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Internazionali d’Italia Daily Preview: Two Blockbuster WTA Semifinals

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

Thursday features the last two ATP singles quarterfinals, as well as both WTA singles semifinals.

The women’s singles semifinals in Rome are highly-anticipated, with the top three players in the world advancing this far at a WTA event for the first time in over a decade.  And joining them is the WTA’s winningest player of the last two months.  World No.1 Iga Swiatek and World No.3 Coco Gauff will reignite the most prolific (yet one-sided) rivalry of the last few years, while World No.2 Aryna Sabalenka and the red-hot Danielle Collins square off in a rematch from two weeks ago in Madrid.

Also on Thursday, the final two ATP singles quarterfinals will be staged.  Hubert Hurkacz faces Tommy Paul, and Stefanos Tsitsipas plays Nicolas Jarry.

Throughout the tournament, this preview will analyze the day’s two most prominent matches, while highlighting the other notable matches on the schedule.  Thursday’s play begins at 1:00pm local time.


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

Since their first encounter, three years ago at this same event, Swiatek and Gauff have played 10 times, with Iga claiming nine of 10 in straight sets.  Coco’s sole victory came last August on a fast hard court in her home country, part of a career-changing summer for the American, as she went on to claim her first Major title.  They met twice more in 2023 after Cincinnati, with Swiatek obviously winning comfortably on both occasions.  This is their first matchup of 2024.

For the third year in a row, Iga is putting together a stellar season.  She is 36-4, having won the United Cup, Doha, Indian Wells, and Madrid.  Swiatek is currently on a 10-match win streak, and has not dropped a set through four rounds in Rome.

Gauff’s level has simmered after her red-hot summer of 2023, and has not won a title since the first week of 2024 in Auckland.  She has already survived two three-setters this fortnight, before taking out Australian Open finalist Qinwen Zheng in straight sets on Tuesday.  Coco is just 1-4 in WTA 1000 semifinals, though her only win did come against Iga in the aforementioned Cincinnati contest.

And considering Swiatek is 11-4 in this round at this level, she is certainly a solid favorite in this semifinal.  With Coco currently lacking her best tennis, and with Iga playing confidently on her favorite surface, there is no evidence indicating an upset on Thursday afternoon.


Danielle Collins (13) vs. Aryna Sabalenka (2) – Not Before 8:30pm on Center Court

Just two weeks ago in the Madrid round of 16, Sabalenka came from a set down to beat Collins in three.  That was an extremely notable win for Aryna, as she had been unperforming ever since securing her second Major title in January.  She went on to lose a remarkably dramatic championship match in Madrid to Swiatek. 

For Collins, that loss to Sabalenka ended her 15-match winning streak, after taking back-to-back titles in Miami and Charleston.  And it remains her only loss out of her last 20 matches.  Danielle has been completely dominant thus far in Rome, winning all seven sets she’s played by a score of 6-4 or better, and spending just five hours on court, compared to over seven hours for Aryna.

But this is another head-to-head that has been completely one-sided.  Sabalenka is 5-0 against Collins, though three of those matches have now gone the distance.  Despite the back issue that was clearly bothering Aryna earlier in this tournament, she still must be favored to advance in this big-hitting affair.


Other Notable Matches on Thursday:

Hubert Hurkacz (7) vs. Tommy Paul (14) – Hurkacz came back from a set down against Sebastian Baez in the last round to complete a career set of Masters 1000 quarterfinals.  Paul is yet to drop a set, and ousted defending champion Daniil Medvedev on Tuesday.  Hubi and Tommy have split two previous meetings, both on hard courts.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (6) vs. Nicolas Jarry (21) – Tsitsipas lost just three games to ninth-seeded Alex de Minaur in the fourth round.  Jarry arrived in Rome on a four-match losing streak, and has benefitted from a kind draw to this stage, with his opposition having an average ranking of No.90.  However, he is 3-2 against Stefanos.


Thursday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Caroline Wozniacki Calls For More Help To Support Returning Mothers

Caroline Wozniacki has called on the WTA to support returning mothers.

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Caroline Wozniacki has called on the WTA to provide more support for returning mothers.

The Dane is one of a number of top stars that have returned to the tour since becoming a mother.

Recently the likes of Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Angelique Kerber and Naomi Osaka have all returned to the tour since becoming a mother.

However Wozniacki believes the WTA could provide more support to mothers who plan on returning to the tour, “I think I’ve been treated very well, The tournaments have really embraced me coming back and with kids,” Wozniacki explained to the Press Association.

Where I do share my view, and where a lot of other women on tour share the view, is I think there should be more done for women coming back from maternity leave. It has been looked at because obviously there’s more players now that want to come back but, at the same time, it’s not the same as coming back from an injury.

“As someone who came back after almost four years, I think when you give birth and for the body to recover, you’ve grown a human inside you, there’s a lot of changes that are happening in the body after that. I think in general women deserve more time to feel, ‘OK, now I’m ready, I can really prepare and get ready for competing at the highest level’.

It’s an issue that has made progress but there is still work to do in order to encourage people that it’s possible to make a smooth transition from motherhood to the tennis court.

As for Wozniacki, the Dane recently lost in the first round of Birmingham to Elise Mertens and is now preparing for Wimbledon where she has received a main draw wildcard.

Wimbledon starts on the first of July.

