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.


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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