Madrid Open Daily Preview: Former Champions Alcaraz and Zverev Meet in the Fourth Round - UBITENNIS
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Madrid Open Daily Preview: Former Champions Alcaraz and Zverev Meet in the Fourth Round



Carlos Alcaraz on Sunday in Madrid (

All fourth round men’s singles matches will take place on Tuesday, as well as the first two women’s singles quarterfinals.


In a match between two recent Madrid champions, defending champ Carlos Alcaraz takes on two-time champ Sascha Zverev.  The day also sees two all-Russian encounters, as Andrey Rublev faces Karen Khachanov, and Daniil Medvedev plays Aslan Karatsev.  And other fourth round ATP action includes Stefanos Tsitsipas and Taylor Fritz.

Tuesday’s WTA quarterfinals feature 2021 champ Aryna Sabalenka and two-time Major semifinalist Maria Sakkari.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Tuesday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.

Karen Khachanov (10) vs. Andrey Rublev (5) – 11:00am on Manolo Santana Stadium

Rublev is 23-9 on the year, and 10-1 across the past three weeks on clay, which includes claiming the biggest title of his career in Monte Carlo.  He defeated both Stan Wawrinka and Yoshihito Nishioka in straight sets to reach this quarterfinal.

Khachanov is 18-8 in 2023, and 5-2 on this surface.  He’s outlasted the opposition in two three-setters thus far, including a near three-hour battle with Roberto Bautista Agut on Sunday.

These friends and doubles partners, who are still alive in the men’s doubles draw, have split six meetings at all levels.  But Rublev took the only one on clay, which occurred just a few weeks ago in this same round of Monte Carlo.  And with Andrey being the fresher of the two, he should be favored to advance to the Madrid quarterfinals for the second consecutive year.

Carlos Alcaraz (1) vs. Sascha Zverev (13)  – Not Before 4:00pm on Manolo Santana Stadium

Alcaraz is 25-2 this season, despite missing all of January due to injury.  He’s now won 17 straight matches in his home country, after taking out Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets on Sunday. 

Zverev is just 12-11, as he continues to regain his form after the serious ankle injury he suffered nearly a year ago at Roland Garros.  He dominated French qualifier Hugo Grenier in the last round, dropping just one game.

Sascha is 3-1 against Carlitos, though they are 1-1 on clay.  Last year in the final of this event, Alcaraz crushed Zverev 6-3, 6-1, just a day after playing a three-and-a-half hour marathon against Novak Djokovic.  But a few weeks later in the quarterfinals of the French Open, Zverev would avenge that loss, prevailing in a fourth-set tiebreak.  That would be the last match Sascha would complete in the 2022 season.

In their clay rubber match on Tuesday, Alcaraz is a considerable favorite.  In the absence of Nadal and Djokovic, he is definitively the best clay court player in this event.  And Zverev is not yet back to his level from a year ago when he defeated Carlitos.

Other Notable Matches on Tuesday:

Mayar Sherif vs. Aryna Sabalenka (2) – Sabalenka is now 26-4 this year overall, and 6-1 on clay.  She hasn’t dropped a set to this stage.  Sherif only owned one main draw win at a WTA 1000 event prior to this surprising quarterfinal run, during which she has upset three seeded players (Kalinina, Garcia, Mertens).  This is their first career meeting.

Aslan Karatsev (Q) vs. Daniil Medvedev (2) – Medvedev leads the tour with 33 match wins, and survived a stern test from Alexander Shevchenko on Monday.  Meanwhile this is the farthest Karatsev has ever gone at a Masters 1000 event.  Aslan actually leads their head-to-head 3-1 at all levels, and 1-0 on clay, having defeated Daniil two years ago in Rome in straight sets.

Borna Coric (17) vs. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (29) – Coric upset Hubert Hurkacz in the last round, in only his ninth victory of the season.  Davidovich Fokina upset Holger Rune in an epic encounter that went into the early hours of Monday morning, decided by a third-set tiebreak.  Their only prior encounter has also quite dramatic, with Alejandro prevailing 7-5 in the third last March at Indian Wells.

Taylor Fritz (8) vs. Zhizhen Zhang – Fritz in 27-8 on the year, and now 7-2 on clay.  Zhizhen is the first Chinese man to reach the round of 16 at a Masters 1000 event, and outlasted both Denis Shapovalov and Cam Norrie in third-set tiebreaks. 

Maria Sakkari (9) vs. Irina-Camelia Begu (31) – Sakkari eliminated Paula Badosa in straight sets on Monday.  Begu is yet to drop a set, and has now advanced to the quarterfinals of Madrid for the third time.  Maria is 2-1 against Irina, with all three matches taking place on hard courts.

Bernabe Zapata Miralles vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas (4) – Tsitsipas has already withstood two three-setters, against Dominic Thiem and Sebastian Baez.  Zapata Miralles had never won a main draw match at a Masters tournament prior to this fortnight in his home country. 

Tuesday’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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