Melbourne Summer Series Daily Preview: Play to Resume on Friday with 70 Matches, Featuring Serena, Nadal, Djokovic, Osaka - UBITENNIS
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Melbourne Summer Series Daily Preview: Play to Resume on Friday with 70 Matches, Featuring Serena, Nadal, Djokovic, Osaka

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Serena Williams on Wednesday in Melbourne (twitter.com/WTA)

After all play was canceled for Thursday, some players will now need to play twice on Friday.  And with rain in the forecast throughout the day, the three roofed stadiums, as well as the indoor practice facility, may need to be fully utilized to complete play.  The WTA has announced they will institute a 10-point tiebreak in place of a full third set for the rest of this week

 

The order of play includes the top five WTA players in the world, and the top three from the ATP.  Friday will be the third and final day of round robin play in the ATP Cup, as Saturday’s semifinal matchups will be solidified.  The first two WTA 500 events will present quarterfinal action, highlighted by a rematch of last year’s Australian Open final.  The two ATP 250 events will play both third round singles and quarterfinal contests today.  And the last WTA 500 event, which had a delayed start for the players who were in hard quarantine, will see the top seeds play their opening matches.

This preview will narrow down the scheduled 70 matches to the most prominent ones to watch throughout a chaotic day. 

Friday’s ATP Cup matches will be played on Rod Laver Arena and John Cain Arena starting at 10:00am local time.  The WTA 500 and ATP 250 events are scheduled to start between 10:00am and 11:00am depending on the court, and depending on the rain.


The ATP Cup, a Round Robin Team Event between 12 Nations

Top Players: All of the ATP top 10 except the injured Roger Federer.

Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. Sascha Zverev (GER) – Second Match on RLA

Both men defeated Denis Shapovalov earlier this week, though Zverev needed an extra set to do so.  Novak leads their head-to-head 4-2, and has nabbed three of their four hard court encounters.  The other singles match between Dusan Lajovic and Jan-Lennard Struff could be a tight one.  The winning team will qualify for the semifinals.

Dominic Thiem (AUT) vs. Gael Monfils (FRA) – Second Match on JCA

Both men were walloped by Matteo Berrettini earlier this week.  Their history has been decisively one-sided, with Thiem owning a 6-0 record over Monfils.  Dominic has taken their last 11 sets played.  In the tie’s other singles match, Dennis Novak may just be the favorite against Benoit Paire.  Novak upset Fabio Fognini on Tuesday, while Paire’s lack of effort against Fognini was an embarrassment to the sport.  Italy has already advanced to the semifinals, meaning Austria and France have been eliminated.

Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) – Not Before 7:00pm on RLA

Will Nadal play today after withdrawing from his match on Tuesday due to lower back pain?  If he does, he should feel rather confident against Tsitsipas, with a 6-1 record lifetime.  Stefanos took out Alex de Minaur on Wednesday in straight sets.  John Millman will be a heavy favorite against Michail Pervolarakis in the other singles match.  The winning team will go on to the semis. 

Diego Schwartzman (ARG) vs. Kei Nishikori (JPN) – Not Before 7:00pm on JCA

Both men were soundly defeated by Daniil Medvedev earlier this week.  Nishikori is 3-1 against Schwartzman, though Kei is still fighting his way back from an extended injury layoff.  Guido Pella takes on Yoshihito Nishioka prior to this contest.  Russia has already secured the advancement spot out of this group.


The Yarra Valley Classic, a WTA 500 Event

Top seeds remaining: Ash Barty, Sofia Kenin, Serena Williams, Garbine Muguruza

Ash Barty (1) vs. Shelby Rogers – First Match on MCA

The world No.1 survived a bit of a wobble on Wednesday against Marie Bouzkova, in just her second match since last February.  Rogers has won 10 of her last 13 tour-level matches, with victories over Serena Williams and Petra Kvitova.  Barty claimed their only previous encounter in straight sets, four years ago at this same venue.

Sofia Kenin (2) vs. Garbine Muguruza (6) – Second Match on MCA

Last year in Melbourne, Kenin upset Muguruza to win her first career Major.  Kenin also won their other previous matchup, two years ago in Beijing.  She struggled in the last round against fellow American Jessica Pegula, while Muguruza has dropped only five games over four sets this week.

Serena Williams (5) vs. Danielle Collins (13) – Third Match on MCA

The fiery Collins is yet to drop a set through three matches this week, including a win Wednesday over Karolina Pliskova.  Serena has taken eight of her last nine completed matches.  This will the first career meeting between the two Americans.


The Gippsland Trophy, a WTA 500 Event

Top seeds remaining: Simona Halep, Naomi Osaka, Elina Svitolina

Simona Halep (1) vs. Ekaterina Alexandrova (9) – Fifth Match on MCA

Halep has looked sharp this week, and has only been defeated once since last February.  That loss came at the hands of French Open champion Iga Swiatek, who was taken out Wednesday by Alexandrova.  They’ve split their two previous matches, both contested on hard courts in 2019. 

