Wimbledon Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka Collide in the Third Round - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka Collide in the Third Round

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Novak Djokovic on Centre Court earlier this week (twitter.com/Wimbledon)

With the tournament still backlogged due to rain early in the week, Friday provides one of the strongest daily schedules you’ll find all year, featuring both second and third round singles action.

Stan Wawrinka has defeated Novak Djokovic at all three other Majors, yet the 38-year-old stated on Thursday that he does not “stand a chance” against Novak on Centre Court at Wimbledon.  But was Stan being coy?  Does he really believe that’s true?

That’s just one of a smorgasbord of great matchups on Day 5.  Other names featured include reigning Slam champs Iga Swiatek, Carlos Alcaraz, and Aryna Sabalenka.  And Friday will also see the conclusion of the second round encounter between Andy Murray and Stefanos Tsitsipas, which was suspended on Thursday night with Murray leading two-sets-to-one.

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


Matteo Berrettini vs. Alex de Minaur (15) – Second on Court 18

It’s been a tough season for Matteo Berrettini.  After losing a heartbreaking five-setter to Andy Murray in Melbourne, where he missed an easy put away while holding match point, Berrettini just can’t stay healthy.  The Italian has missed about half the season, mostly due to an abdominal injury.  In his comeback match a few weeks ago in Stuttgart, he left the court in tears, as he was clearly not physically ready to compete.  But on Thursday, he completed a first-round victory over the same man who beat him in Stuttgart, his good friend Lorenzo Sonego.  Of course Matteo was the runner-up here two years ago, and unfortunately missed last year’s Wimbledon due to contracting COVID-19.

De Minaur is 22-13 this year, and is coming off a run to the final of Queen’s Club.  At that event, he earned wins over the likes of Andy Murray and Holger Rune.  Alex reached the round of 16 at W19 a year ago, his best result to date.

So what will win out on Friday: the power of Matteo, or the speed of Alex?  They have split two prior tour-level matches, with their grass court meeting going to Berrettini.  But based on recent form and health, de Minaur is a slight favorite to prevail in this second round matchup.


Daria Kasatkina (12) vs. Victoria Azarenka (19) – Third on Court 12

Kasatkina has easily advanced to this stage, dropping only seven games through four sets.  Azarenka survived a stern test in the opening round from Yue Yuan, but beat Nadia Podoroska 6-3, 6-0 on Thursday.

Vika has taken all three of their prior encounters, though Daria was forced to retire the last time they played due to injury.  And they’ve never met on grass, a surface which should favor Kasatkina’s variety.  Yet Azarenka is the one who is a two-time semifinalist at The Championships, back in 2011 and 2012, with Kasatkina only reaching a quarterfinal back in 2018. 

Both players have similar win-loss records in 2023.  But on this surface, I give Daria the edge despite their head-to-head history.


Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Petra Martic (30) – Third on Centre Court

Swiatek is now 40-6 this year, as she looks to become a threat on grass after her recent domination on clay and hard courts.  And she’s done just that during this grass court season thus far, with a 5-0 record.  However, she’s still just 7-3 at Wimbledon, and is yet to advance beyond the fourth round.

That’s also Martic’s best result at this tournament, which she’s achieved three times.  Martic is 19-14 on the year, and has a style similar to Kasatkina’s, which this surface often rewards.  But considering Petra is 0-2 against Iga, with neither matchup being close, Swiatek is a strong favorite to advance on Day 5.


Stan Wawrinka vs. Novak Djokovic (3) – Fourth on Centre Court

Djokovic has a whole lotta streaks going on: 23 matches at Majors, 30 matches at Wimbledon, and 41 matches on Centre Court.  Amazingly, Novak has not lost on Centre Court since 2013.  He’s now 29-4 overall this year, and comfortably won his first two rounds in straight sets.

Wawrinka is 17-12 this year at all levels, and is into the third round of a Slam for the first time in over three years, with the loss of only one set.  But this is easily the worst Major in his career, with a record of just 22-16 despite two quarterfinal appearances. 

Stan is 4-4 against Novak at Slams, and they’ve played some epic matches at this level.  After losing two five-setters at Majors to Djokovic is 2013, Wawrinka finally upended him at the 2014 Australian Open by a score of 9-7 in the fifth, on his way to his first Slam title.  He then defeated Novak in two Major finals: the 2015 French Open and the 2016 US Open. 

