Australian Summer Daily Preview: Championship Sunday - UBITENNIS
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Australian Summer Daily Preview: Championship Sunday

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Ash Barty earlier this week in Adelaide (twitter.com/AdelaideTennis)

Between singles, doubles, and the ATP Cup team event, there will be 11 titles decided across Australia on Sunday.  In Melbourne, multi-time Major champions Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep both play in singles finals.  In Adelaide, World No.1 Ash Barty goes for championships in both singles and doubles, while the two top seeds collide in the ATP singles final.  And in Sydney, Canada faces Spain to become the winners of the third annual ATP Cup.


Sydney: The ATP Cup, a Round Robin Team Event between 16 Nations

Order of Play is here.

Denis Shapovalov [CAN] vs. Pablo Carreno Busta [ESP] – 5:30pm on Ken Rosewall Arena

This will mark the highest-ranked opposition either man has faced in singles at this event.  Shapovalov is 2-1, while Carreno Busta is 4-0, and is yet to drop a set.  And the Spaniard leads their head-to-head 4-1, claiming all four of their previous hard court meetings.  Most recently, in the quarterfinals of the 2020 US Open, Pablo defeated Denis in five.

Felix Auger-Aliassime [CAN] vs. Roberto Bautista Agut [ESP] – Not Before 7:00pm on Ken Rosewall Arena

Auger-Aliassime is 2-2 in singles.  While he scored an impressive upset over Sascha Zverev, he was dominated by Daniil Medvedev on Saturday.  Like Carreno Busta, Bautista Agut is 4-0, and prevailed in a third-set tiebreak against Hubi Hurkacz in the semifinals.  Felix is 2-1 against Roberto, and outlasted the veteran at last year’s US Open in five.  If Canada and Spain split the singles contests, a doubles match will decide the champions.


Adelaide: a WTA 500 Event, and an ATP 250 Event

Order of Play is here.

Ash Barty (1) vs. Elena Rybakina (7) – Not Before 4:00pm on Centre Court

Barty has easily dismissed two Slam champs in her last two matches: Sofia Kenin and Iga Swiatek.  After a heartbreaking loss in the bronze medal match of the Tokyo Olympics, Rybakina ended 2021 by going only 10-8.  Their only prior encounter occurred two years ago in this same country, when Barty was victorious over Rybakina in the third round of the Australian Open.  Later in the evening, Ash will team with Storm Sanders in the doubles final against Darija Jurak Schreiber and Andreja Klepac, who won two titles last season.

Gael Monfils (1) vs. Karen Khachanov (2) – Not Before 6:00pm on Centre Court

As per the ATP, Monfils has now reached a final in 18 consecutive seasons.  For Khachanov, this is his first final since Bercy in 2018.  Monfils has not dropped a set this week.  Khachanov has, though he notched a strong straight-set win in Saturday’s semifinals over Marin Cilic.  Surprisingly, this is their first career meeting.


Melbourne: Two WTA 250 Events, and an ATP 25 Event

Order of Play is here.

Amanda Anisimova vs. Aliaksandra Sasnovich (Q) – Not Before 3:00pm on Rod Laver Arena

20-year-old American Anisimova has played extremely well this week during a trial run with Darren Cahill as her coach.  In the semifinals, she crushed Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 6-0.  As Ravi Ubha highlighted on Twitter, this is Sasnovich’s first final since four years ago in Brisbane.  And she excels in Australia, as she also reached the semis in Sydney back in 2019.  This is another first-time encounter.

Simona Halep (2) vs. Veronika Kudermetova (3) – Not Before 5:00pm on Rod Laver Arena

After injuries derailed much of her 2021 season, Halep is now into her second final out of her last three tournaments.  Kudermetova survived three tight matchups earlier this week, and received a walkover from Naomi Osaka on Saturday.  These women played twice in 2021, with both matches going to Halep in straight sets.

Rafael Nadal (1) vs. Maxime Cressy (Q) – Not Before 7:00pm on Rod Laver Arena

Nadal only required two victories to make this final, as he received a bye in the first round, and a walkover in the quarterfinals.  Cressy is a serve-and-volleying 24-year-old American ranked 112th in the world, who came through qualifying and already defeated two of the top three seeds (Opelka, Dimitrov).  Notably, Maxime went 6-0 in tiebreaks this week.  And when asked about the prospect of facing Nadal, he said “I have the game to beat him.”

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Andy Murray Makes Retirement Hint After 500th Hard Court Win In Dubai

Andy Murray won his 500th hard court match in Dubai, placing him fifth on the all-time list.

