Billy Harris beats Perricard; Now Two Brits into the Quarters at Queens - UBITENNIS
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Billy Harris beats Perricard; Now Two Brits into the Quarters at Queens

Billy Harris is the second Brit into the quarter-finals. Wins also for Tommy Paul and Lorenzo Musetti.

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Wildcard Billy Harris took motivation from British number one Jack Draper’s stunning win over top seed and defending champion Carlos Alcaraz by beating Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard 6-4, 7-5 in 70 minutes to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP Tour event for the first time in his career.

The 29-year-old Brit put in a wonderful serving display and remarkably only lost two points on serve in the first set, and five points in the second set. He won 85% of points on his first serve and backed it up with 87% on his second and faced no breakpoints.

“[This win is] massive for my confidence,” said Harrison court after his win “I managed to settle in quickly and I stayed in the zone and I played a good match. In the first set I was thinking ‘Jeez this serve has got to slow down’, that’s why the games went quick and I just had to keep my focus. I got the breaks when I needed them and I thought I played well.”

Having had close to no chance in the opening three return games, Harris suddenly reached 0-40 in the crucial seventh game and took his second opportunity to break when Perricard’s sliced backhand floated long, and held on to take the first set in clinical fashion. He later revealed he had followed Draper’s match earlier.

“That was amazing from Jack, he’s the future of British tennis,” said Harris. “He’s leading the way, so it’s great to look at him and see what he’s doing and I can definitely take inspiration from that!”

Games went with serve until five all in the second set but at 30- all, Perricard’s forehand hit the top of the net cord and landed in the tramline, handing Harris a breakpoint. Another unforced error followed and Harris got the break to lead 6-5. After reaching 30-0 on the next game, he arrived at match point with an ace but lost the next two points. At 40-30 his nerves were surely jangling – but he played a smart rally and finished off with a lovely forehand down the line to complete his fairytale run into the quarters.

Harris, who has not played in front of packed centre court crowds too often, also received a standing ovation after his victory. “I didn’t know how I would react to coming out here today but as soon as I got on court, I felt like I was getting great support from the crowd and they helped me through the match so a big thank you to the crowd!”

Meanwhile, American Tommy Paul defeated Alejandro Tabilo in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals for the second time and plays Jack Draper tomorrow. The fifth seed constantly applied pressure to Tabilo’s service games with ten breakpoints overall, and took one in each set to secure victory in an hour and ten minutes.  

Paul started well and managed to break serve to go 3-1 ahead after a long game lasting over eight minutes involving five deuces, before holding for 4-1. The uniqueness of the game of tennis was best illustrated when Tabilo then held a quickfire love service game in just 80 seconds, having struggled on his previous game, followed by fifth seed Paul fighting through four deuces to hold his own serve in a marathon game of over fifteen minutes.

After winning the first set, Paul broke serve right at the start of the next for 2-0 and held throughout, hitting 24 winners overall along with ten aces and a huge 86% of points won behind first serve while Tabilo ended with twelve unforced errors.

“Its’s always nice when you break early in the set, it lets off a little pressure,” said Paul on court afterwards. “I served really well for the rest of the sets. I’ve been playing my sort of tennis, playing aggressive and trying to get to the net, add pressure to my opponents, and it’s been working, I’ve been having fun out here too.”

In today’s other match, Lorenzo Musetti beat Brandon Nakashima 6-4, 4-6, 6-4after a titanic struggle which lasting almost two and a half hours, as the evening sunshine bathed centre court.

The first set went with serve throughout and although the Italian saved all four breakpoints he faced, he took one of his two opportunities and broke serve when it mattered at 5-4 ahead in the first to snatch the set. In the second set the American broke to take a 2-0 lead but was soon pegged back and games went with serve until he broke again to go 5-4 up and close the set with a service winner.

“It was a really tough match since the beginning, today was really tough to return because Brandon was serving really well, a lot of first serves and was putting so much pressure on the returns, especially on the second serves,” said Musetti on court afterwards. “It’s never easy playing against a friend. We both reached the semi-finals last week so I knew he was in great shape but I’m really proud of today because it was a mental match until the end. The last game was really amazing and I’m really happy with the win.”

But Musetti stayed tough and held his nerve and mental resolve to take advantage of serving first throughout the decider and broke in the last game to seal the match, and next faces Harris tomorrow.

