Madrid Open Daily Preview: Ash Barty Plays Iga Swiatek in a Blockbuster Third Round Matchup - UBITENNIS
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Madrid Open Daily Preview: Ash Barty Plays Iga Swiatek in a Blockbuster Third Round Matchup

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Iga Swiatek, on the red clay of Madrid (twitter.com/MutuaMadridOpen)

The two most recent Roland Garros women’s singles champions will square off on Monday in Madrid.  It will be the first meeting between two of the sport’s most impressive athletes.  Another first-time encounter features two of tennis’ most talented shot-makers: Belinda Bencic and Ons Jabeur.  Three-time Madrid champion Petra Kvitova will also be in action, and 10 men’s first round matches will be played.

 

Throughout the tournament, this preview will analyze the two most prominent matches of the day, and note the other intriguing matchups on the schedule.  Monday’s play will begin at 11:00am local time.

Ash Barty vs. Iga Swiatek – Not Before 7:00pm on Manolo Santana Stadium

Swiatek has now won 9 straight matches on clay, and eighteen consecutive sets.  But no one has played at consistently a high level as Barty.  Since the start of last season, the world No.1 is now 33-6 on all surfaces, with four titles.  Despite missing nearly an entire year of competition, Ash’s form has not suffered at all.  The 2019 French Open champion went 22 months without on playing on clay, yet won Stuttgart in just her second event on this surface.  And that title run included three-set victories over three top 10 players: Karolina Pliskova, Elina Svitolina, and Aryna Sabalenka. 

It should be most interesting to see how these two players’ eclectic, aggressive styles mix, in what will likely be the first of many head-to-head battles.  As impressive as Swiatek has been of late, no one has been better than Barty at finding ways to win, even when her best tennis is escaping her.  In what should be a tight match, Ash should be favored, as she has won 15 of her last 17 deciding sets.

Belinda Bencic (8) vs. Ons Jabeur – Not Before 3:00pm on Stadium 3

Bencic had a terrific 2019, reaching her first Major semifinal, and returning to the top 10 for the first time in over three years.  But since that time, she’s lost almost as many matches as she’s won.  By contrast, Jabeur has taken her career to new heights during the same span.  She won 25 matches in the abbreviated 2020 season, and has already accumulated 20 wins in 2021.  Notably, half of those 20 wins have come on clay.  Just a few weeks ago, she won eight matches in the back-to-back events staged in Charleston.  Jabeur’s winning ways make her the favorite against the eighth seed, as Bencic is just 3-3 on clay since last September.  Jabeur’s confidence, combined with all of her variety, should be enough to advance.

Other Notable Matches on Monday:

Petra Kvitova (9) vs. Veronika Kudermetova – This is another first-time meeting.  Kvitova is 31-7 lifetime in Madrid, while 24-year-old Kudermetova is 22-9 in 2021, with a title last month on the green clay of Charleston.

Anastasija Sevastova (Q) vs. Paula Badosa (WC) – Their only previous match was earlier this year in Abu Dhabi, with the 23-year-old Spaniard winning in three sets.

Cristian Garin (16) vs. Fernando Verdasco (WC) – Garin has won five titles on clay since April of 2019.  37-year-old Verdasco has only played two matches this year, and is coming off knee surgery.  When they played two years ago on a hard court in Chengdu, Garin prevailed in three sets.

Su-Wei Hsieh and Elise Mertens (1) vs. Jelena Ostapenko and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova – It will be interesting to see how this top-seeded new pairing fares, especially against two accomplished players like Ostapenko and Pavlyuchenkova.

Monday’s full Order of Play is here.

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‘Super Confident’ Nick Kyrgios Admits Admiration for Medvedev Ahead Of Clash

Nick Kyrgios has had positive things to say about Daniil Medvedev ahead of their second round meeting in Montreal.

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Nick Kyrgios (@atptour - Twitter)

Nick Kyrgios has spoken highly of world number one Daniil Medvedev ahead of their second round clash in Montreal.

 

Kyrgios is in some of the best form in his career having reached the final of Wimbledon last month.

That has been followed up by a doubles title in Atlanta and a singles and doubles triumph in Washington.

Now the Australian is into the second round in Montreal after defeating Sebastian Baez 6-4 6-4.

Now Kyrgios takes on the ultimate challenge as he takes on world number one Daniil Medvedev who heads into the match in form himself having beaten Cameron Norrie to win the Los Cabos title.

Speaking ahead of the match the Australian admitted he was confident but has nothing but admiration for Medvedev’s game style, “I know I’ve got Medvedev next which kind of sucks,” Kyrgios told the Tennis Channel.

“I feel like against pretty much any player right now, I’d feel extremely confident. Obviously I feel confident going up against him, but we all know what he can produce. It’s going to be a good match for sure. I’m a bit tired but I’m gonna try and give him a good run.

“I’d like to play 95 per cent of the draw in the next round but if it’s anything like today, I know there’s going to be a lot of balls coming back and it’s going to be tough. A part of me wants the challenge, but a part of me knows it’s not going to be easy at all. I’m not gonna shy away from it, I’m going to do everything I can to recover and rest.

“But he’s a hell of a player and it’s incredible to see how he plays. He returns so far back, hits some crazy shots that we’ve never seen before. He does it his own way, he’s unorthodox and really special in the game. I love watching him play because he just looks so crazy out there, it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen.

