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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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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