Indian Wells Daily Preview: The Men’s and Women’s Singles Championships - UBITENNIS
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Indian Wells Daily Preview: The Men’s and Women’s Singles Championships

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Iga Swiatek after her semifinal victory on Friday evening (twitter.com/bnpparibasopen)

20-year-old Iga Swiatek has won four titles in her young career.  The first was her 2020 Roland Garros triumph, and the most recent two are WTA 1000 titles, both of which she procured within the past year.  On Sunday, she vies for her third WTA 1000 title, and her second in a row.

26-year-old Maria Sakkari only has one title in her career, from a smaller event in 2019.  She’s 1-3 lifetime in finals, and prior to this fortnight, was a meek 4-14 in semifinals.  But after eliminating defending champion Paula Badosa in Friday’s semifinals, Sakkari has reached the biggest final of her career.

In 2017, 35-year-old Roger Federer returned from a significant injury layoff to win 20 of his first 21 matches, which included titles at the Australian Open and Indian Wells.  Five years later, 35-year-old Rafael Nadal is looking to top that feat.  After a five-month injury layoff, he acquired titles in Melbourne and Acapulco, and is undefeated to start 2022.  Nadal would extend his winning streak to 21 with a victory on Sunday.

24-year-old Taylor Fritz is a California native, and he has exceled at his state’s biggest tournament.  This was the site of his first appearances at many stages of Masters 1000 events: the third round, fourth round, and just last October, the semifinals.  After surviving two third-set tiebreaks this fortnight, the American is playing for his second ATP title.


Iga Swiatek (3) vs. Maria Sakkari (6) – 1:00pm on Stadium 1

This will be their fifth meeting, all of which have occurred since May of last year.  Most recently, they played in the semifinals of February’s WTA 1000 event in Doha.  Swiatek prevailed, and went on to win the tournament.  That’s part of her current 10-match win streak, as she leads the WTA with 19 wins this season.  For Sakkari, it was yet another loss in a semifinal, her ninth since the beginning of 2020.  But that’s the only time Maria has lost to Iga.  The Greek claimed their encounters last year at Roland Garros, Ostrava, and the WTA Finals.  All four times they’ve played, the match has been decided in straight sets.  Despite their head-to-head, Swiatek is a considerable favorite in Sunday’s final.  She carries significant momentum into this match, and possesses a far superior record in the latter stages of tournaments over Sakkari, as Maria’s nerves have often impacted her play in these moments.   


Rafael Nadal (4) vs. Taylor Fritz (20) – Not Before 3:00pm on Stadium 1

Their only previous matchup was also a North American final.  Two years ago in Acapulco, Nadal defeated Fritz 6-3, 6-2.  It’s difficult to not favor Rafa to prevail again on Sunday, but the 21-time Major champion must be feeling pretty depleted after an over three-hour epic with Carlos Alcaraz just 24 hours prior.  Not only did Fritz play earlier in the day, allowing him more time to recover, but he spent less than two hours on court.  That’s not even to mention the foot injury Nadal has been battling, or the apparent pectoral injury he suffered during Saturday’s semifinal.  And as much as the crowd adores Rafa, the American audience will surely be soundly behind their own player.  I expect Fritz to make this a tight affair, but a confident Nadal is extremely tough to overcome.  Rafa has won his last eight finals, and 23 of his last 26.  And he hasn’t lost a final to man not named Federer or Djokovic in over five years.  If Nadal does win on Sunday, he will tie Novak Djokovic with 37 Masters 1000 titles, the most all-time.

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Casper Ruud Overcomes ‘Tough Start’ To Set De Minaur Final In Acapulco

Casper Ruud is into his first ATP 500 final after defeating Holger Rune in three sets.

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Casper Ruud is into his second consecutive final in Mexico after defeating Holger Rune 3-6 6-3 6-4 in Acapulco.

The Norwegian had to overcome an electric start from Rune to prevail in 2 hours and 24 minutes.

It was a clinical performance from Ruud who is now into his second consecutive final in Mexico after reaching the final in Los Cabos last week.

Speaking after the match Ruud admitted it was a tough start but he’s pleased to be in another final, “It was a tough start,” Ruud told the ATP website.

“Holger just came out firing bullets from the forehand, from the backhand and I had not too much time to play my game. I was frustrated at times, especially at the end of the first set, beginning of the second.

“I didn’t really feel like I got to play any points how I wanted to, so there was some frustration towards myself, towards my box, because I didn’t feel like we were doing the right thing.

“But luckily with one break in the second, it turned around a bit and in the third set it got a little physical. I think maybe Holger seemed like he was struggling a little bit and started firing even more and a couple of games it went in and he broke me, which is frustrating.

“Some unforced errors crept up on him and I served really well in the last game to close it out.”

Ruud is now into his first ATP 500 final in Acapulco where he will face defending champion Alex De Minaur.

De Minaur overcame Jack Draper after the Brit retired at 4-0 down in the deciding set.

Heading into Saturday’s final, De Minaur leads the head-to-head 1-0 although that was in a completely different scoring format in the Next Gen Finals.

Whatever happens on Saturday, Ruud will return to the world’s top ten.

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Andrey Rublev Disqualified In Dramatic Dubai Semi-Final

Andrey Rublev was disqualified from his semi-final in Dubai.

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Andrey Rublev was disqualified from his semi-final with Alexander Bublik after being accused of swearing in Russian.

The event took place in Dubai where Rublev had more than enough opportunities to win the match having been 4-2 40-0 up in the deciding set.

However Bublik came back into the match as he caught up with Rublev in what was turning into a fascinating contest.

The score was at 6-5 Bublik when Rublev’s frustrations boiled over when he allegedly told the official at the side of the court that he was a ‘f****** moron’ in Russian.

One of the officials on the sidelines at the side of the court reported the incident and the supervisor ruled that Rublev should be defaulted.

The incident below means that Rublev will now lose all his ranking points and prize money, resulting in Rublev exiting the world’s top five.

An ending that didn’t warrant the dramatic contest and after the match Bublik agreed that the consequences, “I highly doubt Andrey said something crazy,” Bublik was quoted by Sports Illustrated.

“He’s not this kind of guy. But I guess that’s the rules. That’s what they did, they just follow the procedure.”

Bublik will hope for a smoother finish to the final when he takes on Ugo Humbert for the title.

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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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