Wimbledon Daily Preview: The Ladies’ Quarterfinals - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Daily Preview: The Ladies’ Quarterfinals

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Ash Barty during the first week of this fortnight (wimbledon.com/AELTC/Ben Solomon)

Tuesday’s quarterfinals include two Major singles champions, a US Open runner-up, and five players who have never played in the championship match at a Slam.  Those Major champs, Ash Barty and Angelique Kerber, are one round away from what would be a blockbuster semifinal.  Barty will face fellow Australian Ajla Tomljanovic in Ajla’s first Slam quarterfinal, while Kerber faces Karolina Muchova, who is 8-1 in her career at The All England Club.

In the other half of the draw, Karolina Pliskova has now reached the quarterfinals at all four Slams, and will take on a surprising, first-time Major quarterfinalist in Viktorija Golubic.  Meanwhile, Aryna Sabalenka has finally moved beyond the fourth round of a Slam, but she takes on Ons Jabeur, who has defeated three straight Major champs in the last three rounds.

Doubles and juniors action will begin on the outer courts at 11:00am local time.  The ladies’ quarterfinals commence at 1:00pm on No.1 Court, while Centre Court actually starts with the conclusion of the last remaining gentlemen’s fourth round encounter.  Rain interrupted Daniil Medvedev and Hubert Hurkacz with the Russian leading two-sets-to-one.

Karolina Pliskova (8) vs. Viktorija Golubic – 1:00pm on No.1 Court

Is the WTA’s “Ace Queen” primed to make her first deep run at The Championships?  She certainly has a game suited for this surface, and she’s a considerable favorite against Golubic, a 28-year-old from Switzerland who had lost in the first round at 14 out of her career 17 Majors prior to this tournament.  But don’t court Viktorija out.  She’s another Swiss player with an impressive one-handed backhand, and as Jason Goodall of ESPN highlighted, the only top 100 woman with such a stroke.  And she’s accumulated 43 match wins this year at all levels.  After upsetting Veronika Kudermetova in the opening round, by a score of 11-9 in the third, she hasn’t dropped a set.  That includes a notable upset on Monday over Madison Keys.  As is to be expected, Pliskova has struck 32 aces through four rounds, but she’s also hit 23 double faults, so her serve has not been in its peak form.  And their only prior encounter, a 2016 Fed Cup match, went to Golubic.  However, Pliskova’s considerable advantage in power and experience should be enough to advance her to Thursday’s semifinals.

Aryna Sabalenka (2) vs. Ons Jabeur – Not Before 2:30pm on Centre Court

What a tournament this has already been for Jabeur.  One of the sport’s most likable players broke a lot of new ground before this fortnight even began, and now she’s scored consecutive victories over Venus Williams, Garbine Muguruza, and Iga Swiatek.  Her all-court style will be quite the contrast to Sabelenka’s big, penetrating groundstrokes.  They’ve split two previous meetings, both of which occurred over the past year.  Jabeur won on clay, while Sabelenka prevailed on hard court.  Who will win on grass?  Based the way Jabeur has been taking out top names, I’m not betting against her.  And as great as Sabelenka has performed on tour, she’s yet to establish herself at the Majors.  Whoever wins will continue to break new ground by reaching their first Slam semifinal.

Karolina Muchova (19) vs. Angelique Kerber (25) – Second on No.1 Court

This is the best version of Angelique Kerber we’ve seen since her title run here three years ago.  She’s on a nine-match grass court win streak, and comfortably dispatched of Coco Gauff on Manic Monday.  But Muchova also loves playing on grass, and is an impressive 16-5 this season despite missing a few months due to injury.  Kerber is 2-0 against Muchova, with both matches taking place on hard courts in 2019.  In what could easily turn into the best match of the day, Kerber should be slightly favored.  When she picks up a head of steam like she currently has, Angie has proven she’s a tough out in the latter stages of Majors.

Ash Barty (1) vs. Ajla Tomljanovic – Not Before 4:30pm on Centre Court

This all-Australian matchup is the first-time 25-year-old Barty and 28-year-old Tomljanovic have met.  Ajla has battled injuries and illness during her career, and has finally reached her first Slam quarterfinal in her 27th attempt.  But this is very familiar territory for Barty, who has advanced to the second week at seven of her last eight Majors.  And while she’s yet to play at her very top level thus far, Ash is one of the best players in the sport at figuring out ways to win regardless.  Barty is a significant favorite to achieve her first Wimbledon semifinal.

Other Notable Matches on Tuesday:

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic (1) vs. Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo (8) – Mektic and Pavic are a fantastic 45-5 on the year, with seven titles.  Kubot and Melo won this event in 2017.

Coco Gauff and Katy McNally (12) vs. Veronika Kudermetova and Elena Vesnina – Gauff lost on Monday in singles to Angelique Kerber, but has won three WTA doubles titles with McNally.  Vesnina won the women’s doubles title here four years ago with Ekaterina Makarova.

Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah (3) vs. Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury (6) – Cabal and Farah won two Majors in 2019, including this one, while Ram and Salisbury claimed last year’s Australian Open.  Two weeks ago in Eastbourne, Ram and Salisbury defeated Cabal and Farah in the semifinals.

Tuesday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Rafael Nadal Announces Wimbledon Withdrawal, Will Play Bastad Ahead Of Olympics

Rafael Nadal has announced his schedule ahead of the Olympic Games.

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Rafael Nadal has announced that he will be playing the ATP 250 event in Bastad ahead of the Olympic Games as he will once again withdraws from Wimbledon.

