Internazionali d’Italia Daily Preview: Semifinal Saturday - UBITENNIS
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Internazionali d’Italia Daily Preview: Semifinal Saturday



A look at Foro Italico in Rome (

Iga Swiatek is on fire.  The 20-year-old has won 26 consecutive matches, and is two wins away from defending her title in Rome.  On Saturday, she faces third-seeded Aryna Sabalenka in the semifinals.


The WTA’s other red-hot player is Ons Jabeur.  The Madrid champion is on a 10-match win streak of her own, and came back from 6-1, 5-2 down against Maria Sakkari to prevail in the quarterfinals.  She’ll play close friend Daria Kasatkina on Saturday. 

The ATP semifinals feature four of the top five seeds.  Novak Djokovic is a five-time champion of this event, and holds a record of 11-1 in Rome semifinals.  He’ll look for his twelfth semifinal victory on Saturday against Casper Ruud.

And for the third consecutive Masters 1000 event on clay, Sascha Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas meet in the semifinals.  In Monte Carlo, Tsitsipas prevailed in straight sets.  In Madrid, Zverev avenged that loss in three sets.  The rubber match is on Saturday in Rome.

Throughout the tournament, this preview will analyze the day’s two most prominent matches, while highlighting the other notable matches on the schedule.  Saturday’s play begins at 12:00pm local time.

Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Aryna Sabalenka (3) – 12:00pm on Center Court

Swiatek survived a first-set scare from Bianca Andreescu on Friday, before easily taking the second set 6-0.  Meanwhile, Sabalenka came back from a set down to earn her first victory in five tries over Amanda Anisimova.  This Is a rematch from the final last month on indoor clay in Stuttgart, where Swiatek dominated proceedings 6-2, 6-2.  That’s been the story for much of this season: Iga dominating her opponents, who struggle to provide significant resistance.  She also beat Aryna three months ago in Doha by a similar score (6-2, 6-3).  However, last November at the WTA Finals, Sabalenka got the best of Swiatek 7-5 in the third.  Aryna certainly possesses the fire power to dictate play, but not the finesse, defense, or composure of Iga.  On this surface, and considering Swiatek’s current level of confidence, I like Iga’s chances of extending her win streak to 27.

Sascha Zverev (2) vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas (4) – Not Before 2:30pm on Center Court

Tsitsipas holds the edge in this rivalry, with a 7-4 record overall.  Between 2018 and 2020, Stefanos went on a five-match win streak against Sascha, but Zverev has now taken three of their last five.  On clay, Tsitsipas leads 3-1, with the German’s only victory coming last week in Madrid.  After surviving two three-setters earlier in the week, Stefanos took our Italy’s Jannik Sinner in straights on Friday, despite a fierce challenge by Sinner in the first set.  Zverev has not dropped a set all week, though he’s also yet to face a seed.  Sascha won this tournament five years ago, and was the runner-up a year later.  The Greek’s best performance in Rome was reaching the semis in 2019.  Based on their history, as well as recent form, Tsitsipas should be given the slight edge on Saturday.  He leads the ATP with 29 wins this season, and is 12-2 on clay.  Zverev is 9-3 on this surface in 2022, which is far from poor, but he’s been again battling the double fault woes of his past.

Other Notable Matches on Saturday:

Ons Jabeur (9) vs. Daria Kasatkina – Jabeur is vying for her second WTA 1000 semifinal in as many weeks.  Kasatkina is going for her second WTA 1000 semifinal ever, and her first since Indian Wells in 2018.  Ons leads their head-to-head 3-2, and has claimed their last three matches, which all occurred within the past year.

Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Casper Ruud (5) – Djokovic is 2-0 against Ruud, having yet to drop a set.  That includes a match in the same round of this event two years ago.

Saturday’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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