United Cup Daily Preview: Ruud/Berrettini, Hurkacz/Wawrinka Headline Day 6 - UBITENNIS
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United Cup Daily Preview: Ruud/Berrettini, Hurkacz/Wawrinka Headline Day 6

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Matteo Berrettini on Friday in Brisbane (unitedcup.com)

On Tuesday in Australia, the third of three ties in each of the six round-robin groups of the inaugural United Cup will conclude.  The current group standings can be found here.

Day 6 will define the six teams advancing to the knockout stage of the tournament.  Great Britain and the United States have already secured their spots, and will collide in the next round.  Which four countries will join them?

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most prominent matches on the schedule.  Tuesday’s play gets underway at 10:00am local time in all three cities.


Matteo Berrettini [ITA] vs. Casper Ruud [NOR] – 10:00am in Brisbane

Italy won their first tie against Brazil, while Norway lost theirs, and is mathematically eliminated from advancement.  Italy leads Norway 2-0 in this tie.  If Italy wins one of their three matches on Tuesday, they advance.  If Norway wins all three matches on Tuesday, Brazil advances.

Both Ruud and Berrettini defeated Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro in straight sets in their opening singles matches.  Ruud is coming off a milestone 2022 season, where he went 51-22, and achieved his first two Major finals.  Matteo went just 32-12, as he missed the entire clay court season due to a right hand injury, missed Wimbledon due to COVID, and missed the end of the season due to a foot injury.

Ruud is 4-2 against Berrettini, though four of those matches took place on clay.  They’ve split their two hard court meetings, which both occurred at the US Open.  In 2020, Matteo prevailed in straight sets.  In 2022, Casper prevailed in straight sets.  Based on recent form, and their most recent encounter, Ruud is a slight favorite to be victorious on Tuesday.


Hurbert Hurkacz [POL] vs. Stan Wawrinka [SUI] – Not Before 4:30pm in Brisbane

Poland and Switzerland both won their first ties, then split their matches on Monday.  Whichever nation wins this tie will advance to the knockout stage.

Hurkacz and Wawrinka both defeated Alexander Bublik in their first singles matches, though only Hubi required a third set to do so.  Hurkacz was 41-21 last season, with only one title (Halle), and a modest 5-4 record at Slams.  Wawrinka went just 10-15 at all levels after missing a year of action due to injury.

In the first career meeting between these two players, Hurkacz must be favored.  While Wawrinka earned some impressive wins this past fall, over the likes of Daniil Medvedev and Ruud, he has not fully rediscovered his top form.  If Poland and Switzerland split Tuesday’s singles matches, this tie will come down to mixed doubles, and could see Hubi and Stan back on court, teaming with Iga Swiatek and Belinda Bencic, respectively.


Other Notable Matches on Tuesday:

Maria Sakkari [GRE] vs. Elise Mertens [BEL] – Greece needs to win just one of three matches on Tuesday to advance, while Belgium needs to win all three.  Sakkari and Mertens both won their opening singles contests.  Sakkari is 5-4 against Mertens at all levels.

Caroline Garcia [FRA] vs. Petra Martic [CRO] – Whichever nation wins this tie will advance.  Croatia leads 2-0.  Both players won their first singles matches.  Garcia leads their head-to-head 4-1.


The United Cup daily schedule is here.

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Roland Garros 2024: Rafael Nadal Faces Alexander Zverev In Blockbuster Opening Round

Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev will meet at Roland Garros in the first round with Andy Murray taking on Stan Wawrinka in the opening round.

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Rafael Nadal has been drawn against Rome champion Alexander Zverev in the opening round of Roland Garros.

The 14-time Roland Garros champion will most likely be making his last appearance at the event where he has such a great history at.

It’s been a mixed clay court season for Nadal who built gradual momentum in Madrid but suffered an early exit in Rome to Hubert Hurkacz.

Now the Spaniard has been drawn to take on the champion of Rome, Alexander Zverev, in the opening round.

The match is a repeat of the 2022 semi-final where Zverev broke his ankle losing almost a year of his career.

This contest headlines the second quarter of the draw which also features Karen Khachanov, Holger Rune and Daniil Medvedev.

In the other quarter of the top half of the draw, defending champion Novak Djokovic will begin his Roland Garros campaign against Pierre-Hughes Herbert.

There is also a potential third round clash with either Gael Monfils or Lorenzo Musetti for Djokovic, who is currently in Geneva gaining extra match practice ahead of the second Grand Slam of the season.

