Wimbledon Daily Preview: Elena Rybakina Faces Ons Jabeur in a 2022 Wimbledon Final Rematch - UBITENNIS
Connect with us


Wimbledon Daily Preview: Elena Rybakina Faces Ons Jabeur in a 2022 Wimbledon Final Rematch



Ons Jabeur on Monday at Wimbledon (twitter.com/Wimbledon)

The quarterfinals conclude on Wednesday, headlined by a rematch of last year’s ladies’ singles championship match.


A year ago, Ons Jabeur was just a set away from winning her first Major, and as the Netflix series “Break Point” recently revealed, her most coveted one.  But Ons tightened up in that moment, and Elena Rybakina pounced, easily taking the last two sets and a first Major crown of her own.  A year later, these same two players will meet in a blockbuster Wimbledon quarterfinal.

The other WTA quarterfinal on Day 10 is what Mary Carillo famously coined a few decades ago as “Big Babe Tennis,” as Aryna Sabalenka takes on Madison Keys in a match that will feature plenty of firepower.

On the men’s side, we will see the first-ever Wimbledon quarterfinal between two players under the age of 21, as Carlos Alcaraz plays Holger Rune in first of likely many battles between the two breakout stars in the latter stages of a Slam.  And the Cinderella story of the fortnight, Christopher Eubanks, faces regular storyline villain Daniil Medvedev.

Madison Keys (25) vs. Aryna Sabalenka (2) – 1:00pm on No.1 Court

Playing an opponent she had a losing record against in Ekaterina Alexandrova, Sabalenka performed excellently on Monday, soundly defeating Alexandrova 6-4, 6-0.  Aryna has dropped just one set thus far, and is now 39-7 this season.  And she is a mightily impressive 5-0 in Major quarterfinals.

Many, including myself, have often criticized Madison Keys for lacking a Plan B.  But when her big serve and forehand were rendered ineffective on Monday, and she found herself down a set and 4-1 against 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva, Keys changed gears, attacking the net, and it worked wonderfully.  Madison eventually won 6-2 in the third, extending her grass court winning streak to nine matches, and propelling herself into her first Wimbledon quarterfinal since 2015, easily the longest such drought of her career.

These big hitters have split two prior encounters.  Five years ago in Cincinnati on a hard court, Sabalenka won in straight sets.  Two years ago in Berlin on grass, Keys won 7-5 in the third.  On paper, Aryna is clearly the favorite based on recent form.  But after escaping near-defeat in the last round, I have a feeling Madison will be bursting with confidence, and I see her pulling off the upset on Wednesday.

Ons Jabeur (6) vs. Elena Rybakina (3) – 1:30pm on Centre Court

A year ago in the ladies’s championship match, Jabeur was the clear favorite, and the much more established player.  Rybakina was a bit of a surprise finalist: she had a big game for sure, but had only won two tour titles, and only had one Slam quarterfinal to her name. 

A year later, Rybakina arrives with the much stronger season, having reached a second Major final in Melbourne, and possessing an overall record of 37-8.  Jabeur missed much of this season due to multiple injuries, and is just 20-9.  But she played perhaps her best tennis of 2023 in dominating Petra Kvitova on Monday by a score of 6-0, 6-3. 

Their head-to-head history is locked at 2-2, and with the exception of a match where Rybakina retired in the second set, all their matches have gone the distance.  While many are expecting a Sabalenka/Rybakina semifinal, I don’t see that happening. I give Jabeur the slight edge, as she’ll be highly motivated to avenge last year’s painful loss.  And Rybakina has already shared she feels nervous in her first-ever title defense of this magnitude.

Daniil Medvedev (3) vs. Christopher Eubanks – Second on No.1 Court

Medvedev leads the tour with 45 victories this season.  As usual, most of them have come on hard courts, but he’s proven to also be a threat on clay and grass this season.  Daniil has reached his first Wimbledon quarterfinal with the loss of only one set, and he’s faced some formidable grass court opposition, like Adrian Mannarino and Marton Fucsovics.

27-year-old Eubanks had never been ranked inside the top 100 until March of this year, when he came through qualifying in Miami to reach the quarterfinals.  He’s on a nine-match winning streak on grass, after winning his first ATP title in Mallorca.  Chris has already defeated two top names this fortnight in Cam Norrie and Stefanos Tsitsipas, and is now sitting at No.31 in the live rankings.

