Internazionali d’Italia Daily Preview: Two Surprising ATP Semifinals - UBITENNIS
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Internazionali d’Italia Daily Preview: Two Surprising ATP Semifinals

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Alejandro Tabilo on Wednesday in Rome (twitter.com/InteBNLdItalia)

The ATP singles semifinals will be played on Friday, as will the WTA doubles semifinals.

For the first time ever, a Masters 1000 semifinal features two Chileans.  On Friday afternoon, Alejandro Tabilo, who upset Novak Djokovic earlier this fortnight, will face Germany’s Sascha Zverev.  On Friday evening, Nicolas Jarry, who upset Stefanos Tsitsipas on Thursday, takes on American Tommy Paul, who has already taken out two top 10 seeds, Daniil Medvedev and Hubert Hurkacz.

Throughout the tournament, this preview will analyze the day’s two most prominent matches, while highlighting the other notable matches on the schedule.  Friday’s singles play begins at 2:00pm local time.


Alejandro Tabilo (29) vs. Sascha Zverev (3) – Not Before 3:30pm on Center Court

Zverev is now 26-9 on the year, and helped Germany win the United Cup at the start of the season.  However, he has not reached the final of an individual event since last September.  Sascha won this tournament back in 2017, and reached another final the very next year, though hasn’t returned to that round since.  Zverev has won all eight sets he’s played to this stage, but he is 1-5 in his last six Masters 1000 semifinals.

Prior to this tournament, 26-year-old Tabilo had only played in the main draw of seven Masters events, and only once advanced out of the second round.  However, after earning 52 match wins at all levels last season, he’s won 26 more during 2024, so he’s been picking up steam at lower-level events.  Just a week before this tournament began, he won a Challenger title on clay.  Including that run, Alejandro is now on an eight match winning streak.  And just like Zverev, he is yet to drop a set in Rome.

In their first career meeting, of course Zverev is the favorite, with his huge edge in experience on such an occasion.  But as the ATP outlined here, Tabilo has adopted a new psychological approach to his tennis, helping him to remain more relaxed and focused.  If he can continue to play with the same confidence and freedom, against an opponent who often plays nervously in big matches, Alejandro just may pull off another upset.


Nicolas Jarry (21) vs. Tommy Paul (14) – Not Before 8:30pm on Center Court

This is a third Masters 1000 semifinal for Paul, all of which have come within the past year.  But the American is yet to reach a final, as he went down in defeat to Jannik Sinner last summer in Canada, as well as to Daniil Medvedev this past March in Indian Wells.  But unlike those semifinals, Tommy is the higher seed on Friday, and will be expected to win.  He advanced to this round with back-to-back upsets over Medvedev (in two sets) and Hurkacz (in three sets).  His three-setter against Hubi was a dramatic affair that lasted nearly three hours on Thursday afternoon.

Later that evening, Jarry also required three sets, and nearly three hours, to overcome his quarterfinal opponent, Stefanos Tsitsipas.  Nicolas had previously achieved two Masters quarterfinals, also both within this past year, but his win over the Greek breaks new ground in his career.  And just like eventual champion Andrey Rublev in Madrid, Jarry arrived in Rome on a four-match losing streak. 

Paul has twice defeated Jarry, though one of those matches was 10 years ago in the lower levels of tennis, while the other came four years ago in qualifying for Adelaide.  Their only meeting at this level came last year in the second round of Roland Garros, where Nico prevailed in four sets.  But on Friday evening, I give Tommy the slight edge to reach his first Masters 1000 final.  The American’s speed and strong return game will put a lot of pressure on Jarry, who has considerably less time to recover from his grueling quarterfinal than Paul.


Other Notable Matches on Friday:

Caroline Dolehide and Desirae Krawczyk (8) vs. Sara Errani and Jasmine Paolini – Dolehide and Krawczyk are looking to reach their second WTA 1000 final of the year.  The Italian team of Errani and Paolini won a title earlier this season in Linz. 

Xinyu Wang and Saisai Zheng vs. Coco Gauff and Erin Routliffe (3) – Xinyu and Saisai upset the top seeds, Hsieh and Mertens, in the quarterfinals.  This is the first tournament for the partnership of Gauff and Routliffe, though they are individually two of the best doubles players in the world.


Friday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Novak Djokovic Starts Rehab Ahead Of Ambitious Wimbledon Return

Novak Djokovic could make an ambitious return to Wimbledon.

