Wimbledon Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic Plays Nick Kyrgios for the Gentlemen’s Singles Championship - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic Plays Nick Kyrgios for the Gentlemen’s Singles Championship

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Novak Djokovic practicing this week at The Championships (twitter.com/wimbledon)

On Sunday, Novak Djokovic will play in his eighth final at Wimbledon, and his 32nd at a Major.  He is 6-1 in the gentlemen’s singles championship match at SW19, with his only loss coming in 2013 at the hands of Andy Murray.  Novak has claimed his last five finals at The Championships, with victories over Roger Federer (3), Kevin Anderson, and Matteo Berrettini.  At Slams, Djokovic has taken eight of his last 10 finals, though he lost his most recent one, at last year’s US Open, to Daniil Medvedev.

For Nick Kyrgios, this is a first singles final at a Major.  He previously achieved two Slam quarterfinals, though those both occurred over seven years ago.  But he did win a Major title in doubles six months ago at his home Major alongside close friend Thanasi Kokkinakis.  Kyrgios is 6-3 lifetime in singles finals, and has won his last three, though this will be his first in nearly three years.

Also on Sunday, the ladies’ doubles championship match will be played, and it is a blockbuster final featuring the top two seeds.


Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Nick Kyrgios – 2:00pm on Centre Court

These two men historically have not gotten along.  Ubitennis editor Adam Addicott outlined much of that history here.  As recently as last year’s Australian Open, Djokovic said of Kyrgios, “Off the court, I don’t have much respect for him.”  Yet as of late, they seem to have a budding friendship, after Nick was one of the few players to speak out in Novak’s favor during the deportation debacle prior to this year’s Australian Open.  On Saturday, they were even on Instagram discussing the idea of going out for drinks together after Sunday’s match, in one of 2022’s most surreal moments.

Djokovic of course has a vast edge in experience, but does not have the advantage in their head-to-head.  Kyrgios is an undefeated 2-0 against the 20-time Major champion.  Both of those matches occurred within a few weeks of each other in 2017.  At both Acapulco and Indian Wells, Nick prevailed after two tight sets.  However, that was during a considerable dip in Novak’s results.  Also, those were both best-of-three matches, and defeating Djokovic in best-of-five is currently one of the sport’s biggest challenges.  As per Tennis Abstract, Novak is an outstanding 36-10 in five-setters, and has won his last seven.  But if the match does go the distance, it’s worth noting Kyrgios is 11-3 in five-setters, and 6-0 at Wimbledon.

Both players survived five-setters during this fortnight to reach this stage.  In the quarterfinals, Djokovic came back from two-sets-down to take out Jannik Sinner.  And Kyrgios prevailed in two five-setters, over Paul Jubb and Brandon Nakashima.  Yet both men should be fully fresh for this final.  Novak only required two-and-a-half hours to defeat Cam Norrie in the semifinals, while Nick received a walkover in the semis from an injured Rafeal Nadal.

We know Kyrgios is capable of beating Djokovic, and the Australian’s physical conditioning is better than it’s been in years.  Grass may just be Nick’s best surface, and his serve should be even quicker than usual in the hot temperatures forecast on Sunday.  However, while Kyrgios will know he’s the underdog against the all-time great, he’ll certainly be feeling an enormous amount of nerves in his first Major final.  As much as Nick often tries to act as if he doesn’t care about his results, he very much does, and admitted to barely getting any sleep the night after he received the walkover into this final.  And that walkover may hurt his chances on Sunday, as he hasn’t played a competitive match in four days, and we’ve often seen players struggle in the round following a walkover.  Also, Kyrgios often performs better against players he despises, and this newfound mutual respect he’s found with Djokovic may not help his cause.  In a best-of-five match, Novak is the favorite to win his 21st Major, putting him just one title behind Nadal.