The Spaniard is set for a massive summer as he competes in singles and doubles at the Olympic Games.

It was announced yesterday that he and Carlos Alcaraz will team up in the doubles event in Paris as Nadal searches for his third gold medal.

However Nadal’s big summer before the Olympics has been slightly altered in order to have the best preparations possible for the big event.

This is as Nadal has announced his withdrawal from Wimbledon with the Spaniard not playing the event since withdrawing from his 2022 semi-final against Nick Kyrgios.

In more surprising news though Nadal announced on social media that he will be playing the ATP 250 event in Bastad, Sweden ahead of the Olympic Games, “During my post match press conference at Roland Garros I was asked about my summer calendar and since then I have been practising on clay. It was announced yesterday that I will play at the summer Olympics in Paris, my last Olympics,” Nadal explained on X.

“With this goal, we believe that the best for my body is not to change surface and keep playing on clay until then. It’s for this reason that I will miss playing at The Championships this year at Wimbledon.

“I am saddened not to be able to live this year the great atmosphere of that amazing event that will always be in my heart, and be with all the British fans that always gave me great support. I will miss you all.

“In order to prepare for the Olympic Games, I will play the tournament in Bastad, Sweden, a tournament that I played earlier in my career and where I had a great time both on and off the court. Looking forward to seeing you all there. Thank you.”

Nadal last competed at Bastad in 2005, where he won the title defeating Tomas Berdych in the final.

The tournament will take place the week after Wimbledon on the 15th of July with world number one Jannik Sinner scheduled to participate there as well.

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Rafael Nadal And Carlos Alcaraz To Team Up In Olympic Gold Bid

Rafael Nadal has been confirmed to compete at his third Olympic Games in Paris.

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Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz will team up and represent Spain in the upcoming Olympic Games.

The news was announced by Davis Cup captain David Ferrer at a press conference as he stated that Nadal and Alcaraz would team up at the Olympic Games.

Nadal has won Gold at the last two Olympic Games he has participated in and will fancy his chances of further success at Roland Garros, where he won 14 Grand Slam titles.

Meanwhile Alcaraz recently won the Roland Garros title in Paris to claim his third Grand Slam title.

Speaking about the Olympics Alcaraz stated that he is prioritising winning gold in Paris, “The Olympic Games are every four years and it’s a special tournament where you’re not only playing for yourself, but for a country, representing every Spaniard,” Alcaraz was quoted by The Score as saying.

“I think this year I’d choose Olympic gold.”

In addition to Nadal Pablo Carreno Busta, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Marcel Granollers complete the team.

On the women’s team Sara Sorribes Tormo and Cristina Bucsa will represent Spain while Paula Badosa has decided to use her last two protected rankings at Wimbledon and US Open, so will not be competing in Paris.

The tennis event at the Olympic Games begins on the 27th of July and concludes on the 4th of August.

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Matteo Berrettini: “It’s all about the matches now, I’m pushing myself to the limit”

Former Wimbledon finalist relishing the journey back to the top.

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After coming through in three tight sets 7-6, 5-7, 7-5 against eighth seed Roman Safiullin, Matteo Berrettini spoke at length with a glint in his eye about the hard work he has put in on his journey back to the top, and the potential rewards that lie ahead.

“It was good that I played so long today. It was good preparation,” he said. “Whenever I go out on court, it’s the most important match for me. Of course, not all are weighted equally. Wimbledon is Wimbledon. But this tournament here is particularly important for me. I’m happy that I had a good match.”

Safiullin is currently ranked 43 and clearly knows his way around the court, having been ranked as high as two in the world on the junior circuit. But Berrettini was grateful for the extra time on court as he experienced match play after a long time out.

“I was expecting a tough match,” said Berrettini. “He served well, I haven’t played much in the last few months. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I’m proud of the way I fought my way through. It certainly wasn’t my best level. But that’s important: winning when you’re not playing at your best level. I think I found my rhythm better during the match. You need matches for that. Training is not like a match.”

The Italian, who was the first from his country to reach a Grand Slam final at Wimbledon in 2021 since Adriano Panatta at the 1976 French Open, was not worried about his standard of play, but rather the number of matches he has – or rather has not played this season.

“When I’ve played this year, I’ve played well. It’s not so much about my level. My strokes are there, I feel good on court. It’s just about playing matches. The crowd, the atmosphere, the big points, you only get them in a real match. The more I play, the more confident I become, fatigue is secondary. It’s been so long since I had to fend off a break point. The more I play now, the better it gets.”

While most players talk about the pain of winning tough matches or tournaments, the twenty-eight-year-old instead chose to talk about the agony of not playing while injured: “It was tough not being able to go to the gym or play balls. I’m stronger now. I’m feeling good at the moment, I’ve worked hard to start the grass court season as well as possible. I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t fit. It’s all about the matches. I’m pushing myself to the limit after all the things that have happened to me.”

Next up, Berrettini faces Canada’s Denis Shapavalov who has beaten him twice in their two meetings. But he feels very much at home on the centre court here in Stuttgart, and has a special bond with the crowd: “There’s been a very special vibe for me here since 2019. It was my first real grass court season back then. I played Nick Kyrgios in the first round, which was tough. But I got great support from the very first match. Not only from the Italian community, but also from the Germans. Every tournament that you win twice is something special.”

Berrettini is one of the few players who likes the faster surface, and with a 37-8 record on grass, he will be quietly relishing his prospects, not only to add a third title here, but also going deep atthe third Grand Slam of the year at Wimbledon in just over two weeks’ time.

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