Wimbledon Daily Preview: A Unique Fortnight in London Begins on Monday - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Daily Preview: A Unique Fortnight in London Begins on Monday



The All England Club is ready to host The Championships (twitter.com/wimbledon)

In the same year Wimbledon celebrates the 100th anniversary of Centre Court, it will stage The Championships under unique circumstances.  The AELTC has banned Russian and Belarusian players due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  In retaliation, the ATP and WTA stripped this year’s tournament of its ranking points. 


There are some prominent names absent from Wimbledon in 2022, due to not only the ban, but also injuries.  They include Daniil Medvedev, Sascha Zverev, Aryna Sabalenka, and Andrey Rublev.  And most notably, eight-time champion Roger Federer will miss The Championships for the first time since his professional career began in 1998.

However, many other top names are present, and are eager to win this Major despite the lack of ranking points it normally comes with.  Six-time champion Novak Djokovic is looking to defend his title and procure his 21st Major.  That would move him just one Slam behind two-time champ Rafael Nadal, who is vying for her 23rd overall, and is currently halfway to the calendar year Grand Slam.  Another two-time champion, Andy Murray, would love to make his first deep run at a Major since 2017 on his favorite courts. 

The women’s singles draw is headlined by Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek, who arrives on a phenomenal 35-match winning streak.  And 23-time Major champ Serena Williams returns for her 21st appearance at SW19, a full year since her last singles match, where she was forced to retire due to injury at the 2021 event.  The WTA draw also includes Wimbledon champions Simona Halep, Angelique Kerber, Garbine Muguruza, and Petra Kvitova.

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

Hubert Hurkacz (7) vs. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina – 11:00am on No.3 Court

Hurkacz should be considered one of the top contenders for this title.  He was a semifinalist a year ago, and is coming off a grass court title a week ago in Halle, where he defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime, Nick Kyrgios, and Daniil Medvedev.  However, this could be a tough first round draw for Hubi.  Ranked 38th in the world, Davidovich Fokina is the highest-ranked unseeded player in the draw.  And while he’s 0-1 at Wimbledon, he’s advanced to the second week of two other Majors on the other two surfaces.  And earlier this season, he was a finalist in Monte Carlo.  These players have split their four previous encounters.  The last two went to Hurkacz, though both went the distance.  On grass, Hubi is certainly the favorite.  Normally he would feel the pressure of defending semifinal points at a Slam for the first time, but that pressure has been lifted by the lack of ranking points this year.  And his formidable serving prowess will continue to be rewarded on this surface.

Ons Jabeur (3) vs. Mirjam Bjorklund (Q) – 1:00pm on No.1 Court

What a few months it’s been for Jabeur.  In Madrid, she captured her first WTA 1000 title.  A month later in Berlin, she was the champion on the grass of Berlin, where she overcame Coco Gauff and Belinda Bencic.  That run propelled her to a career-high ranking of No.3 in the world.  And this past week in Eastbourne, Serena Williams asked her to be her doubles partner, which Ons referred to as an honor.  But after two victories for that partnership, they withdrew from the event, citing a knee injury suffered by Jabeur.  Hopefully that was mostly precautionary, as a healthy Ons is one of the favorites this fortnight.  Her opponent on Monday is a 23-year-old qualifier who is looking for her first main draw win at a Major.  While Bjorklund won an ITF-level event on clay this April, this will be the first time she’s ever faced a top 40 player.  In the first match of The Championships on the mostly-pristine green grass of No.1 Court, Jabeur should easily prevail.

Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Soonwoo Kwon – 1:30pm on Centre Court

As per tradition, the defending men’s singles champion receives the honor of playing the first match of the fortnight on Centre Court.  Djokovic is vying for his fourth consecutive Wimbledon title, and has not lost at this event since 2017, when an injured Novak was forced to retire against Tomas Berdych.  He arrives at SW19 having not played any warmup events on grass, though that’s not abnormal for the 20-time Major champion.  Kwon is a 24-year-old who won his first ATP title last September in Nur-Sultan.  But he will be a huge underdog against Djokovic, as Soonwoo only possesses one career ATP victory on grass, which came during this tournament a year ago.   And in their only previous meeting, last year on clay in Belgrade, Novak prevailed with the loss of only four games.  The Serbian’s winning streak at The Championships does not feel like it’s in much jeopardy on Monday.