The player Eubanks lost to in that Miami quarterfinal was Medvedev, by a score of 6-3, 7-5.  But four months later, Chris is a completely different player, oozing with confidence on a surface he previously despised but has quickly learned to love.  If he can use his one-two punch, his massive serve and forehand, to take advantage of Daniil’s deep return position, Chris has a real shot at pulling off another upset.  And he’s been hitting some superb down-the-line backhands as well.  But without any experience anywhere near this stage of a Major, as Eubanks had never previously advanced beyond the second round, Medvedev and his suffocating defensive skills should be favored.

Carlos Alcaraz (1) vs. Holger Rune (6) – Second on Centre Court

This should be a lot of fun, and the start of what will likely be a spirited rivalry for many years to come, between two of the sport’s most impressive and explosive young stars.  Alcaraz is now 44-4 on the year, and vying for his third consecutive Slam semifinal.  He’s dropped two sets thus far, one to Nicolas Jarry, and the other to Matteo Berrettini.

Rune has survived a much more difficult path to this quarterfinal.  He saved two match points against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, eventually prevailing 10-8 in a fifth-set tiebreak, and came back from a set down against Grigor Dimitrov.  Holger is 37-12 this season, and is into his third Major quarterfinal out of the last six, though he’s yet to advance farther.

They have played twice before on indoor hard courts within the past two years, splitting those meetings, though one of those was in the Next Gen Finals under a different scoring system, and Alcaraz retired mid-match in the other, so neither are a strong indicator of Wednesday’s result.  In another match on Wednesday that could easily go either way, I cautiously lean towards Carlitos.  He has just a bit more experience on this surface, and his highest level remains somewhat higher than Holger’s.  And Alcaraz is the only one of the two who has previously prevailed in this round of a Slam.

Wednesday’s full Order of Play is here.


India’s Sumit Nagal Receives Sponsorship Boost After Revelling Financial Struggles



Image via https://twitter.com/nagalsumit/

A leading food and drink company has pledged to support India’s highest-ranked men’s player who was unable to train at his usual facility in Germany earlier this year due to a lack of money. 


Earlier this week world No.159 Sumit Nagal made a public plea for financial support to help him continue his career as a tennis player. In recent years he has been based at the Nansel Tennis Academy in Germany but was unable to train there during the first three months of the 2023 season due to a lack of funds. During this period he relied on his friends, including former player Somdev Devvarman, to help maintain his fitness. 

“If I look at my bank balance, I have what I had at the beginning of the year. It is 900 euros. I did get a bit of help. Mr Prashant Sutar is helping me with MAHA Tennis Foundation and I also get monthly (salary) from IOCL but I don’t have any big sponsor,” Nagal told the Press Trust of India.
“I am investing whatever I am making. The yearly cost where I travel with one coach is costing me around Rs 8 million to Rs 10 million (90,000-113,000 euros) and that is just with one travelling coach (no physio). Whatever I have made I have already invested,” he added.

Nagal, who is 26 years old, has reached the semi-finals of better at five tournaments on the lower-level Challenger Tour so far this season. His only Grand Slam result was at the US Open where he lost in the first round of qualifying to Taro Daniel. It was at the US Open where he took a set off Roger Federer before losing in 2019. 

Despite being the only player from his country to be ranked in the top 400, Nagal is currently not part of the Target Olympics Podium Scheme. An initiative set up by the Indian government to provide support to their top athletes.

After learning about Nagal’s ongoing struggles on the Tour, a leading company has decided to support the tennis player by signing a three-year deal with him. Gatorade specializes in sports drinks and is manufactured by PepsiCo. Under the deal, Nagal will receive support with his recovery and nutrition from experts at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI).  

“I am deeply moved and grateful to join hands with Gatorade. This association comes to me at a pivotal time, and I am thankful my hard work and passion is getting recognized and appreciated. With Gatorade by my side, I am sure I will reach new heights and give it my all both on and off the court,” the Indo-Asian News Service quoted Nagal as saying on Thursday. 

Speaking about the new partnership, Ankit Agarwal from PepsiCo India has hailed the collaboration. Agarwal is the company’s Associate Director of Energy & Hydration. 

“Sumit is a role model for the new-gen athletes of India with his career being a true example of hard work and sweat that makes talent shine,” he said.
“As a brand that is dedicated to supporting athletes in removing barriers to sporting success, we are delighted to welcome Sumit to the Gatorade squad.”