“I love people who just play the way they want to play. He’s comfortable in his own skin so hopefully it will be two contrasting styles as well. Not going to get much different tennis from me, I’m going to serve massive and play big and try to dictate. If I do that well, usually it works.”

Kyrgios is hoping to have good results this week as well as next week in Cincinnati so he can be seeded for the last grand slam of the year at the US Open.

The duo have met on three occasions with Kyrgios leading the head-to-head 2-1 but it’s Medvedev who won their last meeting at the Australian Open in four sets.

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Bianca Andreescu survives thrilling match against Kasatkina in Toronto return

Bianca Andreescu reached the second round in her home tournament while Naomi Osaka and Emma Raducanu crashed out.

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The 2019 champion made her return three years after winning the title and reached the second round to the delight of the Canadian fans.

 

Bianca Andreescu is into the second round of the National Bank Open being hosted at Sobeys Stadium in Toronto, Ontario after beating the San Jose champion Daria Kasatkina in straight sets 7-6, 6-4.

Although the scoreline seemed pretty routine this match had everything with highs and lows for both players but the Toronto native managed to get through.

“She played really well, super consistent and I am so happy I had that mental toughness to get through in two sets and that was key for me.”

In the first set both players got off to a very nervous start as the first five games of the match were breaks of serve before Andreescu was able to secure the first hold of the match to take a 4-2 lead.

At 5-3 with the Russian serving the Canadian earned two set points but was denied by the number 11 seed and the next game broke the world number 53 to go back on serve at 5-5.

The Toronto native responded by breaking right back once again and served for the set for the second time but Kasatkina broke once more to force a tiebreaker.

The Russian found herself up 4-2 but lost the following two points and the Canadian fought back and managed to take the tiebreaker 7-5 and the first set 7-6 in one hour and 25 minutes.

Dealing with high blood pressure she was seen by the trainer and the doctor during the break between both sets and she was given medication to rectify the problem.

Once again holding serve seemed to be the issue as after the world number 53 held the opening service game of the second set she broke to take an early 2-0 lead.

Kasatkina responded by breaking right back and holding to even the set at 2-2 and broke once again using her powerful forehand on breakpoint to seal the break.

Again she failed to consolidate the break and the Canadian broke her right back and after consolidating the break broke again to take a 5-3 lead and a chance to serve out the match.

Andreescu wasn’t able to close it out as the number 11 seed broke right back but in the following game, the Canadian responded by winning the match on her opponent’s serve.

After the match in her post-match on-court interview, she was asked if she felt the exact same emotions she had back in 2019 and what she will remember from the match.

“I wished I enjoyed it a bit more and I was really looking forward to having that positive attitude that I always have.”

Andreescu will now face Alize Cornet on Wednesday after the Frenchwomen was able to beat another Frenchwomen Caroline Garica in a tough three-set match on Monday night.

A busy Tuesday in Toronto

It was a busy day in Toronto and here are some of the other results from day 2 at the National Bank Open.

Belinda Bencic the number 12 seed got by the Czech qualifier Tereza Martincova in straight sets 6-4, 6-2, and Naomi Osaka was forced to retire down 7-6, 3-0 against Kaia Kanepi due to a back injury.

Amanda Anisimova beat the Canadian wild card, Carol Zhao, in straight sets as well 6-3, 6-1, and Camila Giorgi, the defending champion, ousted the number nine seed Emma Raducanu also in straight sets 7-6, 6-2.

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Denis Shapovalov ousted by Alex De Minaur in Montreal

Denis Shapovalov and Andy Murray exited Montreal while Nick Kyrgios and Grigor Dimitrov advanced.

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Denis Shapovalov (@UniversTennis - Twitter)

The Canadian lost another first-round match on Tuesday after his match was suspended due to rain on Monday night.

 

Denis Shapovalov seems to be going through a very rough patch, he has one win in his last 10 matches and on Tuesday was bounced out of his home event by the Aussie Alex De Minaur in straight sets 7-5, 7-6.

The match which was originally scheduled for Monday night was suspended with De Minaur up 7-5 6-6 and at 3-3 in the second set tiebreak when the skies opened up.

19 hours later they were both back on Center Court for the fastest match of the day which last less than 10 minutes with the Canadian hitting a double fault and 3 consecutive unforced errors to end the match.

The first set was extremely tight and it was only at 5-5 that the Aussie was able to seal the crucial break and serve out the match. The same could be said for the second but the Toronto native was able to force a breaker.

De Minaur will now face Grigor Dimitrov on Wednesday after the Bulgarian beat the Canadian wildcard who was making his National Bank Open debut and a Montreal native Alexis Galarneau.

The number 15 seed was able to win in straight sets 6-4, 7-6 but in the second set had to come back from 5-2 to force the breaker and then win the match.

In other action, the number 12 seed Diego Schwartzman beat the Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in three tight sets 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in two hours and 23 minutes.

Taylor Fritz, the number 10 seed, sent Andy Murray packing in straight sets 6-1, 6-3 in the first match of the night session while Nick Krygios beat the Argentine Sebastien Baez 6-4, 6-4.

Gael Monfils to the delight of the French Canadian crowd on Grandstand needed three sets to beat another Spaniard Pedro Martinez 7-6, 3-6, 6-2 in two hours and 50 minutes.

Another Canadian Vasek Pospisil making his return to IGA Stadium was beaten by Tommy Paul 6-4, 6-4 and Pablo Carreno Busta beat the 11th seeded Italian Matteo Berrettini 6-3, 6-2.

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