Wimbledon Daily Preview: A Rematch of the 2018 Gentlemen’s Singles Final in the Second Round - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Daily Preview: A Rematch of the 2018 Gentlemen’s Singles Final in the Second Round



Novak Djokovic has eyes on his record-tying 20th Major singles title (twitter.com/Wimbledon)

Rain has dampened the grass as well as spirits through the first two days of The Championships.  The tournament is considerably behind schedule, with 48 first round matches still to be completed.  And Centre Court play on Tuesday saw some heartbreaking scenes, as both Adrian Mannarino and Serena Williams were forced to retire after slipping on the grass.  Thankfully, dryer conditions are forecast for the next few days at SW19.


On Wednesday, world No.1 Novak Djokovic will open play on Centre Court for the second time this week, against the man he defeated in the 2018 final, Kevin Anderson.  Also, five-time Wimbledon ladies’ singles champion Venus Williams faces recent Birmingham champ Ons Jabeur.  And the 2020 Roland Garros women’s champion Iga Swiatek takes on the runner-up of this event from 11 years ago, Vera Zvonareva.  Finally, late in the day, Court 18 will host what should be two highly-competitive matches featuring top 10 seeds.

Each day of the fortnight, this preview will highlight the five most intriguing matchups, while outlining the other notable matches on the schedule.  Wednesday’s play will begin at 11:00am local time on all outer courts, 1:00pm on No.1 Court, and 1:30pm on Centre Court.

Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Kevin Anderson – 1:30pm on Centre Court

Djokovic leads their head-to-head 9-1.  Anderson’s only victory came 13 years ago at the Miami Open in their first meeting.  Aside from the 2018 Wimbledon final, their most notable encounter also occurred at this event.  In 2015, Djokovic came back from two sets down to prevail 7-5 in the fifth.  The South African has been sidetracked by injuries in recent years, and is now ranked outside the top 100.  Kevin is just 5-5 at tour level this season, and was 0-2 at Majors before his first round win.  Djokovic surprisingly dropped the first set on Monday to young British prospect Jack Draper, but I expect he’ll be in top form on Wednesday, and be able to comfortably take out the former runner-up.  Plus, Novak hasn’t lost in the second round of Wimbledon since 2008, which is also the year of Anderson’s only win over Djokovic.

Ons Jabeur (21) vs. Venus Williams – Third on No.1 Court

On Tuesday, Venus needed nearly three hours to overcome Mihaela Buzarnescu, her first win since February’s Australian Open.  Venus has made plenty of history throughout her historic career, and her opponent today is a fellow trailblazer.  Two weeks ago in Birmingham, Jabeur became the first Arab woman to ever win a WTA title.  The 26-year-old owns 30 victories this season, and sits at a career-high ranking of No.24 in the world.  Jabeur’s eclectic game would seem well-suited for this surface, though she is 2-3 lifetime at The All-England Club.  This will be her first time playing Venus, and facing the five-time champion, who owns 90 wins at this event, can be a daunting task.  But considering recent results, and the amount of time Venus spent on court just 24 hours earlier, Jabeur is considerable favorite to prevail.

Iga Swiatek (7) vs. Vera Zvonareva – Fourth on No.2 Court

This is another fascinating, first-time matchup between an accomplished veteran and one of the WTA’s best players of the last 12 months.  Swiatek is 34-10 since last summer, and debuted inside the top 10 last month.  Zvonareva reached back-to-back Major finals in the summer of 2010, left the sport in 2015, and has gradually climbed back up into the top 100 since returning to competitive play four years ago.  Vera won the women’s doubles event at last September’s US Open, and was a semifinalist in her home country at March’s St. Petersburg Open.  She remains a tricky, persistent opponent, but doesn’t possess the offensive weapons of Swiatek.  The 20-year-old should be able to reach the third round of Wimbledon for the first time in her young career.

