Indian Wells Daily Preview: The Women’s Semifinals Featuring Swiatek, Gauff - UBITENNIS
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Indian Wells Daily Preview: The Women’s Semifinals Featuring Swiatek, Gauff

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Iga Swiatek during Thursday’s quarterfinals (twitter.com/BNPPARIBASOPEN)

The women’s singles semifinals will be played on Friday, as will the men’s doubles championship match.

World No.1 and 2022 champion Iga Swiatek has been steamrolling the competition this fortnight.  On Friday, she faces 21-year-old Marta Kostyuk, who is playing the best tennis of her young career.  The other WTA singles semifinal sees reigning US Open champ Coco Gauff take on Maria Sakkari, who is into her third consecutive semifinal in Indian Wells.

Plus, in the men’s doubles final at 1:30pm local time, it’s Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos (5) vs. Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic.  This is a rematch from the final in Auckland at the beginning of the year, when Koolhof and Mektic prevailed in a deciding-set tiebreak.


Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Marta Kostyuk (31) – Not Before 4:00pm on Stadium 1

Swiatek is 18-2 on the year, and with a victory on Friday will lead the WTA with 19 match wins in 2024.  She is now 11-3 lifetime at this event, after Caroline Wozniacki retired midway through their quarterfinal on Thursday.  Iga is vying for her ninth WTA 1000 final, though she’s lost four of her last seven semifinals at this level.

Like Swiatek, Kostyuk is yet to drop a set this fortnight, though she did receive a walkover in the third round from Wimbledon champ Marketa Vondrousova.  Marta is 15-5 this season, having achieved her first Major quarterfinal in Melbourne.  She also reached the final of San Diego two weeks ago, where she upset Jessica Pegula in the semis.  This is Kostyuk’s best result at this level, and she would debut inside the top 20 with a win on Friday.

Their only previous matchup occurred three years ago at Roland Garros, where Swiatek was victorious 6-3, 6-4.  But Kostyuk is a much-improved player this year, as the 2017 Australian Open girls’ champion is now translating her success at the junior level to the pro tour.  Marta will look to attack Iga with her formidable backhand, and while she has the ability to pull off the upset, Iga should still be favored in this semifinal.  Swiatek is currently playing with supreme confidence, and she’s the WTA’s toughest out when she’s at her best.


Coco Gauff (3) vs. Maria Sakkari (9) – Not Before 6:00pm on Stadium 1

While Sakkari has much experience in Indian Wells semifinals, this is Gauff’s debut in this round.  And the newly-turned 20-year-old American has had to battle to reach this stage.  While Coco has only dropped one set, she’s again struggling with her second serve.  In Thursday’s quarterfinals, she struck a whopping 17 double faults across just two sets.  And a round earlier, she hit twice as many double faults as aces.  But she survived against Yue Yuan on Thursday by winning the critical points, saving seven of 10 break points, and winning five of seven break points of her own.

Sakkari played rather terribly at big events last season, going just 2-4 at Majors.  But in her first tournament with David Witt as her coach, she appears refreshed.  And Indian Wells is easily her best WTA 1000 event, where she is now 16-5 lifetime.  In the last round, Maria came back from a set down to defeat one of the WTA’s best performers of 2024, Emma Navarro.  Sakkari is looking to reach her second championship in the desert, and perhaps set up a rematch of the 2022 final against Swiatek.

This will be their eighth meeting within the last four years, and Maria holds the slight edge 4-3.  Though in their 2024 encounters, both on hard courts, Coco prevailed in straight sets.  But based on Gauff’s service issues, I favor Sakkari to return to championship Sunday in tennis paradise.  Plus, as Jason Goodall pointed out on Tennis Channel, the last time David Witt started coaching a new player (Pegula), that player went on to win the first tournament of their partnership.


Friday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Roland Garros 2024: Iga Swiatek Aims To Overcome Naomi Osaka And Danielle Collins In Hat-Trick Bid

Iga Swiatek is the firm favourite in Paris once again as she looks to secure a third consecutive Roland Garros title.

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Iga Swiatek will need to overcome Naomi Osaka and Danielle Collins if she wants to win a third consecutive Roland Garros title.

The world number one is looking for more history in Paris and enters the tournament in confident form having won the Madrid-Rome double.

Swiatek will start her hat-trick bid against a qualifier before potentially facing Naomi Osaka in the second round.

Veronika Kudermetova could await in the third round with former champion Barbora Krejcikova awaiting in the last 16.

Former finalist Marketa Vondrousova or the in-form Danielle Collins complete a tough section of the draw for the three-time champion.

Potentially awaiting Swiatek in the semi-finals is the player she beat in 2022 to win the title in the form of Coco Gauff.

The American starts her campaign against a qualifier with Dayana Yastremska potentially awaiting in the third round.

A tough last 16 clash could await against Beatriz Haddad Maia with Jelena Ostapenko, Caroline Garcia and Ons Jabeur all potential quarter-final hurdles.

In the bottom half of the draw, Aryna Sabalenka has been given a very tough draw especially in the third round where Paula Badosa, Yulia Putintseva or Sloane Stephens could be present.

In-form Madison Keys could await in the last 16 while Maria Sakkari is in her quarter of the draw.

Sakkari starts against Varvara Gracheva before potentially facing Victoria Azarenka or Daria Kasatkina in the last 16.

