Tokyo Olympics Daily Preview: Greece’s Top Players Face Significant Opposition on Tuesday - UBITENNIS
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Tokyo Olympics Daily Preview: Greece’s Top Players Face Significant Opposition on Tuesday

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Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday in Tokyo (twitter.com/ITFTennis)

Greece, the home of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, saw its top male and female tennis player both suffer substantial heartache last month at Roland Garros.  In the men’s singles championship match, Stefanos Tsitsipas was up two-sets-to-love against Novak Djokovic, before succumbing to the world No.1 in five sets.  In the women’s singles semifinals, Maria Sakkari held a match point, but lost 9-7 in the third to eventual champion Barbora Krejcikova.  Stefanos and Maria are entered into the mixed doubles event as a team, which will begin on Wednesday.  But on Tuesday, they will partake in what should be two of the most competitive singles matches of the day.

Tuesday is scheduled to host all eight women’s singles round of 16 matches, as well as the eight remaining men’s singles second round matches.  Also, the second round of both men’s and women’s doubles is scheduled to conclude.  However, “scheduled” is the key word in those sentences, with potential rain in Tokyo’s forecast for the morning and the evening.

Each day, this preview will analyze the most intriguing men’s and women’s matchup, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Tuesday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (3) [GRE] vs. Frances Tiafoe [USA]– 11:00am on Centre Court

This is a rematch from the first day of Wimbledon, when Tiafoe upset Tsitsipas on Court No.1 in straight sets.  Tsitsipas was just 15 days removed from his French Open final defeat, and hadn’t played any matches on grass ahead of The Championships.  Stefanos had claimed their first two meetings in straight sets.  Frances played well in the opening round of both singles and doubles, as he and Rajeev Ram beat Russia’s Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev.  But the slow-playing hard courts in Tokyo should certainly favor the Greek.  Tsitsipas went 23-5 on clay this season, compared to Tiafoe’s subpar record of 3-5.  And overcoming Philipp Kohlschreiber in a tight three-set battle on Sunday should boost the confidence of the third seed.

Elina Svitolina (4) [UKR] vs. Maria Sakkari (14) [GRE] – Third on Centre Court

Svitolina has barely reached this stage, winning consecutive matches 6-4 in the third.  By contrast, since falling behind in the opening set of her first round against Anett Kontaveit, Sakkari has rolled, dropping only five games across her last three sets.  Sakkari also leads their head-to-head 2-1, and has prevailed in both their previous hard court meetings.  Svitolina’s only victory came two years ago on the grass of The All England Club.  Maria’s defensive skills rival that of Elina, but Svitolina’s offensive is not nearly as commanding as Sakkari’s.  The combination of this slow surface and the speed of these two competitors should result in some grueling, compelling rallies.  In the end, this is another matchup where Greece should be favored to prevail.

Other Notable Matches on Tuesday:

Naomi Osaka (2) [JPN] vs. Marketa Vondrousova [CZE] – Osaka is yet to be tested through two rounds.  This will be her first meeting with Vondrousova, the 2019 French Open runner-up who has struggled to rediscover her form after getting injured shortly thereafter.

Marcos Giron [USA] vs. Kei Nishikori [JPN] – Nishikori upset fifth-seeded Andrey Rublev in the first round.  Giron is a 28-year-old American who recently reached a career-high ranking of 64th in the world, and is currently ranked four spots higher than Kei.

Barbora Krejcikova (8) [CZE] vs. Belinda Bencic (9) [SUI] – Roland Garros champion Krejcikova has now won 22 of her last 23 singles matches.  Bencic hasn’t defeated a top 20 player since October of 2019.  This clash of top 10 seeds is another first-time encounter.

Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova (1) [CZE] vs. Paula Badosa and Sara Sorribes Tormo [ESP] – Krejcikova also won the women’s doubles tournament at the French Open with partner Siniakova, their third Major as a team.  Badosa and Sorribes Tormo are good friends who have been rooting each other on in singles, where both have reached the round of 16.  Earlier in the day, Badosa will play Nadia Podoroska, while Sorribes Tormo will play Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz [GER] vs. Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury [GBR] – Murray and Salisbury upset Roland Garros champions Herbert and Mahut in the first round.  Krawietz and Puetz are both ranked inside the top 32 in men’s doubles, but they do not normally play as a team.

Tuesday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Simona Halep Provides Injury Update On Knee Ahead Of US Open

The return of Simona Halep looks a long way away from happening as a knee injury continues to bother the Romanian.

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Simona Halep has provided an update on her knee injury as she faces a race against time to be fit for the US Open.

