Internazionali d’Italia Daily Preview: The Women’s Semifinals - UBITENNIS
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Internazionali d’Italia Daily Preview: The Women’s Semifinals



Elena Rybakina on Wednesday in Rome (

With two-time defending champion Iga Swiatek out of the tournament, who will be crowned a first-time Rome champion?

One women’s semifinal is a battle between two Major champions, as Elena Rybakina faces Jelena Ostapenko.  The other features two players looking to advance to the biggest final of their career: Veronika Kudermetova and Anhelina Kalinina.

Also on Friday, the men’s doubles semifinals will be played, featuring the top seeds alongside three unseeded teams.

Throughout the tournament, this preview will analyze the day’s two most prominent matches, while highlighting the other notable matches on the schedule.  Friday’s play begins at 1:00pm local time.

Veronika Kudermetova (11) vs. Anhelina Kalinina (30) – Not Before 3:30pm on Center Court

Kudermetova was only 10-9 on the year heading into Madrid, but has now won eight of her last nine matches after reaching back-to-back WTA 1000 semifinals, her best result at this level to date.  Veronika has defeated three straight seeds to reach this semifinal (Potapova, Bouzkova, Qinwen).

Similarly, Kalinina was just 10-10 this season prior to this fortnight, and arrived in Rome on a four-match losing streak, having lost her last eight sets played.  But after defeating two top 20 seeds in three-setters (Keys, Haddad Maia), she’s achieved her best result at WTA 1000 level.  Anhelina is vying for only the second WTA final of her career.

These players have split two previous three-setters on hard courts.  Most recently, Kalinina overcame Kudermetova 7-5 in the third this past February in Dubai.  But in their rubber match, I give Kudermetova the slight edge.  Her recent experience in a WTA 1000 semifinal, as well as playing in the quarterfinals of Roland Garros a year ago, should prove to be valuable experience on Friday.

Elena Rybakina (7) vs. Jelena Ostapenko (20) – Not Before 7:00pm on Center Court

Rybakina is 28-7 this year, and into her third WTA 1000 semifinal of the year.  Though she did receive some help along the way, benefiting from the mid-match retirements of both Anna Kalinskaya and Iga Swiatek.  Elena is 2-0 in her other WTA 1000 semifinals this year on hard courts, defeating both Swiatek and Jessica Pegula.

Ostapenko is 18-10 in 2023, and took out three consecutive top names to reach her first semifinal of the season (Krejcikova, Kasatkina, Badosa).  She had previously advanced twice to the quarterfinals of this event, but failed to go farther.  This is Jelena’s seventh WTA 1000 semifinal, and she holds a record of 2-4 in this round.

Ostapenko is 2-1 against Rybakina, though Elena took their most recent meeting in straight sets, earlier this year in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.  This will be their first encounter on clay.  In another semifinal that could easily go either way, I’m leaning towards Jelena prevailing.  Her impressive victories this fortnight indicate that her confidence is peaking, while Rybakina has yet to defeat a seeded player at this tournament in a completed match.  But both women possess enough power and aggression to control their own fate if they’re playing their best, or playing their worst.  

Other Notable Matches on Friday:

Hugo Nys and Jan Zielinski vs. Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos – Nys and Zielinski were surprise finalists this past January at the Australian Open.  Granollers and Zeballos are two-time Major finalists, and four-time Masters 1000 champions as a team. 

Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski (1) vs. Robin Haase and Botic van de Zandschulp – Koolhof and Skupski won seven titles last season, but are still vying for their first in 2023.  This is Haase and van de Zandschulp’s first event as a team.

Friday’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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