Andrey Rublev (5) vs. Lloyd Harris – Fourth on Court 18

Last January in the final of Adelaide, Rublev crushed Harris 6-3, 6-0.  That was the second consecutive title for Andrey, and the beginning of an exceptional run for the Russian, who has won more matches since that time than anyone else in the sport.  But Harris has made significant progress in his career during the past 18 months.  Earlier this year, he came through qualifying to reach the championship match in Dubai.  And most impressively, he’s 5-0 this season against top 20 opposition.  However, none of those victories have come at Majors.  While there have been questions regarding Rublev’s ability to continue his success on this surface, he seemed fully comfortable on the grass of Halle earlier this month, where he advanced to the final.  Harris may provide a stern test, but Rublev is still the favorite to advance.

Karolina Pliskova (8) vs. Donna Vekic – Fifth on Court 18

These players just met in the first round of the French Open, where Pliskova was able to defeat Vekic in straight sets.  Karolina has claimed all four of their matches, though this remains the one Major where Pliskova has never been beyond the fourth round.  And Karolina has struggled since the tour restart in August: outside of her two runs to the final in Rome, she’s just 14-15.  Vekic was a top 20 player as recently as last year, but she too has struggled of late, and underwent knee surgery earlier this season.  Donna has achieved some good results at this event: she reached the round of 16 in 2018, and took part in a high-quality, dramatic affair with Jo Konta, which she eventually lost 10-8 in the third.  Pliskova seems overdue for a run into the later rounds of The Championships, considering her powerful serve and groundstrokes.  But her play has been so up-and-down in recent months, so a fifth win over Vekic is not a sure thing.

Other Notable Matches on Wednesday:

Matteo Berrettini (7) vs. Guido Pella – Berrettini was the champion of Queen’s Club 10 days ago.  Pella was a surprise quarterfinalist when Wimbledon was last staged in 2019. 

Elina Svitolina (3) vs. Alison Van Uytvanck – Svitolina advanced to the semis here two years ago, while the 27-year-old from Belgium reached the fourth round in 2018.  Their only previous meeting was six years ago at Indian Wells, where Svitolina prevailed in three.

Karolina Muchova (19) vs. Shuai Zhang – Both players advanced to the quarters at SW19 in 2019: Muchova in her debut, and Shuai after going 0-5 in her first five appearances.  Last October in Ostrava, Muchova dropped only two games to the 32-year-old from China.

Aryna Sabalenka (2) vs. Katie Boulter (Q) – Sabalenka struck a staggering 48 winners in her straight set win on Monday.  Boulter is a 24-year-old Brit who reached the quarterfinals of Nottingham two weeks ago.

Andy Murray (WC) vs. Oscar Otte (Q) – Murray is looking to win back-to-back matches at tour level for the first time since last summer.  Otte survived the second-ever 12-all tiebreaker in a match that spanned the first two days of this tournament.

Sofia Kenin (4) vs. Madison Brengle – Kenin claimed their only previous meeting in a third-set tiebreak, three years ago at the US Open.  Brengle saved four match points in her opening round against another American, Christina McHale.

Maria Sakkari (15) vs. Shelby Rogers – Sakkari reached her first Major semifinal earlier this month in Paris, where she lost a heartbreaker 9-7 in the third to eventual champion Barbora Krejcikova.  Rogers upset Petra Kvitova at last year’s US Open on her way to the quarterfinals.

Wednesday’s full Order of Play is here.


Miami Open Daily Preview: Alcaraz and Sinner Meet Again in the Semifinals



Carlos Alcaraz two weeks ago at Indian Wells (twitter.com/bnpparibasopen)

Both ATP semifinals will be played on Friday, as well as the second WTA semifinal.


For the third consecutive big event in the United States (US Open, Indian Wells, Miami), Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner will collide.  At the US Open, they played an epic five-hour five-setter that went into the early hours of the morning.  At Indian Wells, they contested a high-quality semifinal.  Both of those matches went to Alcaraz.  Will he prevail again on Friday?

And are we on the verge of a rematch from the Indian Wells final between Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev?  Fellow Russian Karen Khachanov will be Medvedev’s opposition on Friday.  And in the remaining WTA singles semifinal, Petra Kvitova plays Sorana Cirstea for the right to face Elena Rybakina in Saturday’s championship match.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Friday’s play gets underway at 1:00pm local time.

