Wimbledon: Novak Djokovic And Carlos Alcaraz Learn Their Paths, Tsitsipas Faces Thiem - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon: Novak Djokovic And Carlos Alcaraz Learn Their Paths, Tsitsipas Faces Thiem

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Novak Djokovic (SRB) playing against Marton Fucsovics (HUN) in the quarter-final of the Gentlemen's Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 9 Wednesday 07/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Joe Toth

Defending champion Novak Djokovic will begin his quest for an eighth Wimbledon title against Pedro Cachin next week. 

Djokovic, who is seeded second in the draw, then faces a showdown against reigning ATP Next Gen Finals champion Brandon Nakashima or the fast-serving Jordan Thompson. Later in the draw, the Serbian is projected to play 29th seed Thomas Etcheverry and then Lorenzo Musetti who defeated him earlier this year in Monte Carlo. However, Musetti is yet to win a match at Wimbledon.

This year Djokovic has the chance of equalling Roger Federer’s all-time record for most Wimbledon titles won by a male player. He has won the past four editions of the tournament with his last defeat at the All England Club being against Thomas Berdych in the 2017 Quarter-finals which he retired from due to injury. 

In the top half of the draw, Carlos Alcaraz will take on French veteran Jeremy Chardy in the first round. It will only be the third time the 20-year-old has played in the main draw of the tournament. In his section of the draw, the Spaniard could play Nicolas Jarry in the third round followed by a tough encounter against either Alexander Zverev or Alex de Minaur.

One of the most notable first round matches will be fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas against former US Open champion Dominic Thiem. It will be their 10th Tour meeting but only the second time they have faced each other in a Grand Slam. Thiem currently leads their head-to-head 5-4.

Whoever wins that match could then face two-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray who opens up against Compatriot Ryan Peniston. Murray has already won back-to-back Challenger titles on the grass this year but more recently lost in the first round of Queen’s to de Minaur.

2022 finalist Nick Kyrgios will begin his return to competitive action against David Goffin who reached the last eight of the draw 12 months ago. It will be just the second match the Australian has played this season due to injury. Kyrgios is seeded 30th and could play Andrey Rublev in the third round if both players make it that far.

Another former finalist, Matteo Berrettini, has been handed a tough opener against Lorenzo Sonego in what will be an all-Italian showdown. Whoever wins that match faces a brutal pathway if they wish to go deep into the tournament.  Potential opponents are De Minaur in the second round followed by Zverev and then Alcaraz.

Elsewhere, Casper Ruud will be seeking his only second win at Wimbledon in his career when he takes on Laurent Lokoli. Meanwhile, Daniil Medvedev will play wildcard Arthur Fery and Holger Rune faces another wildcard in the shape of George Loffhagen.

Finally, British No.1 Cameron Norri will begin his quest against Czech qualifier Tomas Machac and could play Seb Korda in the third round who beat him at Queen’s last week.

The bottom half of the men’s draw, which includes Djokovic, will play their first matches on Monday followed by the top half on Tuesday.

Projected rounds

Fourth round

  • Carlos Alcaraz ESP vs Alex de Minaur AUS
  • Frances Tiafoe USA vs Holger Rune DEN
  • Cameron Norrie GBR vs Stefanos Tsitsipas GRE
  • Casper Ruud NOR vs Borna Coric CRO
  • Taylor Fritz USA vs Jannik Sinner ITA
  • Felix Auger-Aliassime CAN vs Andrey Rublev RUS
  • Novak Djokovic SRB vs Lorenzo Musetti ITA

Quarter-finals

  • Carlos Alcaraz ESP vs Holger Rune DEN
  • Daniil Medvedev RUS vs Stefanos Tsitsipas GRE
  • Casper Ruud NOR vs Jannik Sinner ITA
  • Novak Djokovic SRB vs Andrey Rublev RUS

Full draw

source – wimbledon.com

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Carlos Alcaraz In Doubt For Madrid Open Title Defence

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Carlos Alcaraz admits that he is not certain if he will be ready in time to play at next week’s Madrid Masters.

The 20-year-old is yet to play a clay tournament in Europe due to a forearm injury which ruled him out of both Monte Carlo and Barcelona. He hurt his right arm whilst training shortly before the Monte Carlo event began. 

It is the latest in a series of injury issues that has affected Alcaraz throughout his young career. Since the start of 2023, he has also been derailed by issues with his abdominal, hamstring, post-traumatic arthritis in his left hand and muscular discomfort in his spine. 

“My feeling isn’t right, but it is what it is. Now I’m fully focused on recovery and I have a little more time,” Alcaraz told reporters in Barcelona on Monday.
“My goal is to try and go to the Madrid Open, but at the moment nothing is certain. I was given specific recovery times and I’ve respected them, but I haven’t felt good. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
“I can’t say I’ll be 100% in Madrid, but that’s my intention. We’ll train and do everything we can so that the feelings improve so I can play a match … It’s also a very special tournament for me.”

Alcaraz has won the past two editions of the Madrid Open, which is classed as a Masters 1000 event. In 2022 he defeated Alexander Zverev in the final and then 12 months later he beat Jan-Lennard Struff in the title match.

The setback comes after what has been a steady start to the year for Alcaraz who has reached the quarter-finals or better in four out of five tournaments played. He successfully defended his title in Indian Wells and then reached the semi-finals in Miami. 

