Internazionali d’Italia Daily Preview: Tsitsipas and Coric Renew a Dramatic Rivalry - UBITENNIS
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Internazionali d’Italia Daily Preview: Tsitsipas and Coric Renew a Dramatic Rivalry

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Stefanos Tsitsipas on Tuesday night in Rome (twitter.com/InteBNLdItalia)

On Thursday in Rome, the last two men’s singles quarterfinals will be completed.

Also on Thursday, the women’s doubles semifinals will be played, featuring three of the top four seeds.

Throughout the tournament, this preview will analyze the day’s two most prominent matches, while highlighting the other notable matches on the schedule.  Wednesday’s play begins at 11:00am local time.


Yannick Hanfmann (Q) vs. Daniil Medvedev (3) – Not Before 3:00pm on Center Court

Medvedev is now 36-5 on the season, and a much-improved 7-2 on clay.  Prior to this fortnight, he had never won a match in Rome, but has now won three in a row, including a straight-set victory over Sascha Zverev in the last round.  This is his third career Masters 1000 quarterfinal on clay, after previously achieving that feat twice in Monte Carlo.

Hanfmann makes this the fourth consecutive Masters tournament where a qualifier has reached the quarterfinals.  The 31-year-old German has already won six matches across the past nine days, upsetting two top 10 seeds along the way (Fritz, Rublev).  Prior to this run, Yannick had only accumulated three main draw wins as Masters events, with two of them coming just two weeks ago in Madrid.  His previous career-high ranking was No.92 in the world, but he’ll debut inside the top 65 even with a loss on Thursday, and would move into the top 50 with a win.

In their first career meeting, Medvedev must be favored, even on this surface.  His vast amount of experience at this stage of big events, compared to absolutely none that Hanfmann possesses, will be tough to overcome.  But if Yannick can grab a lead, and Daniil gets down on himself, anything can happen on Medvedev’s least favorite surface.


Stefanos Tsitsipas (3) vs. Borna Coric (15) – Not Before 8:30pm on Center Court

Tsitsipas is 24-7 on the year, and 12-3 on clay, having reached the final in Barcelona three weeks ago.  He is yet to drop a set through three matches, most recently defeating Lorenzo Musetti.  He’s now 12-5 lifetime in Rome, and looking to return to the final after first reaching that round here a year ago.

Coric had a losing record in 2023 before arriving in Madrid, but is now 15-9 after achieving back-to-back Masters 1000 quarterfinals, advancing as far as the semis in Madrid.  However, it’s worth noting he is yet to face a top 50 player at this event.  Borna is vying for his fifth career Masters semifinal.

Their first meeting occurred five years ago at this same event, when Tsitsipas was victorious thanks to Coric retiring after just five games.  Then at the 2020 US Open, Stefanos was up two-sets-to-one and 5-1 in the fourth, yet somehow lost that match despite holding six match points.  Borna also claimed both of their matches in 2022, including the final of Cincinnati.  Tsitsipas finally earned another win over Coric this season at the United Cup, bringing their overall head-to-head to 3-2 Coric.  But on this surface, the Greek must be considered a significant favorite to advance.  And with Alcaraz and Djokovic eliminated from the tournament, Tsitsipas is the favorite to win this title.


Other Notable Matches on Thursday:

Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula (1) vs. Desirae Krawczyk and Demi Schuurs (3) – Pegula and Gauff are vying for their fourth final of the year, while Krawczyk and Schuurs are looking for their second. 

Storm Hunter and Elise Mertens (4) vs. Marie Bouzkova and Bethanie Mattek-Sands – Hunter and Mertens are regular partners, but this is Bouzkova and Mattek-Sands’ first event as a team.


Thursday’s full Order of Play is here.

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

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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

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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.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

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.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ 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.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

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 Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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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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