Canada Daily Preview: Doubles Partners Pegula and Gauff Meet in the Quarterfinals - UBITENNIS
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Canada Daily Preview: Doubles Partners Pegula and Gauff Meet in the Quarterfinals

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Coco Gauff earlier this week in Montreal (twitter.com/OBNmontreal)

Friday is quarterfinal day in both Montreal and Toronto.

Across the past two seasons, Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff have teamed up to win five doubles titles, and even reached the championship match of Roland Garros.  They are highest ranked Americans in both singles and doubles.  On Friday, these partners and good friends will collide in the singles quarterfinals.

Other men’s and women’s singles quarterfinals on Friday feature both the ATP and WTA singles No.1’s, Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatek, as well as Daniil Medvedev and Elena Rybakina.

Plus, due to rain on Thursday, two WTA third round singles matches (Kvitova/Bencic and Samsonova/Sabalenka) will be played on Friday afternoon, with the winners to play each other on Friday evening in the quarterfinals.

Throughout the tournament, this preview will analyze the day’s most prominent match in both Montreal and Toronto, while highlighting the other notable matches on the schedule in each city.  Friday’s singles play begins at 12:00pm local time in Montreal, and 12:30pm local time in Toronto.


Jessica Pegula (4) vs. Coco Gauff (6) – Second on Court Central in Montreal

Gauff has been a different player since arriving in Washington last week.  With Pere Riba and Brad Gilbert joining her coaching team, Coco is 6-0 in matches and 12-0 in sets.  The 19-year-old eased her way to the title last week, and on Thursday evening crushed the most recent Major winner, Marketa Vondrousova, by a score of 6-3, 6-0.

Pegula remains one of the most consistent performers on tour, with a record of 39-13 this season.  This is her ninth quarterfinal of 2023, and she’s 4-4 in this round.  Unfortunately, two of those losses came in the quarterfinals of Majors, where she is now 0-6 lifetime.

These teammates have split two previous meetings.  Last year on a hard court in Dubai, Pegula won in straight sets.  And just two months ago on grass in in Eastbourne, Gauff won in straight sets.  In the rubber match on Friday, Coco should be favored based on her superb recent form.  She has been hitting the ball with a ton of confidence, which is a formidable threat coming from such a big ball striker.


Carlos Alcaraz (1) vs. Tommy Paul (12) – Not Before 7:00pm on Center Court in Toronto

Alcaraz escaped quite a messy situation on Thursday night.  After splitting the first two sets with Hubert Hurkacz, Carlitos was up 5-2 in the third, with two breaks.  But at match point, he started making some loose errors, and allowed Hubi to break back twice.  Alcaraz was eventually able to prevail in the deciding tiebreak, extending his win streak to 14 matches, and improving his record this year to 49-4.

Paul achieved his first Major semifinal this past January in Melbourne, and was the runner-up at two ATP events later in the season (Acapulco, Eastbourne).  This week he’s already survived two three-setters, both over Argentines (Schwartzman, Cerundolo), and took out fellow American Marcos Giron on Thursday.

These players have also split two prior encounters.  Last year in this same tournament, Paul upset Alcaraz 6-3 in the third, in a matchup that lasted three hours and 20 minutes.  But this past March in Miami, Carlitos prevailed 6-4, 6-4.  In another rubber match on Friday, Alcaraz is the considerable favorite.  The Spaniard was far from his best during much of his match on Thursday against Hurkacz, yet still found a way to be victorious.  Carlitos’ various weapons should enable him to do the same against Tommy.


Other Notable Matches on Friday:

Mackenzie McDonald vs. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina – Both of these unseeded players have made a considerable impression this week.  McDonald has not dropped a set through three matches, including an upset of sixth-seeded Andrey Rublev.  Davidovich Fokina took out Sascha Zverev and Casper Ruud on consecutive days, outlasting Ruud on Thursday in an over three-hour encounter decided by a third-set tiebreak.  Two years ago on an indoor hard court in Stockholm, Ale defeated Mackie 7-5 in the third.

Alex de Minaur vs. Daniil Medvedev (2) – Medvedev is now 48-9 on the year, and 31-3 on hard courts.  De Minaur is coming off a run to the final last week in Los Cabos.  Daniil leads their head-to-head 4-1, though Alex took their most recent meeting 7-5 in the third, which was nine months ago in Bercy.

Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Danielle Collins (Q) – Swiatek overcame Karolina Muchova in three sets after multiple rain delays on Thursday.  Collins has won five matches since the beginning of qualifying on Saturday, with victories in the main draw over Svitolina, Sakkari, and Fernandez.  Iga is 2-1 against Danielle, though Collins claimed their most important contest, in last year’s Australian Open semifinals.

Gael Monfils (PR) vs. Jannik Sinner (7) – Monfils had barely won any matches after injuring himself at this same event a year ago, but the 36-year-old has been on fire this week, most notably upsetting Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets.  Sinner received a walkover on Thursday evening from an injured Andy Murray, and eliminated Matteo Berrettini on Wednesday.  Jannik is 3-1 against Gael, with their most memorable encounter being a five-setter at the 2021 US Open, which went to Sinner.

Daria Kasatkina (10) vs. Elena Rybakina (3) – Rybakina beat two Americans to reach this stage (Brady, Stephens).  Kasatkina is yet to drop a set in her first three matches in Montreal, and she is 2-1 against Elena.


Friday’s full Order of Play for the WTA is here, and the ATP is here.

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Roland Garros 2024: ‘Proud’ Iga Swiatek Seeks Consistent Improvement

Iga Swiatek continues to find improvement despite her dominance ahead of her Roland Garros opener.

