WTA Finals & ATP Paris Masters Daily Preview: Swiatek, Djokovic Play on Tuesday - UBITENNIS
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WTA Finals & ATP Paris Masters Daily Preview: Swiatek, Djokovic Play on Tuesday



Iga Swiatek on media day in Fort Worth (twitter.com/wta)

Tuesday’s singles play in Fort Worth sees World No.1 Iga Swiatek face Daria Kasatkina, who is making her debut at this event.  Another debutante, Coco Gauff, will play Caroline Garcia, who returns to the WTA Finals for the first time since 2017.


In Paris, defending champion Novak Djokovic makes his 2022 debut at an event he’s won six times, against serve-and-volleying American Maxime Cressy, who was born in Paris.  Another multi-time Major champ, Stan Wawrinka, takes on Next Gen standout Holger Rune, who is nearly half his age.  And Andrey Rublev and Hubert Hurkacz both play on Tuesday, as they aim to earn a spot in the ATP Finals later this month in Turin.

Each day, this preview will analyze the most intriguing matchup from both the WTA Finals and the ATP Paris Masters, while highlighting the other matches on the schedules.  Tuesday’s play in Paris begins at 11:00am local time, while play in Fort Worth begins at 3:00pm local time.

Novak Djokovic (6) vs. Maxime Cressy – Fourth on Court Central in Paris

After missing the entire summer hard court season, the unvaccinated Djokovic returned at Laver Cup.  Despite going 1-1 in singles at that event, he promptly won back-to-back titles in Tel Aviv and Astana.  In Astana, he defeated both Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev.  Cressy had a great start to the year, reaching the final of an Australian Open tune-up event, and the second week at the season’s first Slam itself.  He also gained success on grass, winning titles in both Eastbourne and Newport, and upsetting Felix Auger-Aliassime at Wimbledon.  His attacking style is often rewarded on fast surfaces, and the courts in Bercy are some of the fastest on tour.  But in his first meeting against the 21-time Major champ, it would be surprising if Maxime pulls off the upset.

Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Daria Kasatkina (8) – Not Before 5:00pm local time in Fort Worth

Swiatek is a stellar 64-8 on the year, with eight titles, two of which were Majors (Roland Garros, US Open).  A year ago, she failed to advance out of the round robin stage of this event, going 1-2.  Kasatkina has compiled a record of 40-20, with two titles.  And she advanced to her first Slam semifinal at Roland Garros.  But in that semi, she was dominated by Iga 6-2, 6-1.  Overall Swiatek is 4-1 against Kasatkina, with all four victories coming in straight sets this season.  Across those eight sets contested within 2022, Daria has managed only a total of 12 games.  With three of those matches taking place on hard courts, there’s not much evidence to suggest a different outcome in this lopsided rivalry on Tuesday.

Other Notable Matches on Tuesday:

John Isner vs. Andrey Rublev (7) – Rublev currently sits in the eighth and final qualifying spot for Turin, with Taylor Fritz and Hubert Hurkacz needing to at least make the final to have a chance of surpassing him.  Isner is a former runner-up at this event, and is 3-0 against Andrey, which includes two matches on hard courts.

Hubert Hurkacz (10) vs. Adriann Mannarino (WC) – Hurkacz is now 40-20 on the year, but losses in the quarterfinals of three tournaments in October hurt his qualifying chances for Turin.  Mannarino is only 8-11 lifetime at this event in his home country, but he did take out Hurkacz in straight sets at this year’s Australian Open.

Holger Rune vs. Stan Wawrinka (PR) – Rune has claimed 13 of his last 15 matches, reaching three consecutive finals, and winning the title over Stefanos Tsistipas in Stockholm.  Wawrinka was a quarterfinalist last week in Basel, where he upset US Open finalist Casper Ruud. 

Coco Gauff (4) vs. Caroline Garcia (6) – Gauff is 38-19 in 2022, though her only appearance in a final was her straight-set loss at Roland Garros to Swiatek.  Garcia started the year ranked 74th in the world, but is 41-19 on the season, with three titles on three different surfaces, and achieved her first Major semifinal in New York.  Gauff leads their head-to-head 2-1, though Caroline took out Coco in the US Open quarterfinals.

Tuesday’s full Order of Play at the WTA Finals is here, and the Paris Masters schedule 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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The Year-End Rankings: The Rise Of Alcaraz And The Eternals, Djokovic and Nadal

Image via ATP Twitter



By Roberto Ferri

Let’s start our last article on the ATP rankings by quoting the words which are said to be the last of emperor Augustus: “The play is over, applaud”.


We cannot but applaud Novak Djokovic, six-time ATP Finals winner just like Roger Federer. And we applaud the season, which, for good or ill, has been unique. Just consider the most striking events: Carlos Alcaraz rising to No. 1, Roger Federer’s retirement, all the issues involving Djokovic and the Wimbledon affair.  

The top positions of the ranking have been significantly impacted by Djokovic’s absence from two Majors (Australian Open and US Open), four Masters 1000 (Indian Wells, Miami Open, Canadian Open, Cincinnati) and by ATP’s decision to not award points for Wimbledon.

