Wimbledon Daily Preview: Monday’s Rain Makes for a Teeming Tuesday of Tennis - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Daily Preview: Monday’s Rain Makes for a Teeming Tuesday of Tennis

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Centre Court’s roof was utilized throughout much of Monday’s play (wimbledon.com/AELTC/Thomas Lovelock)

With many of Day 1’s 64 matches not completed, Day 2’s Order of Play is jam-packed with 80 matches around the grounds.  And with rain again possible on Tuesday, the tournament is at risk of falling further behind schedule.

 

Centre Court on Tuesday sees world No.1 Ash Barty open play in the spot normally reserved for the defending ladies’ singles champion, but unfortunately Simona Halep was forced to withdraw due to injury.  Barty will face Carla Suarez Navarro, who just recently announced she is cancer-free after being diagnosed last year with Hodgkin Lymphoma.  They are joined on Centre Court by the most decorated duo of No.6 and No.7 seeds in history: 23-time Major singles champion Serena Williams, and 20-time champ Roger Federer.

Each day of the fortnight, this preview will highlight the five most intriguing matchups, while outlining the other notable matches on the schedule.   Tuesday’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.

Ash Barty (1) vs. Carla Suarez Navarro – 1:30pm on Centre Court

This will be Barty’s first match since retiring during the second round of Roland Garros due to a left hip injury, meaning she hasn’t played a match on grass since this event two years ago.  And Suarez Navarro has only played one match on any surface since returning from her cancer battle.  Carla has announced she will retire after this summer’s US Open, so this could very well be her last match at Wimbledon.  This will be their first career meeting.   Despite her recent injury, Barty is a strong favorite on grass, especially considering the Spaniard’s lack of match play.  Regardless, it will certainly be a special moment to watch Suarez Navarro walk onto the sport’s most prestigious court so shortly after being declared cancer-free.

Roger Federer (7) vs. Adrian Mannarino – Second on Centre Court

The last time Federer stepped onto Centre Court, he squandered two championship points in the fifth set of the 2019 final, eventually going down in defeat to Novak Djokovic in the tournament’s first-ever 12-all tiebreak.  After undergoing two knee surgeries last year, he’s only played eight matches, with a record of 5-3.  Roger went just 1-1 two weeks ago in Halle, playing at a subpar level in a straight-set defeat at the hands of Felix Auger-Aliassime.  His preparation for this event has been far from ideal, but the eight-time champion remains a heavy favorite against Mannarino, who celebrates his 33rd birthday on Tuesday.  Federer is 6-0 against the Frenchman, and has only lost one of 16 sets they’ve played.  Roger has twice defeated Adrian in straight sets at The Championships, and while the left-handed Mannarino can be a tricky opponent, there’s no evidence to support a much different outcome on this day.

Daniil Medvedev (2) vs. Jan-Lennard Struff – Third on No.1 Court

Just two weeks ago in Halle, Struff upset Medvedev in the opening round.  But Struff would lose his next two matches in grass court warmup events, while the Russian rebounded quickly to win the title last week in Mallorca.  Medvedev has claimed their other three tour-level meetings.  The 31-year-old German has played some of his best tennis of late, debuting inside the top 30 last summer.  And he upset another Russian, Andrey Rublev, in the first round of the last Major.  However, in the best-of-five format, the cerebral No.2 seed should have enough time to figure out a way to advance beyond Struff

Ugo Humbert (21) vs. Nick Kyrgios – Third on Court 12

This is a rematch from February’s Australian Open, where Kyrgios outlasted Humbert in an epic battle 6-4 in the fifth.  The 26-year-old Australian went down in defeat to Dominic Thiem in the next round, and hasn’t played a match since.  Nick was scheduled to return to action two weeks ago at Queen’s Club, but withdrew due to a neck injury.  That same week, Humbert was winning the event in Halle, the biggest title of his career to date.  The 23-year-old Frenchman has now won three titles since the beginning of last year, and reached the fourth round of this event in 2019.  Humbert should be considered a significant favorite against Kyrgios, who is sorely lacking match play and likely still not 100% healthy.

