Wimbledon Daily Preview: The Gentlemen’s Singles Quarterfinals - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Daily Preview: The Gentlemen’s Singles Quarterfinals

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Roger Federer, celebrating a victory earlier this fortnight (twitter.com/Wimbledon)

Wednesday’s quarterfinals feature two all-time greats, two young Canadian standouts, two Central European Major quarterfinal debutantes, and two tall, big-swinging, unshaven 25-year-olds.

 

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are two wins away from facing each other in the championship match of Wimbledon for a fourth time.  Combined, they’ve reached 60 Grand Slam event finals, while the other six quarterfinalists have reached none.  However, a repeat appointment for Roger and Novak on Sunday is far from a guarantee.

Doubles and juniors action will begin on the outer courts at 11:00am local time.  The gentlemen’s singles quarterfinals commence at 1:00pm on No.1 Court, and 1:30pm on Centre Court.

Denis Shapovalov (10) vs. Karen Khachanov (25) – 1:00pm on No.1 Court

This is Shapovalov’s second appearance in a Major quarterfinal, which both occurred within the past year.  It’s also the second for Khachanov, who reached his first back in June of 2019.  Their only previous meeting went to Shapovalov, two years ago at the reformatted Davis Cup in Spain.  These two players have almost identical win-loss records over the past 12 months, though the Canadian has reached five tour semifinals, compared to only two for the Russian.  One of those semis was just a few weeks ago on the grass of Queen’s Club, while Khachanov went just 1-2 in grass court tune-up events.  This surface favors Shapovalov, as the grass doesn’t allow as much time for Khachanov’s big backswing.  Karen did well in outlasting Sebastian Korda on Manic Monday, in one of the most unorthodox fifth sets you’ll ever see, which included 13 breaks of serve.  But as dramatic as that was, it wasn’t exactly a high level of tennis, especially compared to Shapovalov’s convincing straight-set win over Roberto Bautista Agut.  Last summer in New York, Denis was a set away from his first Slam semifinal, losing 6-3 in the fifth to Pablo Carreno Busta.  He should be able to win one more set today, and advance to a likely Friday matchup with Novak Djokovic.

Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Marton Fucsovics – 1:30pm on Centre Court

Yes, Novak is certainly a considerable favorite over Marton, who was 17-16 at Majors prior to this fortnight.  And Djokovic is 2-0 against Fucsovics, winning on hard courts in 2018 and 2019.  However, Fucsovics made both of those matches interesting, taking a set off Djokovic on both occasions.  But all things considered, this feels like the most predictable of Wednesday’s four quarterfinals.  Djokovic possesses a vast experience edge, consisting of 49 more Slam quarterfinals than Fucsovics.  And since dropping the first set in his opening round to Jack Draper, Novak has entered lockdown mode, taking 12 straight sets.

Matteo Berrettini (7) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime – Second on No.1 Court

These two friends off the court will be forced to do battle on the court with very high stakes.  Off the court, Matteo is dating fellow quarterfinalist Ajla Tomljanovic, whose cousin Nina is dating Felix.  Ajla has described how herself, Matteo, and Felix have all been rooting each other on during this fortnight.  On the court, they’ve only met once, with Berrettini prevailing two years ago in the final of the grass court event in Stuttgart.  That’s one of eight ATP finals for Auger-Aliassime, and he’s failed to even win a set in any of them.  That’s why Monday’s five-set victory over fourth-seeded Sascha Zverev felt like such a huge moment for Felix, who has struggled thus far on big stages.  But Berrettini remains the far more accomplished player, with two previous Major quarterfinal appearances, and five career ATP titles.  And Matteo has looked remarkably comfortable on the grass this season, with a 9-0 record.  He won Queen’s club last month, and has dropped only one set at this event.  Berrettini is a considerable favorite to achieve his second Slam semifinal.

Roger Federer (6) vs. Hubert Hurkacz (14) – Second on Centre Court

Two years ago at Indian Wells, Hurkacz made his first significant impression on tour by reaching the quarterfinals.  He was defeated in that round by Roger Federer, a man who he has described as his inspiration to become a tennis player.  On Wednesday, he gets his rematch with the eight-time Wimbledon champion.  Hubert is the only quarterfinalist who had to play on Tuesday, as his fourth round match against Daniil Medvedev was suspended due to rain.  Hurkacz dominated the resumption, taking the last two sets to oust the No.2 seed.  When asked after the match if having no day of rest would be a disadvantage, he disagreed, stating, “No, I think actually playing today might have helped me because I got used to the indoor conditions, the conditions on the big court, how the ball bounces there, all the crowd.”  With rain again forecast for Wednesday, the roof may indeed be closed for this matchup, so Hurkacz’s successful Centre Court experience from Tuesday may indeed prove extremely valuable. 