Daniil Medvedev (4) vs. Karen Khachanov (14) – 1:00pm on Stadium

Medvedev is now 27-3 this season, and has claimed 22 matches within the past seven weeks alone.  Daniil has easily advanced to this semifinal, averaging just over an hour on court across his three matches thus far.  He is vying for his fifth final in as many tournaments.

Khachanov is 13-5 on the year, and this is his third significant hard court semifinal since last summer.  At the US Open, he defeated both Pablo Carreno Busta and Nick Kyrgios in five sets to reach the semis.  At the Australian Open, he beat both Frances Tiafoe and Sebastian Korda to advance to this stage.  And this week, he took out both Stefanos Tsitsipas and Francisco Cerundolo, who was a Miami semifinalist a year ago.

Medvedev leads their head-to-head 3-1, which includes a straight-set victory at the beginning of this season in Adelaide.  And based on his current run on hard courts, I like Daniil to achieve his first final in Miami.

Carlos Alcaraz (1) vs. Jannik Sinner (10) – Not Before 7:00pm on Stadium

Alcaraz is 18-1 in 2023, while Sinner is 20-4.  Neither has dropped a set this fortnight, so both are feeling fully fresh and quite confident heading into this blockbuster matchup.

Overall Carlitos is 3-2 against Jannik, and 3-0 on hard courts.  Sinner’s two victories have come on grass (Wimbledon) and clay (Umag).  Since holding a match point against Alcaraz in the fourth set of last summer’s US Open quarterfinal, and failing to convert, the Italian has lost four straight sets to the Spaniard.

Both men have made previous appearances in the Miami final, with Sinner losing to Hubert Hurkacz in 2021, and Alcaraz defeating Casper Ruud in 2022.  Carlitos needs to defend his title in order to maintain his No.1 ranking.  And considering how well he’s played since returning to the tour in February, I favor Alcaraz to eliminate Sinner again on Friday.

Other Notable Matches on Friday:

Petra Kvitova (15) vs. Sorana Cirstea – Kvitova has now advanced to the quarterfinals or better at the last three WTA 1000 tournaments held in the United States.  Cirstea has been playing some of the best tennis of her career since hiring Thomash Johansson as her coach.  Petra leads their head-to-head 6-4, which dates all the way back to 2008.  They met twice on hard courts in 2022, and split those two encounters.

Storm Hunter and Elise Mertens (6) vs. Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula (2) – This is a quarterfinal, and the winners will come back later in the day to face Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Ellen Perez in the semifinals.

Magda Linette and Bernarda Pera vs. Leylah Fernandez and Taylor Townsend – This is a semifinal.  Prior to this event, Linette and Pera had not teamed up since last year’s Wimbledon.  This is only Fernandez and Townsend’s second tournament as a team.

Friday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Miami Open Daily Preview: Elena Rybakina Plays Jessica Pegula in the Semifinals



Elena Rybakina two weeks ago at Indian Wells (twitter.com/bnpparibasopen)

Due to rain on Wednesday, only one WTA semifinal will be played on Thursday.


Elena Rybakina is just two wins away from completing the “Sunshine Double,” which is winning both Indian Wells and Miami.  But in Thursday’s WTA semifinal, American No.1 Jessica Pegula stands in her way.  The other semifinal is still to be determined, and will not be played until Friday, as Petra Kvitova and Ekaterina Alexandrova will contest their rain-delayed quarterfinal on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the ATP quarterfinals will be completed on Thursday.  Indian Wells finalist Daniil Medvedev faces American Chris Eubanks, who has been the breakout story of this tournament thus far.  Also, Karen Khachanov takes on Francisco Cerundolo, who is vying for his second consecutive semifinal in Miami.  And delayed from Wednesday night, Carlos Alcaraz battles Taylor Fritz in another ATP quarterfinal.