Should he not play in Madrid, it is likely that the Spaniard will lose his No.2 spot to Jannik Sinner who is just over 100 points behind him in the standings. He will still have the chance to play a clay-court event before the French Open with Rome taking place early next month. 

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Olympic Qualification Is Not the Only Goal For French Veteran Gael Monfils

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Gael Monfils (image via https://twitter.com/atptour)

Gael Monfils admits he doesn’t have too many years left on the Tour but this doesn’t mean his targets are any less ambitious. 

The 37-year-old has enjoyed a rapid rise up the rankings over the past 12 months following battles with injury. At his lowest, he was ranked 394th last May but is now in 40th position. As a result, he is closing on securing a place in the Olympic Games which is being held in his home country of France for the first time since 1924. The tennis event will be staged at Roland Garros. 

“When I was 400, I was thinking the Olympics would be great, but it’s going to be tough,” Monfils told reporters on Tuesday. 
“There are younger players playing well. If I don’t qualify, I don’t mind. It will just mean I’m very close to the ranking I want to be. That ranking will allow me to find another goal.”

Monfils is already a three-time Olympian but has never won a medal at the event. He reached the quarter-finals of the singles tournament twice in 2008 and 2016. 

Another goal of Frenchmen is the Wimbledon championships which concludes just three weeks before the Olympics begin. The proximity of these tournaments will be a challenge to all players who will be going from playing on clay to grass and then back to clay again. 

“I really want to go and play Wimbledon. I don’t have so many Wimbledons to play in the future. The Olympics is one goal, not the only goal.” Monfils states.
“My dream is of course to be part of the Olympics. I played three times at the Olympics. I’d like to be there again. But I also really want to do well in Wimbledon this year. To reach my goal, it has to be including Wimbledon.” He added. 

Monfils is currently playing at the Monte Carlo Masters where he beat Aleksandar Vukic in his opening match. In the next round, he will take on Daniil Medvedev in what will be their first meeting since 2022. He leads their head-to-head 2-1. 

Medvedev has openly spoken about his roller-coaster relationship with playing on the clay. He admits it is not his favourite surface but how much of a factor could this be in his upcoming clash with Monfils?

“Of course, it’s not his favourite one, but he’s still Daniil Medvedev, and whatever the surface, it’s always very complicated to play him,” Monfils concludes. 

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Matteo Berrettini wins in Marrakech displaying quality tennis

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Matteo Berrettini - Marrakech 2024 (photo X @ATPTour_ES)

Matteo Berrettini defeats Roberto Carballes Baena in straight sets, 75 62, and proves that his comeback is well grounded  

If life is often considered a continuous narrative, it may be no coincidence that today Matteo Berrettini’s comeback journey intersescted Carballes Baena, a player he had faced twice in straight tournaments, Florence and Naples in October 2022, shortly before plunging into his annus horribilis, an injury-plagued 2023.

Just like resuming the story from where it was left.

Carballes Baena, the defending champion, got off to a sharper start, holding serve with ease and earning a first break point in the second game. Berrettini averted the threat by hammering down three serves but lost his service two games later.

Doubts on the Italian’s recovery from his energy-draining semifinal may have been starting to come afloat. However Berrettini broke back immediately, unsettling the Spaniard’s consistency with changes of pace and alternating lifted and sliced backhands.

The next six games neatly followed serve. Figures witness how close the match was. After 45 minutes the scoreboard read 5 games all, and stats reported 27 points apiece.

The eleventh game was to be crucial. Carballes Baena netted two forehands, while trying to hit through the Italian’s skidding spins and conceded a break point. Berrettini followed up two massive forehands with a delicate, unreachable drop shot and secured the break.

Carballes Baena was far from discouraged, and fired two forehand winners dashing to 0 40  with the Italian serving for the set.

Berrettini was lucky to save the first break point with a forehand that pinched the top of the net, and trickled over. Then he hit two winning first serves to draw even. Then again two first serves paired with their loyal forehand winner: Berrettini’s copyright gamepattern sealed a 59 minute first set.

The match seemed about to swing round at the very start of the second set when Carballes Baena had three break points and was winning all the longer rallies. Once more Berrettini got out of trouble thanks to his serve. Carballes Baena’s disappointment turned into frustration after he failed to put away two quite comfortable smashes and lost his service immediately after.  

Unforced errors were seeping into the Spaniard’s game and when Berrettini won a 16-shot rally with a stunning crosscourt forehand on the stretch and went on to grab a two-break lead, the match appeared to have taken its final twist.

Berrettini did not falter when serving for the match at 5 2, despite an unforced error on the first point. Three first serves chauffeured him to two match points.

Carballes Baena only succeeded in bravely saving the first, well steering the rally. But the 2021 Wimbledon finalist produced a massive serve out wide and joyfully lifted his arms to the sky, for a most emotional victory. It means so much to a player whose talent and career have been incessantly diminished by injuries.

It’s been a tough last couple of years” Matteo Berrettini said, holding the trophy. “Thanks to my team I was able to overcome all the tough moments my body didn’t allow me to play. I thank you and all the people that made my comeback possible: all my friends and my family, the people that were with me all the time when I was sad, injured and I didn’t think I could make it.”

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