Bianca Andreescu (5) vs. Alize Cornet – Fifth on No.2 Court

Just 13 days ago in Berlin, Cornet defeated the 2019 US Open champ after two tightly-contested sets.  The 21-year-old Canadian has only played four tour-level matches on grass in her career.  Cornet is the far more experienced player, especially on this surface, and achieved perhaps the biggest victory of her life at this event.  In 2014, she upset Serena Williams 6-4 in the third.  Alize’s victory over Bianca wasn’t her only impressive win in Berlin, where she also took out Garbine Muguruza in a third-set tiebreak.  It’s a mistake to count out Andreescu based on the fight she has exhibited in big tournaments, but Cornet is a gritty competitor who may even be a slight favorite against the No.5 seed.

Other Notable Matches on Tuesday:

Serena Williams (7) vs. Aliaksandra Sasnovich – Serena is 19-0 in the first round of Wimbledon.  Sasnovich is only 1-2 lifetime at this event.

Hubert Hurkacz (14) vs. Lorenzo Musetti – Since winning the Miami Open earlier this year, Hurkacz is now 0-6, which includes a loss to Musetti in Rome.  This will be the 19-year-old Italian’s first-ever ATP match on grass.

Angelique Kerber (25) vs. Nina Stojanovic – Last week in her home country, Kerber earned her first title since she won Wimbledon in 2018.  Stojanovic was a semifinalist earlier this month on the grass of Nottingham.

Sascha Zverev (4) vs. Tallon Griekspoor (Q) – This is the only Major where Zverev is yet to reach the quarterfinals or better.  24-year-old Griekspoor won two Challenger events this year on clay.

Coco Gauff (20) vs. Francesca Jones (WC) – It was two years ago at this tournament when Coco-mania was born, with her thrilling run to the round of 16 as a 15-year-old.  Jones is a 20-year-old Brit ranked outside the top 200.

Tuesday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Felix Auger Aliassime Wins First Ever Roland Garros Match In Five Sets

Felix Auger-Aliassime earned his first ever victory at Roland Garros.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime (@MatchPointCAN - Twitter)

The Canadian found himself down two sets to none but fought back to pull off the comeback in a thrilling five set victory.

 

Felix Auger Aliassime is into the second round of the French Open for the first time in his career after battling back to beat the Peruvian qualifier Juan Pablo Varillas in five sets 2-6, 2-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 in three hours and 14 minutes.

The Montreal native finished the match serving 14 aces and hitting 52 winners in a match that featured a lot of long rallies from behind the baseline.

“It was a dream for me to play here, it was an honor and my first time on Phillipe Chatrier and my first win at Roland Garros and I had to work hard to get it and credit my opponent he played very well today.”

The Peruvian started the match by breaking the number nine seed right out of the gate and at 3-1 managed to turn that break into a double break as he served out the first set with ease.

The first two games of the second went on serve but again the world number 122 seemed to play better as the Canadian looked stunned, searching for answers.

The Lima native once again took an early lead to take a 3-1 lead and again that seemed like enough for the Peruvian as he served out the second set and was one set away from an improbable upset.

The third set is where the Canadian started to turn things around and his groundstrokes seemed to have more precision. At 2-1 it was the Montreal native who got the first break of serve.

After consolidating the break the world number nine was hungry for more and turned that break into a double break and it looked like the match was turning in his favour.

The Canadian served out the third set to send it to a fourth looking to send it to a decider.

The Montreal native rode the momentum from winning the third into the fourth set where after holding the opening service game got the early break once again taking a 2-0 lead.

At 5-3 with the Peruvian looking to stay in the set, Auger Aliassime managed to get another break to win the set and send the match to a fifth set.

The fifth set stayed on serve until 4-3 when the Canadian had four chances to break and at the fourth time of asking he was able to break and serve out the match to complete the comeback.

After the match in his on court interview he was asked about the adjustments he made in the third set to turn the match around and pull off the win.

“I tried to give myself some more space and a little more time, my opponent at the beginning was playing very quick, aggressive, and flat so I tried a couple things and I also served better and after that it was easier.”

The Canadian will next face either Aslan Karatsev or Camilo Ugo Carabelli in the next round.

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Ons Jabeur Suffers Shock Exit At Roland Garros To Magda Linette

Magda Linette handed out the first upset of Roland Garros by defeating Ons Jabeur.

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Magda Linette (@RolandGarros - Twitter)

Ons Jabeur has become the first major casualty of this year’s Roland Garros after a 3-6 7-6(4) 7-5 defeat to Magda Linette in the opening round.

 

The Tunisian was one of the most in-form players of the clay court swing having won Madrid and made the final of Rome.

However Linette took the match to Jabeur and played some of the best tennis of her career to stun the sixth seed.

Linette will play Martina Trevisan or Harriet Dart in the second round.