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Andy Murray further hinted at retirement after securing a 500th hard court win of his career in Dubai.

The former world number one picked up his second win of the year with a 4-6 7-6(5) 6-3 victory over Denis Shapovalov.

In typical Andy Murray fashion, the Brit came back from a set down to defeat the out-of-sorts Canadian as he progressed to the second round.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUVj537F-wQ

The win means Murray now has 500 career wins on a hard court and that is an achievement the world number 67 is proud of, “It’s not bad,” Murray told the ATP website as he sits fifth on the all-time list of hard court wins.

“Obviously hard court has been a great surface for me over the years and 500 is a lot of matches so I’m very proud of that. There are not many players that have done that, so great to get to 500 before I’m done.”

However those post-match comments weren’t the most shocking ones as Murray once again hinted at retirement this season.

The Brit has made subtle remarks that this year may be his last one but Murray’s comments today suggests that he may have already made his decision, “I probably don’t have too long left but I’ll do as best as I can these last few months,” Murray was quoted by ESPN as saying.

“I still love competing and still love the game but it gets harder and harder to compete the older you get, to keep your body fit and fresh.”

If the end is near for Murray than the Brit will look to end his career on a high for the next few months.

Before thinking about retirement Murray will look to go further in Dubai when he takes on either Ugo Humbert or Gael Monfils in the second round.

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Perspective And Fatigue: The Two Sides Of Iga Swiatek’s Dubai Defeat

Iga Swiatek spoke about perspective and fatigue after her semi-final exit in Dubai.

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Iga Swiatek showed two sides to her defeat in Dubai as the world number one surprisingly failed to win the title despite being the favourite in the semi-finals.

Heading into her semi-final in Dubai, Swiatek was heavy favourite to win her second consecutive WTA title after claiming the title in Doha the week before.

However Swiatek was unsuccessful in her bid to reach the final as she lost to Anna Kalinskaya 6-4 6-4.

It was a bitterly disappointing defeat for Swiatek who missed a golden opportunity to establish even more dominance ahead of Indian Wells.

As all champions do Swiatek offered perspective to her defeat as she looks ahead to the rest of the season, “I mean, I’m angry but on the other hand, there aren’t many players that actually survive these kinds of tournaments so I just kind of have to let it go and accept it,” Swiatek was quoted by Tennis Majors.

There was not only perspective offered but also fatigue as expectations and pressure can force simple mistakes from the best players in the world.

The world number one acknowledged Kalinskaya’s performance but did admit her own performance contributed to the defeat, “Today I would say, I mean she [Kalinskaya] played well and for sure she deserves to be in the final, but I feel like it was more about me and my level,” Swiatek told Tennis Majors.

“I wanted to be focused on myself and I wasn’t really able to implement any tactics that I had. Usually, when I tell myself what to do, I can improve my game but today I was so out of power and tired that I just couldn’t. Day by day, it was a little bit worse.”

Swiatek will hope to re-energize herself ahead of the sunshine double in America.

Last year Swiatek lost to eventual champion Elena Rybakina in the semi-finals at Indian Wells before withdrawing from Miami.

The Pole will look to improve last year’s performance when she plays Indian Wells, which starts on the 6th of March.

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‘Speechless’ Mensik Reaches Maiden ATP Final In Doha

Jakub Mensik is into his first ATP final in Doha.

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Jakub Mensik admitted he was left speechless after reaching his first ATP final in Doha.

The 18 year-old continued his remarkable week with a 6-4 1-6 6-3 semi-final victory over Gael Monfils.

The Czech Republican produced clinical tennis as he beat the 2018 champion to reach his maiden ATP final.

After the match Mensik admitted he was left ‘speechless’ and spoke about the influence Monfils had on his career, “It is amazing. Hopefully not the last one [final]. Incredible week so far,” Mensik told the ATP website.

“Today again with Gael, he played unbelievable. I know it is tough to play against him, especially with his good movement. For me every point I have to play my best game.

“I have to say this performance was one of the best in my entire life. I am so glad I reached this level in the semis, so hopefully tomorrow I play like this. An amazing feeling with my first ATP final. I am speechless.

“I told him when I was young I watched him a lot on the TV. One of the biggest showman on court. He is a great guy, so hopefully in the future we will meet once again. The rallies were so fun with him.”

Mensik has so far beaten three former champions this week as he also defeated Andy Murray and Andrey Rublev this week.

Now Mensik will aim to win his first ATP title as he takes on Karen Khachanov in Saturday’s final.

Should Mensik win the title he could climb to 75 in the world as he started the week at 116 in the world.

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