Naomi Osaka (2) vs. Irina-Camelia Begu – Seventh Match on MCA

Osaka dropped the first set Wednesday to Katie Boulter, but came back strong to win 12 of the last 16 games.  Begu required over three-and-a-half hours to subdue Johanna Konta two days ago, with both players saving multiple match points in a dramatic affair.  Osaka and Begu have never played before.

Elina Svitolina (3) vs. Elise Mertens (7) – Eighth Match on MCA

Both women earned solid victories Wednesday against dangerous opponents: Svitolina over Jelena Ostapenko, and Mertens over Caroline Garcia.  Svitolina leads their head-to-head 3-1, though Mertens’ only win came in Melbourne three years ago.


The Grampians Trophy, a WTA 500 Event

Top seeds: Belinda Bencic, Victoria Azarenka, Elena Rybakina, Maria Sakkari

Victoria Azarenka (2) vs. Yulia Putintseva – First Match on Court 3

This will be the two-time Australian Open champion’s first match since October, and her first against Putintseva.  Azarenka has prevailed in 18 of her last 22 matches.  Putintseva has also been in good form, winning 11 of her last 15.

Angelique Kerber (8) vs. Ons Jabeur – Second Match on Court 8

Surprisingly, these two tour veterans have never played before.  In their opening round matches, Kerber needed three sets to advance, while Jabeur dropped just two games. 


The Murray River Open, an ATP 250 Event

Top seeds remaining: Stan Wawrinka, Grigor Dimitrov, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Borna Coric

Borna Coric (4) vs. Nick Kyrgios (13) – Second Match on 1573

Well this should be interesting.  Recently on Twitter, Coric insinuated Kyrgios is a hypocrite for questioning the behavior of other players, while Nick called Borna “boring” and said he has a “peanut of a brain.”  Kyrgios struggled with his body two days ago in a long three-setter, and also struggled to control his emotions.  He has split four meetings with Coric, with the last three all going to a deciding set. 

Stan Wawrinka (1) vs. Alex Bolt – Third Match on 1573

The 2014 Australian Open champion is quite popular down under, but the crowd won’t be on his side in this one.  Bolt is a veteran Aussie who pushed Dominic Thiem to five sets on these grounds a year ago.

Grigor Dimitrov (2) vs. Alexei Popyrin – Third Match on Court 3

Speaking of Aussies, Popyrin is a 21-year-old Australian who has reached the third round in Melbourne two years in a row, with victories over Dominic Thiem and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.  Dimitrov has exceled down under, with three of his five Major quarterfinals coming at Melbourne Park.


The Great Ocean Road Open, an ATP 250 Event

Top seeds remaining: Karen Khachanov, Hubert Hurkacz, Jannik Sinner

Karen Khachanov (2) vs. Kevin Anderson – First Match on Court 5

Anderson grabbed their only previous meeting, three years ago in Miami.  Khachanov has struggled a bit since the tour restart last summer, with a 12-9 record. 


Friday’s full order of play is here.

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Petra Kvitova beats Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova to advance to the quarter final in Doha

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Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova knocked out Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova 6-1 6-3 to advance to the quarter finals at the Qatar Total Open in Doha. Kvitova hit 31 winners to 19 unforced errors. 

 

Kvitova saved two break points to hold serve after two deuces. Kvitova broke twice in a row to win the fisrt set 6-1. The Czech saved three of the four break points she faced. 

Pavlyuchenkova took a 3-1 lead with a break in the fourth game of the second set, but Kvitova reeled off five games with three consecutive breaks to close out the second set 6-3. 

Number 8 seed Victoria Azarenka rallied from a slow start to beat German qualifier and Roland Garros quarter finalist Laura Siegemund 6-4 6-2. 

Siegemund broke serve in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Azarenka broke back in the fifth game of the first set to draw level to 3-3. Siegemund was unable to convert eight game points in a marathon seventh game featuring 12 deuces. Azarenka converted her fourth break point to take a 4-3 lead, but Siegemund broke back to draw level to 4-4. Azarenka broke again in the ninth game to win the first set 6-4. 

Azarenka raced out to a 5-0 lead with three breaks, but she was not able to serve out the win on her first attempt in the sixth game. Siegemund pulled one break back in the sixth game. Azarenka sealed the win on her fifth match point with a hold in the eighth game to secure her spot in the quarter finals. 

Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit cruised past three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber 6-1 6-4 to advance to the third round. Kontaveit dropped her serve once in the entire match. 

Kontaveit went up a double break in the second and fourth games to cruise through to a 6-1 win in the opening set. The Estonian player raced out to a 4-1 lead with two consecutive breaks. Kerber pulled one break back in the sixth game for 2-4. Kontaveit held her next service games to claim the second set 6-4. Kontaveit has extended her win-loss record to 4-1 in her five head-to-head matches against Kerber. 

This year’s Australian Open quarter finalist Jessica Pegula beat 2016 Doha finalist Jelena Ostapenko 6-2 7-5. 

Pegula earned a double break in the third and seventh games to close out the first set 6-2. 