Nagal has been ranked as high as No.122 in the world. So far in his career, he has won four Challenger titles with two of those occurring this year in Italy and Finland. 

Continue Reading


(VIDEO): Malaga Line-Up Set As Davis Cup Most Unpredictable Tournament In History

UbiTennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta explains why any of the eight teams in Malaga could win November’s Davis Cup Finals




(@DavisCup - Twitter)

The Davis Cup quarter-final line-up is set after an incredible Group Stage over Bologna, Split, Manchester and Valencia.


Now eight teams remain including Novak Djokovic’s Serbia, Great Britain and Australia.

However surprise teams such as the Netherlands, Finland and the Czech Republic will also appear in the quarter-finals.

Ten-time champions Great Britain will face Serbia with the winners taking on the winner of the quarter-final between Italy and the Netherlands.

In the other half of the draw Canada will be heavy favourites against Finland while the Czech Republic face Australia.

The final eight tournament will take place in Malaga and will take place between the 21st and the 26th of November.

However this year’s Davis Cup could be the most unpredictable version in the tournament’s history with there being no Spain or USA.

It really could be anyone’ tournament with Tennis’ most prestigious team competition up for grabs in November.

In this video UbiTennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta explains why this year’s Davis Cup finals could be the most unpredictable edition of all-time and why any of the teams could win the title.

Continue Reading


Simona Halep Claims Doing Ban Is ‘Based On Scenarios’ Without Proof




Former world No.1 Simona Halep has questioned the fairness of her anti-doping hearing after being suspended from the sport for four years. 


The two-time Grand Slam champion is suspended from tour events until 2026 after an independent tribunal concluded that the Romanian broke rules set out in Tennis’ anti-doping program. In a 126-page report by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA), investigators accepted that the collagen supplement taken by Halep – called Keto MCT – was contaminated with Roxadustat “on the balance of probability.” However, they stated that there must have been another source of Roxadustat based on the level detected in her sample taken during the 2022 US Open. 

Furthermore, three experts in the area said they have ‘a high degree of confidence‘ that there was not an ‘innocent explanation’ for the abnormalities detected in Halep’s Athlete’s Biological Passport (ABP). They reported that ‘likely doping’ occurred based on an analysis of 51 valid samples of Halep’s blood and rejected her explanation for the irregularity. The tennis star cited blood loss during surgery and spells when she was inactive as her defence. 

Despite the comprehensive ruling, Halep has insisted that she is innocent and never intentionally took any banned substances. During an interview with Front Office Sports on Monday, the 31-year-old claimed that the ITIA’s four-year ban handed to her was based on ‘scenarios’ instead of any proof. 

“I was confident after the hearing because there were so many things that made no sense and that are not fair,” she said.
“When I received the decision, I was in complete shock. I could not believe that they suspended me for four years when we found the contamination and my blood was totally normal. They didn’t find anything bad in my blood. It’s crazy that they made this decision with everything [her legal team presented]. They judged me on scenarios. There is no proof. It’s just insane.”

The ITIA originally requested a six-year ban for Halep due to what they described as ‘repetitive and sophisticated’ doping practices. She is accused of using blood doping to improve her performance during Wimbledon and the US Open last year. However, the report found it was not ‘completely satisfied’ that Halep has been doping since March 2022 despite there being ‘strong grounds for suspicion.’

As for the substance Roxadustat, Halep says she would have never deliberately taken the drug as it would ‘work against her.’ She says that the drug would have worsened a thyroid issue which she has been dealing with for several years. Front Office Sports referred to a European Medicines Agency study which finds a possible link between the drug and decreased thyroid function. 

“There was no point for me to take this,” Halep said. “It’d work against me. It wouldn’t help me.”

The study couldn’t establish how common this side effect is due to the amount of data available at the time. 

In the wake of Halep’s ban, some have publicly expressed their views on the matter. One of the most notable to do so was Serena Williams who wrote on social media ‘8 is a better number” in a jibe at her former opponent. The reference was to the 2019 Wimbledon final when seven-time champion Williams lost in straight sets to Halep. 

“I think everyone has the right to judge me because the tribunal decided that I have the fault here,” Halep commented. “Someone told me today that those players who are hating on me because I beat them.”

Halep is set to appeal against her ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). 

Continue Reading