Madrid Open Daily Preview: Rafael Nadal Faces Jiri Lehecka in the Fourth Round - UBITENNIS
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Madrid Open Daily Preview: Rafael Nadal Faces Jiri Lehecka in the Fourth Round

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Rafael Nadal on Monday in Madrid (twitter.com/MutuaMadridOpen)

Tuesday features all ATP fourth round singles matches, as well as the first two WTA singles quarterfinals.

After playing for over three hours late in the day on Monday, what will Rafael Nadal have left on Tuesday night against the 30th seed, Jiri Lehecka?  Overall the men’s fourth round singles matches feature seven of the top 10 seeds, including Jannik Sinner, Carlos Alcaraz, and Daniil Medvedev

Tuesday’s WTA singles quarterfinals are headlined by a rematch from last year’s Roland Garros semifinals, between Iga Swiatek and Beatriz Haddad Maia.  Plus, Ons Jabeur looks to turn around a disappointing season against Madison Keys.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Tuesday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.


Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Beatriz Haddad Maia (11) – Not Before 12:30pm on Manolo Santana Stadium

At Roland Garros last June, Swiatek won the first set handily, but the second set was quite a roller coaster, with Iga eventually prevailing in a tiebreak after both players came from behind within the set.  They have split their other two meetings, with Beatriz prevailing 7-5 in the third two years ago in Toronto, and Iga prevailing 6-2, 6-2 at the start of this season in the United Cup.

Swiatek is now 29-4 in 2024, after a 6-1, 6-0 drubbing of Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo on Monday.  Iga is 9-2 in Madrid, and was the runner-up a year ago.  Haddad Maia came into this fortnight with a losing record on the year, yet has not dropped a set through three rounds, upsetting fifth-seeded Maria Sakkari on Monday.

The altitude in Madrid does not create ideal conditions for Swiatek, as the ball travels more quickly than she prefers.  And Haddad Maia is playing well, and has proven she is fully capable of defeating the World No.1.  But I still favor the in-form Iga, especially on this surface.


Rafael Nadal (PR) vs. Jiri Lehecka (30) – Last on Manolo Santana Stadium

Nadal’s third round match on Monday against Pedro Cachin lasted for three hours and four minutes.  And without Rafa getting a day of rest, I do not love his chances against Lehecka.  The 22-year-old from the Czech Republic has a pretty big game, and has been steadily improving these last few seasons.  Jiri is 15-8 in 2024, and won an ATP title this past January in Adelaide. 

Lehecka won both of his first two Madrid matches in straight sets, and spent over an hour less time on court than Nadal on Monday.  Rafa contested a very up-and-down match against Cachin, with both men struggling to maintain leads in the second and third sets.  Rafa could not sustain his higher level from Saturday, when he beat Alex de Minaur in straight sets.

This will be the first time since the 2022 US Open that Nadal has played four matches at one tournament.  And with his body at much less than 100% even before he played for three hours on Monday, a depleted King of Clay will likely struggle against a seeded player on Tuesday.


Other Notable Matches on Tuesday:

Daniil Medvedev (3) vs. Alexander Bublik (17) – Medvedev and Bublik both overcame seeded Americans on Monday, in Sebastian Korda and Ben Shelton.  This rivalry between two of the sport’s most expressive and complicated characters has been dominated by Daniil, who is 6-0 against Alexander at all levels.

Andrey Rublev (7) vs. Tallon Griekspoor (24) – Rublev arrived in Madrid on a four-match losing streak, but survived a dramatic encounter with Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina on Sunday.  Griekspoor upset Holger Rune in the last round.  Andrey is 2-0 against Tallon, though both matches have gone the distance.

Hubert Hurkacz (8) vs. Taylor Fritz (12) – Hurkacz is 23-9 on the year, and is coming off a title run on clay earlier this month in Estoril.  Fritz is 17-7, and was the runner-up this month in Munich.  Fritz leads their head-to-head 2-1.

Jan-Lennard Struff (23) vs. Carlos Alcaraz (2) – Alcaraz has dropped only nine games through four sets thus far.  Struff upset 13th-seeded Ugo Humbert on Sunday, and just recently won his first ATP title in Munich at the age of 33.  This is a rematch from last year’s championship match in Madrid, which Carlitos won in three.

