Australian Open Daily Preview: Young Phenoms Coco Gauff and Emma Raducanu Play for the First Time - UBITENNIS
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Australian Open Daily Preview: Young Phenoms Coco Gauff and Emma Raducanu Play for the First Time



Coco Gauff on Monday in Melbourne (

On Wednesday in Melbourne, 2021 US Open Champion Emma Raducanu faces 2022 Roland Garros Runner-up Coco Gauff, in what could be the first of many matches between these two young superstars.


Overall WTA action on Day 3 features eight Major singles champions, including World No.1 Iga Swiatek.  And two women who have recently made deep runs at this event, Danielle Collins and Karolina Muchova, collide in the second round.

On the ATP side, Defending Champion Rafael Nadal takes on Mackie McDonald, who advanced to the second week of this tournament two years ago.  And two other top men’s seeds, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev, play two Aussie wild cards in Rinky Hijikata and John Millman, both of whom prevailed in dramatic five-setters on Monday.

Additionally, a number of first round singles matches are to be concluded on Wednesday due to extreme heat preventing play for several hours on Tuesday.  But with rain possible throughout the day in Melbourne, it could be a challenging day for players on the outer courts.

Each day this preview will highlight the four most intriguing matchups, while outlining the other notable matches on the schedule.  Wednesday’s play will begin at 11:00am local time. 

Rafael Nadal (1) vs. Mackie McDonald – Not Before 2:00pm on Rod Laver Arena

Nadal arrived in Melbourne having lost six of his last seven matches, but grinded his way to a four-set victory on Monday over a cramping Jack Draper.  Can the defending champion now find his confidence and settle into the tournament?

McDonald arrived in Melbourne having lost five matches at Majors where he held a two-set-to-love lead.  He again forfeited a two-set-to-love lead to Brandon Nakashima on Monday, despite holding match point in the fourth-set tiebreak, yet managed to close out the match 6-4 in the fifth.  The American has twice reached the fourth round at a Slam, including two years ago in Melbourne.

Three years ago at Roland Garros, Nadal easily defeated McDonald in their only previous meeting, dropping just four games.  On this surface, and against this less-than-100% version of Rafa, I expect Mackie to provide much more resistance.  And unlike Draper, McDonald will not be cramping, as Mackie is one of the fittest players on tour.  But the American does not possess any weapons that can seriously threaten Nadal, so I like Rafa’s chances of advancing to the third round of this event for the 17th time in 18 appearances.

Emma Raducanu vs. Coco Gauff (7) – 7:00pm on Rod Laver Arena

Gauff has been on fire to start the season, with a 6-0 record.  She was the champion in Auckland two weeks ago, and is yet to drop a set this year.  And Coco is coming off a landmark 2022 season, when she achieved her first Major singles final.

Raducanu of course achieved that feat a year earlier, when she completed the most shocking Slam title run in tennis history at the 2021 US Open, winning the tournament as a qualifier.  Emma has understandably endured disappointing results since that time, losing more matches than she won last year.  And two weeks ago in Auckland, she was forced to retire due to an ankle injury, though she comfortably prevailed in straight sets on Monday.

In their first career meeting, Gauff must be considered a strong favorite.  Coco’s form across the last 12 months has been substantially higher than that of Emma’s.  But I am curious to see how both players handle this highly-anticipated matchup, with the tennis world expecting this to become a leading WTA rivalry for years to come.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (3) vs. Rinky Hijikata (WC) – Last on Rod Laver Arena

Tsitsipas has reached the semifinals of this tournament in three of the last four years, but is yet to advance farther.  In the opening round, he looked sharp against an in-form Quentin Halys, who won two Challenger events on hard courts this past fall.

Hijikata is a 21-year-old Australian who electrified the Aussies on Monday night, coming back from two-sets-down to defeat Yannick Hanfmann in five.  That was Rinky’s first main draw victory at a Major.  He won 53 matches at all levels last season, 47 of which were on hard courts.  And in his Slam debut last August in New York, he made a name for himself by taking the first set from Rafael Nadal.

