Wimbledon Daily Preview: Andy Murray Faces John Isner in the Second Round - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Daily Preview: Andy Murray Faces John Isner in the Second Round

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Andy Murray during his first round victory on Monday (twitter.com/wimbledon)

Six years ago, Andy Murray won his third Major title at The Championships, and ended that year by achieving another career milestone: becoming the No.1 player in the world for the first time.  Unfortunately, the following years were filled with injuries and surgeries.  In 2022, despite an ab injury he suffered leading up to this fortnight, Murray appears as fit as he’s been since his last Slam title run in 2016.  But in the second round, 2018 semifinalist John Isner stands in his way.

 

Wednesday’s Centre Court schedule is headlined by the same three names as Monday, as Murray shares the stage with defending champion Novak Djokovic and US Open champion Emma Raducanu.  Other action on Wednesday features 2018 champ Angelique Kerber, Roland Garros finalist Casper Ruud, and two multi-time champions in 2022: Ons Jabeur and Carlos Alcaraz.

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


Casper Ruud (3) vs. Ugo Humbert – 11:00am on No.2 Court

Ruud has become a formidable player on both clay and hard courts, yet his first round victory on Monday was only his third career win on grass, and his eighth match on the surface overall.  By contrast, Humbert is quite accomplished on grass.  Ugo advanced to the second week of this tournament in 2019, and went 8-2 on this surface last season, which included a title run in Halle.  But after battling injuries and fatigue in recent months, the 24-year-old Frenchman is just 7-17 this year, and only 2-3 on grass.  Humbert leads their head-to-head 2-1.  He has prevailed in both their hard court meetings, while Ruud prevailed on clay.  All three of their matches have gone to a deciding set.  But despite his lack of experience on grass, Casper should be favored to even their head-to-head based on recent form.


Angelique Kerber (15) vs. Magda Linette – Second on No.2 Court

Kerber is now 37-12 lifetime at Wimbledon, but she also has a recent history of losing early at Majors.  Angie has failed to make the second week in eight of her last 12 Slam appearances.  And Linette upset a top seed just a month ago at a Major, when she took out Ons Jabeur in the first round of Roland Garros.  However, Magda has only played accumulated seven tour-level win on grass in her career.  Their only previous encounter occurred earlier this year on clay in Strasbourg, with Kerber prevailing in three.  On grass, a much stronger surface for Angie, the 2018 champion should be able to prevail comfortably.


Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Thanasi Kokkinakis – 1:30pm on Centre Court

Djokovic overcame a stern test in the opening round from Soonwoo Kwon, eventually winning 6-4 in the fourth.  That was Novak’s 80th win at The Championships, making him the only player to ever win 80 matches at every Major.  On the same day, Kokkinakis procured his first-ever victory at SW19, and only his fourth tour-level win on grass.  Thanasi’s battles with injuries are well-documented, but the Australian has been healthy and more active on tour the past 18 months than he has in many years.  Earlier this season in his hometown of Adelaide, he captured his first ATP title.  But defeating the three-time defending champion, who is 61-3 in the second round of Majors, would be a monumental upset.  While Kokkinakis has some weapons that can provide Djokovic with another test, Novak remains a considerable favorite to advance.


Emma Raducanu (10) vs. Caroline Garcia – Second on Centre Court

Raducanu overcame a lot of pressure in the opening round, as well as a tough opponent in Alison Van Uytvanck, who was 12-2 on grass this season at all levels.  But the 19-year-old’s draw gets no easier on Wednesday.  Garcia is a former top five player who won her second French Open doubles titles a few weeks ago, and is currently on a six-match win streak in singles.  Last week on the grass of Bad Homburg, Caroline won tight three-setters over both Alize Cornet and Bianca Andreescu to win her first singles title in three years.  When these players met earlier this year in Indian Wells, Raducanu was victorious 6-1 in the third.  If Emma can continue to withstand the overwhelming attention she’s currently receiving from the British public and press, she possesses enough firepower and consistency to collect another win over the Frenchwoman.


John Isner (20) vs. Andy Murray – Third on Centre Court

While they have not played in nearly six years, their history has been completely one-sided.  Murray is 8-0 against Isner, and has secured 20 of 24 sets contested.  And John did not arrive in London with much form.  The 37-year-old is just 14-12 on the year, and played no grass court warmup events.  On Monday, he required five sets to get past a player ranked outside the top 200.  While Isner’s serve always makes him a threat to pull out a tight match, gaining his first victory over an in-form Murray on Wednesday would be surprising.  Andy is coming off a run to the final of Stuttgart earlier this month, and appeared uninhibited on Monday by the ab injury that forced him to withdraw from Queen’s Club. 


