Internazionali d’Italia Daily Preview: Major Champs Swiatek and Kerber Meet in the Fourth Round - UBITENNIS
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Internazionali d’Italia Daily Preview: Major Champs Swiatek and Kerber Meet in the Fourth Round

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Iga Swiatek on Saturday in Rome (twitter.com/InteBNLdItalia)

Monday features the conclusion of third round ATP singles action, as well as all eight round of 16 matches in the WTA singles draw.

The top two women’s singles players in the world both face resurgent mothers on Monday.  Four-time Major champion Iga Swiatek takes on three-time Major champ Angelique Kerber, while two-time Major champ Aryna Sabalenka squares off against 2018 WTA Finals champ Elina Svitolina.  The WTA round of 16 also includes two other mothers who have won Majors, Naomi Osaka and Victoria Azarenka, as well as reigning US Open champ Coco Gauff.

Monday’s third round ATP singles action is headlined by defending champion Daniil Medvedev, recent Madrid champ Andrey Rublev, and three-time Monte Carlo champ Stefanis Tsitisipas.

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 begins at 11:00am local time.


Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Angelique Kerber – Not Before 3:00pm on Center Court

Swiatek is now an awesome 34-4 this season, and 10-1 on clay, with her only loss on this surface coming in the semifinals of Stuttgart at the hands of Elena Rybakina.  The Madrid champion is on an eight-match winning streak, and as per usual did not drop a set in her first two rounds.  Iga is a two-time champion in Rome, and has not lost a completed match here since 2020.

Clay is most certainly Kerber’s weakest surface, but she has been rather dominant through three rounds, winning all six sets she’s played.  Angie lost six of her first seven matches upon returning from child birth at the start of this season, yet has now taken six of her last nine.  She arrived in Rome just 10-10 lifetime at this event, though she did make a semifinal all the way back in 2012.

Swiatek is 2-0 against Kerber, with both matches taking place on hard courts.  That includes a three-set victory two years ago at Indian Wells, and a straight-setter at the beginning of this season in the United Cup.  On Iga’s best surface, she’s a considerable favorite to make it 3-0 against Angie.


Elina Svitolina (16) vs. Aryna Sabalenka (2) – Not Before 8:30pm on Center Court

Sabalenka is 22-6 on the year, and seemed to rediscover her mojo in Madrid, pulling out four three-setters before falling to Swiatek in the final in a third-set tiebreak.  Rome has not been too kind to Aryna thus far in her career, as she arrived with a losing record at this WTA 1000 event.  But she comfortably defeated Dayana Yastremska on Sunday in straight sets.

Svitolina went on quite a tear a year ago upon returning from maternity leave.  She promptly won a title in Strasbourg, then reached the quarters at Roland Garros, and then reached the semis at Wimbledon.  But her form has cooled in 2024, with a record of just 14-8.  However, Elina won back-to-back titles in Rome back in 2017 and 2018, and she easily claimed her first two matches here during this fortnight.

Sabalenka leads their head-to-head 2-1, most recently defeating Svitolina in last year’s Roland Garros quarterfinals by a score of 6-4, 6-4.  While Elina has aimed to play more aggressively since her return to the sport a year ago, she cannot match the aggression of Aryna, who should be able to dictate play and advance on Monday.


Other Notable Matches on Monday:

Naomi Osaka vs. Qinwen Zheng (7) – This tournament marks the first time in over two years that Osaka has won three completed matches at the same event.  She’s yet to drop a set, and already defeated two top 20 players (Kostyuk, Kasatkina) on one of her weakest surfaces.  Qinwen has understandably underperformed since the life-changing achievement of reaching her first Major final this past January in Melbourne, with a record of just 7-6.  Two years ago in San Jose on a hard court, Naomi won their only prior meeting in three sets.

Felix Auger-Aliassime (18) vs. Alex de Minaur (9) – Auger-Aliassime is trying to build on the momentum of advancing to the Madrid final, though de Minaur has been the far better player in 2024, which a record of 24-9.  Felix is 3-1 against Alex at all levels, but the Australian took their only meeting on clay.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (6) vs. Cameron Norrie (27) – Tsitsipas survived a grueling battle on Saturday against an in-form Jan-Lennard Struff, prevailing 6-4 in the third.  Stefanos is 1-1 against Cam, though the Greek’s victory came on clay.

Coco Gauff (3) vs. Paula Badosa – Gauff has lost most of the confidence she had last summer, and she required three sets to beat a lucky loser in the last round, after losing the second set 6-0.  Badosa has not been fully healthy for some time now, but this is the first tournament she has won three matches at since this same event a year ago.  And Paula leads their head-to-head 3-1.

Alexandre Muller (Q) vs. Andrey Rublev (4) – Rublev is now on a seven-match winning streak, after barely advancing in his opening round here over Marcos Giron by a score of 7-5 in the third.  Muller upset the 31st seed, Arthur Fils, on Saturday to reach the third round of a Masters 1000 tournament for the first time.   

Hamad Medjedovic (Q) vs. Daniil Medvedev (2) – Medvedev claimed two tight sets in the last round against Jack Draper.  Medjedovic is a 19-year-old from Serbia who eliminated 30th-seeded Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. 

Maria Sakkari (5) vs. Victoria Azarenka (24) – Both of these players are 19-8 on the year, though Sakkari won her first two matches in Rome in straights, while both of Azarenka’s matches went the distance.  However, Vika is 2-0 against Maria.


Monday’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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