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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Ons Jabeur’s Latest Withdrawal Raises Doubts Over Season Ambitions

Ons Jabeur will be hoping to re-energize herself ahead of a big few months in her career.

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Ons Jabeur’s latest withdrawal in Dubai has raised doubts over how successful the Tunisian can be this season.

 

Despite having high hopes for revitalizing her season in Dubai, Ons Jabeur has had another setback in 2024.

The Tunisian was forced to withdraw from one of her favourite tournaments of the year in Dubai due to a knee injury.

This withdrawal came days after Jabeur said she was ready for the challenge in Dubai and was excited to compete in front of a passionate crowd in Dubai.

In a statement Jabeur explained her injury and why she was unable to compete in Dubai this week, “After consultation of my doctors and team we have decided that I will have to withdraw from Dubai this week and go for more medical treatments,” Jabeur was quoted by tennishead as saying.

“Looking forward to reconnect with all on the courts for the US swing. Thank you for your continuous support.”

This latest setback isn’t a coincidence though as Jabeur has struggled with injuries ever since her Wimbledon final.

The mental and physical toll that the last eight months have taken of Jabeur are starting to show.

There doesn’t seem to be a plan in place as Jabeur has been open about her mental health struggles since that comprehensive defeat to Marketa Vondrousova at Wimbledon.

That’s a potential problem for Jabeur going forwards as it continues to get tougher for the world number six to find motivation going forwards.

A long break away from tennis may be beneficial for Jabeur as it feels like this summer may be the Tunisian’s last opportunity at Grand Slam glory.

An innovative and new approach may be required for Jabeur as her physical and mental stamina continues to fade with every week.

However will Jabeur manage reinvent herself before it’s too late? Only time will tell and SW19 may be the final destination in that bid.

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Iga Swiatek ‘Proud’ After Claiming Doha Title

World number one Iga Swiatek won her 18th career title in Doha.

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Iga Swiatek defeated Elena Rybakina 7-6(8) 6-2 to claim the title in Doha.

 

The world number one sealed an 18th career title with a straight sets win over Rybakina.

Swiatek had previously struggled to beat the Kazakh and that continued at the start of the opening set with the Pole conceding a double break deficit at 4-1.

However Swiatek was resilient as she won four games in a row to get back on track in the opening set.

Rybakina broke in the eleventh game and had the opportunity to serve for the opening set but couldn’t take the opportunity.

In the tiebreak, Swiatek converted her fourth set point as she claimed a mammoth tiebreak 10-8.

After that Swiatek seized control as she broke twice after saving two break points in the second game.

The Pole held comfortably to claim her maiden title of the 2024 season in what was her first tournament since a third round exit at the Australian Open.

In her-post match speech Swiatek admitted that she is proud of her performance in Doha this week, “You don’t even know hard it was not to think about it,” Swiatek was quoted by France 24 as saying after winning her 13th match in Doha.

“I came here and was pretty stressed because I felt the expectations. I wanted to do everything step by step like I always do. I’m really happy. I’m really proud of myself.”

Swiatek will now look to continue that form in Dubai next week where she takes on either Sloane Stephens or Clara Burel in her opening round match.

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Ons Jabeur Ready For Dubai Challenge Despite Injury Struggles

Ons Jabeur is looking to overcome injury struggles and revitalize her form in Dubai.

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Ons Jabeur is looking to be ready for Dubai this week after struggling with injuries this season.

 

The year could have started better for the Wimbledon finalist who continues to struggle with injuries.

Having struggled with knee injuries, Jabeur enters Dubai in very inconsistent form as she went out in the first round in Doha to Lesia Tsurenko.

However despite recent struggles Jabeur seems determined to continue working on solutions as she prepares for the upcoming challenge in Dubai.

Speaking ahead of the event in Dubai Jabeur reflected on her recent retirement to Tsurenko, “I think it’s the worst decision you can take because my heart wants to play and my body is not allowing me so much,” Jabeur told The National.

“I feel like I need to take the right decision and sometimes you have to take decisions where your heart is not agreeing with it. But all I know is that I’m doing my best to be ready for this tournament and be ready to play here and compete in front of amazing fans.”

The Tunisian will look to pick up form in what should be an incredible atmosphere for Jabeur in Dubai.

In recent tournaments there have been football-like atmosphere for Jabeur in Dubai and that’s something she is looking to capitalise on, “I think everybody knows the match against Simona was unbelievable,” Jabeur reflected on her epic match with Simona Halep in Dubai in 2020.

“We got the Tunisian fans, the Arab fans and the Romanian fans. So it was unbelievable. I would never forget that match because it was right before Covid and after that the crowd completely disappeared so I always tried to think about that match when the stadium was empty.”

Jabeur has a first round BYE in Dubai and will play a qualifier in the second round before potentially facing the in-form Jelena Ostapenko in the third round.

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