Cincinnati Daily Preview: A Rematch from the Wimbledon Semifinals - UBITENNIS
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Cincinnati Daily Preview: A Rematch from the Wimbledon Semifinals

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Angelique Kerber is on a roll this week in Ohio (twitter.com/CincyTennis)

Angelique Kerber has won 14 of her last 15 matches, but the one loss came at the hands of her opponent on Saturday, Wimbledon champion Ash Barty.  In the semifinals of The Championships, Barty prevailed 6-3, 7-6(3).  However, their previous four contests came on hard courts, and they split them 2-2. 

The men’s semifinals feature the top four seeds, and the four players likeliest to challenge Novak Djokovic for the US Open title.  Russians Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev grew up together in the sport, and share a close bond.  But their on-court history has been completely one-sided.  Will that continue on Saturday?  The other men’s semifinal also features a lopsided rivalry, as Stefanos Tsitsipas has taken six of his last seven meetings with Sascha Zverev.

Also on Saturday, the men’s doubles semifinals, as well as the women’s doubles championship match.

Each day, this preview will analyze the most intriguing men’s and women’s matchup, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Saturday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.

Ash Barty (1) vs. Angelique Kerber –  11:00am on Center Court

Barty’s 2021 is starting to closely resemble the greatness of her 2019.  Two years ago, she went 57-13, winning four titles: Miami, Roland Garros, Birmingham, and the WTA Finals.  This season, she’s 38-7, winning four titles: the Yarra Valley Classic, Miami, Stuttgart, and Wimbledon.  And perhaps most impressive is her 14-1 record against top 20 opposition, with her only loss coming in the Madrid final against Aryna Sabalenka.  It’s worth noting while Kerber will return to the top 20 after this week, she’s currently ranked No.22.  The German has already earned four significant victories this week (Sakkari, Svitolina, Ostapenko, Kvitova).  Despite three of those being top 10 wins, she still has a losing record against the top 20 this year.  And Barty has been stellar this week, winning all her matches in straight sets, and dropping only eight games across her last four sets played.  The Australian is the favorite to reach her sixth final of the year, and the sixth WTA 1000 final of her career.

Daniil Medvedev (1) vs. Andrey Rublev (4) – Not Before 1:00pm on Center Court

Over the last two years, they have met four times.  All four matches occurred on hard courts, all in the quarterfinal round, and all have been straight-set victories for Medvedev.  That run started two years ago in the quarterfinals of this event, and continued most recently at February’s Australian Open.  Rublev’s pummeling groundstrokes should be rewarded by the extremely quick conditions in Cincinnati, but Medvedev’s defensive skills have remained completely unchallenged this week.  The Toronto champion of a week ago has won all six sets contested thus far, with no opponent earning more than three games in a set.  When you dominate a player as Daniil has Andrey, it’s a difficult trend to break the longer it continues.  And Medvedev is 5-0 in his last five Masters 1000 semifinals.  All evidence indicates another victory for the top seed on Saturday.

Other Notable Matches on Saturday:

Stefanos Tsitsipas (2) vs. Sascha Zverev (3) – No one has won more matches this year than Tsitsipas (48), but the Olympic gold medalist has won nine matches in a row, and 10 sets in a row.  The Greek leads their head-to-head 6-2, though the German took their most recent hard court encounter.  In this year’s French Open semifinals, Tsitsipas took out Zverev in five.

Karolina Pliskova (5) vs. Jil Teichmann – Teichmann has been the breakout star of this tournament, upsetting Naomi Osaka and Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic on back-to-back days.  Pliskova is looking for third consecutive tour final, dating back to Wimbledon.  This is their first career meeting.

Gabriela Dabrowski and Luisa Stefani (6) vs. Sam Stosur and Shuai Zhang – This is the third final in as many weeks for Dabrowski and Stefani, who were the champions last week in Montreal.  This is Stosur and Shuai’s first tournament as a team since the Australian Open.

Saturday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Karolina Muchova Ready For Tennis Return, Aiming For Olympic Debut

Karolina Muchova is looking forward to the Olympics as she prepares to make her return to tennis in Eastbourne.

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Karolina Muchova is ready for her long awaited return to tennis with Wimbledon and the Olympics being her main goals.

The Czech Republican has not played since reaching the semi-finals at the US Open last year with the result in New York capping off a brilliant 2023 for Muchova.