The Serb could have a repeat of last year’s final in the quarter-finals with Casper Ruud as the Norwegian begins his campaign against Jakub Mensik.

In the bottom half of the draw Jannik Sinner plays his first tournament since suffering a hip injury in Rome as he takes on Christopher Eubanks in the opening round.

Sinner could face Cameron Norrie in the third round with the Brit taking on Pavel Kotov in his opening round before playing the winner of the battle of the Grand Slam champions between Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka.

Murray and Wawrinka will clash for the fourth time at Roland Garros with Wawrinka leading their head-to-head 2-1 in Paris.

This section also includes in-form players such as Hubert Hurkacz, Alejandro Tabilo and Rome finalist Nicolas Jarry.

Finally Carlos Alcaraz will begin his Roland Garros campaign against a qualifier before potentially playing Jack Draper in the second round.

Another exciting clash awaits Alcaraz in the third round in the form of Sebastian Korda with Andrey Rublev or Stefanos Tsitsipas being potential quarter-final opponents.

This is the full draw with Roland Garros beginning on Sunday.

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Alexander Zverev Secures Return To Top Four After Winning Italian Open

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Alexander Zverev has clinched his first Masters title since 2021 after downing Nicolas Jarry in straight sets at the Italian Open.

The world No.5 surged to a 6-4,7-5, victory at the Faro Italico to become the 10th player in the Open Era to win the Rome trophy on multiple occasions. He also won the tournament in 2017. Zverev’s latest win was aided by an impressive service display from the 27-year-old who also hit 15 winners against eight unforced errors. He is now 22-1 against players ranked outside the top five at the tournament with his only loss being to Matteo Berrettini five years ago.

“It means a lot. Winning my first (Masters) title and winning my first after my injury in Rome. Rome is a very special place for me,” the new champion said afterwards. 
“I said at the beginning of the week if Rome is the place of firsts for me I’m extremely happy about it. It’s a very special week.” 

Playing in his first Masters 1000 final since 2022, Zverev produced a serving masterclass throughout the opening set with the German winning 20 out of 21 points. In contrast, Jarry experienced more difficult but valiantly fought back with the Chilean saving two straight break points at 4-4. Eventually, the third seed sealed the opener two games later with the help of some costly shots coming from across the court. A deep shot towards the baseline was unsuccessfully returned by Jarry, handing Zverev a set point which he converted.

Continuing to pile the pressure on in the second set, Zverev had a double chance to break for a 3-1 lead but failed to capitalise on that opportunity. The opportunities continued to come and go. Back-to-back double faults from Jarry at 4-5 handed Zverev two championship points but once again he failed to take advantage. Eventually, he sealed victory two games later with the help of a forehand shot that Jarry returned out. Prompting Zverev to raise his hands in delight before later paying tribute to his rival. 

“He’s playing huge. You can see that by the opponents he beat and how he beat them,” he said of Jarry. 
“I told him if he continues playing like that he is going to have many more chances. I’m happy to be the winner.”

As a result of his Rome triumph, Zverev has secured a top-four seeding for the French Open. On Monday he will rise in the PIF ATP rankings to No.4 which will be his highest position since August 2022. During that same year, he sustained a serious ankle injury which sidelined him for months. 

“The focus is on Paris, that’s for sure. but let me enjoy this one for a day or so and then I will have my full focus on Paris,” said Zverev.

Zverev has now won six Masters 1000 titles which places him in joint-ninth on the all-time list along with Daniil Medvedev. 

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Novak Djokovic Accepts Geneva Wildcard Ahead Of Roland Garros

Novak Djokovic has accepted a wildcard into next week’s ATP 250 event in Geneva as he looks to improve his form ahead of Roland Garros.

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Novak Djokovic has shockingly accepted a wildcard into next week’s ATP 250 event in Geneva.

The world number one hasn’t had the best season so far having yet to reach a final at any of his events this season.

There was hope for Djokovic that his fortunes would change on clay and the Serb started his clay court season by reaching the semi-finals in Monte-Carlo before losing to Casper Ruud.

However Djokovic’s clay court hopes were dashed in Rome as he lost in the third round to in-form Chilean Alejandro Tabilo.

This has meant that Djokovic risks being undercooked for the second Grand Slam of the season at Roland Garros.

Therefore the Serb has had no option but to take a wildcard into next week’s ATP 250 in Geneva.

Djokovic will join Casper Ruud, Andy Murray, Denis Shapovalov and Taylor Fritz in next week’s event.

Next week’s appearance will be the first appearance in Geneva in Djokovic who will be the top seed in Switzerland.

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