Jannik Sinner (16) vs. Stan Wawrinka (WC) – Third on No.2 Court

This may be the most highly-anticipated matchup on Day 1’s schedule.  Wawrinka is fighting to rediscover his form after missing over a year of action due to multiple foot surgeries.  Since returning to the tour in April, he’s gone just 3-4, yet has shown signs of the competitive level that made him a three-time Major champion.  In his absence, Sinner has become one of the ATP’s top performers.  The Italian accumulated 49 wins last season, moving him inside the top 10.  And Jannik has now achieved two Major quarterfinals.  However, grass is not either player’s favorite surface.  Wawrinka is only 20-15 lifetime at SW19, yet what’s most troubling is Sinner’s 0-4 career record on grass.  But asking Stan’s body to hold up in the best-of-five format against one of the sport’s best young players may be too tall a task this early in his comeback.  That leaves Jannik as the slight favorite to pick up his first victory on grass  And Sinner will certainly benefit from the coaching wisdom of Darren Cahill, who recently joined his team.

Emma Raducanu (10) vs. Alison Van Uytvanck – Second on Centre Court

It was a year ago at Wimbledon when Raducanu made her Major breakthrough at what was also her first tour-level event.  As a wild card ranked 338th in the world, Emma made a thrilling run to the second week.  Later that same summer, she made the most shocking run of all-time, coming through qualifying to win the US Open.  And she did so without dropping a set.  Now Raducanu returns to her home country’s Slam, with an indescribable amount of pressure and expectations on her.  In the fourth round last year, all that attention overwhelmed her, as she was forced to retire due to breathing issues.  Emma comes into this event without much confidence, as she’s only 7-10 on the year.  And Van Uytvanck is a threatening first round draw.  She’s also reached the fourth round of this tournament, back in 2018, and is a former French Open quarterfinalist.  And Alison is 12-2 on grass across the last four weeks at all levels, with two ITF titles during that span.  This matchup should be considered an upset alert on Day 1 of The Championships.

Other Notable Matches on Monday:

Casper Ruud (3) vs. Albert Ramos-Vinolas – Ruud is coming off his first Major final three weeks ago in Paris, but lost his only match on grass this season, and is 2-4 lifetime on this surface.  Ramos-Vinolas is 5-8 at Wimbledon, and has lost his last four matches at SW19.  They’ve met four times, all on clay, with three of those matches going to Ramos-Vinolas.

Anett Kontaveit (2) vs. Bernarda Pera – Kontaveit earned her No.2 seeding based on strong results outside the Majors, yet she’s 3-4 at the last four Slams, and is currently on a four-match losing streak.  Pera is a 27-year-old who is 0-3 at The Championships.

Carlos Alcaraz (5) vs. Jan-Lennard Struff – Alcaraz is a stellar 32-4 on the year, though he is 1-1 in his career on grass, and has been battling an elbow injury.  Struff reached the second week of this event in two of his last three appearances, but is only 2-12 in 2022, as he’s been struggling with a foot injury.  Struff defeated Alcaraz in the first round of last year’s Roland Garros in straight sets.

Angelique Kerber (15) vs. Kristina Mladenovic – The 2018 champion was a semifinalist here a year ago, though she’s a modest 11-10 this season.  Mladenovic won her fourth French Open doubles crown a few weeks ago, yet in singles, she’s 2-8 this year at tour level.  Kerber leads their head-to-head 4-2.

Andy Murray vs. James Duckworth – Murray advanced to the final of Stuttgart earlier this month, but had to withdraw from Queen’s Club due to an abdominal injury.  He’s 2-0 against 30-year-old Duckworth, with both victories coming on hard courts.

Monday’s full Order of Play is here.


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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Jannik Sinner, Arnaldi End Italy’s 47-Year Wait For Davis Cup Title



An in-form Jannik Sinner has secured Italy’s first Davis Cup title in almost half a century after crushing Alex de Minaur in straight sets. 