If we compare the ATP rankings published after the ATP Finals in 2021 and 2022, this fact is clearly noticeable. 

22 NOVEMBER 2021

19Bautista AgutSpain2260
20Carreno BustaSpain2230

14 NOVEMBER 2022:

13Carreno BustaSpain2495

Novak Djokovic ended 2021 with 4720 points more than Carlos Alcaraz; also Medvedev and Tsitsipas earned more points than the Spaniard, who would not have reached 7000 points even counting the 135 points he wasn’t awarded at Wimbledon.

A few comments on the 2022 rankings:

  • Casper Ruud, the ATP Finals finalist, concludes his excellent year in third place, overtaking Stefanos Tsitsipas with an impressive final rush.
  • Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal are the only top 10 players born in the 80s; the other 8 were born in the second half of the 90s.
  • Cameron Norrie and Pablo Carreno Busta are the survivors of the lost generation, born between 1990 and 1995 and that was most overpowered by the Big Four dominance. 
  • Only North America, beyond Europe, is represented at the very highest: Auger Aliassime, Fritz, Shapovalov and Tiafoe.
  • Holger Rune has gained 92 positions since the start of the year. Carlos Alcaraz “just” 31.
  • A final note: Kei Nishikori ends 2022 without a ranking. Does this suggest he’s going to retire?


Owing to earned and dropped points, as well as results in the Challenger events, five players in the top 100 have achieved their career highest this week:

Emil Ruusuvuori – 40

Quentin Halys – 64

Christopher O’Connell – 79

Roman Safiullin – 89

Nuno Borges – 91

A special applause for the 20-year old Ben Shelton, a bright prospect for USA tennis, who has made his debut in the top 100. Thanks to his victory in the Champaign-Urbana Challenger he’s now ranked 97.

Is that all? Not yet! Just a quiz for everybody: which was the last year which saw the first two places in the rankings occupied at the end of the season by two players of the same nationality?

That’s really all for now. We’ll be back in 2023.

Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

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ATP Finals Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic Faces Casper Ruud in the Championship Match



Novak Djokovic on Saturday in Turin (twitter.com/atptour)

The biggest ATP non-Major final of 2022 takes place on Sunday in Turin, Italy.


2022 has been a bizarre year in the career of Novak Djokovic.  It started with his deportation from Australia, forcing the unvaccinated Djokovic to miss the first Major of the year.  That would be one of six prominent events that Novak would miss this season due to COVID-19 entry rules (Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami, Montreal, Cincinnati, US Open).  Yet Djokovic was still able to accumulate a record of 41-7, and win his 21st Slam at Wimbledon.  He is now 17-1 at indoor ATP events this fall, and will end the year as the World No.5  With a win on Sunday, he would tie Roger Federer for most all-time ATP Finals titles.

2022 has been a groundbreaking year in the career of Casper Ruud.  He had already established himself as a top 10 player, but prior to this season, was predominantly thought of as a clay court specialist, with five of his six ATP titles coming on that surface.  Yet that all changed this season, starting in Miami when he reached his first Masters 1000 finals.  Casper would go on to also reach his first two Major finals, in Paris in New York.  He is now 51-21, and into his fourth big final of the year.

Sunday’s action in Turin starts at 4:00pm local time with the doubles championship match, featuring Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic (4) vs. Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury (2).  Both teams are an undefeated 4-0 this past week.  This is Ram and Salisbury’s second consecutive year in the final, having lost a year ago to Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.  Mektic won this title two years ago alongside Wesley Koolhof, while this is Pavic’s first appearance in the final of this event.  These teams have not met since the semifinals of this tournament last year, when Ram and Salisbury prevailed.

Casper Ruud (3) Novak Djokovic (7) – Not Before 7:00pm

Ruud is 3-1 this past week, with his only loss coming in a dead rubber against Rafael Nadal.  Prior to his three top 10 victories across the last seven days, Casper only had two all season (Zverev, Auger-Aliassime).  And he is yet to win a title above 250-level in his career, with the aforementioned three losses this year in big finals.  Ruud was a semifinalist here a year ago in his ATP Finals debut.

Djokovic is an undefeated 4-0 this week, which includes an arduous effort to defeat Daniil Medvedev on Friday in a dead rubber.  Novak is now 10-3 against top 10 opposition in 2022, having taken nine of his last 10 against the top 10.  He is 4-2 in finals this year, though he lost his most recent one, two weeks in Bercy, to Holger Rune.  Djokovic is an eight-time finalist here, though he hasn’t won this title since 2015.

Djokovic has played a lot more tennis across the last two days than Ruud.  On Friday, Novak spent over three hours on court, while Ruud had the day off.  But Djokovic still looked plenty fresh for his semifinal on Saturday against Taylor Fritz, and was able to prevent the American from extending that tight contest to a third set.  Novak is 3-0 against Casper, which includes a straight-set victory at this same event a year ago.  And considering Ruud’s poor record in significant finals, Djokovic is a considerable favorite to win his sixth title at the ATP Finals on Sunday.

Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

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