Roland Garros Daily Preview: The Men’s Semifinals - UBITENNIS
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Roland Garros Daily Preview: The Men’s Semifinals



Casper Ruud during his quarterfinal victory on Wednesday (

Rafael Nadal is just two wins away from an astounding 14th Roland Garros title, and a record-extending 22nd men’s singles title at a Major.  Prior to last year’s semifinal defeat at the hands of Novak Djokovic, Nadal was a combined 26-0 in French Open semifinals and finals.  On Friday, Rafa faces Sascha Zverev, who is into his second consecutive semi in Paris.


The other men’s semi features two players making their Roland Garros semifinal debuts.  For Casper Ruud, it’s his first semifinal at any Major.  For Marin Cilic, this completes the career Grand Slam of semifinals.

Also on Friday, the women’s doubles semifinals will be played, which feature four top 25 singles players, including women’s singles finalist Coco Gauff.

Sascha Zverev (3) vs. Rafael Nadal (5) – Not Before 2:45pm on Court Philippe Chatrier

In last year’s semifinals, Nadal lost a four-set, over four-hour thriller to Djokovic, a loss he avenged on Tuesday in another gripping four-setter.  On that same day last June, Zverev lost a five-set semi to Stefanos Tsitsipas.  Sascha is now a combined 1-4 in Major semifinals and finals, with his only victory coming in the 2020 US Open semis, when he came from two sets down to defeat Pablo Carreno Busta.  His other recent loss in a Slam semifinal was also a five-setter, when he faced Djokovic last September in New York.

Overall Nadal leads their head-to-head 6-3, and 4-1 on clay.  However, Zverev has taken three of their last four meetings, one of which occurred on clay.  Both players are coming off competitive four-set quarterfinals, though both had a full two days of rest ahead of Friday’s semifinal, so both should be fresh. 

With a 29-7 record in Slam semis, Nadal rarely loses in this round of a Major, especially this one.  And given Zverev’s contrasting history in the latter stages of Grand Slam events, Rafa is a considerable favorite to reach his 14th Roland Garros final, and his 30th Major final overall.  The King of Clay will feel supremely confident after vanquishing Djokovic in the last round.  And his chronically injured foot has not seemed to impact his level in Paris.  I expect Nadal to celebrate his 36th birthday on Friday with his 111th win at the French Open.

Casper Ruud (8) vs. Marin Cilic (20) – Not Before 5:30pm on Court Philippe Chatrier

Which will prove more valuable on Friday: Casper’s superior clay court prowess, or Marin’s experience at Majors?  Ruud has accumulated seven titles on this surface within a short span, yet prior to this fortnight, had never advanced beyond the fourth round of a Slam.  And before this run, Cilic had lost as many clay court matches over the last three years as he’d won, but this is his 14th time reaching the quarters or better at a Major.

Cilic has advanced more comfortably thus far, dropping two less sets than Ruud.  While Marin is coming off a grueling five-setter against Andrey Rublev on Wednesday, Ruud’s quarterfinal against Holger Rune on the same day went well past midnight, which is far from ideal with one just day’s rest in between.

Casper is 2-0 against Marin, with both those matches taking place within the last two years.  At the 2020 Rome Masters, Ruud won in straight sets.  At the 2021 Canada Masters, Ruud won in three.  Cilic is playing at a much higher level than he was on those two occasions, though this surface should certainly favor Ruud.  Across the last three seasons, no ATP player has won more matches on clay than Casper.  The Norwegian’s mix of defensive skills plus a formidable forehand may prove too much for Marin, who can often get tight in big matches.  I give Ruud the slight edge to achieve his first Major final.

Other Notable Matches on Friday:

Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula (8) vs. Madison Keys and Taylor Townsend – Between singles and doubles, Gauff and Pegula have accumulated 14 match wins this fortnight.  This is their fifth event as a team this season, while Keys and Townsend are teaming for the first time. 

Lyudmyla Kichenok and Jelena Ostapenko (14) vs. Caroline Garcia and Kiki Mladenovic (WC) – Kichenok and Ostapenko have prevailed in three consecutive three-setters.  Garcia and Mladenovic won this title back in 2016.

Friday’s full Order of Play is here.


Gael Monfils Targets Spot At Home Olympics Before Retirement 



Image via ATP Twitter

Gael Monfils may be starting his 2023 season later than usual but he isn’t contemplating stepping away from the sport anytime soon. 


The former top 10 star has been absent from the Tour since August due to a foot problem during what has been an injury-stricken year for the Frenchman. Monfils also missed the French Open and Wimbledon due to a heel injury which required surgery. Overall, he has won 14 out of 21 matches played on the Tour in 2022. 

Providing an update on his current fitness during an interview with Canal+, Monfils confirmed that he will not be playing at the Australian Open in January which will be the fourth major tournament in a row he has missed. Whilst his recovery is progressing well, he is targeting a return during the clay season which concludes at the French Open. He is also unable to access his protected ranking at Melbourne Park because the rulebook states that a player must be absent for at least six months to be eligible. 

“I know that there is a protected ranking, when you don’t play for a certain amount of months. I know that if I take it, I have to not play the Australian Open to reach the six months needed and that will be my decision,” Tennis Head quotes Monfils as saying.

