Internazionali d’Italia Daily Preview: Super Saturday in Rome - UBITENNIS
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Internazionali d’Italia Daily Preview: Super Saturday in Rome



Anhelina Kalinina on Friday in Rome (

Saturday in Rome features both the women’s singles and doubles championship matches, as well as both men’s singles semifinals.


Elena Rybakina has reached her third WTA 1000 final out of the last four, and is vying for the fifth title of her career against Anhelina Kalinina, who at 26-year-old has achieved the biggest final of her career, and is playing for her first-ever WTA title.

The men’s semifinals will reignite two contentious rivalries from the recent past, as Casper Ruud faces Holger Rune in a rematch from last year’s Roland Garros quarterfinals, and Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas face off for the 12th time.

The women’s doubles final will cap off the evening, featuring two of the top four seeds, as well as two of the top five singles players in the world.

With so many big matches on the day, this preview will briefly dive into all four.

Holger Rune (7) vs. Casper Ruud (4) – 1:00pm on Center Court

In the aforementioned French Open quarterfinal, Ruud prevailed 6-4 in the fourth.  After the match, Casper criticized Holger’s behavior, and is one of many players to insinuate Rune acts immaturely on court.  This will be their first meeting since that match.

Casper is 4-0 against Holger overall, with all four contests occurring on clay in 2021 or 2022.  But in 2023, Rune is clearly having the better season.  He is 26-9 overall, and 12-2 on clay, while Ruud is 15-9 overall, and 10-3 on clay.  Both men arrive with one clay court title to their name this year – Rune won Munich, and Ruud won Estoril. 

Yet Holger’s recent victories have been more impressive than Casper’s, especially his three-set win over Novak Djokovic in the last round.  And despite their lopsided head-to-head, I expect Rune to score his first win over Ruud on Saturday.

Daniil Medvedev (3) vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas (5) – Second on Center Court

This rivalry started five years ago in Miami, when Medvedev and Tsitsipas had to be physically separated by the chair umpire while words were exchanged after Daniil won in three sets.  Medvedev leads their rivalry 7-4, though Tsitsipas has now claimed four of their last six encounters.  On clay, they’re 1-1.

Medvedev is now 37-5 this season, while Tsitsipas is 25-7.  Stefanos has not dropped a set this fortnight, defeating two seeded players (Musetti, Coric).  Medvedev has dropped one set, and earned a strong straight-set victory over Sascha Zverev.

But based on their more recent history, and on this surface, Tsitsipas is a considerable favorite to return to the Rome final for the second consecutive year.

Elena Rybakina (7) vs. Anhelina Kalinina (30) – Not Before 7:00pm on Center Court

Rybakina is 29-7 on the year, and into her fourth big final of the season (Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami).  She defeated Jelena Ostapenko in straight sets on Friday evening.

Kalinina is 15-10 this season after her five wins this fortnight.  She won two long three-setters in a row to reach her first final at this level, spending six-and-half hours on court in her victories over Beatriz Haddad Maia and Veronika Kudermetova.

Anhelina claimed their only previous meeting, which also occurred on clay.  That was a three-set win last April in Charleston.  But a year later, Elena has evolved into one of the WTA’s top players, with a dominating serve.  Rybakina is the clear favorite to win this title on Saturday night.

Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula (1) vs. Storm Hunter and Elise Mertens (4) – Last on Center Court

This is the fourth final of the year for Gauff and Pegula, and they are playing for their third title of 2023.  For Hunter and Mertens, this is their first final in their fifth tournament of the season.  When these two teams met two months ago in the Miami quarterfinals, Gauff and Pegula prevailed in a third-set 10-point tiebreak.  On Saturday, the Americans are the favorites to win again.

Saturday’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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