Cincinnati Daily Preview: Championship Sunday - UBITENNIS
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Cincinnati Daily Preview: Championship Sunday



Ash Barty has definitely been the WTA’s best player this year (

Six months ago, many were questioning whether Ash Barty was a legitimate world No.1.  Due to the pandemic, she hadn’t played a match in nearly a year, with the frozen ranking system maintaining her top spot.  But Ash has silenced all those critics with a stellar season.  She is 39-7 with four titles, including her second Major singles title at Wimbledon.  On Sunday, she faces a stunning story from this week: wild card Jil Teichmann, who had lost nine of her last 12 matches coming into this event.


Speaking of stunning stories, Sascha Zverev was 0-6 lifetime at this tournament prior to this year.  But the Olympic gold medalist is 4-0 this year, and currently on a 10-match win streak.  He plays for his fifth Masters 1000 title against Andrey Rublev, who earned his first victory over fellow Russian Daniil Medvedev on Saturday.

Each day, this preview will analyze the most intriguing men’s and women’s matchup, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Sunday’s play gets underway at 12:00pm local time with the men’s doubles championship match, featuring Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos vs. Steve Johnson and Austin Krajicek.  Granollers and Zeballos are four-time Masters champs, while this is the first time the Americans have teamed up since last year’s event, when they reached the semifinals.

Ash Barty (1) vs. Jil Teichmann (WC) – 2:00pm on Center Court

Since losing the first set on Thursday night to Naomi Osaka, Jil Teichmann has been on fire.  The 24-year-old Swiss has claimed six straight sets over top 10 seeds: Osaka, Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic, and Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova.  In her last two matches alone, the lefty has struck 50 winners and only 19 unforced errors, dictating play against some of the sport’s best.  But no one has been better this year than Barty, who is 2,000 points ahead of the entire field in the WTA Race.  Even if Teichmann takes a set, she’s facing a player who is 14-2 this season in deciding sets.  Also, Ash has taken nine of her last 11 finals.  And while Jil is yet to show any signs of nerves this week, she’ll surely feel some in the biggest match of her career against the world No.1.  Barty is a significant favorite to win her third WTA 1000 title, all of which have come on American hard courts.

Sascha Zverev (3) vs. Andrey Rublev (4) – Not Before 4:30pm on Center Court

Both men survived grueling, dramatic three-setters on Saturday against the top two seeds.  However, Zverev’s battle with Stefanos Tsitsipas was a bit longer, ending in a third-set tiebreak, and concluding about five hours later than Rublev’s.  Sascha was also fighting illness during that match, getting sick on the side of the court before mounting a surprising comeback in the third set.  The head-to-head between these two friends has not been close.  Zverev leads 4-0, and has won all nine sets they’ve contested.  Rublev will have to overcome an entirely lopsided rivalry for the second consecutive day in order to win his first Masters title.  He’s certainly been enjoying the extremely quick conditions in Cincinnati, but Sascha is currently playing some of the best tennis of his career.  His first serve remains a consistent weapon, while his second serve issues of the recent past have faded away.  And as Mark Petchey outlined on Tennis Channel, Zverev has been hitting more forehand winners than backhand ones, which is a new improvement in Sascha’s game.  While the German has lost four of his last five Masters finals, he still possesses a vast experience edge at this level, as this is just Rublev’s second career 1000-level final.  After losing his first six matches at this tournament, Zverev should win his fifth straight match to take the title.

Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.


Nick Kyrgios Opens Up About His Self-Harm Battle And Murray’s Support



Nick Kyrgios (AUS) playing against Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) in the third round of the Gentlemen's Singles on No.1 Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 6 Saturday 03/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jonathan Nackstrand

Nick Kyrgios says he became addicted to pain during his battle with self-harm that lasted between 18 and 24 months.


In an exclusive interview with Piers Morgan Uncensored on TalkTV, the former Wimbledon finalist spoke about his mental health issues. Kyrgios has previously spoken publically about the topic but has now revealed further details about the extent he went through and the role Andy Murray played in supporting him. He was admitted to a psychiatric ward in London and contemplated suicide following the 2019 Wimbledon Championships.

“It was pretty dark to be honest,” Kyrgios told Morgan. “I won tournaments on the professional tour, drinking every night, self-harming, burning things on my arm, cutting myself for fun. It became an addiction of pain. I hated myself. I hated waking up and being Nick Kyrgios.”

One of those who tried to help the Australian address his self-harm problem was three-time Grand Slam champion Murray who noticed cuts on Kyrgios’ arms during one of their practice sessions four years ago. According to The Times, the former world No.1 then alerted Kyrgios’ manager John Morris about the cuts.

