Wimbledon Daily Preview: The Men’s Singles Semifinals - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Daily Preview: The Men’s Singles Semifinals

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Novak Djokovic during Tuesday’s quarterfinals (twitter.com/Wimbledon)

The men’s singles semifinals will be played Friday on Centre Court, featuring three of the top four players in the world.

A year ago, Jannik Sinner was just one set away from upsetting Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon quarterfinals on Centre Court.  Now they meet again in Sinner’s first Major semifinal, and Djokovic’s record-tying 46th.  Is Jannik ready to claim three sets on Friday, and prevent Novak from procuring his 24th Major title, as well as a calendar-year Grand Slam?

The other men’s singles semifinal is a battle between the two most recent US Open champions: Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev.  Both are looking for their first Wimbledon final, and their second Major crown. 

Also on the line across the next few days is the World No.1 ranking, as Djokovic will reclaim it from Alcaraz if he advances farther than him.


Jannik Sinner (8) vs. Novak Djokovic (2) – 1:30pm on Centre Court

Sinner is now 37-10 on the year, and 8-2 on grass. He’s dropped only two sets through five matches this fortnight, though he’s also been gifted an extremely kind draw, as Jannik is yet to face a player ranked higher than 79th in the world.  After going 0-4 in previous Major quarterfinals, he defeated Roman Safiullin in four sets on Tuesday to achieve this new feat in his young career. 

Djokovic is 32-4 this season, and is looking to win his fifth consecutive Wimbledon title, joining Bjorn Borg and Roger Federer as the only men to do so in the Open Era.  And Novak hasn’t lost a match on Centre Court since the 2013 championship match against Andy Murray.  He’s also lost two sets to this stage, one to Hubert Hurkacz and one to Andrey Rublev.

It’s no wonder Djokovic is bursting with confidence, as after Tuesday’s quarterfinal victory, when asked regarding the younger generation’s efforts to dethrone him, Novak boasted “I know that they want to get a scalp, they want to win… but it ain’t happening.” 

While Sinner was up two-sets-to-love on Djokovic a year ago at this event, the result of that match still never really seemed in doubt.  Novak has come back so many times from similar deficits at Majors, especially against younger and inexperienced opposition, and he comfortably took the next three sets.  As per Tennis Abstract, Djokovic has won 14 of his last 16 matches at Majors after dropping the first set, and two of his last three where he’s dropped the first two sets.  Plus, Jannik was trying to break new ground in his career, and predictably tightened up in that big moment.

Their only other previous meeting also went to Djokovic, which was a straight-setter two years ago on clay in Monte Carlo.  On Friday, I expect Sinner to thoroughly test Djokovic, as the 21-year-old Italian’s game has matured and evolved considerably over the past year, with an improved serve and even more consistency on his groundstrokes.  But of course, Novak remains the favorite to reach his ninth Wimbledon final, as he really doesn’t have a considerable weakness, especially on grass.  Plus, he’s 7-0 in his last seven semifinals at The Championships, and 10-0 in his last 10 Major semis overall.


Carlos Alcaraz (1) vs. Daniil Medvedev (3) – Second on Centre Court

This is a rematch from the Indian Wells final this past March, which Alcaraz easily claimed 6-3, 6-2 on a slow-paced hard court.  Their only other prior encounter occurred two years ago at this tournament, when Medvedev prevailed easily 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.  Though it’s worth noting Alcaraz was only ranked 75th in the world at the time, and was not yet the elite player he is today.

These are the two most winningest players on the ATP tour this season.  Medvedev is 46-8, and Alcaraz is 45-4.  Daniil lost rather early in both of his grass court leadup events, while Carlitos won at Queen’s Club.  Medvedev has lost three sets this fortnight, and Alcaraz has lost two.

Neither man would refer to grass as their best surface, and both are still developing ways to make their games work on the lawns of The All England Club.  Medvedev has stubbornly refused to adjust his deep return position for the most part, but finally took a few steps forward while losing to Christopher Eubanks in the quarterfinals, which helped turn that match around.  If Daniil insists on staying back against Carlitos on Friday, the young Spaniard can easily take advantage of that with drop shots and net play.

