Indian Wells Daily Preview: The Women’s Semifinals - UBITENNIS
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Indian Wells Daily Preview: The Women’s Semifinals



Iga Swiatek on Thursday at Indian Wells (

The women’s semifinals take place on Friday, featuring the three current reigning WTA Major singles champions.

Roland Garros and US Open champion Iga Swiatek, Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, and Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka are also the top three players in the year-to-date rankings.  They are joined in Friday’s semifinals by Maria Sakkari, who like Swiatek is looking to reach the final of this tournament for the second consecutive year.

Friday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time with the women’s doubles semifinals, featuring top seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerinia Siniakova, who have claimed 23 of their last 25 matches.  The men’s doubles semifinals will also be decided on Friday, which include top seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski, as well as defending champions John Isner and Jack Sock.

Maria Sakkari (7) vs. Aryna Sabalenka (2)  – Not Before 3:00pm on Stadium 1

Sabalenka is currently playing the best tennis of her career.  It’s a remarkable turnaround from a year ago, when she was striking double-digit double faults in nearly all her matches, and even resorting to an underhand serve at times.  Aryna is 16-1 on the year, and took our Barbora Krekcikova and Coco Gauff to advance to this semifinal.

Sakkari is now 15-5 in 2023, but unlike Sabalenka, who recently broke through in a Major semifinal after three heartbreaking losses, semifinals remain a significant hurdle for Maria.  She has lost all three semifinals she has contested this year in three sets.  She also lost in the semifinals of the WTA Finals the last two years.  And Sakkari has lost both of her Major semifinals, even after holding a match point in the first.  But she did prevail in the semifinals here a year ago, as well as in another WTA 1000 semifinal this past fall in Guadalajara.

Sabalenka is 4-3 against Sakkari, though Maria has taken their two most recent encounters, both of which occurred during round robin play the past two years at the WTA Finals.  However, based on Aryna’s current form and level of confidence, her big serve and ball-striking should propel her to her first championship match at Indian Wells.

Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Elena Rybakina (10) – Not Before 6:00pm on Stadium 1

This is a rematch from the round of 16 at January’s Australian Open, when Rybakina upset the World No.1 in straight sets.  Swiatek claimed their only other previous meeting, two years ago on an indoor hard court in Ostrava.

Iga is now 16-3 this season, and looking to reach her third consecutive final, after doing so in both Doha and Dubai.  She is still yet to play a three-set match in 2023, which of course means she hasn’t dropped a set this fortnight, though she’s also yet to face a player ranked inside the top 30.  Rybakina is 14-4, and survived a stern test from Karolina Muchova in Thursday’s quarterfinals, prevailing 6-4 in the third after nearly three hours.

On the slow-playing hard courts of Indian Wells, I like Swiatek’s chances of avenging her Australian Open loss to Rybakina.  As formidable as Elena has become, Iga has truly separated herself from the WTA pack for the past year, and the court speed will allow her more time to defend against Rybakina’s power.  Swiatek will also be the fresher player on Friday.

Friday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two



Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket



The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.


Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.


Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.


Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open



Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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