Cincinnati Daily Preview: Svitolina and Wozniacki Play in the First Round - UBITENNIS
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Cincinnati Daily Preview: Svitolina and Wozniacki Play in the First Round



Caroline Wozniacki this past week in Montreal (

With the US Open just two weeks ago, all of the top-ranked men and women are in Cincinnati this week, looking to gain confidence and momentum.


The singles draws in Cincinnati feature the top 20 men and the top 20 women in the world.  That includes Novak Djokovic, who is playing his first tournament in North America since the 2021 US Open, as COVID-19 vaccine mandates have been lifted.  After a plethora of upsets this past week in Canada, will the top players restore order in Cincinnati?

Monday’s schedule is headlined by a meeting between two mothers who recently returned to the tour: Elina Svitolina and Caroline Wozniacki.  Other action includes Major singles champions Venus Williams, Stan Wawrinka, and Marketa Vondrousova, as well as a matchup between two friends who have been struggling this season: Felix Auger-Aliassime and Matteo Berrettini.

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

Matteo Berrettini vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (12) – 11:00am on Grandstand

After suffering a heartbreaking loss to Andy Murray at this year’s Australian Open, Berrettini spent the next several months injured.  Between March and June, Matteo went just 3-4, and after a loss in Stuttgart in June, he left the court in tears due to his inability to perform at his usual level.  But last month at Wimbledon, he rediscovered his confidence, with strong victories over Alex de Minaur and Sascha Zverev.

Auger-Aliassime has battled both injuries and illness for most of this season.  Dating back to Miami in March, he’s now lost eight of his last nine matches, and is currently on a five-match losing streak.  Considering Felix won three consecutive titles last October, he will be in danger of his ranking plummeting before the end of this year.

Berrettini leads their head-to-head 4-1 overall, and 2-1 on hard courts.  Though it is worth noting those two hard court victories came in the Laver Cup, a team event on an indoor hard court.  FAA’s only win came at this same event two years ago.  In a match where both players could really use a win, I give the edge to Berrettini based on recent form, as well as their shared history.

Elina Svitolina vs. Caroline Wozniacki (WC) – Not Before 8:30pm on Center Court

In her comeback from retirement last week, Wozniacki went 1-1.  She comfortably defeated qualifier Kimberly Birrell, but lost 6-2, 7-5 to Wimbledon champ Marketa Vondrousova.  Caroline is a modest 13-11 lifetime in Cincinnati, where her best result is reaching the semifinals in 2014.

Svitolina’s recent time away from the sport lasted a year, compared to three-and-a-half years for Wozniacki, yet Elina’s return remains extremely impressive.  Motivated by becoming a mother, and the war that continues to rage on in her country of Ukraine, Elina has been a new player.  And she has revamped her game, becoming a more aggressive player.  Just two months after returning, she reached the quarterfinals of Roland Garros, and three weeks after that, the semifinals of Wimbledon.

These players met five times between 2016 and 2018, with Svitolina taking four of those five encounters, all of which were on hard courts.  And with this only being Wozniacki’s third match back, Elina is a strong favorite to advance.

Other Notable Matches on Monday:

Venus Williams (WC) vs. Veronika Kudermetova (16) – Venus is just 2-5 on the year, and arrives in Cincinnati on a three-match losing streak, as she’s struggled to stay healthy.  Kudermetova is 25-14, but she’s also been battling an injury since the grass court season. 

Brandon Nakashima (WC) vs. Stan Wawrinka (WC) – 38-year-old Wawrinka is 20-14 this season at tour level, and is coming off a run to the final of Umag a few weeks ago on clay, his first final in over six years.  22-year-old Nakashima has been battling a knee injury of his own this year, and after debuting inside the top 50 in 2022, he’s just 9-15 in 2023.  Last season on an indoor hard court in Basel, at the biggest tournament in Stan’s home country, Wawrinka beat Nakashima 6-4 in the third.

