Cincinnati Daily Preview: Friday Provides Several Blockbuster Quarterfinals - UBITENNIS
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Cincinnati Daily Preview: Friday Provides Several Blockbuster Quarterfinals



Barbora Krejcikova on Thursday in Cincinnati (

In a battle of Slam champions, and players that have won Majors in both singles and doubles, the reigning Roland Garros champion takes on the reigning Wimbledon champion.  And two left-handed, multi-time Major champs will play for the 16th time on Friday.  As per WTA Insider, that’s the most either woman has faced any player in their careers.

The men’s quarterfinals feature an Olympic rematch, with the top seed facing the Olympic bronze medalist who defeated him.  And the gold medalist faces the ATP’s winningest player of the last six weeks.

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

Ash Barty (1) vs. Barbora Krejcikova (9) – 11:00am on Center Court

This is a rematch from Manic Monday at The Championships, when Barty prevailed in straight sets on her way to the title.  Ash is one of only two players to figure out a way to defeat Krejcikova in the Czech’s last 27 matches, with the other being Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic.  Barty easily dismissed Victoria Azarenka on Thursday, dropping just two games, while Krejcikova ousted another two-time Major champ in Garbine Muguruza.  Their Wimbledon encounter is the only time they’ve played in singles, though they’ve met many other times in doubles.  As great as Barty performed against Azarenka, and as stellar a season as she’s having, Krejcikova’s dominance over the last three months in unmatched.  Muguruza did not play poorly in Thursday’s third set, yet still lost it 6-2.  In that set, Barbora struck five aces, no double faults, served 17 of 20 on first serve, and won 14 of 17 first serve points.  Barty has become the WTA’s best problem solver, but with Krejcikova so full of confidence, Barbora may earn her first victory over the world No.1.

Daniil Medvedev (1) vs. Pablo Carreno Busta (7) – Third on Center Court

Since returning to North American hard courts, Medvedev is 7-0, and is 27-4 on this surface in 2021.  Meanwhile, since leaving Wimbledon where he extended his career record to 0-6, Carreno Busta is 11-1.  Pablo won a clay court title in Hamburg, and defeated both Medvedev and Djokovic, the top two seeds, to earn the bronze medal in Tokyo.  Overall the Russian leads their head-to-head 3-2, though they’re 2-2 on hard courts.  The Spaniard’s other victory came in 2018 at Indian Wells.  Medvedev was miserable playing in the heat and humidity of Tokyo, and he won’t enjoy seeing this match scheduled during the hottest part of the day in Cincinnati.  But once Daniil picks up momentum on this surface, he’s trouble.  And he’ll surely be keen to avenge his loss at the Olympics, which seems the likeliest outcome on Friday.

Other Notable Matches on Friday:

Petra Kvitova (11) vs. Angelique Kerber – Kvitova leads their rivalry 8-7, and 4-3 on hard courts.  Kerber defeated Jelena Ostapenko on Thursday 7-5 in the third, while Petra dominated an in-form Ons Jabeur 6-1, 6-2.

Sascha Zverev (3) vs. Casper Ruud (8) – The Olympic gold medalist is on an eight-match win streak, and Ruud has won 16 of his last 17.  Sascha is a four-time Masters 1000 champion, while Ruud has reached three Masters semifinals in the past year, all on clay.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (2) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime – Both men defeated Italians on Thursday evening.  Felix claimed their first two meetings, but Stefanos has taken the last four, including two earlier this season.

Karolina Pliskova (5) vs. Paula Badosa – Pliskova finally overcame Jessica Pegula on Thursday after four losses to the American since March.  Badosa survived third set tiebreaks in both of her first two rounds, then downed Elena Rybakina in straight sets. 

Belinda Bencic (10) vs. Jil Teichmann (WC) – Bencic is on a 9-0 run, and hasn’t dropped a set this week.  Teichmann upset Naomi Osaka in the last round, definitively the best victory of her career.  These two Swiss players met four years ago in Taipei, and Belinda won in straights.

Andrey Rublev (4) vs. Benoit Paire – Rublev defeated another Frenchman, Gael Monfils, on Thursday in two tiebreaks.  Paire has won three consecutive three-setters, the first time he’s collected three straight wins since January of last year.

Friday’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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