“I know him but I never faced him, I saw some of his rallies. He’s going to have the crowd on his side. But it’s ok, we will even try to figure out a way to turn around the crowd tomorrow.”

Musetti is coming off a semi final showing last week in Stuttgart, and is showing good form before Wimbledon. “I’ve started to enjoy more of the grass court season since last year, I know that one point can turn around the match and make the difference. I’m proud of today’s win and have to keep going but really happy to be in the quarters.”

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Rafael Nadal Boosts Olympic Preparations With Norrie Victory, Advances To Maiden 2024 Quarter-Final

Rafael Nadal reached his first ATP quarter-final in Bastad.

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Rafael Nadal boosted his preparations for the Olympics with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Cameron Norrie in Bastad.

The win means that Nadal is into his first ATP quarter-final of the season with an impressive straight sets win.

It didn’t all go Nadal’s way as the Spaniard was tested in the opening set with Norrie producing some consistent and attacking play.

The British number two managed to create some tough moments for Nadal but ultimately Norrie lacked that killer instinct to make it count.

That was the difference between him and Nadal as the Spaniard used the forehand to move Norrie out of position, therefore finishing the points off with ease.

A break in the seventh game put Nadal in control but the former champion in Bastad had to work hard to close out the opening set with Norrie pushing for the break.

However, Nadal did secure the opening set 6-4 with some incredible hitting.

As expected though Nadal’s level dropped in the second set as he still hasn’t managed to find his consistent level.

A sensational passing shot at the net saw Norrie break before consolidating to take a 4-1 lead.

It was an incredible turnaround for the Brit but a lack of composure and concentration allowed Nadal a chance to get back in the match.

Get back in the match Nadal did as he managed to sustain a high level of play throughout the next period of the match, securing five games in a row to claim the win.

After the match Nadal spoke about how crucial it was for him to improve his rhythm, “I think I played in some moments good tennis, in some moments I need to play a little bit more aggressive, but that is part of the journey today,” Nadal told the ATP website.

“Great feelings. I’ve been a while without playing on the Tour, since Roland Garros.  To have the chance to compete well against a great player like Cameron is a great feeling.

“I haven’t been competing very often, so matches and victories like today help. To be in rhythm the whole match and hold the pressure on the opponent the whole match, that’s something that I need to improve, because I didn’t play enough.”

Nadal will now aim for a tenth win of the season when he plays fourth seed Mariano Navone on Friday.

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Billie Jean King Cup Relocates From Sevilla To Malaga, Takes Place Alongside Davis Cup Final Eight Tournament

The Billie Jean King Cup has been relocated from Sevilla to Malaga.

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The Billie Jean King Cup Finals will now take place in Malaga and will be alongside the Davis Cup final eight tournament.

The ITF announced the news today that the Billie Jean King Cup Finals will be relocated from Sevilla to Malaga.

It will take place on the 13th-20th November and will be alongside the Davis Cup final eight tournament which will start on the 19th of November and will conclude on the 24th of November.

Speaking about the change tournament director Conchita Martinez spoke about the passion Malaga will bring to the event and has revealed that they have contacted existing ticket holders about the change, “I know that Malaga, just a two-hour drive from Sevilla, will deliver the exceptional atmosphere and passion that fans of the Billie Jean King Cup have come to know and love,” Martinez stated.

“We have informed all existing ticket holders of the changes and will be reissuing tickets for the new location, with the option of refunds for those who require them. We are set for a blockbuster fortnight of tennis this November and I can’t wait to welcome the tennis world to Malaga this November.”

The news will be disappointment to some ticket holders about the late change as the ITF continue to be unorganised when it comes to logistical events around the team competitions.

However, Malaga will aim to bring a unique atmosphere as the event will aim to boost the attendances of both team competitions.

The event will see four first round matches, four quarter-finals, two semi-finals and a final.

Here is the draw below with Canada looking to defend their title from last year.

Canada v BYE

Germany v Great Britain

Australia v BYE

Slovakia v USA

Spain v Poland

Czech Republic v BYE

Japan v Romania

Italy v BYE

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Wimbledon Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic Plays Carlos Alcaraz for the Gentlemen’s Singles Championship

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Carlos Alcaraz after winning his semifinal on Friday (twitter.com/wimbledon)

Day 14 at The Championships hosts the championship matches in gentlemen’s singles and mixed doubles.