Of course Tsitsipas is a prohibitive favorite in this matchup.  But seeing the entertaining and charismatic youngster play on his country’s biggest court should be fun, and Rinky is fully capable of making this a highly competitive contest.

Karolina Muchova vs. Danielle Collins (13) – Last on Margaret Court Arena

Collins was the runner-up here a year ago, but is currently battling a knee injury.  Despite having her knee heavily taped on Monday, she weathered an arduous battle against Anna Kalinskaya, in a match that lasted over three hours.

Muchova was a semifinalist here two years ago, but after suffering multiple injuries the past two years, is now ranked outside the top 100.  Yet she lost just three games in her opening round match, spending nearly two hours less on court than Collins.

Certainly Karolina will be the fresher player in this first-time encounter.  And she possesses much more variety and guile in her game than Danielle.  With Collins at least slightly-injured, as well as under the pressure of defending finalist points at this event, Muchova should be favored to prevail.

Other Notable Matches on Wednesday:

Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Camila Osorio – Swiatek survived two tight sets against Jule Niemeier on Monday evening.  Osorio is a 21-year-old who was ranked as high as 33rd in the world during 2022. 

Cristina Bucsa (Q) vs. Bianca Andreescu – Andreescu beat the 25th seed, Marie Bouzkova, in straight sets in the first round.  Bucsa is a 25-year-old who won 49 matches at all levels last season.

Jessica Pegula (3) vs. Aliaksandra Sasnovich – Pegula dropped just one game in her opening match, which lasted less than an hour.  In the second round of last summer’s US Open, she defeated Sasnovich 6-4, 6-4.

Alex Molcan vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (6) – Molcan took out 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka in a nearly four-and-a-half hour five-setter on Monday night.  And he’s 1-0 against Auger-Aliassime, having outlasted him last April on the clay of Marrakech in a final set tiebreak.

Juncheng Shang (Q) vs. Frances Tiafoe (16) – On Monday, 17-year-old Juncheng became the first Chinese man to win a match at the Australian Open in the Open Era.  On the same day, Tiafoe survived a stern four-set test from Daniel Altmaier.

John Millman (WC) vs. Daniil Medvedev (7) – Medvedev lost only three games in his first round match.  Millman came back from two-sets-to-one down to prevail in five over Marc-Andrea Huesler. 

Wednesday’s full Order of Play is here.


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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Juan Carlos Ferrero Analyses Key Areas For Carlos Alcaraz’s Development

Juan Carlos Ferrero has outlined the next steps in Carlos Alcaraz’s development.



(@tennisnewsbrazil - Twitter)

Carlos Alcaraz’s coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero has analysed the key areas for the Spaniard’s development heading into the 2024 season.


The former world number one’s season has come to an end after a successful year which saw him win the Wimbledon title as well as winning two Masters 1000 titles.

Alcaraz capped off an incredible season by reaching the semi-finals at the Nitto ATP Finals, where he lost to Novak Djokovic.

However there is a long way for the Spaniard to go if he wants to consistently go toe-to-toe with Novak Djokovic.

Speaking to Marca Alcaraz’s coach Juan Carlos Ferrero spoke about the Spaniard’s development and said that Alcaraz is too emotional, “Be more regular in games, not open doors. Sometimes there are mistakes and it is something that we have to improve a lot,” Ferrero commented.

“Although it is true that he opens doors, he always competes well and at the highest level. He knows it, the other day he already said that Novak doesn’t give you one. He has to improve his decision making and he will achieve that with experience. Carlos is very emotional and that sometimes helps him and other times not so much.”

It’s clear Alcaraz’s high-quality is there but to consistently do it against Djokovic is another task altogether as the Spaniard looks to go from strength-to strength next season.

One area that is clearly a priority for Alcaraz is physical conditioning especially considering what happened against Djokovic at Roland Garros earlier in the season.

