Canada Daily Preview: Wimbledon Champ Vondrousova Faces an Unretired Wozniacki - UBITENNIS
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Canada Daily Preview: Wimbledon Champ Vondrousova Faces an Unretired Wozniacki

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Caroline Wozniacki after her victory on Tuesday (twitter.com/OBNmontreal)

A super busy Wednesday in Canada features eight of the world’s top 10 women, as well as seven of the world’s top 10 men.

Wednesday’s WTA play in Montreal is headlined by new Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova against Caroline Wozniacki, just a day after Wozniacki came out of retirement and was victorious in her return to the tour.  Plus World No.1 Iga Swiatek plays two-time Major runner-up Karolina Pliskova.  And other action in Montreal includes Aryna Sabalenka, Petra Kvitova, and Coco Gauff.

The highest profile ATP match of the day in Toronto sees Stefanos Tsitsipas take on Gael Monfils.  In addition, reigning Wimbledon and US Open champ Carlos Alcaraz plays fellow 20-year-old Ben Shelton in what will undoubtedly be the first of many meetings.  And Daniil Medvedev, Andy Murray, and Jannik Sinner will also play their second round matches, with Sinner facing fellow Italian Matteo Berrettini.

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.  Wednesday’s play begins at 11:00am local time in both cities.


Stefanos Tsitsipas (4) vs. Gael Monfils (PR) – Second on Center Court in Toronto

Tsitsipas is 37-13 this year, and just a few days ago in Los Cabos, won his first title in over a year.  He also just named Mark Philippoussis as his new head coach, replacing his father in what often seemed like a contentious coaching relationship.  Five years ago, this tournament was a coming out party of sorts for Stefanos, as he made a name for himself by beating four top 10 players (Thiem, Djokovic, Zverev, Anderson).

Monfils didn’t play for seven months after retiring from this tournament a year ago with a knee injury, and upon returning this season, lost 9 of his first 11 matches at all levels.  But the 36-year-old seems to be recovering some of his form.  Gael claimed two matches last week in Washington, and on Monday in Toronto, took out recent Wimbledon quarterfinalist Christopher Eubanks.

The Greek is 2-1 against the Frenchman, with all three meetings on hard courts.  Though they haven’t played in four-and-a-half years, Tsitsipas is a considerable favorite to prevail on Wednesday.  And with Philippoussis as the main voice in his camp, I’m curious to see what Stefanos can accomplish in Toronto, Cincinnati, and New York.


Marketa Vondrousova (9) vs. Caroline Wozniacki (WC) – Not Before 4:30pm on Court Rogers in Monreal

Vondrousova’s road to her first Major title at Wimbledon was not easy.  She eliminated five seeded players, including two ranked inside the top six (Pegula, Jebeur).  Marketa is now 32-10 this season, and is on an eight-match winning streak after defeating Mayar Sherif in straight sets on Tuesday. 

Also on Tuesday, Wozniacki made a successful return to the sport, comfortably beating qualifier Kimberly Birrell 6-2, 6-2.  But is she ready to challenge a top 10 player, and the most recent Major winner?

In their first career meeting, Vondrousova is a clear favorite on paper.  But it would only be normal for Marketa to have a letdown in form after surprising the tennis world by becoming a Slam champ.  And as Wozniacki showed on Tuesday, her consistent groundstrokes are still there, despite her three-and-a-half year layoff.  I actually like Caroline’s chances to pull off the upset on Wednesday.


Other Notable Matches on Wednesday:

Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Karolina Pliskova – Swiatek is 44-7 in 2023, and an astounding 114-16 since the start of 2022.  Pliskova has struggled to stay healthy the last few years, and is just 20-14 this season.  Iga leads their head-to-head 2-0, with both matches taking place on clay.

Matteo Arnaldi (Q) vs. Daniil Medvedev (2) – Medvedev is 46-9 this year, with five titles.  Arnaldi is a 22-year-old Italian who has won 39 matches this season at all levels. Six months ago in Dubai on a hard court, Daniil defeated Matteo 6-4, 6-2.

Danielle Collins (Q) vs. Maria Sakkari (8) – On Tuesday, Collins crushed Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-2.  Sakkari was the runner-up last week in Washington, losing in straight sets to Coco Gauff.  Maria is 2-0 against Danielle, though both matches have gone three sets.

Matteo Berrettini vs. Jannik Sinner (7) – Sinner is 37-11 on the year, and is coming off his first Major semifinal at Wimbledon.  It’s been a rough season of tough losses and injuries for Berrettini, but he rediscovered his form at The Championships, taking out two top 20 seeds (de Minaur, Zverev).  This is a first-time encounter.

Max Purcell (Q) vs. Andy Murray – Murray ousted Lorenzo Sonego in straight sets on Tuesday, while Purcell upset a less-than-100% Felix Auger-Aliassime.  Last summer on grass in Newport, Andy beat Max in three sets.

Petra Martic vs. Aryna Sabalenka (2) – Sabalenka is 40-8 this season, but added a few more heartbreaking semifinal losses at Majors to her resume in both Paris and London.  She’s split two meetings with Martic, which both occurred on hard courts in 2019.

