Cincinnati Daily Preview: An Olympic Gold Medal Rematch in the First Round - UBITENNIS
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Cincinnati Daily Preview: An Olympic Gold Medal Rematch in the First Round



After several on Monday, there may be more rain interruptions on Tuesday (

A few weeks ago in Tokyo, Belinda Bencic defeated Marketa Vondrousova to win gold in women’s singles.  Neither has played a singles match since, yet they’ll meet again in the opening round here.  Also on Tuesday, 2017 champion Grigor Dimitrov takes on one of the ATP’s sturdiest competitors, Roberto Bautista Agut.  And Ash Barty, Sascha Zverev, Aryna Sabalenka, and many others will make their 2021 Cincinnati debuts.

Each day, this preview will analyze the most intriguing men’s and women’s matchup, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Tuesday’s play is scheduled underway at 11:00am local time, though rain is possible throughout the day.

Roberto Bautista Agut (13) vs. Grigor Dimitrov (13) – 11:00om on Grandstand

At the time, Dimitrov’s 2017 title run was the biggest of his career, and helped propel him to win the 2017 ATP Finals.  However, it’s now been nearly four years since Grigor has won a title, and three-and-a-half years since he’s even appeared in a final.  A year ago, when this event was held in New York, Bautista Agut had Novak Djokovic all but beaten in the semifinals, before succumbing to the world No.1 in a third set tiebreak.  Neither man has excelled this season, though the Spaniard did reach two hard court finals early in the year.  They’ve played four times at tour-level, with all four matches contested on hard courts, and three of the four going to Dimitrov.  In a match that could easily go either way, their head-to-head, paired with Grigor’s past success at this tournament, makes the Bulgarian a slight favorite.

Belinda Bencic (10) vs. Marketa Vondrousova – Fifth on Stadium 3

Their gold medal match in Tokyo was a tight affair, with Bencic eventually prevailing 6-3 in the third.  They also played this past March in Miami, with Vondrousova prevailing 6-4 in the third.  Another entertaining, grueling encounter between these two intelligent, versatile players would seem likely.  Belinda is surprisingly only 2-4 lifetime in Ohio, though Marketa is 0-2.  Vondrousova will surely be looking to avenge her painful Olympic loss, and she’s an impressive 14-6 on hard courts in 2021, an almost identical record to Bencic’s 13-6.  There is not much separating these two except for experience, with is decidedly an advantage of the Swiss.  That, along with the confidence she brings from Tokyo, could be enough for Bencic to advance.

Other Notable Matches on Tuesday:

Ash Barty (1) vs. Heather Watson (Q) – Barty was a semifinalist two years ago in Ohio.  Coming through qualifying, Watson has played a trio of three-setters over the last three days. 

Sascha Zverev (3) vs. Lloyd Harris – Bizarrely, Zverev is 0-6 lifetime at this event.  Harris has 20 wins this seasons, and recently debuted inside the top 50.  Last October in Cologne, Zverev defeated Harris in three sets.

Aryna Sabalenka (3) vs. Paula Badosa – This could be one of the best battles of the day.  Badosa narrowly survived 11-9 in a third-set tiebreak on Monday over Petra Martic.

Matteo Berrettini (5) vs. Albert Ramos-Vinolas – Berrettini is only 1-2 here in his career.  Ramos-Vinolas took out Taylor Fritz on Monday, and was the champion in Estoril earlier this season.

Coco Gauff vs. Su-Wei Hsieh (Q) – Gauff is on the verge of breaking into the top 20 for the first time.  Hsieh is only 7-9 on the year, but is known for frustrating and upsetting top players.

Cameron Norrie vs. John Isner – Norrie is having a stellar season, with 37 match wins, and four tour finals.  Isner was on a nine-match winning streak before losing to Daniil Medvedev last week in Canada.  They’ve split two previous meetings.

Camila Giorgi vs. Jessica Pegula – This is a rematch from just three days prior, when they met in the semifinals of Montreal.  Pegula was the only player last week to push Giorgi to a third set.  How will Giorgi perform just 48 hours after the biggest win of her life?

Ugo Humbert vs. Frances Tiafoe – Both players won grass court tournaments in June.  18 months ago in Delray beach, Humbert dominated Tiafoe 6-1, 6-2.

Tuesday’s full Order of Play is here.


Jack Draper Points To Mental Fatigue As Reason For Queen’s Club Exit

Jack Draper is aiming for a big Wimbledon result despite recent mental fatigue.



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Jack Draper has revealed mental fatigue has caught up to him after his Queen’s Club exit against Tommy Paul.

The Brit was a bit flat-footed as he lost 6-3 5-7 6-4 to the American in his quarter-final match.

It was a tiring performance in what has been an action-packed last week for Draper having won his first ATP title in Stuttgart which was followed by a career-best win against Carlos Alcaraz at Queen’s Club.

However, Draper revealed after the match that the recent success has had a price in the form of mental fatigue, “It was tough to play the tennis I wanted to play, but we have to deal with that. It’s part of the game. I felt like I was having to really get myself going. Maybe because the last couple of weeks are catching up with me a little bit,” Draper was quoted by The Independent as saying.

“Physically, I felt good, my body has been great. It just becomes mentally quite taxing having to go day after day. I finished Stuttgart on Sunday, I got here very, very late on Sunday. I was training and then went in again on Tuesday. Then the match yesterday, it felt like there was quite a lot of emotional energy invested in that.

“I’m definitely having to pick myself up, I felt quite flat at times, and I think that showed in my decision-making at times in the match. I played a few more sloppy shots than I wanted to. But if I want to be one of the best players in the world, then I have to keep backing up my performances and get used to going deep every week. That’s what I want to do and what was disappointing about this one.”

It was still a positive tournament for Draper who will now enter the world’s top 30 in the rankings next week.

Now Draper will head into Wimbledon as a seeded player and the last few weeks have been a stern reminder as to the work it takes to succeed at the highest level, “If you want to be a top, top player in the world, you have to back up results week by week, day by day. You know you are in a great place and are one of the best in the world when you are able to do that,” Draper explained.

“Every day we are facing amazing tennis players who can beat you. If you are not quite on your game, for instance today, you lose the match. That is the next stage for me now. I want to try to go deep in tournaments and back it up every week.

“My body is in a good place, these are just things I have to get used to at the highest level and learn. I’m still young so I’m trying to piece a lot of things together. It was my first title last week, I’ve done it at Challengers and Futures, but it’s very different on the main tour so I probably need a bit more time.”

Draper will look for his best ever Wimbledon result when he competes in the third Grand Slam of the season, which starts on the 1st of July.

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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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