Ferrero said that will be a clear focus heading into 2024 but couldn’t guarantee that Alcaraz will play a tournament before the Australian Open, “Because of the year and the fatigue he has been in, what he needs is rest and disconnecting for 8-10 days with his friends,” Ferrero stated.

“From there, the thinking must go back to working really hard, strong and well to start very strongly in Australia. One can never be sure of that. Sometimes you play a tournament and it doesn’t go well, you left home too early. There are many ways of thinking.

“This year we haven’t played Australia and he finishes number two. That means there is no urgency to play a tournament early. Carlos is a player who enters competition quickly, you don’t usually see him without rhythm.

“Although it is true that he becomes more dangerous from the round of 16, from the quarter-finals. I am confident that the two exhibition matches and the training sessions will help us play a good tournament.”

Alcaraz will be looking to play the Australian Open which starts on the 15th of January after the Spaniard missed last year’s tournament due to a leg injury.

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Australian Open Chief Confident Nadal Will Play But Kyrgios’ Participation Uncertain



Nadal RG 2022 by Night (foto @RolandGarros)

The tournament director of the Australian Open says he is ‘certain’ that Rafael Nadal will play at the Grand Slam even though the Spaniard has yet to outline his comeback plans. 


Craig Tiley told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday he hopes to receive some clarity over Nadal’s intentions in the next couple of weeks but is confident he will play. However, the tennis official had previously claimed in October that the former world No.1 had already committed to play in the event before his team denied that statement.  

Nadal, who has won 22 Grand Slam titles, hasn’t played a Tour match since his second round defeat at the Australian Open in January due to a hip injury. He was originally expecting to take an eight-week break but the recovery didn’t go to plan and he ended up having surgery. In May he confirmed that he will take an extended break from the sport to heal his body and admitted that retirement next year is a possibility.

“Rafa has been training, I follow him closely, probably every day because he’s a massive drawcard for us,” the Reuters News Agency quoted Tiley as saying. 
“He wants to play, he’s obviously planning on playing. It all depends on how he pulls up.
“Hopefully in the next week or the next two weeks, we get some specific confirmation of that. I’m certain Rafa will be here because he’s not going to want to miss the opportunity to repeat what he did a couple of years ago.”

Earlier this month Nadal confirmed that he intends to return to the Tour but admits that he will continue to experience a degree of pain. Although he has yet to give any information about which tournament he will begin his comeback at. The 2024 season begins during the first week of January.

“I’m well, training, and happy. I’m at a good stage of my life,” quoted Nadal as telling reporters in Barcelona.
“Until now I didn’t know if I would play tennis again someday, and now I genuinely believe I will. I’m still not ready to say when, but I’m able to train increasingly longer, and the progress is good.’

Will Kyrgios play?

Another player Tiley is eager to welcome back is home player and former Wimbledon Finalist Nick Kyrgios who has only played one Tour-level match this season due to injury. He underwent knee surgery in January and then tore a ligament in his wrist during the summer. As a result, the Australian currently doesn’t have an ATP ranking due to his inactivity. 

“We have spoken to Nick, and he obviously wants to do the best he possibly can to give him the best chance to play in January,” Tiley said of Kyrgios.
“Whether he’s playing, whether he’s doing something else, Nick will be here in January and to get him to play will be great. But we’ve got to take it as it comes and he’s got to make sure he takes care of his health …” 

Kyrgios recently worked as an analyst for the Tennis Channel during this year’s ATP Finals in Turin and gave a brief update on his ongoing recovery during a segment. 

“After last year, I had such a great year, and I’m so hungry to get back out there,” the 2022 Wimbledon finalist commented.
“So I’m doing everything I can to get back out there. Obviously, you know how injuries are every day, just doing the rehab, doing the gym work.”

The Australian Open will begin on Sunday 14th January. Novak Djokovic and Aryna Sabalenka are the defending champions. 

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