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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Iga Swiatek Demands Talks With ITF And WTA After Withdrawing From Billie Jean King Cup

Iga Swiatek is not happy with the ITF and WTA after withdrawing from the Billie Jean King Cup Finals.

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Iga Swiatek (@IgaSwi_France - Twitter)

The world number one has announced that she will not compete at the Billie Jean King Cup Finals in November after criticising tennis’ governing bodies for not looking after player welfare.

 

The event is set to take place the week after the WTA Finals in Glasgow which causes a huge problem and obstacle for many players.

This is definitely the case for Swiatek who has qualified for the WTA Finals which takes place in Texas on the 31st of October.

A huge dilemma which now means Swiatek will not compete for her country at the Billie Jean King Cup.

Speaking on Instagram the Pole criticised the decision from the ITF and WTA and wants to speak to them about player welfare to prevent future decisions from happening, “I was thinking it through a lot and discussing it with my team all over again, but I will not be able to play at the Billie Jean King Cup in Glasgow,” Swiatek said in her Instagram story.

“And it makes me sad. I’m very sorry because I play for Poland whenever it’s possible and I always give it my best. Playing in Poland this year was an honour and I hoped to do this again at the end of the season.

“I’m disappointed that tennis governing bodies didn’t come to an agreement on something as basic as the calendar of tournaments, giving us only one day to travel through the globe and changing the time zone. This situation is not safe for our health and could cause injury.

“I’m going to talk to the WTA and ITF in order to change something. This situation is difficult not only for the players like me, but mainly for the tennis fans that support our fans.”

It’s clear Swiatek wants change in terms of player welfare and communication between governing bodies on how to facilitate the schedule.

However Swiatek now turns her attention to preparing for the WTA Finals and first up for the Pole is Ostrava this week.

In her opening match Swiatek will face either Ajla Tomljanovic or Shuai Zhang.

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Cameron Norrie Withdraws From Tokyo After COVID Positive Test

Cameron Norrie will miss the rest of the Asian swing due to COVID.

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Cameron Norrie (@the_LTA - Twitter)

After withdrawing from his quarter-final in Seoul, Cameron Norrie has now withdrawn from the ATP 500 event in Tokyo.

 

The Brit’s absence from the latter stages of the ATP 250 event in South Korea, raised eyebrows with Norrie suffering from illness.

However Norrie then withdraw from the ATP 500 event in Tokyo where he was due to play Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Now his absence has been explained as Norrie confirmed on social media that he tested positive for COVID-19.

In a statement originally posted on Instagram, Norrie explained he had no symptoms but has to quarantine in his hotel room in Seoul, “Unfortunately I had a positive COVID test in Korea and wasn’t able to compete in the rest of my matches,” Norrie said.

“I have no symptoms and I am feeling 100%. It’s been a complicated situation and I appreciate the Republic of Korea trying their best to be amicable in a very tough situation.

“I was really hoping to go to Tokyo but because of the quarantine period I will not be able to play there. Looking forward to getting back to Europe for the indoors. See you guys soon!”

This is the second time Norrie has tested positive for COVID with the first time being before the start of the season.

Norrie’s scheduled next tournament will be in Stockholm which will take place on the 17th of October.

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Carlos Alcaraz Faces Rune Test In Astana

Carlos Alcaraz leads a stacked field in Astana next week.

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Carlos Alcaraz (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Carlos Alcaraz returns to the ATP tour next week in Astana next week where he faces Danish talent Holger Rune.

 

The world number one plays his first ATP tournament since winning his first Grand Slam title at the US Open and becoming the youngest world number one in history.

Having qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals, Alcaraz will now look to build momentum over the coming weeks for the event in Turin.

First up for Alcaraz is the ATP 500 event in Astana next week where the Spaniard faces a tough opening round in the form of Danish talent Holger Rune.

The Dane reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final at Roland Garros earlier this year but had struggled for form since then.

However Rune has reached the semi-finals in Sofia this week and is hitting form at the right time so this will be a big test for Alcaraz.

Should Alcaraz get through that test than a potential second round meeting with Stan Wawrinka could be on the cards with the Swiss wildcard facing Adrian Mannarino in his opening match.

Andrey Rublev is the player that could face Alcaraz in the last eight with the eighth seed facing a qualifier in his opening round match.

Rublev is one of a number of players who are chasing the remaining spots at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Also in the top half of the draw is Stefanos Tsitsipas and Hubert Hurkacz with Tsitsipas facing Mikhail Kukushkin.

While Hurkacz faces Francisco Cerundolo and a potential second round match against home favourite Alexander Bublik could await in round two.

In the bottom half of the draw, Novak Djokovic will continue his search for a surge up the rankings against Cristian Garin.

Djokovic’s potential quarter-final is Jannik Sinner who begins against tricky serve and volleyer Oscar Otte.

Daniil Medvedev is also taking part in a stacked field in Astana as he faces Albert Ramos-Vinolas in his opening round match.

In the bottom quarter there is also an intriguing opening round match between Felix Auger-Aliassime and Roberto Bautista Agut.

Here is the full draw with play starting on Monday:

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