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Could Dan Evans’ Latest Injury Halt Andy Murray’s Olympic Plans?

Andy Murray Olympics hopes could pin down to Dan Evans’ recovery from his latest injury.

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(@Paris2024 - Twitter)

Andy Murray had said that he may not play the Olympic Games if he plays just the singles event.

This could be the last summer that Andy Murray plays competitive tennis as he gears up for a potential Wimbledon farewell.

However Wimbledon may not be the tournament that Murray announces his retirement with the Olympics coming up next month.

The Olympics will take place in Paris and the former gold medallist has been announced in GB’s team ahead of the games.

There is a plot twist to all of this and that plot twist is Murray’s recent comments about whether he would play the Olympic Games.

In a recent interview Murray admitted that he wouldn’t be keen on just playing singles in Paris given the fact that it’s being played on his least favourite surface clay, “There is more chance of me winning a medal in the doubles rather than the singles,” Murray told BBC Sport.

“I’m not 100% sure. It depends a little bit physically how I’m doing and a bit how the next few weeks ago as well. My plan just now is to play but it’s not straightforward.”

The only player that Murray could play doubles with at the Olympics is Dan Evans, which they will probably find out on the fourth of July if they will get into the event.

However there is now a spanner in the works which is Dan Evans’ recent injury with the Brit suffering a nasty fall against Brandon Nakashima at Queen’s Club.

It will be known in the next couple of days how bad Evans’ injury is but after his match in London, the Brit was worried about a potential MCL injury, “I’m worried, no doubt,” Evans told the press association.

“I mean, a good thing, I thought it was my groin. That settled down pretty much straight away. But I think it’s MCL, sort of a bit inside of the knee. There is an issue there, that’s for sure after the testing so far with the physios.

“So I’ve got to wait 48 hours, let it settle, and then get a scan. I’m worried, yeah. That’s the bottom line, of course. Yeah, I’m in limbo a bit. It’s frustrating. If I miss the Olympics or Wimbledon it would be a tough one to swallow, no doubt.

“I don’t know. I’m just, I’m heartbroken at the minute, to be honest. Yeah, it’s tough.”

If the injury to Evans, results in Murray’s Olympics withdrawal then it would be a sad way to end Murray’s Olympics career that has included two gold medals.

However the main importance is that Evans is able to compete in the near future as he aims to be fit in time for Wimbledon.

Wimbledon starts on the first of July with the Olympics taking place 26 days later.

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Former Champion Angelique Kerber And Naomi Osaka Headline Initial Wimbledon Wildcards

Angelique Kerber and Naomi Osaka headline the Wimbledon wildcards this year.

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(@marioboc17 - Twitter)

Former Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber has headlined the initial Wimbledon wildcards that have been announced this morning.

The German won the title in 2018 after defeating Serena Williams and is aiming to recreate some more magic at SW19 as she receives a wildcard into the main draw.

Although Kerber’s comeback hasn’t gone to plan, the German will hope grass is where she can find some confidence with the Olympic Games also in her plans there.

Another player who will be hoping for a change of fortunes at Wimbledon is former world number one Caroline Wozniacki who has also received a wildcard for the event.

Wozniacki was thrashed this week by Elise Mertens in Birmingham and will be hoping that she can improve her form over the next couple of weeks.

However a player that is in confident form right now is former US Open champion Naomi Osaka who has received a wildcard into Wimbledon.

The former world number one almost defeated Iga Swiatek at Roland Garros and is finding her feet on the grass after struggling in previous years.

On the men’s side Nottingham champion Jacob Fearnley has received a main draw wildcard as well as last year’s Juniors champion Henry Searle.

Here is the full list announced by the AELTC this morning with the final list set to be confirmed later this week or early next week.

Men’s Singles:

  1. Liam Broady
  2. Jan Choinski
  3. Jacob Fearnley
  4. Arthur Fery
  5. Billy Harris
  6. Paul Jubb
  7. Henry Searle
  8. TBA

Women’s Singles

  1. Francesca Jones
  2. Angelique Kerber
  3. Yuriko Lily Miyazaki
  4. Naomi Osaka
  5. Emma Raducanu
  6. Heather Watson
  7. Caroline Wozniacki
  8. TBA

Men’s Qualifying Singles

  1. Oliver Bonding
  2. Charles Broom
  3. Jay Clarke
  4. Felix Gill
  5. George Loffhagen
  6. Jack Pinnington Jones
  7. TBA
  8. Play-Off Place
  9. Play-Off Place

Women’s Qualifying Singles

  1. Emily Appleton
  2. Armani Banks
  3. Sonay Kartal
  4. Hannah Klugman
  5. Clervie Ngounoue
  6. Mika Stojsavljevic
  7. Mingge Xu
  8. Play-Off Place
  9. Play-Off Place

Men’s Doubles

  1. Liam Broady/Billy Harris
  2. Charles Broom/Arthur Fery
  3. Jay Clarke/Marcus Willis
  4. Dan Evans/Henry Searle
  5. Jacob Fearnley/Jack Pinnington Jones
  6. TBA
  7. TBA

Women’s Doubles

  1. Emily Appleton/Yuriko Lily Miyazaki
  2. Alicia Barnett/Freya Christie
  3. Harriet Dart/Maia Lumsden
  4. TBA
  5. TBA
  6. TBA
  7. TBA

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