Other Notable Matches on Wednesday:

Anett Kontaveit (2) vs. Jule Niemeier – On Monday, the second seed broke a three-match losing streak, and also won her first match on grass in over a year.  Niemeier is a 22-year-old who in the opening round claimed her first main draw victory at a Major.

Carlos Alcaraz (5) vs. Tallon Griekspoor – Alcaraz defeated Jan-Lennard Struff on Monday 6-4 in the fifth, which is only his second career win on this surface.  Griekspoor took out Fabio Fognini in four, and has never advanced beyond the second round of a Slam.   

Ons Jabeur (3) vs. Katarzyna Kawa (Q) – Jabeur is now 31-9 on the year, and has taken 16 of her last 18 matches on grass.  Kawa is a 29-year-old who had never earned a win at a Major prior to this tournament.


Wednesday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Serena Williams Set For Raducanu Challenge In Cincinnati

Serena Williams will play US Open champion Emma Raducanu in one of her final tournaments before the end of her career.

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Serena Williams (@BleacherReport - Twitter)

In what could be the penultimate tournament of her career, 23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams takes on US Open champion Emma Raducanu in Cincinnati.

 

Potentially two more tournaments to go before a legend of the sport retires in the form of Serena Williams.

Williams began her farewell tour in Toronto where she went out in the second round to Belinda Bencic and will look to make a bigger impression in Cincinnati.

However an intriguing task awaits in her opening match in Ohio as she will take on US Open champion Emma Raducanu in the opening round.

Raducanu enters the match in uninspiring form having reached the quarter-finals in Washington before an opening round exit against Camila Giorgi in Toronto.

It will be interesting how this match fairs as Williams gets a taste of facing the younger generation before she departs the sport.

That match is in a packed part of the draw where the winner of that match will play the winner of Kaia Kanepi and Victoria Azarenka.

There is also a huge match between Bianca Andreescu and Camila Giorgi with the winner taking on seventh seed Jessica Pegula in the second round.

As for Serena’s sister, Venus Williams, she hasn’t fared much better with her draw as she takes on 14th seed Karolina Pliskova in her opening round.

Also in this section of the draw is fourth seed Maria Sakkari who takes on either a qualifier or Alison Van Uytvanck.

Other highlights of the bottom half of the draw will see Sofia Kenin take on Shelby Rogers while Amanda Anisimova takes on Daria Kasatkina.

Naomi Osaka is also in the bottom half of the draw where she takes on Shuai Zhang.

Meanwhile in the top half of the draw Iga Swiatek will look to bounce back after an early exit in Toronto as she takes on Sloane Stephens or Alize Cornet in her opening round.

Other exciting matches in the top half of the draw sees Simona Halep take on Karolina Muchova while Beatriz Haddad Maia takes on Jelena Ostapenko.

Here is the full Women’s singles draw with Serena Williams expected to play on Monday night:

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ATP Montreal: Ruud Thrashes Auger-Aliassime To Reach Semis, Mixed Results For Brits

Casper Ruud eased past Felix Auger-Aliassime to set up a semi-final meeting with Hubert Hurkacz in Montreal.

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Casper Ruud (@OBNmontreal - Twitter)

Casper Ruud only dropped three games against Felix Auger-Aliassime to reach the semi-finals in Montreal.

 

The Norwegian is into the semi-finals in Canada after a dominant performance over home favourite Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Ruud dominated from the start of the match as he produced a sublime performance only committing nine unforced errors throughout the match to reach the last four.

Ruud has had a good season on hard courts this season and is looking to make his second consecutive hard court Masters 1000 final after reaching the final in Miami.

Speaking after the match Ruud admitted he got a bit lucky but is happy to be in the last four in Canada, “It was one of those days where everything goes in one favour and luckily it was in my favour,” Ruud told the ATP website.

“With a player like Felix, you need to rely on some margins going your way. I didn’t expect them to all go on my side. It was a bit of a difficult start. I got broken but then was able to turn everything around. I hit my spots, made the shots I needed to and make him hit a lot of balls. That was the game plan and it worked well.

“The last hard-court tournament I played in was in Miami where I reached the final. I wanted to make a deep run here. I didn’t think it was too likely, being the first hard-court tournament back, but I have been playing great from the first point in the first match.”

Ruud will look to claim his first Masters 1000 title this week and rise to four in the world in the ATP rankings.