Carlos Alcaraz (1) vs. Ben Shelton – Alcaraz is now an excellent 47-4 on the year, and this is his first ATP match since upsetting Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final.  Shelton made waves by achieving his first Slam quarterfinal this past January in Melbourne, but is a dismal 6-16 ever since.

Petra Kvitova (7) vs. Camila Giorgi – Kvitova has claimed two titles this season, and she won this event back in 2012.  Giorgi took out Canada’s Bianca Andreescu in straight sets on Tuesday evening, and won this event in 2021.  They are 2-2 lifetime, with Camila beating Petra in straight sets two years ago in this same city.


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

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Andy Murray Makes Retirement Hint After 500th Hard Court Win In Dubai

Andy Murray won his 500th hard court match in Dubai, placing him fifth on the all-time list.

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Andy Murray further hinted at retirement after securing a 500th hard court win of his career in Dubai.

The former world number one picked up his second win of the year with a 4-6 7-6(5) 6-3 victory over Denis Shapovalov.

In typical Andy Murray fashion, the Brit came back from a set down to defeat the out-of-sorts Canadian as he progressed to the second round.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUVj537F-wQ

The win means Murray now has 500 career wins on a hard court and that is an achievement the world number 67 is proud of, “It’s not bad,” Murray told the ATP website as he sits fifth on the all-time list of hard court wins.

“Obviously hard court has been a great surface for me over the years and 500 is a lot of matches so I’m very proud of that. There are not many players that have done that, so great to get to 500 before I’m done.”

However those post-match comments weren’t the most shocking ones as Murray once again hinted at retirement this season.

The Brit has made subtle remarks that this year may be his last one but Murray’s comments today suggests that he may have already made his decision, “I probably don’t have too long left but I’ll do as best as I can these last few months,” Murray was quoted by ESPN as saying.

“I still love competing and still love the game but it gets harder and harder to compete the older you get, to keep your body fit and fresh.”

If the end is near for Murray than the Brit will look to end his career on a high for the next few months.

Before thinking about retirement Murray will look to go further in Dubai when he takes on either Ugo Humbert or Gael Monfils in the second round.

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Perspective And Fatigue: The Two Sides Of Iga Swiatek’s Dubai Defeat

Iga Swiatek spoke about perspective and fatigue after her semi-final exit in Dubai.

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Iga Swiatek showed two sides to her defeat in Dubai as the world number one surprisingly failed to win the title despite being the favourite in the semi-finals.

Heading into her semi-final in Dubai, Swiatek was heavy favourite to win her second consecutive WTA title after claiming the title in Doha the week before.

However Swiatek was unsuccessful in her bid to reach the final as she lost to Anna Kalinskaya 6-4 6-4.

It was a bitterly disappointing defeat for Swiatek who missed a golden opportunity to establish even more dominance ahead of Indian Wells.

As all champions do Swiatek offered perspective to her defeat as she looks ahead to the rest of the season, “I mean, I’m angry but on the other hand, there aren’t many players that actually survive these kinds of tournaments so I just kind of have to let it go and accept it,” Swiatek was quoted by Tennis Majors.

There was not only perspective offered but also fatigue as expectations and pressure can force simple mistakes from the best players in the world.

The world number one acknowledged Kalinskaya’s performance but did admit her own performance contributed to the defeat, “Today I would say, I mean she [Kalinskaya] played well and for sure she deserves to be in the final, but I feel like it was more about me and my level,” Swiatek told Tennis Majors.

“I wanted to be focused on myself and I wasn’t really able to implement any tactics that I had. Usually, when I tell myself what to do, I can improve my game but today I was so out of power and tired that I just couldn’t. Day by day, it was a little bit worse.”

Swiatek will hope to re-energize herself ahead of the sunshine double in America.

Last year Swiatek lost to eventual champion Elena Rybakina in the semi-finals at Indian Wells before withdrawing from Miami.

The Pole will look to improve last year’s performance when she plays Indian Wells, which starts on the 6th of March.

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‘Speechless’ Mensik Reaches Maiden ATP Final In Doha

Jakub Mensik is into his first ATP final in Doha.

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Jakub Mensik admitted he was left speechless after reaching his first ATP final in Doha.

The 18 year-old continued his remarkable week with a 6-4 1-6 6-3 semi-final victory over Gael Monfils.

The Czech Republican produced clinical tennis as he beat the 2018 champion to reach his maiden ATP final.

After the match Mensik admitted he was left ‘speechless’ and spoke about the influence Monfils had on his career, “It is amazing. Hopefully not the last one [final]. Incredible week so far,” Mensik told the ATP website.

“Today again with Gael, he played unbelievable. I know it is tough to play against him, especially with his good movement. For me every point I have to play my best game.

“I have to say this performance was one of the best in my entire life. I am so glad I reached this level in the semis, so hopefully tomorrow I play like this. An amazing feeling with my first ATP final. I am speechless.

“I told him when I was young I watched him a lot on the TV. One of the biggest showman on court. He is a great guy, so hopefully in the future we will meet once again. The rallies were so fun with him.”

Mensik has so far beaten three former champions this week as he also defeated Andy Murray and Andrey Rublev this week.

Now Mensik will aim to win his first ATP title as he takes on Karen Khachanov in Saturday’s final.

Should Mensik win the title he could climb to 75 in the world as he started the week at 116 in the world.

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