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(ubitennis/Francesca Micheli)

Novak Djokovic has started his rehab after having surgery on a meniscus injury he suffered at Roland Garros.

The Serb suffered the injury during his fourth round clash with Francisco Cerundolo where Djokovic came back from two sets to one down to claim victory.

However Djokovic played no further part at Roland Garros as he suffered a bad meniscus injury and had to withdraw from the tournament.

It resulted in Djokovic having to have surgery the following day in Paris as he gave up his world number one ranking to Jannik Sinner.

Now the road to recovery starts for Djokovic as he posted on Instagram the start of his rehabilitation programme.

Usually the programme takes three weeks to six months to recover from but Djokovic’s injury wasn’t as bad as first reported.

It remains to be seen as to whether Djokovic will make his return at Wimbledon or whether he will wait until the Olympic Games to make his return.

Last year Djokovic reached the final at Wimbledon before losing to Carlos Alcaraz in a five set epic.

However it would be no surprise to see Djokovic withdraw as the one thing the Serb is yet to achieve is to win Olympic Gold.

A fully healed Djokovic could be tough to stop in Paris as he looks to achieve a lifetime goal.

Wimbledon starts on the 1st of July while the Olympics starts on the 27th of July.

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Determined Andreescu Ready To Maintain Consistency After Defeating Osaka

Bianca Andreescu is back to her best after defeating Naomi Osaka in s-Hertogenbosch.

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Bianca Andreescu is ready to maintain consistency as her form continues to improve with her latest victory coming against Naomi Osaka in S-Hertogenbosch.

In a battle of the former US Open champions, Andreescu defeated Osaka 6-4 3-6 7-6(3) to move into the semi-finals.

The Canadian is only playing her second tournament this year after her run to the third round at Roland Garros, losing to eventual finalist Jasmine Paolini.

However that hasn’t stopped Andreescu from producing incredible performances as has gone back to the variety that earned her the US Open title five years ago.

Speaking about the match Andreescu praised her consistency on return as she admitted that she really wanted to the victory, “So the key for. me was to stay as consistent as possible,” Andreescu told the WTA website.

“My return today, the goal was to just bunt it back and then take control of the second serve. At 5-2, I might have let up a little bit on my serve. I was saying to myself ‘Go for it’ but the other side of myself said ‘Calm down’. So I got a bit conflicted with that.

“But really could have gone either way. It was two points difference maybe, in the whole match. I never give up. I ran a lot today. More than her for sure. I really wanted it. I really wanted it today and I think that made the big difference.”

Since that US Open title win five years ago, Andreescu has failed to live up to her potential as she has gained the reputation of being one of the most injury prone players on the tour.

Now the Canadian is aiming to find some consistent playing time as she aims to rebuild her ranking.

Speaking ahead of the semi-finals in Holland, Andreescu is not getting to far ahead of herself, “These are the reason we play this sport,” Andreescu commented after beating former world number one Osaka.

“Winning against players like this, at least for me, it really shows me where my level is at. I don’t want to get too ahead of myself because every day is different. I just want to take it in and use it to my advantage.”

Next for Andreescu will be Dalma Galfi in the semi-finals as she plays her first WTA semi-final since January 2023.

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Jack Draper Stuns Tiafoe in Stuttgart; Becomes New British Number One

The Brit serves up astonishing 31 aces in just 17 service games

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Britain’s Jack Draper was pushed all the way before beating defending champion Frances Tiafoe in a third set tie-breaker to reach the semi-finals of the Boss Open in Stuttgart today – a result which also makes him the new British number one.

Draper’s biggest wins of his career came when he defeated world number five Stefanos Tsitsipas in Montreal last year as a qualifier, and also beating Felix Auger-Aliassime in reaching the US Open third round. However, today’s victory over Tiafoe confirms his ascent to the top spot in the British rankings, something which is extremely proud of.

“It’s an incredible privilege, an honour to be in that position,” he said afterwards. “I’ve been so lucky to have guys like Andy Murray, Cam Norrie and Dan Evans ahead of me all these years and they’re still in the mix pushing me, so it’s a real honour, a big milestone.”

Games went with serve in the opening set until Tiafoe broke when the scores were even at five games all. Tiafoe, whose three ATP titles have come on all three surfaces, survived a break back point in the next game to take the set with 15 winners and an impressive 71% of first serves in. The payers stopped briefly for a rain delay at the start of the second set.