Should Sabalenka get to the semi-finals then Elena Rybakina could await with the Kazakh facing Greet Minnen in her opener.

Former Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber could be Rybakina’s second round opponent.

Elina Svitolina could await in the last 16 but the Ukrainian must get past Karolina Pliskova in her opener.

Finally Alize Cornet’s last ever tournament will start against Australian Open finalist Qinwen Zheng.

Here is the full draw with play starting on Sunday:

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Roland Garros 2024: Rafael Nadal Faces Alexander Zverev In Blockbuster Opening Round

Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev will meet at Roland Garros in the first round with Andy Murray taking on Stan Wawrinka in the opening round.

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Rafael Nadal has been drawn against Rome champion Alexander Zverev in the opening round of Roland Garros.

The 14-time Roland Garros champion will most likely be making his last appearance at the event where he has such a great history at.

It’s been a mixed clay court season for Nadal who built gradual momentum in Madrid but suffered an early exit in Rome to Hubert Hurkacz.

Now the Spaniard has been drawn to take on the champion of Rome, Alexander Zverev, in the opening round.

The match is a repeat of the 2022 semi-final where Zverev broke his ankle losing almost a year of his career.

This contest headlines the second quarter of the draw which also features Karen Khachanov, Holger Rune and Daniil Medvedev.

In the other quarter of the top half of the draw, defending champion Novak Djokovic will begin his Roland Garros campaign against Pierre-Hughes Herbert.

There is also a potential third round clash with either Gael Monfils or Lorenzo Musetti for Djokovic, who is currently in Geneva gaining extra match practice ahead of the second Grand Slam of the season.

The Serb could have a repeat of last year’s final in the quarter-finals with Casper Ruud as the Norwegian begins his campaign against Jakub Mensik.

In the bottom half of the draw Jannik Sinner plays his first tournament since suffering a hip injury in Rome as he takes on Christopher Eubanks in the opening round.

Sinner could face Cameron Norrie in the third round with the Brit taking on Pavel Kotov in his opening round before playing the winner of the battle of the Grand Slam champions between Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka.

Murray and Wawrinka will clash for the fourth time at Roland Garros with Wawrinka leading their head-to-head 2-1 in Paris.

This section also includes in-form players such as Hubert Hurkacz, Alejandro Tabilo and Rome finalist Nicolas Jarry.

Finally Carlos Alcaraz will begin his Roland Garros campaign against a qualifier before potentially playing Jack Draper in the second round.

Another exciting clash awaits Alcaraz in the third round in the form of Sebastian Korda with Andrey Rublev or Stefanos Tsitsipas being potential quarter-final opponents.

This is the full draw with Roland Garros beginning on Sunday.

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Caroline Wozniacki’s Father Criticises WTA For Lack Of Help For Mothers On Tour

Caroline Wozniacki was not given a wildcard for Rome or Roland Garros.

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Piotr Wozniacki has labelled the WTA as ‘amateur’ for their treatment of mothers on tour as he claims that Caroline Wozniacki should have had more wildcards.

The former Australian Open champion has played ten events since she announced her comeback last year.

Wozniacki has recovered her ranking to 117 in the world and her comeback has resulted in a fourth round appearance at the US Open as well as a quarter-final result at Indian Wells.

However the Dane has not been successful in gaining wildcards recently with both Rome and Roland Garros not offering Wozniacki one.

It’s a decision that Wozniacki’s father, Piotr, has not been happy with as he explained with Sport.PL, “The WTA believes that it is operating in an amateur fashion in the world of the largest professional women’s sport of all sports in the world. They sign contracts with the players and the players are obliged to do certain things under these contracts. And what do they get? Nothing, really nothing!” Piotr was quoted by tennisuptodate as saying.

“All wild cards, and there were 8 of them, were given to the Italians. I understand promoting their players, but how can you give the right to play in a tournament of this rank to such girls who should not even think that they could play in a Masters yet?

“Caroline was number one in her ranking. She won a Grand Slam tournament, won the Masters, played in almost 60 finals of their tournaments and won 30. So we are talking about a complete tennis player, someone who did a great job, who certainly increased the popularity of tennis, who earned a lot of money herself, but let them earn money. even much more.

“And it turns out that when someone like Caroline Wozniacki comes back as Caroline Wozniacki and family, she is no longer welcome. We can’t even prepare Caroline’s starting plan! We train, we prepare, and it turns out that there is nothing to do.

“This is happening because today in tennis everything is based only on relationships, on acquaintances, and not on clear rules. The thing is that if we know the organizers or tournament directors, we get a chance to play, but if we don’t know someone somewhere, they don’t want us there.

“Naturally, after the maternity break, my daughter had zero points. It takes a lot of time to start from scratch and reach the top, but we would do it patiently, but how can we do it when you don’t let a girl like that work for it? The rules in tennis today are such that there is no longer a mandatory wild card for someone who was once in the top 20, had a long break and came back.

“This card was really helpful for tennis players coming back after having a baby and for those coming back from serious injuries. And now Caroline, Angelique Kerber or Naomi Osaka are dependent only on someone else’s decisions. Since last year, all wild cards are the property of the tournaments, and the WTA washes its hands of them.”

It’s clear the Wozniacki family is disappointed as the Dane could be set to cancel her comeback next year.

However there is optimism that Wozniacki will receive one at Wimbledon as she has had past success on grass courts.

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