The second set started with three consecutive breaks. Pegula took a 2-1 lead with two breaks in the first and third games. Ostapenko broke back at love to draw level to 4-4 after winning 12 consecutive points from 2-4 down. 

Pegula won 12 of the last 14 points from 4-5 down to claim the second set 7-5 with a break in the 11th game.

Maria Sakkari eased past Madison Keys 6-2 6-2 with two breaks in each set. The Greek player earned an early break at love in the third game to take a 3-1 lead. Sakkari converted her fourth break point after eight games to win the first set 6-2. Sakkari saved a break point and broke twice in a row in the fifth and seventh games to win the second set 6-2.  

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Alexander Bublik pulls off the biggest win of his career as he upsets Alexander Zverev in Rotterdam

Alexander Bublik produced the biggest win of his career to reach the second round in Rotterdam.

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Alexander Bublik (@abnamrowtt - Twitter)

The Kazak world number 43 stunned the tennis world beating the number three seed and world number seven.

 

Alexander Bublik is through to the second round of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam at the Ahoy after beating the world number seven and number three seed Alexander (Sascha) Zverev in straight sets 7-5 6-3. Bublik hit 21 winners in the match while Zverev finished the match with 20 unforced errors.

A good start for the German

Zverev hadn’t played a match since losing in the Australian Open quarterfinal vs Novak Djokovic a couple of weeks back so we didn’t know if rust was going to be an issue.

The German actually got off to a great start earning two break points in the opening game of the match and managed to get the early break and we though this was going to be the in form Zverev we are used to seeing.

At 4-3 the Kazak had a chance to go back on serve setting up two break points with a brilliant passing shot and breaking the very next point as the number three seed missed a volley at the net to even the set at 4-4.

With the world number seven serving to stay in the set the world number 43 went on the attack and managed to earn a set point with a stunning forehand winner.

He would break and take the first set 7-5 winning the next point with a great finish at the net with a overhead.

The Kazak pulls it off

After both players held their opening service games in the second set the German had a chance to take another lead and broke to take an early 2-1 lead as Bublik hit an untimed unforced error.

The Kazak would once again bounce back and this time break to go back on serve at 3-3 as the German was struggling making lots of unforced errors. The very next game he had five breakpoints to take the lead and it took him until the fifth break chance to get it done as he would break with a superb passing shot to take a 5-3 lead.

Bublik would serve out the match to take it in straights and send another seed packing. After the match Bublik gave his thoughts about the big win in an on court interview.

“Well I mean ya beating Sascha is great I guess, the match was up and down for both of us, I don’t think he played well today , I didn’t play well either, had some problems with the serve, I was a bit more consistent today, I was a bit more lucky in a few shots here and there, I believe I had more luck than he did today but I’m happy to get through”.

Bublik will face Tommy Paul in the next round with a chance to make the quarterfinals after making the final last week in Singapore and falling just short.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas Ousts Gerasimov In Rotterdam Opener

The 22-year-old was made to work harder than he expected during his opening match.

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It was a tricky day at the office for Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas who ousted Belarus’ Egor Gerasimov in the first round of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

 

The second seed required nearly two hours to score a 7-6(4), 7-5, win over the world No.76 who reached the semi-finals of the Open Sud de France last week. Tsitsipas was tested throughout the 116-minute clash but managed to prevail with the help of 31 winners against 29 unforced errors.

“I had to play more consistently and also what I increased in the [key] moments was the speed of my ball, which felt kind of floppy before. He had a solid game, he was serving well at times. He wasn’t missing a lot, so it was difficult,” atptour.com quoted Tsitsipas as saying afterwards. “I think once I put in my head that I needed to fight and I [couldn’t] take [any] single moment for granted, things changed and I felt the confidence.”

During what was a roller coaster opening set, the second seed let out bursts of frustration as he failed to tame his opponent on the court. Tsitsipas broke for a 3-2 lead and looked to be gaining momentum after leading 40-0 in the following game. Then a series of costly mistakes from the Greek enabled Gerasimov to claw his way back and level. Much to the bemusement of the world No.6 who smash his racket on the floor out of anger at one stage.

As both players continued to exchange in lengthy rallies, a tense tiebreaker eventually separated the two. Trading mini breaks, Tsitsipas secured the breakthrough he sought a couple points later with the help of a backhand error from his opponent to move him ahead 5-4. This time he was able to consolidate the lead to clinch the opener after hitting an unreturned serve down the centre of the court.

It was a case of deja vu in the second set for Tsitsipas who saw another break advantage come and go within two games during the early stages. Once again he struggled to pull away from his rival who produced some high quality tennis that exceeded his current ranking position. Nudging ahead to a game from victory at 6-5 Tsitsipas managed to snatch the match with the help of two consecutive errors from Gerasimov.

Despite playing in Rotterdam for the fifth year in a row, it is only the second time Tsitsipas has won a main draw match at the tournament. The first time was last year against Hubert Hurkacz who he will coincidentally play against in the next round of this year’s edition.

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