Jabeur made a great start to the match as she broke the Pole early for a 2-1 lead with a good mix of power and variety.

However Linette seemed confident in her tactics and shot-making as she broke straight back, seemingly deflecting everything the Tunisian had to offer.

Jabeur used her experience and great angles though as she improved her level as the set went on, breaking in the fifth and ninth games to claim the opening set.

The Pole went off court to have a medical time-out after the opening set after finding some pain in the upper leg.

Despite the break Jabeur continued to cause Linette troubles with the Pole having to dig deep and save a couple of break points with bold patterns of play.

In the eighth game Linette turned up the aggression and made Jabeur cover a lot of ground as the Tunisian was forced to save three break points in the eighth game.

Jabeur was becoming frustrated and a comfortable straight sets victory turned into a second set tiebreak with the Tunisian looking tighter than usual.

Linette capitalised on this and continued her confident ball-striking and decision making to take the tiebreak 7-4 and force a deciding set.

The Madrid champion lacked a clinical edge and with the rain falling in Paris, Jabeur couldn’t find a consistent answer to Linette’s power.

A break to the Pole saw the Tunisian contingent in Philippe-Chatrier stunned but like the champion she is Jabeur fought back with an immediate break back.

Some big serving in the eighth game fended off another wave of Linette aggression as Jabeur created a half-chance in the tenth game to seal a break to claim victory.

However Linette continued to be bold and was met with the ultimate reward as from 40-15 up, Jabeur missed a smash to give the Pole hope.

That was all the world number 56 needed as Linette converted her only match point with a forehand unforced error from Jabeur as the first shock of this year’s Roland Garros occurred.

A disappointing result for Jabeur given her clay court form and she would have felt she was the best placed to challenge Iga Swiatek for the title.

However Swiatek’s compatriot Linette played the match of her life to seal a place in the second round at Roland Garros where she will play Martina Trevisan or Harriet Dart.

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Naomi Osaka Speaks About Mental Health And Lack Of Preparation Ahead Of Roland Garros

Naomi Osaka has a blockbuster opening round against Amanda Anisimova at Roland Garros.

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Naomi Osaka (@RolandGarros - Twitter)

Naomi Osaka has spoken about mental health and lack of preparation ahead of this year’s Roland Garros.

 

It was this time last year that Osaka decided to withdraw from Roland Garros and Wimbledon due to her mental health after her announcement about not participating in press conferences.

Fast forward 12 months and the three-time grand slam champion is in a good shape mentally as she aims to be back at the top of the sport.

Speaking in her pre-tournament press conference, Osaka spoke about mental health and reflected on her experiences from last year, “I know like after last year’s French Open that the next slam I played was the US Open and they have like these little like retreats or things like that in the players lounge,” the Japanese star said.

“I found it to be a very interesting experience to go to the Olympics and to like walk through the Village and people were thanking me and stuff. So I think athletes kind of all go through the same thing. It’s just like people don’t really talk about it.

“Like when I first came here, I was very worried. I was just kind of worried if there would be people that like — of course I also didn’t like how I handled the situation, but I was worried that there were people that I offended some way and I would just kind of bump into them.

“But I think like everyone has been really positive, for the most part. Of course I’m still thinking about it, and I’m like kind of also prepping just in case like I go on the court and a fan says something like in Indian Wells. Yeah, for the most part I think I’m okay.”

It’s good to see Osaka in a good mental state as she looks to face her demons and continue to make progress up the rankings.

On the court, it’s been a frustrating clay-court swing for Osaka who faced an early exit in Madrid before withdrawing from Rome.

Speaking in her press conference Osaka said there was no way she was going to miss the event in Paris, “There is no way I’m not going to play this tournament, so like of course you kind of have to manage things, but at the same time, like, I’m going to pop a few painkillers, like it is what it is,” Osaka admitted.

“I have actually played a lot of Grand Slams with something. I actually, Australia, when I played Kvitova, like for five matches I had this really bad back thing. So I think maybe there is a possibility I could play really good when I have an injury, because I feel like I don’t have anything to lose.

“I don’t know, for me I find it a bit ironic, like this clay court season is the one that I spent the most like preparation on, and it was really unfortunate that I had to pull out from Rome and I couldn’t do that well in Madrid.”

Osaka will begin her Roland Garros campaign against the in-form Amanda Anisimova.

The duo met at the first grand slam of the season in Melbourne where Anisimova edged out the match in a last set tiebreak.

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