However, the 36-year-old isn’t planning to stop playing just yet with aspirations to play at his home Olympic Games, which will be held in Paris in 2024. Monfils is already a three-time Olympian and has reached the quarter-finals of the singles tournament twice before. 

Despite some speculation over his retirement, Monfils hopes to continue playing until the age of 40. Although he admits this depends on his family after he and his wife Elina Svitolina welcomed their first child earlier this year.

“2023 is an important year for me, a year of transition, transition between my injuries and the fact to be competitive to try to qualify for Paris 2024. I would not like to miss the Olympics, it would be my last one,” he added.
“I hope that 2024 would not be my last year but maybe the one after that. Before, I said that I wanted to play until I’m 40 but the more time I spend with my daughter, the more time I’m thinking maybe I’ll play a bit less.”

Monfils has won 11 Tour titles so far in his career, including this year’s Adelaide International. He has reached at least one final every year since 2005. 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev And Taylor Fritz Looking Forward To Diriyah Cup

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev and Taylor Fritz will start their Australian preparations in Saudi Arabia next week.



Stefanos Tsitsipas (@WeAreTennisTR - Twitter)

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev and Taylor Fritz are looking forward to boosting their Australian Open preparations when they compete in the Diriyah Cup in Saudi Arabia.


The tournament takes place from the 8th-10th of December with the 12 player tournament offering the perfect preparation for the first Grand Slam of the year.

As well as Tsitsipas, Rublev and Fritz, the field includes some of the world’s best players including Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Cameron Norrie, Nick Kyrgios, Dominic Thiem and Stan Wawrinka.

Speaking ahead of the event Tsitsipas claimed that the event will be very good preparation ahead of the Australian Open which starts on the 16th of January, “This is going to be very good preparation for me,” Tsitsipas told The National.

“Most players choose to have an off period from tennis but for me, it’s very important to get matches in before I travel to Australia. So having good competitors to compete against (top players), this is the best preparation that I can have before starting the 2023 season.

“I know that the people in Saudi Arabia may not have the opportunity to see tennis players like us very often. So, for sure, I’m going to give it my best. I’m going to have a good time.”

Saudi Arabia has held a whole host of events including formula one and Golf events with there being more and more concerns from fans over sports-washing given the country’s human rights record.

However the Greek isn’t too concerned about that and is looking forward to exploring the country’s culture:

“I’m happy they’re introducing a big event like this, and in the heart of Saudi Arabia to give opportunities to citizens from all over the world to explore this beautiful country, through its sports, through its very rich heritage and culture, and through other activities that are available within the country.”

As for Fritz, the American is coming off a career best season having won his maiden Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells as well as reaching the semi-finals at the ATP Finals.

The 25 year-old said that playing against the best players in the world will only help his preparations for the Australian Open, “I think it’s going to help prepare for the Australian Open and for the rest of the year because I can start out by playing against the best players in the world,” Fritz claimed.

“The field is so strong, so it’s always great to surround yourself with a lot of great players. People should come to support because hopefully it’ll be a lot of good tennis.

“Hopefully they’ll be cheering for me to win. They can expect a lot of big hitting, big serving, and hopefully some nice shot-making.”

Finally Rublev said that competing in Saudi Arabia will help find his level with the Russian having an inconsistent end to the season at the ATP Finals.

Rublev is looking to break more ground in 2023 as he searches for his Grand Slam breakthrough, “I think it’s really great because sometimes when you finish the season and you have eight weeks of not playing tournaments, you start to feel a bit stressed or nervous because you can’t tell if you’re improving or not,” Rublev admitted.

“So these kind of events help to check how your level is at the moment because you compete against other great players.”

The tournament begins on Thursday and will last for three days.

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Emma Raducanu Draws Inspiration From Andy Murray Ahead Of 2023

Emma Raducanu spoke about Andy Murray’s influence on her career.



(@HeartThamesNews - Twitter)

Emma Raducanu has spoke about Andy Murray’s influence on her career and is optimistic about turning her form in 2023.


The former US Open hasn’t had too bad of an off-season after receiving her MBE for her services to sport.

Raducanu made history in 2021 as she won the US Open as a qualifier at 18 years of age.

However the Brit has yet to back that up with Raducanu changing coach on a number of occasions as she looks for some stability in 2023.

Speaking in a recent interview with Grazia Raducanu said that she believes that momentum can change quickly in tennis and that confidence is the key to success, “[In tennis] it could look like it’s all going down, down, down and just not getting any better,” Raducanu was quoted by tennishead as saying.

“Just one match can have a big influence on your confidence and once you have confidence and the momentum comes, you feel like you can’t lose. It’s a very individual sport – people are friendly but it’s difficult to be really close with those you’re competing with.”

One player that can relate to what Raducanu is saying is Andy Murray with confidence being a key theme of the highs and lows of Murray’s career.

Raducanu said that she talks to Murray regularly about the highs and lows of tennis, “Andy Murray is so good to talk to because he’s been through pretty much what I’ve been going through,” Raducanu said.

“I have always looked up to him and watched him winning his first Wimbledon and the Olympics.”

Raducanu will hope that she can use Murray’s words as inspiration for next season as she currently sits at 75 in the world.

The Brit will start her season in 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand on the 2nd of January.

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