Internazionali d’Italia Daily Preview: US Open Champions Andreescu and Raducanu Collide - UBITENNIS
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Internazionali d’Italia Daily Preview: US Open Champions Andreescu and Raducanu Collide

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Foro Italico is the home of the Italian Open (twitter.com/InteBNLdItalia)

2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu faces 2021 champion Emma Raducanu for the first time on Tuesday in Rome.  Andreescu has only played five matches this season, while Raducanu has a losing record on the year, so both players are looking to regain confidence less than two weeks ahead of the next Major.

 

Also on Tuesday, newly-minted Madrid Open champion Ons Jabeur returns to action just three days after securing the biggest title of her career.  On that same day in Madrid, Novak Djokovic lost a three hour and thirty-five minute thriller to eventual champion Carlos Alcaraz.  Djokovic plays his opening match in Rome against Aslan Karatsev, in a rematch of a three hour and twenty-five minute loss from last year in Belgrade. 

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


Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Aslan Karatsev – Third on Center Court

A few months prior to Karatsev’s victory over Djokovic on clay in Belgrade, he went down to Novak in straight sets during the semifinals of the Australian Open.  That was Aslan’s huge breakout tournament, as he became a semifinalist in his first career main draw appearance in a Major, and did so as a qualifier.  This year in Belgrade, a rusty Novak gritted his way back into form, coming from a set down to win three straight matches in only his third tournament of the year.  He looked much more like the Djokovic of old last week in Madrid, where the red-hot Alcaraz needed nearly four hours to overcome the 20-time Slam champ.  Just two weeks before beginning the defense of his second French Open title, Novak will be highly-motivated to earn more match wins.  And against a player who is only 9-10 on the year, Djokovic should be able to do just that. 


Emma Raducanu (10) vs. Bianca Andreescu (DA SR) – Fourth on Grand Stand Arena

Since her US Open title nearly three years ago, Andreescu has battled multiple injuries and health struggles.  She played her first event of the season just a few weeks ago in Stuttgart, as Bianca has returned to tour on a surface where she had only competed in four tour-level matches before this season.  Raducanu had actually never played a WTA Match on clay ahead of Stuttgart.  And while she’s just 8-10 since her US Open triumph, she’s won four of her last six matches, all on clay.  However, those wins came against players ranked no higher than 49th in the world.  Despite Bianca’s lack of experience on clay, and her lack of match play overall, I still like her chances to grind her way to victory, as she still possesses much more experience than Emma.


Other Notable Matches on Tuesday:

Hubert Hurkacz (11) vs. David Goffin – After going 1-4 on clay last season, Hurkacz is 6-2 this year thanks to quarterfinal runs in both Monte Carlo and Madrid.  Goffin won a clay court title last month in Marrakech, and came through qualifying last week in Madrid, winning four matches in total, before falling to Rafael Nadal 11-9 in a third-set tiebreak.  This is their first career meeting.

Felix Auger-Aliassime (8) vs. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina – Felix is only 6-5 on clay this season, while Alejandro is 14-6, and was the runner-up in Monte Carlo.  At this year’s Australian Open, the Canadian defeated the Spaniard in an over four-hour four-setter, with each set decided by a tiebreak.

Ons Jabeur (9) vs. Sorana Cirstea – What will Jabeur have left after the biggest title run of her career?  Cirstea reached the quarters of Istanbul on clay last month.  Sorana is 2-0 against Ons, though they haven’t played since 2014.

Jannik Sinner (10) vs. Pedro Martinez – Sinner is the highest-ranking Italian in either singles draw.  Martinez is a 25-year-old from Spain who won a clay court title three months ago in Santiago.  This is another first-time matchup.


Tuesday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Kei Nishikori Confirms Safety Amid Hurricane Ian, Sets Out End of Year Plans

Kei Nishikori is set to return to tennis in November.

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Kei Nishikori (@WSOpen - Twitter)

Former US Open finalist Kei Nishikori has confirmed that he and his family are safe as Hurricane Ian continues to cause destruction in America.

 

Nishikori lives and is based in Florida, where Hurricane Ian is doing most of its destruction at the moment.

So far at least two million people are without power with a handful of people losing their life due to the hurricane.

Some of Nishikori’s fans were concerned about his safety but the former top ten player confirmed that he and his family are safe, “Hi everyone, just a quick note to say my family and I are safe,” Nishikori confirmed on social media.

“Thank you for all the messages. It was a scary day and hope things will be back to normal as soon as possible. My thoughts are with all the people facing the results of the storm. I hope everyone stays safe.”

It’s pleasing to hear Nishikori is safe as the storm continues to cause destruction on many people’s livelihoods in the US.