Federer came into this tournament with only eight matches in 16 months, and looked rather lackluster in his loss to Auger-Aliassime in Halle.  As this fortnight has progressed, Roger has improved his form with every round, winning nine of his last 10 sets.  But just a few weeks from turning 40-years-of-age, and with little match play since January of 2020, another lapse in his level wouldn’t be surprising.  Hurkacz has served extremely well through four rounds, only allowing three breaks of serve.  And his excellent net play in the fourth round (50/69 net points won) could be highly effective against Federer.  However, Hurkacz has never advanced beyond the second round at any other Grand Slam event, which displays a severe lack of experience at this level.  I have a feeling Roger has just enough Centre Court magic left in him to overcome a red-hot Hubert, and reach his 14th Wimbledon semifinal.

Other Notable Matches on Wednesday:

Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah (3) vs. Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury (6) – This men’s doubles quarterfinal was rescheduled from Tuesday due to rain.  Two weeks ago in Eastbourne, Ram and Salisbury defeated Cabal and Farah in the semifinals.

Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova (1) vs. Veronika Kudermetova and Elena Vesnina – Roland Garros champion Krejcikova’s 15-match win streak in singles was snapped on Monday by Ash Barty, but her and Siniakova are on a 7-match streak in doubles, and have won three Majors as a team.  Kudermetova and Vesnina took out Coco Gauff and Katy McNally on Tuesday in three sets.

Wednesday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Emma Raducanu Looking For Experience After Splitting With Coach

Emma Raducanu revealed her post-US Open plans as she prepares for life on the main WTA tour.

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Emma Raducanu (@CambridgeAwe - Twitter)

Emma Raducanu is looking for more experience in her team after splitting from her short-term coach Andrew Richardson.

 

The US Open champion revealed the news at the ‘homecoming party’ set up at the National Tennis Centre in London where the Duchess of Cambridge was present.

Speaking at the event Raducanu said that she needed more experience as she will now play on the main tour on a regular basis, “At this stage of my career I really need someone that has had that WTA Tour experience at that high level,” Raducanu was quoted as saying by the BBC website.

“Especially right now as I’m so new to it, I think I really need someone just to guide me who has already been through that themselves. “Never did I even dream of winning the US Open and now I’m ranked 22 in the world, which is pretty crazy to me.”

Richardson was always a short-term arrangement with him now committed to improving his 10 year-old son.

As for Raducanu she is now 22 in the world and faces unfamiliar territory in playing a full-time schedule.

After winning the US Open as a qualifier, Raducanu has received unlimited amount of attention and expectation which is something she will need guidance with.

Now Raducanu will set out a schedule in the next few days with the Brit set to return as early as Indian Wells which starts on the 6th of October, “I got back on court a few days ago, and yesterday I did a full training day,” she explained.

“I was feeling pretty good about myself and my game, and I am very excited to compete again. All the opportunities I am getting have been very fun, but where I really want to be is on the tennis court, as I’m just thriving out there.

“I haven’t decided on my schedule yet – I will decide in the next few days where I am going to go to – but wherever I play next, I’m going to make sure I’m ready. I don’t want to jump into things too early.”

Should the 18 year-old make a strong end to the season then she could make the WTA Finals in Guadalajara.

Although she is 14th in the race, players such as Ash Barty and Naomi Osaka could miss the event and it’s something that is on the back of the mind of Raducanu, “The WTA Finals I would never even dream of before, because it was just so far out of reach and out of sight, but coming reasonably close to it now, I think it would be great if I qualified,” she admitted.

“But if not, it’s a complete bonus, because my priority is just putting in the best possible pre-season that I can, so I can start strong next year and next season.”

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Berrettini pulls off comeback win over Auger Aliassime at Laver Cup

Matteo Berrettini contributed to a 3-1 overall scoreline for Team Europe over Team World after day one of the Laver Cup.

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Matteo Berrettini (@LaverCup - Twitter)

The Italian fought back from a set down to beat the Canadian and give team Europe a commanding lead.

 

In the longest match in Laver Cup history so far Matteo Berrettini needed a match tiebreak to beat the world number 11 and good friend Felix Auger Aliassime 6-7, 7-5, 10-8 in a match that lasted two hours and 52 minutes.

The Italian hit 15 winners and served seven aces while the Montreal native hit 37 unforced errors in the loss.

“I was fighting and I felt the match was really hard and Felix (Auger-Aliassime) was playing well and he didn’t give me anything and he made no mistakes and he was serving really well and I felt a different energy because we are playing for a team, not just myself and they helped me a lot”.

The first set stayed on serve until 2-2 when it was the Italian with the first two breakpoints of the match but the Canadian was able to save both and hold serve.