Sebastian Korda vs. Borna Coric (15) – Coric was the surprising champion of this tournament a year ago, when he defeated five seeded players (Nadal, Bautista Agut, Auger-Aliassime, Norrie, Tsitsipas).  But Borna is just 18-16 this year.  Korda suffered a wrist injury during a run to the Australian Open quarterfinals in January, and is just 5-7 since. 

Karolina Muchova vs. Beatriz Haddad Maia (12) – These were the breakout players of this year’s Roland Garros, with Haddad Maia reaching her first Major semifinal, and Muchova going all the way to the final, where she nearly upset Iga Swiatek.  Last year on a hard court on Ostrava, Karolina eliminated Beatriz in straight sets.

Sascha Zverev (16) vs. Grigor Dimitrov – Both men are former champions of this event: Dimitrov in 2017, and Zverev in 2021.  Sascha leads their head-to-head 4-1, and hasn’t lost to Grigor since their first meeting in 2014.

Marketa Vondrousova (10) vs. Katerina Siniakova – Following her impressive triumph at Wimbledon, Vondrousova went 1-1 this past week in Canada, getting thumped by an in-form Coco Gauff 6-3, 6-0.  Siniakova won a grass court title earlier this summer in Bad Homburg, but comes into Cincinnati having lost her last three matches.

Monday’s full Order of Play is here.


Jannik Sinner, Arnaldi End Italy’s 47-Year Wait For Davis Cup Title



An in-form Jannik Sinner has secured Italy’s first Davis Cup title in almost half a century after crushing Alex de Minaur in straight sets. 


The world No.4 headed into the crucial match with his country boasting a 1-0 lead over Australia after Matteo Arnaldi won his clash against Alexi Popryin in three sets. Taking on a fiery de Minaur, a composed Sinner surged to a 6-3, 6-0, victory in Malaga to hand his country an unassailable lead and the title. The dominant performance saw Sinner produce a total of 25 winners with 18 of them coming from his forehand side. It is the sixth time he has beaten de Minaur on the Tour and he is yet to lose against him. 

“It helps a lot to play for the whole team,” Sinner said of his latest win. “It has been an incredible thing for all of us and we are really happy.”

Sinner first broke three games into his encounter with de Minaur after the Australian hit a lob shot that landed out. In control of proceedings, he rallied his way to 5-3 before opening up a 40-0 lead against his opponent’s serve. With three set points at his disposal, Sinner converted his second with the help of another unforced error coming from across the court. 

Closing in on the historic victory, the 22-year-old was in clinical form throughout the second frame as he raced to a 5-0 lead in under 30 minutes. Destroying whatever hopes Australia had of a shock comeback. Sinner closed out the match on his third attempt after a De Minaur backhand drifted wide, prompting an almighty smile on his face. 

Thanks to Australia. I know with the new format it is a little bit different to have to all come to one place. it means a lot.” Said Sinner.

In the first match of the day, Arnaldi ousted Popryin 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, in a two-and-a-half-hour marathon. The world No.44, who made his Davis Cup debut in September, held his nerve throughout a tense deciding set where he saved all eight break points he faced. Overall, he hit a total of 40 winners past Popryin and was visibly emotional afterward. 

“This match was very important and emotional for a few reasons,” Arnaldi told reporters. 
“This year for me was the first time playing for my country. I played when I was junior, but Davis Cup is just different.’
“And three weeks ago, an important person passed away. I think he gave me the power to try to stay there (in the match). It wasn’t easy to play, but they gave me the power at the end to try to win.”

It is the second time in history Italy has won the Davis Cup and the first since 1976. The triumph caps off what has been a memorable week for the team who 24 hours earlier beat Novak Djokovic’s Serbia in the semi-finals with Sinner saving three match points against the world No.1 in the singles. 

“I’m really thankful and proud to have these guys,” Italian captain Filippo Volandri commented.
“We have had to manage with a lot of emergencies during these past two years but we did it and we did it like a family.” He added.