Francisco Cerundolo (21) vs. Alexander Zverev (4) – Like Alcaraz, Zverev is a two-time champion of this event, and is yet to drop a set.  Cerundolo came from a set down in the third round to take out Tommy Paul. 

Jannik Sinner (1) vs. Karen Khachanov (16) – Sinner is now a superb 27-2 this season, but was a bit bothered by a hip issue on Monday.  Jannik is 3-1 against Karen, and has claimed their last three encounters.

Felix Auger-Aliassime vs. Casper Ruud (5) – Ruud won his ATP-leading 31st match of the year on Monday, while Auger-Aliassime advanced after only 36 minutes, due to Jakub Mensik’s retirement.  Casper leads their head-to-head 3-1 at tour level.

Madison Keys (18) vs. Ons Jabeur (8) – Jabeur easily dispatched of Jelena Ostapenko on Monday, just her sixth win of 2024.  Keys won a tough three-setter against the third seed, Coco Gauff.  Ons is 2-0 against Madison.


Tuesday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Emma Raducanu Finding Positives Ahead Of Eastbourne Return And ‘Pristine’ Wimbledon Experience

Emma Raducanu will play Eastbourne for the first time this week.

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Emma Raducanu is finding the positives as she looks forward to a big next few weeks.

The former US Open champion is preparing to play Wimbledon for the first time in two years.

Last year, Raducanu was undergoing multiple wrist surgeries but now the Brit returns to her home Grand Slam.

In an exclusive interview with Porsche Raducanu described Wimbledon as ‘Pristine’ as she prepares for a big two weeks at SW19, “I’m looking forward to competing at Wimbledon this year,” Raducanu explained.

“Obviously, Wimbledon is Wimbledon, and that speaks for itself, but I’m most looking forward to the stage which I missed last year and now I’m looking forward to coming back and being in a better place than I was in 2022!

“For me, it’s always about the rich history and traditions, like the pristine grass courts and iconic white dress code. It’s always the tournament that every player dreams of winning.

“The courts at Wimbledon are obviously pristine and look beautiful. The aesthetics and tradition that come with the tournament are unparalleled. Being a British player at Wimbledon is incredible, the atmosphere is hard to put into words.

“I particularly love court 1 because I feel the fans get more involved, that coupled with everything else that Wimbledon brings gives you extra motivation to perform well.”

Heading into Wimbledon, Raducanu enters the tournament with a semi-final in Nottingham and is now prepared to play in Eastbourne for the first time.

Ahead of Eastbourne, Raducanu admitted she is finding the positives in her preparation and is looking forward to her experience in Eastbourne, “Preparation has been going well thanks. I have had a good last few days training in London before Eastbourne this week so excited to get going,” Raducanu stated.

“Yes, I took a lot of positives from Nottingham. I performed well, and it showed me that my game is strong on the grass, so yes, it’s given me positivity heading into Wimbledon. Most importantly for me though at Wimbledon I feel in a place where I’m in love with the sport. Whatever happens this Wimbledon, I have full belief in myself for the years to come too.

“I’ve never played in Eastbourne, it’s on the water which I like, minus the wind maybe and it’s another home tournament where I get to play in front of a home crowd! That’s the best part.”

Raducanu will face fellow Grand Slam champion Sloane Stephens in a blockbuster opening round match on Tuesday.

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Tommy Paul Downs Lorenzo Musetti Wins Maiden Grass Court Title At Queen’s Club

Tommy Paul is the new American number one!

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Tommy Paul has won his maiden grass court title at Queen’s Club after defeating Lorenzo Musetti 6-1 7-6(8).

The fifth seed was too good for the Italian who never really got going as Paul claimed his first title at ATP 500 level.

It was Paul’s third ATP title of his career and moves to world number 12 after an impressive week.

Heading into the final, Paul had beaten Jack Draper and Sebastian Korda and the American continued his red-hot form in the opening set.

Incredible movement on the grass as Paul played efficient counter-attacking tennis as he frustrated Musetti early on.