The next game was a rollercoaster and the Montreal native responded by earning four chances to break and after 13 minutes finally made the breakthrough to take a 4-2 lead.

At 5-3, the world number 11 found himself with two set points but failed to convert and the Italian fought back and got the break back and at 6-5 the Canadian had five more set points but again the Italian saved all five and the set was decided by a tiebreaker.

Auger Aliassime got the early break to take a 2-0 lead and that break was enough for him to finally serve out the first set and take a 1-0 set lead. The world number seven was keen to bounce back and had two early chances to break at 1-1 but the Canadian saved both and held serve once again.

The very next game it was the Montreal native turn to apply the pressure on the Berrettini serve but the Italian managed to save both breakpoints he faced and held serve.

At 5-5, the Canadian kept pushing earning two more break points but couldn’t get the breakthrough, and the very next game the Rome native pounced and managed to get the crucial break to win the second set and force a match tiebreak.

The breaker was extremely tight until 3-3 when the Canadian managed to get the break and jumped out to a 5-3 lead before losing two straight points and the breaker was even at five.

Once again the world number 11 got the break again and was up 7-5 but again lost two straight points and we were even at seven and then at 9-8 Berrettini with the rally of the match sealed the win with a great passing shot.

After the match in his post-match interview, the Italian was asked about being selected to play doubles in the night session.

“I am going to be honest when they told me I would be playing singles and doubles I didn’t expect to play a match that long so I spoke with the captain and we will see but I am still young”.

Day 1 results

Casper Ruud got the ball rolling for Team Europe as he beat the American Rielly Opelka in the first match of the day in straight sets 6-3, 7-6 to give his team the first point of the tournament.

In the first match of the night session Andrey Rublev gave Team Europe a convincing 3-0 lead as he came back to beat the Argentine Diego Schwartzman 4-6, 6-3, 11-9 in the match tiebreaker.

Finally in the last match of the day Team World got their first point as the duo of John Isner and Denis Shapovalov came back from a set down to beat the doubles pairing of Matteo Berrettini and Alexander Zverev 4-6, 7-6, 10-1.

Day 2 preview:

Day 2 features some amazing matchups in both the day and night session with Stefanos Tsitsipas starting the day against the Aussie Nick Krygios before John Isner takes on Alexander Zverev.

In the night session Denis Shapovalov takes on the US Open champion from Russia Danil Medvedev with another doubles match wrapping things up as the team of Andrey Rublev and Tsitispas will take on John Isner and Nick Kyrgios.

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ATP Moves Closer To Staging Five More 12-Day Masters 1000 Events After Board Approval

Changes are coming to the men’s Tour which includes a brand new ‘profit-sharing formular’ for players.

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Masters tournaments in North America, Europe and Asia are set to be expanded over the coming months after the ATP Board recently approved some ‘key aspects’ of their strategic plan.

 

In a letter issued to players, ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said an agreement has been reached concerning a variety of topics, which include the expansion of various Masters 1000 events. It is understood that the plan is for Rome, Madrid, Canada, Cincinnati and Shanghai to be increased to 12-day events instead of just one week. Putting them more in line with Indian Wells and Miami. Tennis.com reports that under the new structure, ATP 250 events will also take place during the second week of those tournaments and they could receive a subsidy from the ATP Tour, provided by extra fees paid by the Masters tournaments.

Masters 1000 events are the third highest-ranked category events in men’s tennis after Grand Slams and the ATP Finals in terms of prize money and ranking points on offer. The series was first introduced back in 1990 but it wasn’t until 2009 that the name ‘Masters 1000’ was born. The number represents how many ranking points the winner receives.

Besides the proposed changes to the Masters series, the Board has also given a green light to “a new Profit-Sharing formula” and “long-term prize money levels.” The prize money increase is reportedly said to be 2.5 percent of a base level, plus a bonus pool with a 50 percent share of the collective profit of the Masters events.

“This represents significant progress for our sport and the way our player and tournament members operate under the equal partnership of the ATP Tour. It is only through the spirit of this partnership, transparency, and alignment of interests that we can truly maximise your potential and switch our focus to the competition we face in the border sports and entertainment landscape,” Gaudenzi wrote in his letter to players.

Part of the plan also include making changes to ATP Media, who are in charge of broadcasting the events. At present it is currently jointly owned by the Tour and each of the Masters 1000 events. However, in the future it has been proposed that those tournaments trade in their ownership rights for shares in ATP media. Exact details about this process have not been publicly disclosed and it is unclear if all of the tournaments would agree to such a move.

The ATP also wants to create a ‘Tennis Data Innovations’ which will be an independent entity.

All of these proposed changes are still subject to further agreement around additional matters. The ATP have been working on details of their strategic plan for the past 18 months.

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