Paying tribute to the Brit, Kyrgios says Murray has supported him throughout his career. The 28-year-old has been ranked as high as 13th in the world and has won seven ATP titles. Besides his run to the Wimbledon final last year, he has also reached the quarter-final stage of a major on three other occasions.

“Andy was always a big supporter of me,” Kyrgios said. “As soon as I came on the tour, he kind of saw a work in progress and took me under his wing. Then he realised later in my career that I don’t think I was coachable or I was on my own path, but he was always someone that was looking out for me.
“He saw it [the self-harm] and he said, ‘What’s that on your arm?’ It was pretty bad at that stage. Andy obviously was trying to give me advice on it. But I was just so stuck in my ways at that time that I didn’t listen. Obviously I’m very thankful. I thank him a lot.”

Kyrgios, who has only played one match on the Tour this season due to injury, hopes that he can help others by speaking publicly about his mental health battle. Something he describes as ‘the most powerful thing in his career.’

“I feel like I’ve helped so many people after I opened up about it and put it on social media,” Kyrgios said.
“I’ve almost been a beacon for people who are struggling. When they feel like they’re overwhelmed and they’re going towards drinking, drugs and stuff, they open up and they feel like I’m relatable.
“That’s been the most powerful thing in my career; people coming to me with genuine issues.
“They send me photos in my Instagram, direct messages, self-harming and genuinely wanting to commit suicide.
“I have conversations with these people. Sometimes I’ve had phone calls with these people. That’s making a real difference and I’m just really proud.”

Kyrgios recently had a stint in broadcasting after working for The Tennis channel during the ATP Finals in Milan. He is continuing his rehab from injury but it is unclear as to when he will make his return to professional tennis.

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Hamad Medjedovic earns first place in Red Group at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah



Hamad Medjedovic beat Abdullah Shelbayh 3-4 (6-8) 4-2 4-3 (7-5) 4-2 to earn first place in the Red Group with a perfect 3-0 record at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah. 


Medjedovic needed to win at least one set to reach the semifinals, while Shelbayh needed to win the match in three or four sets. Luca Van Assche qualified as the second-placed player from the Red Group.

Medjedovic will face Dominic Stricker in the semifinal, while Van Assche takes on Arthur Fils.  

Medjedovic fired 18 aces and won 88 % of his first-serve points. He saved all three break points against Shelbayh. 

Medjedovic fired a tournament-leading 45 aces and was broken twice. 

Medjedovic saved three break points to hold serve in the fourth game of the first set. Shelbayh went up a mini-break twice, but Medjedovic pulled back on serve both times. Shelbayh won the final three points to clinch the tie-break 8-6. Both players went on serve in the first five games before Medjedovic earned the break to win the second set 4-2. 

The third set went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break. Shelbayh earned the first mini-break to take a 3-2 lead. Medjedovic pulled back on serve to draw level to 3-3. The Serbian player earned a second mini-break to close out the tie-break 7-5. 

Medjedovic started the fourth set with an early break in the first game. He held on his next service games and sealed the win on his first match point. 

Medjedovic set up a semifinal match against Dominic Stricker. Luc Van Assche will face Arthur Fils in an all-French semifinal.“It was a great match. I played really good after the first set He is a very good friend of mine. He is a very good player and obviously the crowd here loves him and I respect that. It was a pleasure to play in front of the crowd”, said Medjedovic. 

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Dominic Stricker cruises past Luca Nardi at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah



Third seed Dominic Stricker cruised past Luca Nardi 4-1 4-1 4-2 in 54 minutes in the fastest match in the history of the Next Gen Finals at the Next Gen ATP Finals at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah bouncing back from his defeat in the first match against Flavio Cobolli on Tuesday. 


Stricker converted four of his six break points and hit 13 winners, including 3 aces. 

Stricker came back from 15-40 down in the first game after two double faults from Nardi and broke serve with a return winner on the deciding point to take a 1-0 lead. The world number 94 saved three break-back-back points in the second game from 15-40 down before breaking for the second time in the fifth game to win the first set 4-1. 

Stricker broke serve at 30 in the second game of the second set and held serve at love in the third game to race out to a 3-0 lead. Stricker served it out on his second set point. 

Stricker earned an early break in the first game of the third set on the deciding point and held his next service games. Nardi saved the first match point but he hit his backhand into the net on the second match point after the longest rally of the match. 

“We had a long discussion yesterday evening about how to do it today. I think it was really good that we talked a lot after what maybe was not my best performance. Now to come out today like that, I think nobody expected that. I am just happy that I did it and now I am going to try my best to recover for the third group match”, said Stricker. Stricker is now 1-1 in Green Group. The Swiss player is aiming to reach his second consecutive semifinal at the Next Gen Finals. He is looking to crown a good year after reaching the fourth round at the US Open. 

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