Other Notable Matches on Sunday:

Elise Mertens and Shuai Zhang (1) vs. Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova (2) – Krejcikova and Siniakova won this title in 2019, while Mertens is the defending champion, as she prevailed a year ago with Su-wei Hsieh.  And Shuai is a two-time Major doubles champion at other events.  This is only Mertens and Shuai’s second tournament as a team this season, though they’re undefeated during that time.


Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Caroline Wozniacki’s Father Criticises WTA For Lack Of Help For Mothers On Tour

Caroline Wozniacki was not given a wildcard for Rome or Roland Garros.

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Piotr Wozniacki has labelled the WTA as ‘amateur’ for their treatment of mothers on tour as he claims that Caroline Wozniacki should have had more wildcards.

The former Australian Open champion has played ten events since she announced her comeback last year.

Wozniacki has recovered her ranking to 117 in the world and her comeback has resulted in a fourth round appearance at the US Open as well as a quarter-final result at Indian Wells.

However the Dane has not been successful in gaining wildcards recently with both Rome and Roland Garros not offering Wozniacki one.

It’s a decision that Wozniacki’s father, Piotr, has not been happy with as he explained with Sport.PL, “The WTA believes that it is operating in an amateur fashion in the world of the largest professional women’s sport of all sports in the world. They sign contracts with the players and the players are obliged to do certain things under these contracts. And what do they get? Nothing, really nothing!” Piotr was quoted by tennisuptodate as saying.

“All wild cards, and there were 8 of them, were given to the Italians. I understand promoting their players, but how can you give the right to play in a tournament of this rank to such girls who should not even think that they could play in a Masters yet?

“Caroline was number one in her ranking. She won a Grand Slam tournament, won the Masters, played in almost 60 finals of their tournaments and won 30. So we are talking about a complete tennis player, someone who did a great job, who certainly increased the popularity of tennis, who earned a lot of money herself, but let them earn money. even much more.

“And it turns out that when someone like Caroline Wozniacki comes back as Caroline Wozniacki and family, she is no longer welcome. We can’t even prepare Caroline’s starting plan! We train, we prepare, and it turns out that there is nothing to do.

“This is happening because today in tennis everything is based only on relationships, on acquaintances, and not on clear rules. The thing is that if we know the organizers or tournament directors, we get a chance to play, but if we don’t know someone somewhere, they don’t want us there.

“Naturally, after the maternity break, my daughter had zero points. It takes a lot of time to start from scratch and reach the top, but we would do it patiently, but how can we do it when you don’t let a girl like that work for it? The rules in tennis today are such that there is no longer a mandatory wild card for someone who was once in the top 20, had a long break and came back.

“This card was really helpful for tennis players coming back after having a baby and for those coming back from serious injuries. And now Caroline, Angelique Kerber or Naomi Osaka are dependent only on someone else’s decisions. Since last year, all wild cards are the property of the tournaments, and the WTA washes its hands of them.”

It’s clear the Wozniacki family is disappointed as the Dane could be set to cancel her comeback next year.

However there is optimism that Wozniacki will receive one at Wimbledon as she has had past success on grass courts.

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Iga Swiatek Demolishes Aryna Sabalenka To Seal Third Rome Title

Iga Swiatek claimed her third Rome title after a dominant victory over Aryna Sabalenka.

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Iga Swiatek claimed her third Rome title by dominating Aryna Sabalenka 6-2 6-3 to send a big message of intent ahead of Roland Garros.

The world number one completed the Madrid and Rome double with a sensational performance.

Now Swiatek is the titleholder for the three biggest clay court titles as she will aim to defend her Roland Garros title.

The contest was a rematch from the Madrid final but this was far from the three hour contest that was produced in Spain.

Swiatek raised her level of play while Sabalenka committed way too many unforced errors throughout the contest.

The Pole broke on two occasions to wrap up a comfortable 37 minute set as her forehand was doing a lot of damage.

There was a comeback in the second set from the Australian Open champion as she produced effortless and consistent power, making the second set very competitive.

The world number one was forced to save break points as she just managed to be more stable on big moments.

A more controlled second set from Swiatek was rewarded towards the end of the set as once again Sabalenka crumbled under pressure when it mattered.