Next for Ruud is the only Masters 1000 champion left in the draw in the form of Hubert Hurkacz.

Hurkacz defeated the in-form Nick Kyrgios 7-6(4) 6-7(5) 6-1 to reach the semi-finals in Canada.

The eighth seed produced some big-serving and bold decision making as he reached his first semi-final since winning the Halle title.

Heading into their match, Ruud leads the head-to-head 1-0 where the Norwegian was victorious at Roland Garros this year.

Mixed results for British hopefuls

Meanwhile it was a mixed night for British players as Dan Evans reached his second career Masters 1000 semi-final while Jack Draper exited the tournament in the last eight.

Evans defeated Tommy Paul 1-6 6-3 6-4 to reach a landmark moment in his career in Montreal.

After his win Evans described the win as ‘extra special’ as he looks forward to a semi-final meeting with Pablo Carreno Busta, “The crowd, that’s what they buy their tickets for. That’s live sport,” Evans told the ATP website.

“You never know what’s going to happen. It was an amazing match, amazing atmosphere. I played on the court before. In the day it was amazing, but at night, there’s something about playing sport at night, it’s extra special.”

Evans will now play Carreno Busta in the last four after the Spaniard defeated British qualifier Jack Draper 7-6(4) 6-1.

Draper defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas earlier in the week but was no match for the resilient Spaniard.

Saturday’s semi-final will be the first meeting between Evans and Carreno Busta.

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Canada Daily Preview: Semifinal Saturday Features Ruud/Hurkacz and Pegula/Halep

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Simona Halep on Friday in Toronto (twitter.com/NBOtoronto)

The singles and doubles semifinals will be played on Saturday in Canada.  In Montreal, a new men’s singles champion will be crowned, and Hubi Hurkacz is the only semifinalist to have previously won a Masters 1000 event (Miami, 2021).  Hurkacz is also in the doubles semifinals, so it will be a busy day for Hubi.  In singles, he faces a finalist from this year in Miami, Casper Ruud.

 

In Toronto, Simona Halep is the only former champion remaining, and is two wins away from her third title at this event.  On Saturday, she plays Jessica Pegula, who is into the semifinals in Canada for the second straight year.  Like Hurkacz, Pegula is also in the doubles semifinals.  She’s teaming with Coco Gauff, who will become the new doubles No.1 if they win the title.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Saturday’s play gets underway at 12:00pm local time in Montreal and 1:00pm in Toronto.


Hubert Hurkacz (8) vs. Casper Ruud (4) – Not Before 3:00pm on Court Central in Montreal

Hurkacz ended the winning streak of Nick Kyrgios on Friday, taking him out in three sets for the second time this season.  But Ruud was even more impressive on Friday, bouncing back from a marathon victory on Thursday over Roberto Bautista Agut to overwhelm Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime, dropping only three games.  Predominantly known as a clay court player, Casper is also establishing himself as a considerable threat on hard courts.  That’s especially true in North America, where Ruud has claimed 16 of his last 19 matches.  But Hubi’s success on this surface remains superior, as does his serving prowess.  While Ruud prevailed in their only previous encounter, just a few months ago at Roland Garros, Hurkacz is the favorite on a hard court.


Jessica Pegula (7) vs. Simona Halep (15) – 1:00pm on Centre Court in Toronto

Halep has been dominant through four rounds this week, advancing without the loss of a set.  Simona has quietly put together a strong record of 36-10 this season, though she’s yet to achieve a big result, with only one title at the 250 level at the start of the year.  Pegula only dropped one set this week, to defending champion Camila Giorgi.  And similar to Halep, she’s accumulated a solid record this year (29-14) without winning a title.  This will be the first career meeting between these two players.  Considering Halep is now 25-6 lifetime at this event, and the way in which she has easily prevailed all week, her superior movement and defense should be enough to reach her fourth final in Canada.


Other Notable Matches on Saturday:

Pablo Carreno Busta vs. Dan Evans – Carreno Busta has played superbly this week, eliminating the likes of Jannik Sinner and Matteo Berrettini without losing a set to this stage.  Dan Evans has survived two grueling three-setters in as many days.  This is their first career meeting.

Beatriz Haddad Maia vs. Karolina Pliskova (14) – Haddad Maia has earned three big wins across the last three days over Iga Swiatek, Belinda Bencic, and Leylah Fernandez.  Pliskova is looking to reach the Canada final for the second straight year.  They have split two previous encounters, both on hard courts.


Saturday’s full Order of Play is here.

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