“It was difficult, it wasn’t easy after the first set, I thought Frances played a really good game, just the one break.” Said Draper. “Going off, I was very frustrated, but then I came back really strong, I knew I had my opportunities and I knew I would have some more. I’m really happy with the way I served and competed and how brave I was at the end.”

As the second set continued, Draper missed two breakpoints when 4-3 ahead including a huge chance when he pushed his opponent out wide and approached the net – but put too much on his drop volley which Tiafoe punished. Draper had been serving unbelievably throughout the set with 11 aces overall, and blitzed through another love service game to go 5-4 up and apply some scoreboard pressure.

In the next game he hit a strong forehand up the line to win the crucial first point and then chased down a drop shot to hit another flashy winner to go 0-30 ahead. Tiafoe won the next point but then double faulted to give Draper set points – and he converted with yet another superb forehand up the line to level the contest at a set all.

Both players held serve easily at the start of the third but then tested each other out as the set progressed. Tiafoe fought through a deuce game and got to 30 all on Draper’s serve but the Brit averted the danger. Draper missed a match point when 5-4 up with a missed return but entered the tie-break in good shape – his first serve was almost unplayable winning over 85% when in.

“I’m incredibly happy with the win. I’ve lost all my last three third set tie-breakers so to come through today was really amazing, I’m really proud of my effort. I’m really happy with the way I served and the way I played; it was a really high-quality match. Frances was serving very well himself so to serve the way I did; it was a really big positive for me.”

Draper now goes on to face another American Brandon Nakashima who progressed after Jan-Lennard Struff withdrew with sickness. Speaking about his next opponent who was born in the same year as Draper, he said: “He’s someone who is an incredibly good young player, a really exciting talent, I think he had a lot of injuries last year like myself but he’s been rising this year and playing a lot of matches. Like everyone here, they’re all amazing players and it will be a tough battle.”

After the match, Draper spoke to Sky Sports and elaborated further about the positive influence of the other British top five, and about the Euro 2024 tournament beginning this evening.

“Those guys have all inspired me to be better. Obviously, Andy is a two-time Wimbledon and Olympic champion and has achieved so much in the game. For me he’s one of the greatest players. I’ve learned so much from those guys, the professionalism, the discipline and they’ve always been really good for me, just as a young player looking up to them and copying what they do so I’m very grateful for that.”

“[In the football]: Hopefully England can do one better than three years ago because we did well to get to the final. We have an incredibly strong team. It’s going to be a lot of tough matches but hopefully they can pull through.

On the other side of the draw, former champion Matteo Berrettini faced qualifier James Duckworth.  The Australian, who reached the third round of Wimbledon in 2021, could only manage 64% of first serve points won and committed 16 unforced errors while also facing eight breakpoints. A single break of serve in both sets was enough for the Italian to move forward into the semis, as he won 6-4, 7-5 with another strong serving display.

“It was a really solid match, especially on my serve, I didn’t give him any breakpoints,” said Berrettini afterwards. “I felt like the rhythm on the serve was really good, on grass it’s really important and in the right moments I stepped in and was more aggressive. It’s really important to put a lot of returns in and that’s what I tried to do and it worked out, and so I’m happy for that.

When asked why he was so hard to beat on the faster surface he replied, “you should ask my opponents that! I think obviously for my weapons, my serve, it pays off on grass to play aggressively and that’s what I like to do. I’m using the slice as well on the backhand side and it’s important to play good in the important moments and being able to put pressure on your opponent when you’re serving is really important, and I think that’s the key. And when I step on grass, I feel like I want to play for hours and hours so here I am”

The 28-year-old is a big football fan, and was also asked about whether he would watch the opening match of the tournament. “Germany is playing tonight so I will watch tomorrow’s match. I love Germany but to supporting Germany is a little bit too much! Tomorrow is the start [for Italy] so good luck to the guys. Three years ago, we had really good memories during this time, so let’s see!”

Following Struff’s earlier withdrawal against Nakashima, it meant there was only one other quarter final today where Lorenzo Musetti progressed despite dropping the first set 4-6 to Hungarian Alexander Bublik. The Italian raced through the second set 6-1, and when he broke serve to go 1-0 ahead in the decider, Bublik retired.

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