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Ubitennis/Francesca Micheli

Iga Swiatek had admitted she is ‘proud’ of her clay court season but is seeking consistent improvement over the rest of the season.

The world number one is aiming for a third consecutive Roland Garros title and heads into Paris in dominant form.

Titles in Madrid and Rome with two contrasting wins over Aryna Sabalenka means she is the overwhelming favourite heading into the fortnight.

Speaking ahead of her opening match Swiatek spoke about how she is a better tennis player from 2022 and how proud she is of her clay court season so far, “I think I’m a better player because I just grew and I worked hard during the past two years,” Swiatek explained in her press conference.

“I feel like I’m progressing, so I guess I should be a better tennis player. Comparing the results, or my feelings, two years ago it was all kind of new for me, and I think I won so many matches also because nobody really expected it.

“When the streak started, I wasn’t even second in the rankings, so I think other players were also unprepared maybe for my game sometimes. Now it’s different. Now they are prepared, and I feel like I keep having a target on my back, because I’m No. 1. So I think actually I’m more proud of what’s happening right now and winning all these titles this year already has shown that we are going on the right path.”

Despite her recent dominance, Swiatek isn’t resting on her laurels as she continues to seek improvement.

The Pole has been working on several areas on her game including the serve as she has become a more aggressive player over the last couple of years.

Swiatek spoke on the changes she has made with her coach as she seeks more consistent improvement, “Changing the technique, I think it allowed me to serve faster. We worked on my placement as well, so it got better for sure. I feel like I have more options when I’m serving,” Swiatek told the Roland Garros website.

“As you could see in Rome, for example, I had many situations when I was a break point down, and I was able to kind of save the game with my first serve. So this tournament showed that we are going in the right direction. Next goal is to keep my serve at a consistent level throughout the whole season. We’ll see how that’s going to go.

“But I think overall my coach from the beginning had a great idea about my serve. The other thing is me implementing it, so we are working hard for the movement to be smooth and to get muscle memory, so even under the biggest pressure and stress, I’m going to be serving the same way.”

Swiatek will begin her campaign against qualifier Leolia Jeanjean in her opening round match on Monday with potentially Naomi Osaka awaiting in round two.

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Roland Garros 2024: Practice Makes Perfect For Carlos Alcaraz In Roland Garros Title Bid

Carlos Alcaraz is looking to overcome the pain barrier as he searches for Roland Garros glory.

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Carlos Alcaraz is bidding for a first Roland Garros title but the Spaniard will need to overcome the pain barrier in order to achieve his goal.

The world number three enters this year’s tournament with mixed preparations having suffered an injury during practice in Monte-Carlo.

Alcaraz failed to play in Barcelona, where he was defending champion, before exiting Madrid at the quarter-finals stage to eventual winner Andrey Rublev.

Despite Alcaraz’s lack of fitness, the Spaniard will feel he has a good chance of achieving a special landmark as he has the opportunity to win 75% of the career Grand Slam.

Speaking ahead of the fortnight Alcaraz admitted he is feeling better but needs to change some psychological feelings when hitting the forehand again, “I’m feeling better. At least I can practise, hit balls without pain. That’s a really good point for me,” Alcaraz explained in his pre-tournament press conference.

“I’m not feeling any pain in the practices when I step on the court. But I’m still thinking about it when I am hitting forehands. Probably I’m gonna say I’m a little bit scared about hitting every forehand 100 percent. So I have to change it in my first match.”

Roland Garros holds a special place in Alcaraz’s heart having had good memories and matches in the past with the Spaniard reaching the semi-finals last year.

Now Alcaraz is aiming to win his maiden title in Paris as he continues his development at an elite level.

The Spaniard spoke about how special Roland Garros is and spoke about how wide open this year’s tournament is given the form and fitness of Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner, “Right now, I don’t see a clear favourite to win the tournament, but there is a wide range of players who can do it,” Alcaraz explained.

“It’s Roland-Garros and it’s a really special tournament. Everybody wants to do good results here. This tournament is one of the main reasons that I’m practicing every day. I want to be a better player, to be able to win these kinds of tournaments.”

Alcaraz starts his Roland Garros on Sunday against lucky loser J.J. Wolf.

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Tomas Machac Stuns Novak Djokovic To Reach Maiden ATP Final In Geneva

Tomas Machac is into his first career ATP final after stunning Novak Djokovic in Geneva.

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Tomas Machac is into his first ATP final after defeating Novak Djokovic 6-4 0-6 6-1 in Geneva.

The world number one seemed to be struggling physically throughout the contest as Machac earned the biggest win of his career.

After trailing 4-1 in the opening set, Machac played aggressive tennis against a sub-par Djokovic to win five games in a row and take the opening set.

In the second set Djokovic was back to his brilliant best as he won six consecutive games to level the match at one set all.

However the Serb was clearly struggling with his fitness and conditioning as Machac secured the biggest win of his career, reaching a first ATP final.

Speaking after the match Machac was lost for words as he looks ahead to Saturday’s showdown, “I have no reaction right now, I just fought for every ball,” Machac told the ATP website.

“When you play against Novak you just hope. You just try to play your best and see what it looks like. I am looking forward to playing in a final for the first time.”

As for Djokovic, the Serb is yet to reach a final this year and will need to get his form back on track as he prepares to begin his Roland Garros title defence against Pierre-Hughes Herbert.

Meanwhile Machac will play either Casper Ruud or Flavio Cobolli in the final.

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