The American secured the early break for a 3-0 lead as the world number 13 dictated with power and touch.

Looking for a response, Musetti aimed to dictate play on the backhand and the Italian’s serve was firing in the next game as he secured his only hold of the match.

However, Paul was too consistent and solid as the American broke again and would soon win the opening set 6-1.

In the second set, Musetti started more positively as he was more proactive and aggressive as he looked to control his power more.

Paul managed to outlast Musetti’s early power to keep moving the Italian about and creating angles to hit winners into.

After a controlled start, Musetti produced a reckless seventh game as erratic unforced errors saw Paul break for a 4-3 lead.

The American was calm and collected for the majority of the match but when serving for the match Paul faltered under pressure.

Too many missed first serves saw Musetti with an opportunity to break back and the Italian didn’t need a second invitation as a crisp backhand return winner sealed the break back to level the set at 5-5.

An inspired Musetti applied pressure on Paul with some phenomenal hitting from the baseline as he secured consistent winners.

The American held his nerve to force a second set tiebreak as the American looked to overcome some jitters.

It looked like Musetti was going to cruise to the tiebreak but the Italian squandered a 4-1 lead in what was a highly entertaining tiebreak.

In the end Paul would win the tiebreak 10-8 and secure his first ATP 500 title as well as becoming the new American number one.

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Jannik Sinner Wins Maiden Grass-Court Title In Halle

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Jannik Sinner - Parigi 2024 (foto X @ATPTour_ES)

Jannik Sinner has reached another milestone in his blossoming career after claiming his first title on grass at the Terra Wortmann Open in Halle. 

The world No.1 ousted fifth seed and doubles partner Hubert Hurkacz 7-6(8), 7-6,(2), in a tightly contested encounter. Sinner was sternly tested by the big-hitting Pole who knocked French Open finalist Alexander Zverev out of the tournament on Saturday. Nevertheless, he managed to come out on top to become only the eighth player in PIF ATP ranking history to claim a trophy in his first tournament as world No.1.

“This means a lot,” Sinner told TennisTV. “It was a tough match against Hubi. I knew that I had to serve really well. You play only a couple of really important points throughout the whole set. I tried to produce in the best possible way in the important moments. 
“I’m very happy about this tournament because it’s my first time winning (a title) on a grass court. It’s a good feeling.”

Proceedings got underway with a 53-minuite opening set which saw no breaks of serves during the first 12 games played. However, each player had one opportunity to do so during the early stages. In the tiebreak, Sinner continued to be troubled by Hurkacz after failing to maintain a 5-2 lead. Then at 6-5, he was unable to convert his first set point due to an ace from his opponent. He missed a second opportunity to do so before prevailing on his third by hitting a shot deep to the baseline that his rival returned into the net. Making Sinner the first player to take a set off Hurkacz this week. 

It was a case of deja vu in the second frame with both players standing strong behind their serve. Hurkacz was unable to find a way to break but he did win over the crowd after hitting a fantastic over-the-shoulder passing shot without looking to win a point. 

Meanwhile, Sinner continued to weather the storm as he closed in on victory. The second tiebreaker saw him capitalised on back-to-back unforced errors from his rival en route to a 5-1 lead. Two points later he earned his first match point with the help of another costly mistake from across the court before closing the match out with ease.

Sinner’s latest victory is only the second time he has beaten a top 10 player on the grass with his first triumph being against Carlos Alcaraz at Wimbledon two years ago. He is also the second player to win Halle whilst ranked No.1 in the world after Roger Federer. 

Heading into Wimbledon, the 22-year-old has won four ATP trophies so far this season on three different surfaces. He has now won 38 out of his last 41 matches played. 

“I’m looking forward to it,” Sinner said of the next Grand Slam. “Last year I made the semis and played some good tennis. So let’s see what’s coming this year. 
“For sure I’m more confident on this surface. Obviously, the grass here (in Halle) might be a bit different to Wimbledon but I have a week to prepare so hopefully it is going to be a good tournament.”

Sinner is the 17th active male player to win a tour-level title on all three surfaces. 

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