Despite Medvedev’s 4-1 record in Major semifinals, compared to Alcaraz’s record of 1-1, I like Carlitos’ chances of prevailing on Day 12.  Daniil’s defensive expertise is less effective on grass, while Alcaraz’s creative and powerful offense are more rewarded.


Friday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Daria Kasatkina And Alejandro Davidovich Fokina Lead Calls For VAR In Tennis

There have been calls for VAR to be introduced into the sport.

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Daria Kasatkina and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina have called for VAR to be implemented in tennis.

The calls have came after Andrey Rublev was disqualified from his semi-final with Alexander Bublik in Dubai.

As Bublik lead 6-5 in the final set, Rublev shouted in the face of an umpire allegedly swearing in Russian which was picked up by one of the officials.

This saw Rublev be disqualified from the event with Bublik reaching the final in Dubai.

However as a result of the incident players have called for a VAR review system with the video showing inconclusive proof of whether Rublev did swear in Russian.

Leading the calls for such innovation are Daria Kasatkina and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina as the duo called for VAR to be introduced on twitter, “So you can just disqualify a player, take away all his points and money, without even checking the video? What a joke, yet another confirmation that we need VAR in tennis and an electronic appeal system in all tournaments,” Kasatkina said on social media.

VAR has been implemented in football and also a similar system in rugby with mixed results.

It’s clear though that more technology would help umpires identify whether a grounds for disqualification would be necessary.

So far VAR has been trialled at the Next Gen Finals and the Nitto ATP Finals.

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Casper Ruud Overcomes ‘Tough Start’ To Set De Minaur Final In Acapulco

Casper Ruud is into his first ATP 500 final after defeating Holger Rune in three sets.

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Casper Ruud is into his second consecutive final in Mexico after defeating Holger Rune 3-6 6-3 6-4 in Acapulco.

The Norwegian had to overcome an electric start from Rune to prevail in 2 hours and 24 minutes.

It was a clinical performance from Ruud who is now into his second consecutive final in Mexico after reaching the final in Los Cabos last week.

Speaking after the match Ruud admitted it was a tough start but he’s pleased to be in another final, “It was a tough start,” Ruud told the ATP website.

“Holger just came out firing bullets from the forehand, from the backhand and I had not too much time to play my game. I was frustrated at times, especially at the end of the first set, beginning of the second.

“I didn’t really feel like I got to play any points how I wanted to, so there was some frustration towards myself, towards my box, because I didn’t feel like we were doing the right thing.

“But luckily with one break in the second, it turned around a bit and in the third set it got a little physical. I think maybe Holger seemed like he was struggling a little bit and started firing even more and a couple of games it went in and he broke me, which is frustrating.

“Some unforced errors crept up on him and I served really well in the last game to close it out.”

Ruud is now into his first ATP 500 final in Acapulco where he will face defending champion Alex De Minaur.

De Minaur overcame Jack Draper after the Brit retired at 4-0 down in the deciding set.

Heading into Saturday’s final, De Minaur leads the head-to-head 1-0 although that was in a completely different scoring format in the Next Gen Finals.

Whatever happens on Saturday, Ruud will return to the world’s top ten.

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Andrey Rublev Disqualified In Dramatic Dubai Semi-Final

Andrey Rublev was disqualified from his semi-final in Dubai.

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Andrey Rublev was disqualified from his semi-final with Alexander Bublik after being accused of swearing in Russian.

The event took place in Dubai where Rublev had more than enough opportunities to win the match having been 4-2 40-0 up in the deciding set.

However Bublik came back into the match as he caught up with Rublev in what was turning into a fascinating contest.

The score was at 6-5 Bublik when Rublev’s frustrations boiled over when he allegedly told the official at the side of the court that he was a ‘f****** moron’ in Russian.

One of the officials on the sidelines at the side of the court reported the incident and the supervisor ruled that Rublev should be defaulted.

The incident below means that Rublev will now lose all his ranking points and prize money, resulting in Rublev exiting the world’s top five.

An ending that didn’t warrant the dramatic contest and after the match Bublik agreed that the consequences, “I highly doubt Andrey said something crazy,” Bublik was quoted by Sports Illustrated.

“He’s not this kind of guy. But I guess that’s the rules. That’s what they did, they just follow the procedure.”

Bublik will hope for a smoother finish to the final when he takes on Ugo Humbert for the title.

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