The world No.4 headed into the crucial match with his country boasting a 1-0 lead over Australia after Matteo Arnaldi won his clash against Alexi Popryin in three sets. Taking on a fiery de Minaur, a composed Sinner surged to a 6-3, 6-0, victory in Malaga to hand his country an unassailable lead and the title. The dominant performance saw Sinner produce a total of 25 winners with 18 of them coming from his forehand side. It is the sixth time he has beaten de Minaur on the Tour and he is yet to lose against him. 

“It helps a lot to play for the whole team,” Sinner said of his latest win. “It has been an incredible thing for all of us and we are really happy.”

Sinner first broke three games into his encounter with de Minaur after the Australian hit a lob shot that landed out. In control of proceedings, he rallied his way to 5-3 before opening up a 40-0 lead against his opponent’s serve. With three set points at his disposal, Sinner converted his second with the help of another unforced error coming from across the court. 

Closing in on the historic victory, the 22-year-old was in clinical form throughout the second frame as he raced to a 5-0 lead in under 30 minutes. Destroying whatever hopes Australia had of a shock comeback. Sinner closed out the match on his third attempt after a De Minaur backhand drifted wide, prompting an almighty smile on his face. 

Thanks to Australia. I know with the new format it is a little bit different to have to all come to one place. it means a lot.” Said Sinner.

In the first match of the day, Arnaldi ousted Popryin 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, in a two-and-a-half-hour marathon. The world No.44, who made his Davis Cup debut in September, held his nerve throughout a tense deciding set where he saved all eight break points he faced. Overall, he hit a total of 40 winners past Popryin and was visibly emotional afterward. 

“This match was very important and emotional for a few reasons,” Arnaldi told reporters. 
“This year for me was the first time playing for my country. I played when I was junior, but Davis Cup is just different.’
“And three weeks ago, an important person passed away. I think he gave me the power to try to stay there (in the match). It wasn’t easy to play, but they gave me the power at the end to try to win.”

It is the second time in history Italy has won the Davis Cup and the first since 1976. The triumph caps off what has been a memorable week for the team who 24 hours earlier beat Novak Djokovic’s Serbia in the semi-finals with Sinner saving three match points against the world No.1 in the singles. 

“I’m really thankful and proud to have these guys,” Italian captain Filippo Volandri commented.
“We have had to manage with a lot of emergencies during these past two years but we did it and we did it like a family.” He added.

Italy, who has become the 11th country in history to win Multiple Davis Cup titles, currently has six players in the ATP top 100 with four of those being in the top 50. 

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Alexander Zverev Deserves More Respect According To Boris Becker

According to Boris Becker, Alexander Zverev deserves more respect from tennis journalists.



Alexander Zverev (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Boris Becker has claimed that Alexander Zverev deserves more respect despite Zverev failing to live up to his potential at Grand Slams.


Zverev has only reached one Grand Slam final in his career despite being a regular inside the world’s top ten as well as performing at regular ATP events.

This season Zverev played a limited schedule after recovering from an ankle injury but still managed to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals.

However most critics have been loud when judging Zverev’s career as it was looking likely that he would be a regular Grand Slam champion.

The German has failed to live up to expectations but former Grand Slam champion Boris Becker believes Zverev deserves more respect.

Speaking to Eurosport Becker also said that Zverev’s father being the coach is a more than successful approach when it comes to the former US Open finalist’s career, “In my opinion, he doesn’t get enough respect from the tennis experts internationally,” Becker explained.

“They’re all talking about the young three or four, but don’t give Zverev, Medvedev or Rublev enough respect. He’s playing with his fist in his pocket a little bit, wants everyone show that he is not a thing of the past, but that his best time is yet to come.

“Surely his father knows best what is good for his son, but if you look into the box at the competition, you can also see changes.”

Becker has followed Zverev for most of his career so knows that the best is yet to come from the German.

Alexander Zverev will look to prove himself next season when he starts his 2024 season when he represents Germany at the United Cup.

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