Wimbledon Daily Preview: Stefanos Tsitsipas Plays Andy Murray on Centre Court - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Daily Preview: Stefanos Tsitsipas Plays Andy Murray on Centre Court

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Andy Murray after his first round victory on Tuesday (twitter.com/Wimbledon)

Due to rain, as well as some dubious scheduling decisions by the AELTC, some players are yet to complete their first round match, while others have already advanced to the third round.

Hopefully clear skies will allow the tournament to catch up a bit on Thursday.  This preview will look at newly-scheduled second round matches for Day 4, which is headlined by Andy Murray facing Stefanos Tsitsipas in a blockbuster second round matchup.  Previews of other second round matches that were canceled on Wednesday can be found here.

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


Sloane Stephens vs. Donna Vekic (20) – Second on No.1 Court

Vekic is a threat to make a deep run this fortnight.  She’s 25-10 on the year, and was the runner-up two weeks ago in Berlin on grass.  While she’s just 7-8 lifetime at this event, her flat groundstrokes are ideal for this surface.  Donna achieved her second Slam quarterfinal this year in Australia, and she recently added someone to her coaching team who knows all about playing on grass courts: Pam Shriver, who reached three Wimbledon semifinals in singles and won this event five times in doubles.

Stephens remains an inconsistent performer, as she’s just 13-12 in 2023.  And while she is a former Wimbledon quarterfinalist, that result occurred a full 10 years ago.  But Sloane remains a considerable threat from the back of the court, with easy power and good foot speed.

Vekic is 2-1 against Stephens, which includes a 6-1, 6-3 victory at this event in 2018.  And Donna should be favored to defeat Sloane again on Thursday.


Danielle Collins vs. Belinda Bencic (14) – Third on No.2 Court

Collins is never a name players want to see in their section of a draw at a Major.  She’s a big match player, and one of the most aggressive and ferocious competitors in the sport.  And Bencic has been battling a hip injury of late, so she’s far from her top level.

After getting off to a strong 20-6 start to the year, with two titles and one further final, Belinda has only played two matches within the past three months.  Meanwhile Danielle is just 10-11 this season, and like Belinda, has only played two matches since the first week of April.  The American has battled multiple injuries and illnesses across the last several season.

Collins claimed their only prior meeting, three year ago on a hard court in Adelaide.  And on a similarly fast surface at the AELTC, I give Danielle and her powerful groundies the slight edge.


Andy Murray vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas (5) – Third on Centre Court

Andy Murray plans his entire season around peaking for Wimbledon.  After some strong hard court results to start the year, Murray skipped Roland Garros, opting instead to play four Challenger events: two on clay and two on grass.  And he won three of the four, including both on grass.  Andy is now 61-12 at SW19, and will be fully fresh on Thursday after a straight-set victory on Tuesday.

Tsitsipas will be anything but fresh.  On Wednesday evening, he completed a five-set victory over Dominic Thiem that was stretched across two days, and went all the way into a fifth-set tiebreak.  And Stefanos is now just 6-5 in his career at Wimbledon.

They have split two previous meetings.  At the 2021 US Open, Tsitsipas claimed an epic first round five-setter that lasted nearly five hours.  Last year on grass in Stuttgart, Murray avenged that heartbreaking loss in straight sets. 

This match may be Andy’s biggest hurdle in making his first deep run at a Major in six years.  Many are considering him the favorite against Tsitsipas on Thursday, including myself.  But will knowing that, and wanting so badly to achieve another strong result at his favorite tournament, prevent Murray from playing his best tennis?  After much recent disappointment at Majors, I expect a fresh Andy to overcome those feelings, as well as Tsitsipas, on Day 4.


Daniil Medvedev (3) vs. Adrian Mannarino – Fourth on No.2 Court

Medvedev leads the tour with 42 wins this season, but as usual, the vast majority of those victories came on a hard court.  Can he be a threat on grass despite his extreme return position at the back of the court?  He’s now 9-4 at The Championships, and did win a grass court title a few years ago in Mallorca.  And he’s in an open section of the draw.

Mannarino played a grass court final just two days before this tournament began, also in Mallorca.  He’s now 8-3 on grass this season, and his unorthodox style plays well on this surface.  Two years ago on Centre Court, Adrian was up two-sets-to-one over Roger Federer before suffering a knee injury in the fourth set.

Mannarino leads their head-to-head 4-2, and 3-1 on grass.  That includes a three-set victory just a few weeks ago on this surface.  But in the best-of-five format, and considering the amount of confidence Medvedev has built up this season, I favor Daniil to advance.


Other Notable Matches on Thursday:

Veronika Kudermetova (12) vs. Marketa Vondrousova – Kudermetova is 25-13 on the year, and coming off a run to a grass court final a few weeks ago, yet she’s only 2-2 lifetime at SW19.  Vondrousova is 25-10 this season, and is just 2-4 at this event.  They have split two previous meetings on hard courts.

Alize Cornet vs. Elena Rybakina (3) – Rybakina came back from a set down in her opening round as the defending champion, and admitted afterward to being very nervous.  Cornet has made a career out of upsetting top names at Majors, which includes a win over Iga Swiatek here a year ago.  Elena defeated Alize twice in 2020, both times in straight sets.

Leylah Fernandez vs. Caroline Garcia (5) – Garcia is 28-14 this season, but she’s just 11-9 at Wimbledon.  Fernandez is 19-14 in 2023, and only 3-3 lifetime on grass.  Caroline already bested Leylah twice this year, at the Australian Open and Indian Wells.

Marie Bouzkova (32) vs. Anett Kontaveit – Bouzkova reached the quarterfinals here a year ago, but she’s only 10-15 this season.  Kontaveit will retire after this tournament due to a chronic back injury, and she’s just 7-8 this year.  Anett claimed their only previous encounter, three years ago on a hard court.

Mirra Andreeva (Q) vs. Barbora Krejcikova (10) – Krejickova is 25-12 this year, and was the runner-up on grass two weeks ago in Birmingham.  Andreeva is one of the breakout stars of 2023, as the 16-year-old reached the fourth round in Madrid, and the third round in Paris. 

Milos Raonic vs. Tommy Paul (16) – On Wednesday, Raonic won only his second match in two years, extending his record in the first round of The Championships to 10-0.   Paul achieved his first Major semifinal this past January in Melbourne, and reached the final of Eastbourne last week.  Two years ago in Acapulco, Milos beat Tommy in straight sets. 


Thursday’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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