Miami Open Daily Preview: Iga Swiatek Faces Naomi Osaka in a Blockbuster Women’s Final - UBITENNIS
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Miami Open Daily Preview: Iga Swiatek Faces Naomi Osaka in a Blockbuster Women’s Final



Iga Swiatek and Naomi Osaka are quite friendly on and off the court (

Saturday’s women’s championship in Miami features two of the sport’s best and most likeable players, and the two women most likely to assert their dominance following the sudden retirement of Ash Barty.  Iga Swiatek will become the new World No.1 on Monday, thanks to an amazing 25-3 record this year.  She’s vying for her third consecutive WTA 1000 title, all within the past six weeks.   Since her maiden Major title at the 2020 French Open, she’s 5-0 in finals, and she’s only dropped 16 games across 10 sets in those championship matches.


As accomplished as Naomi Osaka is, this run to the finals is quite surprising.  The past year has been one of disappointment and mental anguish for the four-time Slam champ.  This is Osaka’s first final since her 2021 Australian Open triumph.  But this fortnight, she’s rediscovered her form, and most importantly, seems to be enjoying her time on the court.  Just like Swiatek, she’s claimed her last five finals, dating back to her second Major title at the 2019 Australian.

Also on Saturday, the men’s doubles championship will be decided.

Iga Swiatek (2) vs. Naomi Osaka – 1:00pm on Stadium Court

They have only played once before, three years ago in Canada, where Osaka prevailed in straight sets.  Back then, Swiatek was ranked outside the top 60, and had to qualify for that WTA 1000 event.  Nowdays, Swiatek is the far more consistent and better performer.  This would be her fourth WTA 1000 title in less than 12 months, and last year she was the only female player to reach the second week at all four Majors.  Not only has Iga won her last 16 matches, she’s also taken her last 18 sets. 

This fortnight, Osaka has played her highest level of sustained tennis in over a year, with prominent victories over the likes of Angelique Kerber, Danielle Collins, and Belinda Bencic.  The Bencic win meant the most to Naomi, as she was previously 0-3 against the Olympic gold medalist, and she came back from a set down to reach her first final since February of 2021.  In that semifinal, Osaka struck 18 aces, a new personal best.

So which player will extend their winning streak in finals to 6-0?  How will Swiatek react to the pressure of vying for her third consecutive WTA 1000 title?  And how will Osaka react to the pressure of her first final in 14 months, especially after such an emotionally-draining year?  Both women have proven themselves to be remarkably clutch performers in their careers, so I’m not convinced the pressure will get to either of them.  Osaka will need to serve well as she did on Thursday, getting a lot of free points and holding easily.  And her groundstrokes have been punishing all tournament.  As Ravi Ubha highlighted in Twitter, Osaka has hit 161 winners and only 63 unforced errors this fortnight.  But maintaining those levels against the aggression, variety, and speed Swiatek possesses will be challenging.  Based on the incredibly high level Iga has been playing this season, I like her chances to become the 2022 Miami Open champion.

Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski (6) vs. Hubert Hurkacz and John Isner (WC) – Not Before 3:30pm on Stadium Court

Koolhof and Skupski have been the winningest men’s doubles team this season, and would move to No.1 in the ATP Race with a win on Saturday.  Hurkacz was prevented from defending his singles title on Friday evening by Carlos Alcaraz.  Isner is going for the “sunshine double” in doubles after winning Indian Wells alongside Jack Sock.

Saturday’s full Order of Play is here.


Rafael Nadal Announces First Tournament Since Injury

Rafael Nadal will make his ATP tour comeback in Brisbane.



Rafael Nadal (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Rafael Nadal has confirmed the date for his comeback to the ATP tour as he looks to add more Grand Slam titles to his collection before his potential retirement.


The 22-time Grand Slam champion has announced that his comeback will take place on the first week of the calendar as he will play the ATP 250 tournament in Brisbane which starts on the 31st of December.

It will be Nadal’s first tournament since last year’s Australian Open after he suffered a hip injury at the event.

In a video on social media Nadal announced his return to the tour as he looks to make an impact in Brisbane, “After a year away from competition, it’s time to come back. It will be in Brisbane the first week of January,” Nadal stated.

January’s event will be a welcome sight to Nadal as he had initially been expected to return during the clay court season but the hip injury was much worse than expected.

That lead to Nadal doing a press conference in Mallorca where he not only said that he was withdrawing from Roland Garros but also hinted that 2024 could be his last year, “My idea and my motivation is to try to enjoy and try to say goodbye to all the tournaments that have been important for me in my tennis career during [next] year, and just try to enjoy that, being competitive and enjoying being on the court, something that today is not possible,” Nadal was quoted by The News as saying.

There is a high level of motivation for Nadal next year as he will want to win the Olympics at Roland Garros in Paris.

However before Nadal can think about the end of his career, the Spaniard will be determined to make an impact in Australia as he looks to stop Novak Djokovic’s dominance.

The tournament in Brisbane starts on the 31st of December while the Australian Open takes place on the 14th of January.

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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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