Before that run at the US Open, Muchova also reached the final at Roland Garros and Cincinnati.

However, since then Muchova has struggled with a wrist injury as she detailed in a recent interview with Czech Republican TV, “The operation fixed a loose tendon in the right wrist,” Muchova was quoted by the WTA website as saying.

“After the operation, I had my arm in a solid splint for six weeks, then two or three weeks in a wrist brace, and then I slowly started with rehabilitation and training. My wrist was very stiff. At the start, I wasn’t even able to hold a fork, so I was asking myself how it would be possible to play a forehand or hold a racquet.

“I didn’t have that much free time because the rehabilitation process takes up much more time than you think, compared to when I train and travel to tournaments.

“Apart from the first few weeks when my arm was in a splint, I didn’t have much spare time. I went abroad from the Czech Republic one weekend, and to my family in Moravia, but otherwise it was work, morning to evening.”

A long process for Muchova to overcome as she will hope the injuries behind her and she can focus on being a threat at the top of the women’s game again.

Next up for the Czech Republican is Eastbourne in her comeback tournament as she will face a qualifier in round one.

That will be followed by playing Wimbledon as well as her first Olympic games at Roland Garros.

In particular, the Olympics is something that excites her as she has always wanted to play on the biggest stage, “At the end of this week, I’ll fly to Eastbourne with the team, where we’ll finally try to play some matches in preparation ahead of Wimbledon,” Muchova explained.

“After Wimbledon I’ll return back to the clay, maybe play a tournament, or straight to the Olympics. I’m really excited for the Olympics. I’ve never been to one, and it’s around the corner in Paris, so I can’t be more excited.

“Representing my country is definitely a huge honor. I’ve signed up to play doubles with Maky [Voundrousova], and I hope it goes well for us.”

Wimbledon starts on the first of July while the Olympics will take place on the 27th of July.

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Andy Murray Faces Race Against Time For Wimbledon After Back Procedure

Andy Murray faces a race against time to be fit for Wimbledon.

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Andy Murray faces a race against time to be fit for Wimbledon as he undergoes a back procedure on Saturday.

The procedure comes after seeing a specialist on Thursday after suffering an injury against Jordan Thompson at Queen’s Club.

It was in the warm-up, Murray suffered the injury before the five-time champion eventually retired after five games.

A bitter blow for Murray, who has given strong hints that this may be his last Wimbledon and may also retire after the summer.

There is also the Olympics for Murray as it would be a fitting end to his career given he has won two gold medals in his career.

However, this year’s Olympics is at Roland Garros and that may mean that Murray would be less eager to play in Paris.

As for Wimbledon, Murray has won the event on two different occasions and his potential appearance at SW19 will be the 16th time he takes to court at Wimbledon.

The third Grand Slam of the season takes place on the 1st of July.

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Tommy Paul Outlasts Jack Draper To Reach Queen’s Club Semi-Finals

Tommy Paul outlasted Jack Draper to reach the semi-finals at Queen’s Club.

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Tommy Paul outlasted Jack Draper 6-3 5-7 6-4 to reach the semi-finals at Queen’s Club.

The American had more energy about his play as he defeated a fatigued Draper in a three set battle.

It was a good opening set from Paul who broke twice and had to resist a mini-fightback from Draper during the set.

The opening set was very flat from Draper as he couldn’t energize himself enough to overcome Paul’s brutally aggressive tennis from the baseline.

Both the serve and forehand did damage as Paul took the opening set in 30 minutes.

In the second set both players were cagey as they were trying to tussle for domination from the baseline.

The opening stages of the set saw Paul be more threatening on return as he looked for the killer blow.

However, it was Draper who eventually increased the intensity and aggression as the Brit broke to love in the twelfth game to force a deciding set,

In the final set Draper looked fatigued and tired but the Stuttgart champion did his best to battle with the aggressive American.

The fifth seed took his time but eventually broke to love to secure a 4-3 lead as he took control of the final set.

Despite one last act of defiance from Draper, Paul wrapped up the win to secure a semi-final match against either Sebastian Korda or Rinky Hijikata.

After the match Paul admitted he was relieved to get the victory, “I played good tennis and I like the grass. I knew today was going to be a battle,” Paul explained to the ATP website.

“It is never easy against Jack, he has been playing such good tennis, so I am really happy to get through that one.”

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