Indian Wells Daily Preview: The Men Take Center Stage on Wednesday - UBITENNIS
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Indian Wells Daily Preview: The Men Take Center Stage on Wednesday

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Daniil Medvedev is the top seed in the desert (twitter.com/BNPPARIBASOPEN)

Wednesday will deliver all eight men’s fourth round singles matches.  They feature the top three seeds: US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, 2021 tour leader in wins Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Olympic gold medalist Sascha Zverev. 

 

Also on Wednesday, the first two women’s quarterfinals will be decided.  Major champions Victoria Azarenka and Jelena Ostapenko face surging Americans Jessica Pegula and Shelby Rogers.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Wednesday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.

Casper Ruud (6) vs. Diego Schwartzman (11)  – 11:00am on Stadium 1

Ruud established himself on tour with his impressive clay results, winning four titles on the surface between May and July alone.  But now he’s proving to be a threat on hard courts as well.  Casper is on a six-match winning streak, coming off a title run two weeks ago in San Diego.  However, he has a losing record this season against players ranked as high as Diego Schwartzman, who is currently 15th in the world.  It’s been a rather ordinary year for Diego, who hasn’t reached a semifinal since early-March.  Schwartzman claimed their first four meetings, which all took place prior to 2021.  This season, both of their encounters have gone to Ruud in straight sets.  And he’ll be the favorite to make it three in a row on Wednesday.

Daniil Medvedev (1) vs. Grigor Dimitrov (23) – Second on Stadium 1

Medvedev is now 38-5 this year on hard courts, and has won 18 of his last 19 matches.  One of those victories came at the expense of Dimitrov, a 6-3, 6-3 win two months ago in Cincinnati.  Medvedev also defeated him two years ago in the US Open semifinals.  Overall the Russian leads their head-to-head 3-1, with Grigor’s only win coming four years ago on the grass of Queen’s Club.  Dimitrov is only 20-15 in 2021, though he did reach the semifinals in San Diego.  But he has been unable to bother Medvedev on this surface, losing all seven sets they’ve contested.  I expect the US Open champion’s winning ways to continue.

Other Notable Matches on Wednesday:

Hubert Hurkacz (8) vs. Aslan Karatsev (19) – Two weeks ago in San Diego, Karatsev defeated Hurkacz in three sets.

Jessica Pegula (19) vs. Victoria Azarenka (27) – This is their third meeting this season, and they’ve split the previous two.  In Melbourne, Pegula took out Azarenka in the opening round on the way to her Major quarterfinal debut.

Jannik Sinner (10) vs. Taylor Fritz (31) – Fritz upset another Italian, Matteo Berrettini, on Tuesday.  Sinner received a walkover in the last round from another American, John Isner.

Jelena Ostapenko (24) vs. Shelby Rogers – Rogers outlasted teenage phenom Leylah Fernandez on Tuesday in a third set tiebreak, after prevailing in the same scenario at the US Open against World No.1 Ash Barty.  Ostapenko has claimed both of their previous encounters, though both were on clay.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (2) vs. Alex de Minaur (22) – Tsitsipas has accumulated 53 wins on the year, and he’s 5-0 against de MInaur, who arrived at Indian Wells having lost seven of his last eight matches.

Sascha Zverev (3) vs. Gael Monfils (14) – Monfils is actually 3-0 against Zverev, though they haven’t played since 2016.  Zverev has won 23 of his last 25 hard court matches.

Wednesday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Anett Kontaveit Set To Battle For WTA Finals Spot After Lifting Moscow Crown

It is the third time Kontaveit has won a tournament within the past six months but will she be able to qualify for the season-ending championships?

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Anett Kontaveit (image via https://twitter.com/BNPPARIBASOPEN)

Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit has continued her recent surge in form on the Tour by fighting back from a set down to win her fourth career title at the Kremlin Cup on Sunday.

 

The world No.20 was on the verge of losing to home favourite Ekaterina Alexandrova before battling to a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, victory. At one stage in the match Kontaveit was trailing by a set and 0-4. Then in the decider she was broken at 4-4 before going on to win three games in a row to clinch the title. Overall, she won 69% of her first service points and broke her opponent five times.

“Of course, I am very happy, the match was extremely difficult, I feel relief and joy,” she said afterwards. “I got lucky at match-point, but during the match there were moments when she (Alexandrova) got lucky too. It always takes a little luck to win. She took the lead, controlled the match, it was very difficult for me, I tried to fight for all the points and this helped me to win.”

Kontaveit, who defeated former world No.1 Garbine Muguruza and Markéta Vondroušová earlier in the tournament, has now won 14 out of the last 15 matches she has played on the Tour. Her only loss was to Ons Jabeur in the quarter-finals at Indian Wells. She has played in five finals this year which is the second-highest on the WTA Tour after world No.1 Ash Barty who has played in six.

