Iga Swiatek Faces Familiar Foes In Bid For Roland Garros History - UBITENNIS
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Iga Swiatek Faces Familiar Foes In Bid For Roland Garros History

Iga Swiatek will have to overcome stiff competiton if she wants to make history in Paris.

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Iga Swiatek (@rolandgarros - Twitter)

Iga Swiatek has been given a tricky draw as she looks to defend her Roland Garros title.

 

Nobody has defended the women’s title at Roland Garros since Justine Henin in 2007 and Swiatek’s bid for history looks to be as challenging as those who have come before her.

In the first round, the Pole will face good friend Kaja Juvan before a potential second round against Rebecca Peterson.

Anett Kontaveit could await in the third round before a Dubai rematch with Garbine Muguruza in the last 16.

Should Swiatek negotiate that then a rematch from last year’s final with Sofia Kenin could be on the cards in the last eight.

Kenin though has a tricky first match against 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko with Jessica Pegula, Maria Sakkari and Elise Mertens all in that section of the draw as well.

The winner of that section will likely face 2019 champion and world number one Ash Barty in the semi-finals.

Barty who returns to Paris for the first time since her triumph two years ago will face Bernarda Pera in her first match.

Magda Linette and Ons Jabeur could await the Australian after that before possibly starting her second week against Parma champion Coco Gauff or Australian Open finalist Jennifer Brady.

Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova are the most likely last eight opponents although Pliskova has to negotiate a returning Donna Vekic in the first round.

In the bottom half, Serena Williams will begin her quest for a historic 24th grand slam title against Irina-Camelia Begu.

Angelique Kerber and Petra Kvitova are also potential pre-quarter-final opponents before facing Madrid champion Aryna Sabalenka in the last eight.

Sabalenka’s possible danger opponents are the likes of Victoria Azarenka, Madison Keys and unseeded Paula Badosa who has racked up the most wins on clay this season.

In the bottom half Naomi Osaka will look to silence any doubters early against Patricia Maria Tig.

A fourth round meeting against Kiki Bertens or Marketa Vondrousova could be a major obstacle before a potential last eight match against Bianca Andreescu.

Andreescu will face Tamara Zidansek in her opening match with the Canadian could have to face Vernoika Kudermetova or Amanda Anisimova in the third round.

Belinda Bencic, Nadia Podoroska, Daria Kasatkina and Johanna Konta will all fancy their chances of setting up a fourth round meeting with the former US Open champion.

Here is the draw with play starting on Sunday:

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Stefanos Tsitsipas ‘Happy’ To Follow In Grandfather’s Footsteps At Olympics

The Greek speaks out about carrying his family’s legacy at the Games.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas never met his grandfather but the two of them do have something in common – they are both Olympians.

 

The world No.4 has already created history in Tokyo by winning his first round match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on Sunday to become the first male player from his country to win a singles match since 1924. Greece has won two medals at the Games but both of them were during its inaugural edition back in 1896.

Tsitsipas’ debut in Tokyo enables him to continue his family legacy of playing in the sporting extravaganza. His grandfather was Sergei Salnikov who played football for the Soviet Union during the 1950s. In 1956 Salnikov was part of the team who won Olympic gold in Melbourne. After retiring from the sport, he went on to manage the FC Spartak Moscow and the Afghanistan national team before passing away in 1984 aged 58.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to meet him. But my mom told me stories of his career and how he got it…. He kind of inspires me in a way,” said Tsitsipas. “I know what kind of athlete he was, with all the achievements and all the trophies. I’m proud of him.
“It’s something good, a legacy that is being carried on in the family. I’m happy to be the next in the family to be competing at the Olympics.”

It isn’t just a medal in the singles Tsitsipas has his eyes on, he will also be bidding for success in the mixed doubles alongside Maria Sakkari. The two previously paired up at the 2019 Hopman Cup where they finished second in their group.

“We have already played once (together), and we had great success,” Sakkari told reporters on Monday. “We know each other really well, and we are much better players two-and-a-half years later, and we are both really pumped to play together. Of course, I cannot predict that we will get a medal. We will try our best and I think we give ourselves the best chance we can.”

Tsitsipas will return to action tomorrow in the men’s singles where he will play Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

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Carlos Alcaraz reaches his first ATP Tour final in Umag

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Spanish Next Gen star Carlos Alcaraz secured a spot in his first ATP tour-level final with a 6-2 7-6 (7-3) at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open in Umag. 

 

Alcaraz has become the youngest ATP Tour finalist since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori won the Delray Beach title in 2008. 

Alcaraz broke twice to open up a 4-0 lead and held his next service games to close out the first set 6-2. 

Ramos Vinolas came back from a break down three times in the second set, when Alcaraz served for the match. Alcaraz battled through the second-set tie-break to clinch the win after two hours. 

Alcaraz set up a final against Richard Gasquet, who battled past German qualifier Daniel Altmeier 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-3 after three hours and 11 minutes. 

Gasquet has become the second oldest finalist in tournament history. The 35-year-old saved seven of hi sten break points, but he converted just just 3 of his 17 break points.  

Gasquet rallied from a break down twice to draw level to 4-4 before winning the tie-break 7-2. Altmeier converted his third break point in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. Altmeier saved three break points in the second game, before Gasquet converted his second break point in the sixth game to win the second set 6-3. 

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Novak Djokovic Cruises Past Dellien In Olympics Opener

Novak Djokovic’s bid for a historic golden slam continued in Tokyo.

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Novak Djokovic (@ITFTennis - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic cruised past Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 to open his bid for a gold medal at the Olympics.

 

The world number one’s bid to achieve the golden slam is on after thrashing the Bolivian in humid conditions.

A perfect start for the Serbian who is looking to achieve the one thing he is yet to achieve and that’s win a gold medal.

Next for Djokovic will be Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.

In 32C temperatures, Djokovic was looking to start his campaign off against Bolivian veteran Hugo Dellien.

The slow paced courts would suit Dellien as he engaged in some long rallies with the world number one early on.

Despite creating three break points in the fourth game, Djokovic would fail to break early on.

However Djokovic increased his level mixing up the pace and depth of his shots to create angles for simple winners.

On his fifth break point Djokovic would break for a 4-2 lead and the top seed would break for a second time as Dellien had no answers for the Serb’s defensive skills. First set to Djokovic in 33 minutes.

A similar pattern evolved in the second set only this time Djokovic did get a break in the fourth game, breaking to love.

Accurate serving and construction of points gave Djokovic an easy first round match as another break secured the match and sealed his spot into the second round.

A fine performance in tough conditions gave Djokovic’s bid for history the best possible start.

Next for Djokovic will be Jan-Lennard Struff who beat Thiago Monteiro 6-3 6-4.

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