Wimbledon Daily Preview: The Ladies’ Singles Semifinals - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Daily Preview: The Ladies’ Singles Semifinals

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Elina Svitolina practicing on Tuesday (twitter.com/Wimbledon)

The ladies’ singles semifinals will be played Thursday afternoon on Centre Court.

The first semifinal on Thursday sees a wild card face an unseeded player, yet it should be a fantastic match with contrasting styles between recent new mom Elina Svitolina and 2019 Roland Garros runner-up Marketa Vondrousova, as both have been playing at a very high level this fortnight.  The second semifinal features last year’s runner-up against this year’s Australian Open champion, as Ons Jabeur takes on Aryna Sabalenka in a highly-anticipated encounter.


Elina Svitolina (WC) vs. Marketa Vondrousova – 1:30pm on Centre Court

The list of names Elina Svitolina has taken down to reach her third career Major semifinal goes as follows: Venus Williams, Elise Mertens, Sofia Kenin, Victoria Azarenka, and Iga Swiatek.  And the matches against Azarenka and Swiatek were long, grueling three-setters.  Svitolina was previously known as a more defensive player who often choked in big matches. 

Becoming a mother and representing Ukraine during Russia’s unprovoked invasion of that nation are certainly motivating factors, but Elina also credits the months she spent while inactive studying tapes of her matches with her coach Raemon Sluiter, and changes they’ve made to her style of play.  And it shows, as she’s a more aggressive hitter and server now, which is being rewarded by the lawns of The All England Club.

Vondrousova has also endured a tough path to this Slam semifinal, her second, taking out four consecutive seeds.  And against Jessica Pegula in Tuesday’s quarterfinals, she was just one point away from going down 5-1 in the third, before rattling off five straight games to close out the match.  Marketa is vying for her second Major final, after surprisingly achieving that feat four years ago at Roland Garros as a 19-year-old.  She’s persevered through multiple injuries to get back to this stage of a Major.

Svitolina leads their head-to-head 3-2, though Vondrousova’s two wins came in their two most recent meetings, and they weren’t close.  Three years ago in Rome on clay, she prevailed 6-3, 6-0.  And two years ago in the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics, she prevailed 6-3, 6-1 to propel herself towards a silver medal, while Svitolina would win bronze.

But this is a different Elina, as both a player and a person.  Based on her new and improved style of play, and the fighting spirit she has shown throughout these Championships, I favor Svitolina to achieve her first Major final.


Ons Jabeur (6) vs. Aryna Sabalenka (2) – Second on Centre Court

Jabeur was on the brink of elimination and complete frustration on Wednesday, dropping the first set in a tiebreak despite holding multiple set points, against the same person that defeated her in last year’s championship match, Elena Rybakina.  But in that moment, Ons dug in, coming back to win in three and avenge that painful loss from a year ago.  Having defeated Andreescu, Kvitova, and Rybakina in succession, is Jabeur ready to defeat a fourth consecutive Major champion to return to the Wimbledon final?

Sabalenka had a much easier time on Wednesday, dispatching of Madison Keys in straight sets.  She’s now an excellent 40-7 on the year, as she vies for her second Slam final.  But Sabalenka has a lot of scar tissue when it comes to Slam semifinals. 

Prior to this year’s Australian Open, she was 0-3 in Major semis, losing all three by a score of 6-4 in the third.  And after beating Maga Linette in Australia, she lost a heartbreaking semifinal to Karolina Muchova just a month ago in Paris, going down in defeat 7-5 in the third despite holding a match point, losing 20 of the last 24 points.

Sabalenka is 3-1 against Jabeur, and 1-0 on grass.  Two years ago in the quarterfinals of this event, Aryna won in straight sets, so this is a chance for Ons to avenge her two most recent Wimbledon losses in back-to-back days.  Sabalenka’s other two victories came on hard courts, including a tight match at last year’s WTA Finals that went to 7-5 in third.  Jabeur’s only win was their only meeting on a clay court, three years ago at Roland Garros.

But considering the confidence Jabeur has closed out her last two matches with against similarly big hitters, as well as Sabalenka’s painful history in this round of Majors, I give Ons the ever-so-slight edge to prevail on Thursday. Plus, also on the line for Aryna is her debut atop the WTA rankings with a win over Ons, which only adds even more pressure atop her shoulders.


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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