The 25-year-old is now on the verge of qualifying for the WTA Finals for the first time in her career. However, the prospect of her playing in the season-ending event depends on the results of next week’s tournaments. Kontaveit is playing in Romania and she needs to win the tournament and for rival Jabeur to lose before the semi-finals to qualify.

Meanwhile, runner-up Alexandrova exits Moscow frustrated with her missed opportunities in the match. It was the first time she has played in a final this season and only the third time in her career. Prior to Kontaveit, she scored back-to-back wins over Aryna Sabalenka and Maria Sakkari.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to win, I’m very sorry. But I will work on it and I hope next time I will be able to get a better result,” Alexandrova said during the trophy ceremony.
“I want to congratulate Anett, she played great, it was hard for me to do something.” She added.

Kontaveit, who has won three WTA titles since August, is the first Estonian player to win the Moscow trophy. Compatriot Kaia Kanepi reached the final of the tournament back in 2011.

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Bad news for the Transylvania Open as no fans are allowed

There will be no fans for next week’s event that includes Simona Halep and Emma Raducanu.

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(@TransylvaniaOpn - Twitter)

Mere days before the event was going to start the government announced a new measure that won’t allow for spectators.

 

The Transylvania Open a brand new WTA 250 event being held at the BT Arena in Cluj-Napoca got some bad news when the government announced due to a spike in covid cases the event will be held without fans.

The tournament was able to get some big names for its tournament with the likes of Simona Halep, Paula Badosa, and 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu who were hoping to feed off the crowd energy.

Now they will have to play in an empty stadium which is something that happened a lot last year and another hurdle the players will have to go through, it’s disappointing because things were getting better but the fourth wave of Coronavirus keeps ravaging the world.

This will be the first tournament back for Raducanu after being upset in Indian Wells and was supposed to be a homecoming since she is of Romanian descent.

The tournament went on Twitter to announce the news that they will be hosting the event behind closed doors.

Halep was hoping to be able to also play in front of her home fans but will now look to win another title in her native country without any spectators or fan support.

As mentioned in the tweet the effect won’t happen till Monday so the fans will still be able to attend the qualifying matches that will happen on Saturday and Sunday.

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‘I Know How To Get There’ – Karen Khachanov Targets Return To Top 10

The world No.31 has showed signs of his talent this season with a run to the Olympic final but a lack of consistency and changes to the ATP ranking system has hindered him too.

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Karen Khachanov - Credit: AELTC/Ian Walton

It wasn’t that long ago when Karen Khachanov was the highest-ranked Russian man on the ATP Tour and billed as the next big thing from his country.

 

A breakout 2018 season saw Khachanov claim three Tour titles with the biggest of those being at the Paris Masters which remains his most prestigious trophy to date. He also reached his first major quarter-final at the French Open during the same season and scored five wins over top 10 players. Those triumphs helped elevate him in the ranking to a high of eight.

However, since that breakthrough Khachanov has found himself on a a rollercoaster journey. He is yet to win another title since Paris but came agonisingly close at the Tokyo Olympic Games where he finished runner-up to Alexander Zverev. In his nine previous Grand Slam tournaments his best run was at Wimbledon this season where he reached the last eight before losing to Denis Shapovalov.

Now ranked 31st in the world, the 25-year-old is aiming to claim back up the ladder after the ATP changed their ranking logic to the method used prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The rankings turned out to be a big pun, it was frozen for a year and a half, only now normal counting has begun. I am not fixated on this,” Khachanov told reporters in Moscow on Wednesday. “My main goal is to get back to the Top10. I know how to get there. And the intermediate goals are to be healthy and motivated.”

Khachanov has been ranked outside the world’s top 20 since February and hasn’t been in the top 10 since October 2019. He is currently coached on the Tour by Jose Clavet who has previously worked with a series of top Spanish players such as Feliciano Lopez, Alex Corretja, Tommy Robredo and Carlos Moya.

“He travels with me everywhere, for which I am grateful to him. I trust him as a specialist, as a coach and as a friend,” Khachanov said of Clavet.

Khachanov has returned to his home country this week where he is playing in Moscow at the Kremlin Cup. A tournament he won three years ago by defeating Adrian Mannarino in the final. Seeded third in the draw this time round, he began his campaign on Wednesday with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, win over James Duckworth. In the next round, he faces another Australian in the shape of John Millman which he believes will be a far from easy task.

He is a fighter, a complete player, he does everything well, forehand and backhand with good intensity. He does everything at a good level, but the main quality is that he fights till the end, so it will be hard for me,” he said of his next opponent.

Moscow is the seventh tournament this year where Khachanov has reached the quarter-final stage.

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