Internazionali d’Italia Daily Preview: Wednesday’s WTA Quarterfinals Feature Three Major Champions - UBITENNIS
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Internazionali d’Italia Daily Preview: Wednesday’s WTA Quarterfinals Feature Three Major Champions

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Aryna Sabalenka on Monday in Rome (twitter.com/InteBNLdItalia)

Wednesday will host the first two ATP singles quarterfinals, as well as the last two WTA quarterfinals.

The WTA singles quarterfinals on Wednesday include three Major champions, and a Major finalist who is currently playing the best tennis of her career.  And all four are some of the sport’s most aggressive ball strikers.  In the afternoon, two-time Australian Open champ Aryna Sabalenka squares off against Roland Garros champ Jelena Ostapenko.  In the evening, another two-time Aussie Open champ, Victoria Azarenka, takes on Australian Open finalist Danielle Collins.

Also, the ATP singles quarterfinals commence on Wednesday.  They feature a matchup between two of the ATP’s top 10 performers of the year, Sascha Zverev and Taylor Fritz, as well as one between two men looking for their first Masters 1000 semifinal, Alejandro Tabilo and Zhizhen Zhang.

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


Jelena Ostapenko (9) vs. Aryna Sabalenka (2) – Not Before 1:00pm on Center Court

Within the past three weeks, Sabalenka is now 8-1, with her only loss coming in a dramatic final against World No.1 Iga Swiatek in Madrid.  But seven of those nine matches have gone three sets, and it appears all that tennis has taken a toll on Aryna.  She was treated multiple times during her fourth round match against Elina Svitolina for back issues, yet still prevailed in a third-set tiebreak.

Ostapenko also required a third-set tiebreak to win her fourth round match, against qualifier Rebecca Sramkova.  Jelena got off to a hot start in 2024, taking 14 of her first 16 matches.  However, she has significantly cooled off in recent months, as this is the first tournament where she’s won three matches since early February.

Sabalenka has claimed both of her prior encounters with Ostapenko, which occurred on hard courts.  In this matchup between perhaps the WTA’s most aggressive baseliners, the player who can better manage their unforced error count will likely prevail.  And despite her back issues, I give the edge to Aryna, as she’s continually pulled out tight matches against top players during this clay court season.


Victoria Azarenka (24) vs. Danielle Collins (13) – Not Before 7:00pm on Center Court

Collins’ form since announcing this will be her last season on tour has been phenomenal.  She has now won 26 of her last 30 matches at all levels, dating back three months to the beginning of qualifying in Doha.  And even more impressively, since the start of the Miami Open, she is 18-1, with two titles.  And most of her victories have been in completely dominant fashion, including this fortnight where she has not dropped a set.  “The Danimal” is now vying for her third WTA 1000 semifinal, and her first outside of Miami.

Azarenka has quietly compiled a record this year of 20-8, with only two semifinal appearances to date (Brisbane, Miami).  She won two three-setters to start this event, before comfortably taking out Maria Sakkari in the last round with the loss of just five games.  Vika is now 28-12 lifetime in Rome, where she was a finalist all the way back in 2013.  However, she has lost her last three quarterfinals at Foro Italico.

These players have split two previous meetings, both on hard courts.  And this is their first matchup in five years, so their history does not provide much evidence regarding Wednesday’s outcome.  But each player’s recent history likely does, and based on the way Collins has been steamrolling the competition, I’m picking the American to advance to the semifinals.


Other Notable Matches on Wednesday:

Alejandro Tabilo (29) vs. Zhizhen Zhang – This is a first Masters 1000 quarterfinal for Tabilo, who upset Novak Djokovic and Karen Khachanov in the last two rounds.  Zhizhen reached this same round a year ago in Madrid, and has now equaled that feat thanks to victories over Adrian Mannarino and Ben Shelton.  When these two met in qualifying for Wimbledon in 2021, Zhang won via two close sets.

Sascha Zverev (3) vs. Taylor Fritz (11) – Zverev is yet to drop a set, while Fritz outlasted Grigor Dimitrov on Tuesday in three.  Sascha is 4-3 against Taylor, though they have never played on clay.


Wednesday’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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(@WTA - Twitter)

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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