But overall, Djokovic is 20-6 against Wawrinka, in a rivalry that dates all the way back to 2006.  And on this surface, and this court of all courts, Stan is likely correct in stating he doesn’t stand much of a chance against Novak.  Regardless, it will be fun to these two old rivals battle on a big stage one more time.


Other Notable Matches on Friday:

Carlos Alcaraz (1) vs. Alexandre Muller – Alcaraz is 41-4 in 2023, and now 10-2 in his career on grass.  Muller is a 26-year-old Frenchman who has won 36 matches this season at all levels, mostly at Challengers.

Varvara Gracheva vs. Aryna Sabalenka (2) – Sabalenka is 36-7 on the year, and was a semifinalist here two years ago.  Gracheva just recently started representing France instead of her birth country of Russia, and took out another big hitter, Camila Giorgi, in the first round.

Lorenzo Musetti (14) vs. Hubert Hurkacz (17) – Both men are yet to drop a set through two rounds, so this could be a gripping third round contest.  Musetti leads their head-to-head 2-1, though Hurkacz claimed their only meeting on grass, two years ago at this same event.

Bianca Andreescu vs. Anhelina Kalinina (26) – Andreescu is just 14-13 this season, as she still struggles to rediscover her 2019 form.  Kalinina was a surprise finalist two months ago in Rome on clay. 

Cameron Norrie (12) vs. Christopher Eubanks – Norrie reached the semifinals here last year, and is now 32-12 this year.  27-year-old Eubanks is having the season of his life, winning 31 matches at all levels, and claiming his first ATP title just last week in Mallorca. 

Marketa Vondrousova vs. Donna Vekic (20) – Vekic made a dramatic comeback on Thursday, from a set and 3-0 down against Sloane Stephens.  On the same day, Vondrousova upset 12th-seeded Veronika Kudermetova.  Vekic claimed their only previous meeting, five years ago in Hobart on a hard court.

Elina Svitolina (WC) vs. Sofia Kenin (Q) – Svitolina has already notched two impressive wins this week, over Venus Williams and Elise Mertens.  Kenin upset Coco Gauff on Monday, in an extremely high-quality affair.  Svitolina is 3-2 against Kenin, with all five matches taking place in 2019.

Andrey Rublev (7) vs. David Goffin (WC) – Both players have reached quarterfinals at three different Majors, but are yet to advance farther.  Rublev has taken both of their prior encounters, though both were close.


Friday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas downs Sinner; now aims for Third Title in Monte Carlo

Stylish Greek completes comeback win and re-enters the top ten.

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After winning two in a row in 2021-2022, Stefanos Tsitsipas is now in reach of a third title at the prestigious Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, after beating World number two Jannik Sinner in three gruelling sets.

The 25-year-old had to battle hard and come from a break down in the third to win 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 and now plays Casper Ruud in tomorrow’s final. The Greek has had an indifferent start to the year with a 11-6 win-loss record, but today was his first top three victory since the 2022 Cincinatti Masters – where he beat Daniil Medvedev – and ensures a return back into the top ten of the men’s rankings.

Tsitsipas recognised how hard he had to fight and revealed after the match just how satisfied he was of his performance:

“It was tennis at its highest level that I have been able to play. Jannik was an extremely difficult opponent and it can be seen throughout the year so far. He has been very consistent and I could see that throughout today with his game. He is one of the toughest opponents I have faced so far and to find ways when there weren’t that many, I am proud of that. He gave me a very difficult game and the way I overcame it is true excellence.”

Sinner double faulted at 30-40 to gift the break early with the score at one game all. From there, Tsistipas rallied with poise and confidence in a brilliant opening set lasting 44 minutes including a stunning backhand down-the-line winner to open the game when serving at 4-3. He took the first set 6-4 after a tiring 18-shot rally – where both players hit all angles of the court – before Sinner hit a forehand wide.

