Internazionali d’Italia Daily Preview: All Third Round Singles Matches to be Played on Thursday - UBITENNIS
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Internazionali d’Italia Daily Preview: All Third Round Singles Matches to be Played on Thursday



Iga Swiatek on Wednesday in Rome (

Thursday’s Order of Play in Rome is one of the best you’ll see all year.  ATP action is highlighted by Rafael Nadal taking on fellow lefty Denis Shapovalov, as well as the renewal of an epic rivalry between Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka.  WTA action also sees a battle between Major champions, as world No.1 Iga Swiatek faces Victoria Azarenka.  Other top names playing on Thursday include Sascha Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Paula Badosa, and Aryna Sabalenka.


Throughout the tournament, this preview will analyze the day’s two most prominent matches, while highlighting the other notable matches on the schedule.  Thursday’s play begins at 11:00am local time.

Rafael Nadal (3) vs. Denis Shapovalov (13) – Not Before 7:00pm on Center Court

Five years ago, Shapovalov made a name for himself at the expense of Nadal, with a scintillating victory in a third-set tiebreak as an 18-year-old playing in his home country.  But since that landmark win, this rivalry has been all Rafa, who has prevailed in their last four meetings.  They’ve twice met at this event, including last year, when Nadal won in a final-set tiebreak in a three-and-a-half hour thriller.  And at this year’s Australian Open, they played a contentious five-setter.  On that day, Rafa battled the heat, an upset stomach, and an upset Denis, who was not happy with the amount of time Nadal was taking between points.  Are we in for another epic, heated battle on Thursday?  Of course the King of Clay remains the favorite on this surface, and is 23-2 this season.  Shapovalov is 15-8, and only 3-1 on clay, though he often brings his best tennis when facing big names like Nadal.  Yet Denis can also be quite a hothead, as exhibited not only in his last match against Rafa, but also earlier this week, when he directed some colorful language at the Italian crowd.  That certainly did not earn him any fans in Rome, and a lack of composure will not help his chances against Nadal.

Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Victoria Azarenka (16) – Not Before 1:00pm on Center Court

Who can stop Iga Swiatek?  The defending champion is on a 24-match win streak, and she’s been extremely dominant during that stretch with 19 of those 24 matches decided in straight sets.  Azarenka has not fared as well this season, with a modest record of 12-6.  And earlier this year in Adelaide, Iga defeated Vika in three sets.  Their only other previous meeting was at the 2020 US Open, when Azarenka prevailed in straights.  Vika was a finalist in Rome nine years ago, and reached the quarterfinals in her last two appearances.  But considering Swiatek’s 2022 form, Iga is a strong favorite to win her 25th straight match.

Other Notable Matches on Thursday:

Sascha Zverev (2) vs. Alex de Minaur – Zverev leads their head-to-head 5-1, though all six of those matches occurred on hard courts.  De Minaur is 7-3 on clay this season, the first time in his career he’s accumulated a winning record on this surface.

Aryna Sabalenka (2) vs. Jessica Pegula (13) – Sabalenka is 2-1 against Pegula, and 2-0 on clay, a surface where she’s allowed the American only seven games across four sets.  Pegula was a finalist last week in Madrid, while Sabalenka was a finalist last month in Stuttgart.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (4) vs. Karen Khachanov – Tsitsipas survived a stern test from Grigor Dimitrov on Wednesday, and Khachanov took out Pablo Carreno Busta.  Tsitsipas is undefeated against Khachanov.

Petra Martic (Q) vs. Bianca Andreescu (PR) – Martic upset fifth-seeded Anett Kontaveit on Wednesday.  Andreescu is now 5-2 in the three tournaments since her return to the tour last month.  This is their first career meeting.

Jannik Sinner (10) vs. Filip Krajinovic – Sinner overcame fellow Italian Fabio Fognini in the last round, and Krajinovic upset Andrey Rublev.  Last fall in Sofia, Jannik defeated Filip in straight sets on a hard court.

Danielle Collins (7) vs. Amanda Anisimova – On Wednesday, Collins defeated Simona Halep, while Anisimova took out Belinda Bencic.  This is another first-time matchup.

Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Stan Wawrinka (PR) – This week Wawrinka earned his first wins since the 2021 Australian Open.  Djokovic leads their rivalry 19-6, and 5-2 on clay.  This is their first match on this surface since Stan upset Novak in the 2015 French Open final.

Maria Sakkari (4) vs. Coco Gauff (15) – Sakkari is 3-1 against Gauff, though Coco’s only victory came at this event a year ago.

Ons Jabeur (9) vs. Yulia Putintseva – Madrid Open champ Jabeur is on an eight-match win streak.  Putintseva eliminated Garbine Muguruza on Wednesday.  Ons has claimed both of their previous encounters, including at last year’s Roland Garros.

Paula Badosa (20 vs. Daria Kasatkina – At the start of this year in Sydney, Badosa easily dismissed Kasatkina 6-2, 6-2.  Kasatkina survived a grueling encounter on Wednesday against Leylah Fernandez, decided by a third-set tiebreak.

Thursday’s full Order of Play is here.


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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Dominic Stricker cruises past Luca Nardi at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah



Third seed Dominic Stricker cruised past Luca Nardi 4-1 4-1 4-2 in 54 minutes in the fastest match in the history of the Next Gen Finals at the Next Gen ATP Finals at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah bouncing back from his defeat in the first match against Flavio Cobolli on Tuesday. 


Stricker converted four of his six break points and hit 13 winners, including 3 aces. 

Stricker came back from 15-40 down in the first game after two double faults from Nardi and broke serve with a return winner on the deciding point to take a 1-0 lead. The world number 94 saved three break-back-back points in the second game from 15-40 down before breaking for the second time in the fifth game to win the first set 4-1. 

Stricker broke serve at 30 in the second game of the second set and held serve at love in the third game to race out to a 3-0 lead. Stricker served it out on his second set point. 

Stricker earned an early break in the first game of the third set on the deciding point and held his next service games. Nardi saved the first match point but he hit his backhand into the net on the second match point after the longest rally of the match. 

“We had a long discussion yesterday evening about how to do it today. I think it was really good that we talked a lot after what maybe was not my best performance. Now to come out today like that, I think nobody expected that. I am just happy that I did it and now I am going to try my best to recover for the third group match”, said Stricker. Stricker is now 1-1 in Green Group. The Swiss player is aiming to reach his second consecutive semifinal at the Next Gen Finals. He is looking to crown a good year after reaching the fourth round at the US Open. 

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