Speaking of Nishikori, the Japanese star has been fairly muted on the court with him not playing a single event this season.

Injuries have been the story of Nishikori’s career and it looks as if that trend has continued in 2022.

However Nishikori could be expected to make his return to the tour in November on the Challenger tour.

That’s because Nishikori has been confirmed to compete in the Calgary and Drummondville challenger events.

The two events take place between the 6th and the 20th of November with Nishikori looking to gain some match time ahead of next year’s Australian Open.

Tournament directors Alain Calle and Danny Da Costa had this to say on Nishikori’s participation, “We’re thrilled to have Kei at our tournaments,” they jointly said in a press release.

“He’s been one of the most prolific players on the Tour since the start of his career, and even though he’s coming back from a major injury, he remains a very talented player. We’re looking forward to seeing him play again in Canada, and there’s no doubt our fans will be, too.”

The events will be Nishikori’s first since Indian Wells in 2021 where he lost to Dan Evans in the second round.

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Novak Djokovic Praises ‘Passionate’ Tel-Aviv Crowd Ahead Of Quarter-Finals

Novak Djokovic is into the quarter-finals in Tel-Aviv and will play Vasek Pospisil on Friday.

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Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic spoke about the crowd in Tel-Aviv ahead of his last eight showdown with Vasek Pospisil.

 

The Wimbledon champion progressed to the quarter-finals in Tel-Aviv with a dominant display over Pablo Andujar.

Djokovic dropped only three games as he returned to imperious form as he looks to boost his ranking over the coming weeks.

Speaking after the match Djokovic spoke about the ‘passionate’ crowd in Tel-Aviv and how it boosted his performance, “Fantastic atmosphere here tonight, thank you very much,” Djokovic said in his on-court atmosphere.

“I like the court, it’s very intimate and it’s very loud. The crowd here is very passionate about the sport, about tennis and I’m really, really happy to be here and to perform here in front of you, so thank you for your support.”

Djokovic’s last appearance in Tel-Aviv came as a teenager in 2006 when he played a Davis Cup tie.

Now 16 years later, Djokovic is relishing the occasion playing in Israel again as he looks to make up significant ground on the world’s top ranked players.

Djokovic will now play good friend Vasek Pospisil in the last eight with the Serb leading the head-to-head 5-0.

Here are the other quarter-finals that will take place on Friday in Tel-Aviv:

Arthur Rinderknech v Roman Safiullin

Constant Lestienne v Maxime Cressy

Liam Broady v Marin Cilic

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Iga Swiatek Annoyed By Scheduling Dilemma Ahead Of Season Finale

Iga Swiatek has admitted it’s unlikely that she will play the Billie Jean King Cup Finals after a scheduling dilemma.

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(@thenet_m - Twitter)

World number one Iga Swiatek admits she is annoyed by facing a scheduling dilemma ahead of the end of the season.

 

Swiatek has dominated the 2022 season having won two Grand Slam titles and five other titles this season.

This means she has qualified for the WTA Finals which will take place on the 31st of October in Texas.

However Swiatek is now becoming the victim of her own success as she now faces a dilemma over whether to represent Poland at the Billie Jean King Finals.

The BJK Cup Finals, take place the week after in Glasgow where Poland will face the Czech Republic and the USA in their Group.

Speaking to Polish media Swiatek admitted she is unsure whether she will compete in Scotland and criticised the WTA for their lack of organization over the events, “I am dissatisfied, although I know that arranging everything is complicated,” Swiatek was quoted by Give Me Sport Women as saying.

Certainly, the fact that the WTA and ITF federations in a sense did not cooperate to facilitate our task is irritating to me. I will definitely take steps to let them know about my dissatisfaction.

“I don’t understand the scheduling. I’m not gonna lie that I’m happy about the fact that if I go deep in [the] Finals, I will have to not only play tired but also jetlagged the next day. So I can’t confirm whether I’ll represent Poland or not. I’m sorry.”

Swiatek’s father, Tomasz, backed up his daughter’s criticism and wishes for more communication between the WTA and players in the future, “It’s an extremely unfortunate deal,” he said.

“And yet we have a very difficult group for that in the BJK Cup. The dates of both events are missed. There is a clash between the ITF (organisers of the BJK Cup) and the WTA (organisers of the WTA Finals). Instead of taking care of the development of women’s tennis, they cannot communicate.”

So far both Swiatek and Ons Jabeur have qualified for the WTA Finals with Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula expected to join them.

Caroline Garcia, Aryna Sabalenka, Daria Kasatkina and Simona hold the other four spots with just weeks left of the season.

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