The former Roland Garros and Wimbledon champion’s comeback has not gone according to plan so far as she returned from a doping ban in Miami earlier this year.

However playing time has been limited for the Romanian as her second tournament of the year ended in a first round retirement at a Challenger event in Paris.

As a result of her retirement Halep was forced to miss Roland Garros and Wimbledon as she looked to recover from a knee injury.

The injury is more serious than meets the eye though as Halep provided an update on her knee injury and revealed it’s an injury that has been occurring for the last few months, “I wanted to provide a little health update since I have been away from the court lately. It is not the best news, but I wanted to share all the same,” Halep revealed on Instagram.

“For a few months now, I have been struggling with a knee injury. It’s an injury I have never had before and it has been a tough one to manage, with the pain persisting. It has been a very difficult period (almost two years) mentally and emotionally for me and struggling physically on top of that definitely doesn’t help.

“I have decided to take the time needed to recover properly, rather than training and playing through pain. My instinct has always been to try to come back as soon as possible, but I am not a machine, I am a human being and I need time to recover from everything I have gone through.

“I’ll keep you posted and, as always, want to thank you for your permanent support. I hope to be back on court very soon.”

Halep now faces a race against time to be fit for the US Open which starts on the 26th of August.

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Alexander Zverev Commits To Olympics, Speaks About Miscommunication Between Olympics And ATP

Alexander Zverev is preparing for his Olympic title defence.

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Alexander Zverev has spoken out on the miscommunication between the Olympics and the ATP tour with tennis’ top stars set to miss some big events on the tour.

The German is getting ready to defend his Olympic title that he won in Tokyo as Zverev heads to Paris.

After narrowly missing out on Roland Garros glory, Zverev now has an opportunity at redemption as he aims for a second consecutive gold medal at the Olympics.

However there is a dilemma for big players this year as the same week as the tennis event at the Olympics at the ATP 500 event in Washington.

This is an event that Zverev usually plays but will have to miss it due to playing in Paris.

Speaking out on the miscommunication, Zverev said it’s no secret that the ATP are not best friends on the Olympics but has committed to the historic event, “The ITF or the Olympics are not best friends with the ATP, that’s not a secret,” Zverev was quoted by Tennis Infinity as saying.

Everybody continues their own tour. Yes, the Olympics is one of the, if not the, most important events we have in sports. So, the best players in the world are always going to play the Olympics over anything else, over points and over prize money.

All the top players went to Wimbledon a few years back, despite having no points on the line. It’s about prestige, it’s not about points or money. It’s about winning these kinds of titles and having medals for your country.

That’s what it’s about. I would never choose to play a 500 event over the Olympics. There are no thoughts on that, and I think Washington is going to be quite an interesting 500 event, I would say.

The ATP 500 event in Washington will be headlined by Grigor Dimitrov, Ben Shelton, Karen Khachanov and Frances Tiafoe as they are among those that have chosen ranking points over the Olympic experience.

As for Zverev he is continuing his Olympic preparations in Hamburg where he will face Pedro Martinez in the semi-finals.

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Rafael Nadal Reveals Delight At Setting Up Ajdukovic Semi-Final After Four Hour Victory

Rafael Nadal has revealed his delight at reaching the Bastad semi-finals after a four hour victory over Mariano Navone.

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(ubitennis/Francesca Micheli)

Rafael Nadal has revealed his delight at reaching the semi-finals in Bastad after a four hour victory over Mariano Navone.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion prevailed in a marathon 6-7(2) 7-5 7-5 victory to reach his first semi-final since Wimbledon 2022.

The Spaniard converted ten of his 21 break point opportunities as he reached the semi-finals.

After the match Nadal revealed his delight at reaching the last four and prevailed Navone for his resilient display, “I lost for some moments my concentration, but I was able to hold physically until the end,” Nadal told the ATP website.

“That is so important for me. Let’s see how I am tomorrow, but today I am alive and in the semi-finals, so that’s very important. There were a lot of changing dynamics in every single set. For moments, he was in control. For moments, I was in control. But at the end, no one was in control! That’s true, and I had a good chance in the second with 3-0. Then I was very close to losing the match in the second set.

“In the third [I was ahead] again with 5-2, but he’s a great fighter and he played a great match. I wish him all the very best for the rest of the season.”

Nadal will now play Duje Ajdukovic in the semi-finals as he aims to continue his eight match winning streak in Bastad with this being his first appearance at the tournament since winning the title in 2005.

The other semi-final will be Nuno Borges against Thiago Agustin Tirante with both players reaching their maiden ATP tour semi-final.

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