One year ago, Novak Djokovic was on a 34 match Wimbledon win streak, playing for his fifth consecutive title, and had not lost a match on Centre Court in a full decade.  But in a spectacular five-hour five-setter, Carlos Alcaraz upset the all-time great to win his first Wimbledon title.  On Sunday, we get the rematch, as Djokovic looks to avenge that painful loss, and Alcaraz looks to defend a Major title, and win back-to-back Majors, for the first time.


Carlos Alcaraz (3) vs. Novak Djokovic (2) – 2:00pm on Centre Court

They followed up last year’s championship match here with another fantastic final just a month later in Cincinnati, where Djokovic saved championship point to eventually win in a third-set tiebreak, and after nearly four hours of play.  Novak would go on three weeks later to win the US Open, while Carlitos was not the same player for some time.  Alcaraz would not reach another final at any event for over six months, until this past March in Indian Wells. 

Despite a few surprising losses, and an injury that disrupted his season, Alcaraz is now a strong 32-6 on the year, and a superb 17-1 at Majors.  Carlitos has been able to quickly rebound from upsets at smaller events, like his loss to Jack Draper a few weeks ago at Queen’s Club, and up his level for the big events.  He’s dropped five sets through six matches, most of which have contained some sloppy play at times, yet Carlitos has played his best when it mattered most to reach his fourth Major final.  And he’s 3-0 thus far in Major finals.

2024 has been a surprisingly subpar season in the illustrious career of Djokovic.  Not only has he not won a title to date, he hadn’t advanced to a final until now.  Playing a more limited schedule, he’s just 23-6 this season.  And it was just a month ago that he was forced to withdraw from the Roland Garros quarterfinals after suffering a knee injury, which required surgery and put his Wimbledon status in doubt.  Yet Novak has recovered almost miraculously, dropping only two sets to this stage, though he did receive a quarterfinal walkover of his own from an injured Alex de Minaur.

Overall Djokovic is 3-2 against Alcaraz, and they’ve split two meetings at Majors, both of which took place a year ago.  In the 2023 Roland Garros semifinals, Carlitos started cramping after just two sets of play, and provided little resistance in sets three and four.  That made his five-set victory in this final a month later all the more surprising.

Novak has not appeared to be significantly hampered by his surgically-repaired knee, though there’s no way it can be 100%.  So if another five-setter takes place on Sunday, that has to favor Carlitos, especially since he is an amazing 12-1 when pushed to five sets in his young career.

But the Djokovic CV at this tournament, and at this stage of Majors, is beyond formidable.  Since the start of The Championships in 2014, he is 59-3 at SW19.  And during the same span at all Majors, he is 42-8 in semifinals and finals.  Novak just very rarely loses matches like this, especially on Centre Court.

On a that surface usually favors the aggressor, Djokovic has been able to change that narrative with his stifling defense and court coverage.  However, Alcaraz is one of the only players Djokovic has ever faced who can match him defensively, and at times dictate play against him with his risk-taking style.  We saw here a year ago just how frustrated Novak became by Carlitos’ game, damaging the net post by breaking his racket against it after getting broken in the fifth set.

Yet as many have mentioned these last two weeks, Djokovic “has that look about him,” meaning the steely determination and confidence that he was lacking during the first six months of this year appear to be back.  He is extremely motivated to reassert himself atop the game, in a season where the new generation of Alcaraz and Sinner won the first two Majors. 

If Carlitos gets off to another slow start on Sunday (he’s lost the first set in three of his six matches thus far), or suffer lapses in his level again, Novak will take advantage of that better than any of the defending champion’s previous opponents.  And while he’ll surely do so at some point in his career, until Alcaraz defends a Major title, or wins back-to-back Majors, it’s hard to favor him to do so.  I’m backing Djokovic to win his eighth Wimbledon title, and his historical 25th Major singles title, the most of all-time.


Other Notable Matches on Sunday:

Santiago Gonzalez and Giuliana Olmos vs. Jan Zielinski Su-wei Hsieh (7) – The Mexican team of Gonzalez and Olmos are playing for their first Major title, as Olmos is 0-1 in Major finals, while 41-year-old Gonzalez is 0-4.  Zielinski and Su-wei won this year’s Australian Open as a team, the first Major title of Zielinski’s career, while Su-wei has now won eight between women’s doubles and mixed, and is 8-1 in Major finals.


Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

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