However, 22-year-old Sinner struck back immediately on his first breakpoint at the start of the second set when he won a close exchange at the net and then took a 3-0 lead.  He later survived a breakback point when 4-2 up and crucially held on for 5-2. He faced more pressure when serving for the set at 5-3 and was taken to deuce but levelled the match at one-set-all on his second set point to give the crowd exactly what they were asking f

Sinner was now in full flow hitting powerfully from the baseline and once again broke early at the start of the final set to take a 3-1 lead. But with the match now entering the third hour he began to tire physically and called for the trainer during the changeover with the score at 4-3.  When the match resumed, he lost the next three games and the Greek had completed a remarkable turnaround, handing his opponent just his second defeat of the season in two hours and forty minutes.

“It helps a lot knowing I have a win like this under my belt. Having a win like this and getting to the levels of tennis again brings a lot of satisfaction to me,” Tsitsipas said. “When there is a lot of work put in each day, these are the type of matches you are aiming for.”

Sinner’s only loss prior to today was against Carlos Alcaraz in Indian Wells semi-finals. He has been the stand out player this year after already winning titles in Rotterdam, the Miami Open, and his maiden Grand Slam in Australia. Despite having won 25 matches overall though, he now trails Tsitsipas 3-6 in their head-to-head rivalry.

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Casper Ruud Reveals Shock After Knocking Out Novak Djokovic In Monte-Carlo

Casper Ruud is into his second career Masters 1000 final after beating Novak Djokovic for the first time.

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Casper Ruud is into his second Masters 1000 final of his career after recording his best ever win by beating Novak Djokovic 6-4 1-6 6-4.

The Norwegian defeated the world number one for the first time in his career as he overcame a mini-comeback from Djokovic to seal his place in the Monte-Carlo final.

Having lost his five previous meetings to Djokovic, Ruud played some fearless tennis under pressure as the eighth seed broke to close out a career-best win.

Speaking after the win Ruud admitted he was in a state of shock and was pleased with the victory, “I am super happy,” Ruud told the ATP website.

“This is a day I will remember for a long time. Beating a World No. 1 is something I have never done and beating Novak is something I have never done. I am very, very happy. I am a little bit in a state of shock right now.”

After achieving the seemingly improbable, Ruud will now look to win his first ever ATP title that’s above a Masters 1000 event when he takes on Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Monte-Carlo final.

That’s a prospect Ruud is looking forward to as he prepares for one final challenge, “There is always one more match in tennis,” the Norwegian explained.

“Tomorrow is going to be a special day, playing a final here in Monte-Carlo. It is a great result but I have been chasing a big title for a few years now and tomorrow I will have another shot at it. I am going to give it my all. Stef is playing well. He is a great player on clay and on other surfaces as well, but I guess clay is maybe where he has had the most success and especially this tournament.

“So it is going to be another tough task, but I am up for it.”

The final will take place at 14:00 BST.

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Rafael Nadal Set For Opening Round Test Against Cobolli In Barcelona

Rafael Nadal will look to make his ATP tour return in Barcelona this week.

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Rafael Nadal is set for his return to tennis in Barcelona as he has been drawn against Flavio Cobolli in the opening round.

Nadal has been struggling with injury after being injured again in Brisbane this year.

The tournament in Brisbane was his first tournament back for a year as he suffered a hip injury at the Australian Open last year.

Now Nadal aims to return to competitive action in Barcelona as he has been drawn against Flavio Cobolli in the opening round.

Speaking earlier in the week Nadal was hopeful of a return to the tour in Barcelona, “Excited to be here for a few days before the start of the tournament,” Nadal told the ATP website.

“I’m here to see how it goes… can’t wait to try and play. I’ll let you know. Important to say that I don’t want to confirm I’ll be playing, but I hope so. We’ll see.”

Should Nadal play and win his opening round match then the Spaniard will play fourth seed Alex De Minaur in the second round.

The former world number one has won the title on 12 different occasions but hasn’t won the title since 2021.

Elsewhere in the draw defending champion Carlos Alcaraz will begin against Luca Van Assche or Zhizhen Zhang with the Spaniard projected to meet Borna Coric in the third round.

Alcaraz suffered an injury in Monte-Carlo and will be beginning his clay court campaign in Barcelona.

Also in action in Barcelona are Andrey Rublev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Casper Ruud.

Main draw action will begin on Monday.

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