Italy, who has become the 11th country in history to win Multiple Davis Cup titles, currently has six players in the ATP top 100 with four of those being in the top 50. 

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Alexander Zverev Deserves More Respect According To Boris Becker

According to Boris Becker, Alexander Zverev deserves more respect from tennis journalists.



Alexander Zverev (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Boris Becker has claimed that Alexander Zverev deserves more respect despite Zverev failing to live up to his potential at Grand Slams.


Zverev has only reached one Grand Slam final in his career despite being a regular inside the world’s top ten as well as performing at regular ATP events.

This season Zverev played a limited schedule after recovering from an ankle injury but still managed to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals.

However most critics have been loud when judging Zverev’s career as it was looking likely that he would be a regular Grand Slam champion.

The German has failed to live up to expectations but former Grand Slam champion Boris Becker believes Zverev deserves more respect.

Speaking to Eurosport Becker also said that Zverev’s father being the coach is a more than successful approach when it comes to the former US Open finalist’s career, “In my opinion, he doesn’t get enough respect from the tennis experts internationally,” Becker explained.

“They’re all talking about the young three or four, but don’t give Zverev, Medvedev or Rublev enough respect. He’s playing with his fist in his pocket a little bit, wants everyone show that he is not a thing of the past, but that his best time is yet to come.

“Surely his father knows best what is good for his son, but if you look into the box at the competition, you can also see changes.”

Becker has followed Zverev for most of his career so knows that the best is yet to come from the German.

Alexander Zverev will look to prove himself next season when he starts his 2024 season when he represents Germany at the United Cup.

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Juan Carlos Ferrero Analyses Key Areas For Carlos Alcaraz’s Development

Juan Carlos Ferrero has outlined the next steps in Carlos Alcaraz’s development.



(@tennisnewsbrazil - Twitter)

Carlos Alcaraz’s coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero has analysed the key areas for the Spaniard’s development heading into the 2024 season.


The former world number one’s season has come to an end after a successful year which saw him win the Wimbledon title as well as winning two Masters 1000 titles.

Alcaraz capped off an incredible season by reaching the semi-finals at the Nitto ATP Finals, where he lost to Novak Djokovic.

However there is a long way for the Spaniard to go if he wants to consistently go toe-to-toe with Novak Djokovic.

Speaking to Marca Alcaraz’s coach Juan Carlos Ferrero spoke about the Spaniard’s development and said that Alcaraz is too emotional, “Be more regular in games, not open doors. Sometimes there are mistakes and it is something that we have to improve a lot,” Ferrero commented.

“Although it is true that he opens doors, he always competes well and at the highest level. He knows it, the other day he already said that Novak doesn’t give you one. He has to improve his decision making and he will achieve that with experience. Carlos is very emotional and that sometimes helps him and other times not so much.”

It’s clear Alcaraz’s high-quality is there but to consistently do it against Djokovic is another task altogether as the Spaniard looks to go from strength-to strength next season.

One area that is clearly a priority for Alcaraz is physical conditioning especially considering what happened against Djokovic at Roland Garros earlier in the season.

Ferrero said that will be a clear focus heading into 2024 but couldn’t guarantee that Alcaraz will play a tournament before the Australian Open, “Because of the year and the fatigue he has been in, what he needs is rest and disconnecting for 8-10 days with his friends,” Ferrero stated.

“From there, the thinking must go back to working really hard, strong and well to start very strongly in Australia. One can never be sure of that. Sometimes you play a tournament and it doesn’t go well, you left home too early. There are many ways of thinking.

“This year we haven’t played Australia and he finishes number two. That means there is no urgency to play a tournament early. Carlos is a player who enters competition quickly, you don’t usually see him without rhythm.

“Although it is true that he becomes more dangerous from the round of 16, from the quarter-finals. I am confident that the two exhibition matches and the training sessions will help us play a good tournament.”

Alcaraz will be looking to play the Australian Open which starts on the 15th of January after the Spaniard missed last year’s tournament due to a leg injury.

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