Two late breaks of serve completed the Swiatek surge as the Pole enters the second Grand Slam of the season in dominant form.

As for Sabalenka it’s a disappointing performance that she will look to put right at Roland Garros.

Roland Garros starts on the 26th of May where Swiatek is defending champion.

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Internazionali d’Italia Daily Preview: Sascha Zverev Plays Nicolas Jarry for the Men’s Singles Championship

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Nicolas Jarry on Friday night in Rome (twitter.com/InteBNLdItalia)

Sunday features three championship matches: the finals in men’s singles, men’s doubles, and women’s doubles.

On Sunday in Rome, Sascha Zverev will play for his first Masters 1000 title in over two years, while Nicolas Jarry will play in his first-ever final above ATP 250 level.  Zverev leads their head-to-head 4-2, but they are tied at 2-2 on clay.  Which man will walk away with the title?


Sascha Zverev (3) vs. Nicolas Jarry (21) – Not Before 5:00pm on Center Court

Zverev is 27-9 this season, and lost only one set on his way to this championship match.  That came in the semifinals against another Chilean, Alejandro Tabilo.  This is Sascha’s first ATP final since September of last year, and he’s playing for his first Masters 1000 title since 2021 in Cincinnati.  Zverev will soon go on trial in his home country of Germany, as he faces charges of domestic abuse.

Just like eventual champion Andrey Rublev in Madrid, Jarry arrived in Rome on a four-match losing streak.  And he had never advanced beyond the quarterfinals at a Masters 1000 tournament, so this result is quite surprising.  But 28-year-old Jarry is a tall presence (6’7”) who thumps the ball.  As per Tennis Channel, he was averaging 89 mph on his forehand during his three-set semifinal victory over Tommy Paul.  Nico has claimed a trio of three-setters on the way to the biggest match of his career, most notably upsetting Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals.

Zverev certainly has a huge edge in experience at this level, and in finals.  This is his 33rd ATP final, where he holds a record of 21-11.  And it’s his 11th Masters 1000 final, where he is 5-5.  Jarry has only previously appeared in six finals, all at 250-level, where he is 3-3.  But clay is the Chliean’s specialty, as all seven of his career finals have come on this surface.

Yet sometimes experience has a negative impact, particularly when you have suffered some painful losses.  Zverev has lost four of his last six Masters 1000 finals, and he is infamously 1-6 in Major semifinals.  So he has a lot of recent scar tissue from high-profile matches.

In that way, Jarry may benefit from a lack of experience.  While he’ll certainly be nervous on this big occasion, Nico has displayed plenty of confidence and composure against more experienced players throughout this event.  And he owns two prior victories over Zverev.  But when these two met in another final, five years ago in Geneva, Sascha saved two championship points to prevail.  That’s a result that sticks with both players throughout their rivalry.

However, I’m picking Jarry to pull off the upset and win the biggest title of his career on Sunday.  Zverev has a history of getting tight and playing more defensively in crucial moments.  Jarry’s aggressive mindset can take full advantage of such passive play.  And with so many top ATP players currently battling injuries, Zverev will likely feel a lot of pressure to win this title ahead of Roland Garros, especially as the much higher seed on this day.


Other Notable Matches on Sunday:

Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos (1) vs. Marcelo Arevalo and Mate Pavic – The top seeds are playing for their sixth Masters 1000 title as a team, and own a record of 5-1 in finals at this level.  Arevalo and Pavic are vying for the first Masters 1000 title of their new partnership for 2024.  Both teams are yet to drop a set this fortnight. 

Coco Gauff and Erin Routliffe (3) vs. Sara Errani and Jasmine Paolini – This is the first tournament for the team of Gauff and Routliffe, though both have won big doubles titles with other partners.  This is the biggest final to date for the Italian team of Errani and Paolini, though Errani won five WTA 1000 doubles titles alongside Roberta Vinci a decade ago, while Paolini won the WTA 1000 event in Dubai earlier this year in singles.


Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

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