he is an amazing 12-1 when pushed to five sets in his young career.

But the Djokovic CV at this tournament, and at this stage of Majors, is beyond formidable.  Since the start of The Championships in 2014, he is 59-3 at SW19.  And during the same span at all Majors, he is 42-8 in semifinals and finals.  Novak just very rarely loses matches like this, especially on Centre Court.

On a that surface usually favors the aggressor, Djokovic has been able to change that narrative with his stifling defense and court coverage.  However, Alcaraz is one of the only players Djokovic has ever faced who can match him defensively, and at times dictate play against him with his risk-taking style.  We saw here a year ago just how frustrated Novak became by Carlitos’ game, damaging the net post by breaking his racket against it after getting broken in the fifth set.

Yet as many have mentioned these last two weeks, Djokovic “has that look about him,” meaning the steely determination and confidence that he was lacking during the first six months of this year appear to be back.  He is extremely motivated to reassert himself atop the game, in a season where the new generation of Alcaraz and Sinner won the first two Majors. 

If Carlitos gets off to another slow start on Sunday (he’s lost the first set in three of his six matches thus far), or suffer lapses in his level again, Novak will take advantage of that better than any of the defending champion’s previous opponents.  And while he’ll surely do so at some point in his career, until Alcaraz defends a Major title, or wins back-to-back Majors, it’s hard to favor him to do so.  I’m backing Djokovic to win his eighth Wimbledon title, and his historical 25th Major singles title, the most of all-time.


Other Notable Matches on Sunday:

Santiago Gonzalez and Giuliana Olmos vs. Jan Zielinski Su-wei Hsieh (7) – The Mexican team of Gonzalez and Olmos are playing for their first Major title, as Olmos is 0-1 in Major finals, while 41-year-old Gonzalez is 0-4.  Zielinski and Su-wei won this year’s Australian Open as a team, the first Major title of Zielinski’s career, while Su-wei has now won eight between women’s doubles and mixed, and is 8-1 in Major finals.


Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Wimbledon Daily Preview: Jasmine Paolini Plays Barbora Krejcikova for the Ladies’ Singles Championship

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Jasmine Paolini after winning her semifinal on Thursday (twitter.com/wimbledon)

Day 13 at The Championships hosts the championship matches in ladies’ singles, ladies’ doubles, and gentlemen’s doubles.

It’s cliché, and usually untrue, to say “No one expected these two finalists.”  But in this case, it is absolutely true.  Prior to this fortnight, Jasmine Paolini had never won a match at The Championships.  And Barbora Krejcikova arrived at SW19 with a losing record on the year.  Yet both will play in their second Major singles final on Saturday, after inspired play during this tournament.


Barbora Krejcikova (31) vs. Jasmine Paolini (7) – 2:00pm on Centre Court

After failing to advance beyond the second round in her first 16 appearances at Majors, Paolini is now 15-2 in her last three, and is the first WTA player to reach the final of both Roland Garros and Wimbledon since Serena Williams in 2016.  Jasmine is 30-12 on the year, and has won 14 of her last 16 matches.  She has been taken to three sets twice during this event, most recently outlasting Donna Vekic in a third-set tiebreak during Thursday’s semifinals.

Krejcikova has also required three sets in two of her six matches to this stage, upsetting 2022 champion Elena Rybakina in the semis.  That was the third win in a row for Barbora over a higher-seed, after ousting two other big hitters, Danielle Collins and Jelena Ostapenko.  She’s accomplished all this despite being just 7-9 this season before this tournament began.  Injuries have plagued her career since her 2021 Roland Garros singles title, including a back injury earlier this year. 

Paolini is 2-4 lifetime in singles finals at WTA level, while Krejcikova is 7-5.  However, when you consider their appearances in Major finals between singles and doubles, Paolini is 0-2, having lost both the women’s singles and doubles finals last month in Paris, while Krejcikova is an amazing 11-1.  That’s a huge contrast in success at Grand Slam level.