You can find a preview of the Alcaraz/Fritz and Kvitova/Alexandrova quarterfinals in yesterday’s daily preview here.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Thursday’s play gets underway at 1:00pm local time.

Chris Eubanks (Q) vs. Daniil Medvedev (4) – 1:00pm on Stadium

Medvedev leads the ATP with 26 wins this season, as well as with three titles.  Daniil has not dropped a set to this stage, though he’s only played two matches thus far due to a walkover earlier this week.

Eubanks has already won six matches this fortnight after coming through qualifying.  And the 26-year-old achieved a career goal of breaking into the top 100 with this quarterfinal run.  Chris became emotional on-court after clinching that feat on Monday, and followed it up with another upset the next day, over Adrian Mannarino.  The American is projected to become ranked 85th in the world on Monday, but a win on Thursday would propel him into the top 60.

In their first career meeting, of course the self-proclaimed “hard court specialist” Medvedev is a strong favorite.  But I’m quite interested to see how Eubanks performs in the biggest match of his career.  During a rain delay on Monday, Frances Tiafoe provided Eubanks with some advice in the locker room, which Chris credited with helping him come back in the second-set tiebreak once play resumed.  He’s played more freely since that comeback, and Eubanks may feel as if he has nothing to lose on Thursday.

Elena Rybakina (10) vs. Jessica Pegula (3) – Not Before 8:30pm on Stadium

Rybakina is 20-4 this season, and is currently on a 10-match win streak.  If her 2,000 points from winning Wimbledon last summer counted, she’d currently be ranked third in the world.  Elena easily dispatched of Martina Trevisan in the last round.

Pegula is 19-5 on the year, and 10-3 in Miami.  This is her second consecutive semifinal at this event, and she’s the No.3 player in the world without Rybakina’s Wimbledon points counting.  She saved multiple match points to come back and defeat Anastasia Potapova during Tuesday’s quarterfinals.

Pegula is 2-0 against Rybakina, with both matches taking place on hard courts during 2022.  A year ago at this same tournament, Jess prevailed in straight sets.  And last fall in Guadalajara, Pegula outlasted Rybakina in a final-set tiebreak, another match in which the American saved multiple match points.  As confident as Elena currently is, with her big serve and groundstrokes dictating play, it’s hard not to favor the reigning Wimbledon champ.  But based on their recent history, as well as Pegula’s rising confidence after saving match points in the last round, I give Jess the slight edge in Thursday’s semifinals on home soil.

Other Notable Matches on Thursday:

Francisco Cerundolo (25) vs. Karen Khachanov (14) – Cerundolo was in danger of falling out of the top 40 with an early loss in Miami, defending the best result of his career at this level, but has impressed by returning to the quarterfinals, defeating Felix Auger-Aliassime on the way.  Khachanov upset Stefanos Tsitsipas in the last round, and is looking to reach his first Masters semifinal since 2019.  Last summer in Canada, Karen defeated Francisco in three sets.

Thursday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Novak Djokovic Set For US Open Return

Novak Djokovic is all set to return to the US Open for the first time in two years.



Novak Djokovic (@RelevantTennis - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic is set for a return to the US Open after the US senate voted to eliminate some of the COVID-19 restrictions.


The restrictions have been in place for the last two years which have denied foreign travellers the chance to visit America if they are unvaccinated.

As is well documented Djokovic hasn’t had his vaccination which is the reason for his absence at Indian Wells and Miami.

However Djokovic could be set to return to America after the US senate passed a bill to eliminate the COVID-19 restrictions in the country.

US president Joe Biden is expected to put the final signature on the bill which will then allow unvaccinated travellers from abroad to enter the country.

This means that Djokovic will be allowed to play the US Open for the first time since the 2021 final where he missed out on the chance to complete the calendar Grand Slam after losing to Daniil Medvedev.

Djokovic will look to win a fourth US Open title when he returns to Flushing Meadows on the 28th of August.

However in the short-term, Djokovic will look to reclaim his world number one ranking over the clay court season as he plays Monte-Carlo on the 9th of April.

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