These players also possess contrasting styles.  Paolini has been crushing her forehand, using it to come forward and show off her great hands at the net.  Krejcikova has a good serve, as well as both power and guile on her groundstrokes.  She loves using her slice to keep her opponents off-balance.  However, that will be more difficult to do against such a great mover like Jasmine.  And Barbora’s forehand has become unreliable in some crucial moments during this fortnight, which the Italian can target.

But on this surface, and considering her history in Major finals, I give the edge to Krejcikova to win her second Major singles title.  Plus, Barbora has already won two ladies’ doubles titles on this same court.  And she would surely cherish the chance to honor her late coach and mentor Jana Novotna by holding the Venus Rosewater Dish aloft on Centre Court, just as Jana did in 1998.


Other Notable Matches on Saturday:

Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson (15) vs. Harri Heliovaara and Henry Patten – This is a fourth Major final in men’s doubles for Purcell, who won this title two years ago alongside another Aussie, Matthew Ebden.  Thompson had never advanced beyond the fourth round of a Major in either men’s singles or doubles until this run.  Patten is also a Major final debutante, while Heliovaara won last year’s US Open in mixed doubles.

Katerina Siniakova and Taylor Townsend (4) vs. Gabriela Dabrowski and Erin Routliffe (2) – Siniakova is playing for the ninth Major title in women’s doubles, while Townsend is playing for her first, after going 0-2 in previous finals.  Dabrowski and Routliffe are the reigning US Open champions, and Routliffe will become the new World No.1 in women’s doubles on Monday, regardless of Saturday’s result.


Saturday’s full Order of Play is here.

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England’s Euros Final Clash With Spain Will Not Be Shown At Wimbledon

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Crowds of spectators watch live action on the Big Screen on the Hill at The Championships 2023. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 7 Sunday 09/07/2023. Photo credit: AELTC/Adam Warner.

Football might be coming home on Sunday but those attending Wimbledon will have to leave the site if they want to watch the game. 

Gareth Southgate’s side takes on Spain for the chance to win their first major trophy since the 1966 World Cup, as well as their first of any sort on international territory. Their semi-final win over the Netherlands was the most-watched TV programme this year so far in the UK with a peak audience of 20.3 million on ITV. This figure doesn’t include those who watch the game online via ITVX or in public places. Broadcasters are hopeful that the final, which will be shown on both the BBC and ITV, could break the 30 million mark for viewers. 

Despite the highly-anticipated sporting event, the communications department of the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) has confirmed to Ubitennis that they will not be showing the Euros match on their large screen, even if the matches finish by 8 pm. The men’s final is scheduled to begin six hours earlier at 2 pm local time. 

The AELTC explains that part of their reasons for doing so is due to the huge cleanup operation that will be taking place immediately after the event. Some of the equipment used at the Grand Slam needs to be packed and moved elsewhere to be used for the Paris Olympic Games. 

Whilst some football fans attending Wimbledon might be disappointed, the AELTC has always stated from day one that they don’t intend to show football matches with their sole focus being on tennis. 

We’re very much focused on the tennis, this has been the case in the past,” AELTC Chief executive Sally Bolton said on the first day of this year’s tournament.
“We won’t be showing the football on any of the screens here. We’re confident that everyone who’s coming here will want to watch the tennis. 
There will be no special arrangements.”

It remains to be seen if there will be a big exodus of fans from Wimbledon on Sunday evening before England’s tie with Spain. However, this depends on the length of the men’s final which last year lasted almost five hours. It is roughly a 30-minute walk to Wimbledon train station where many pubs nearby will be showing the football.  

Across the UK some schools are allowing children to start at a later time on Monday due to the Euros. Businesses such as Tesco and Lidl are making changes to their opening times. Meanwhile, the Wireless Festival is ending early and World Matchplay Darts has also moved to an earlier time.

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