Wimbledon Daily Preview: The Third Major of 2024 Starts on Monday - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Daily Preview: The Third Major of 2024 Starts on Monday

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A look at the grounds of The All-England Club (twitter.com/Wimbledon)

Day 1 at The Championships is one of the most special days of the tennis year, with play commencing at the sport’s most historic tournament, on the nearly-pristine green grass of The All-England Club.

As tradition dictates, the defending gentlemen’s singles champion opens Centre Court play on Day 1 of the fortnight.  And for the first time, that man is Carlos Alcaraz, who defeated four-time defending champion Novak Djokovic a year ago in five sets, and is coming off his third Major title just three weeks ago in Paris.

Monday’s schedule also includes 2024’s other Major winner in men’s singles, Jannik Sinner, as the top seed finds himself in the same half of the draw as third-seeded Alcaraz.  In addition, Daniil Medvedev, a semifinalist here a year ago, also plays his first round match on Day 1, as will 2021 runner-up Matteo Berrettini.

WTA play on Monday is headlined by two other reigning Major champions: Coco Gauff and Aryna Sabalenka.  Another pair of Slam champs, Victoria Azarenka and Sloane Stephens, will square off in the opening round on Day 1.  Plus, the 2021 US Open champion, Britain’s Emma Raducanu, takes on Ekaterina Alexandrova, who is one of only four players to defeat World No.1 Iga Swiatek during the first six months of 2024.  And four-time Major champ Naomi Osaka will play her first match at Wimbledon since 2019.

Throughout the tournament, this preview will analyze the day’s four most prominent matches, while highlighting the other notable matches on the schedule.  Monday’s play begins at 11:00am local time.


Matteo Arnaldi vs. Frances Tiafoe (29) – 11:00am on Court 15

This is the most intriguing first-on match of the day.  Tiafoe was a US Open quarterfinalist less than two years ago, and reached the quarters of that same event last summer.  But since leaving New York, where he was upset by fellow American Ben Shelton, Frances has not been the same player.  He is just 13-15 on the year, and arrives at SW19 having not won consecutive matches in three months.

Arnaldi is a 23-year-old Italian who recently achieved a career-high ranking of No.34, and in Paris advanced to the second week of a Major for the second time out of the last three Slams  He upset Andrey Rublev in the third round of Roland Garros, the third top 10 win of his young career.  However, Matteo is only 1-2 lifetime on grass at tour level.

Though In their first career meeting, an upset would be far from shocking.  Arnaldi’s complete lack of experience on this surface is rivaled by Tiafoe’s complete lack of confidence.  And Matteo possesses a formidable forehand with a short backswing, an asset on the fast-playing lawns of Wimbledon.


Matteo Berrettini vs. Marton Fucsovics – Second on Court 12

Another Italian Matteo headlines another of Monday’s most interesting contests, and this Matteo went all the way to the championship match of this tournament just three years ago.  Berrettini loves playing on grass: four of his eight career ATP titles have come on this surface.  But the perpetual issue in the 28-year-old’s career is staying healthy.  The big man’s body has failed him multiple times in recent years, and he’s played only 14 tour-level matches since suffering a gruesome ankle injury at last year’s US Open.

The best Slam result of Fucsovics’ career came at this same event in the same year Berrettini reached the final.  Marton was a quarterfinalist in 2021, thanks to upsets over three top 20 seeds (Sinner, Schwartzman, Rublev).  But the Hungarian veteran is just 11-9 at ATP level this season, and did not play a grass court warmup event.

By contrast, Berrettini played two, highlighted by a run to the final of Stuttgart.  And even though Fucsovics claimed their only prior ATP encounter, that came over five years ago, prior to the Italian discovering his best tennis.  This is another case where I favor the Italian player named Matteo to advance.


Ekaterina Alexandrova (22) vs. Emma Raducanu (WC) – Second on Centre Court

Centre Court’s closest match of the day will likely be this one.  Just within the past week in Eastbourne, Raducanu has played perhaps her best tennis since winning the US Open in 2021.  She clobbered Sloane Stephens 6-4, 6-0, before earning the first top 10 victory of her career over another American, Jessica Pegula.  Emma even saved a match point before prevailing over Jess.

A year ago at this tournament, Alexandrova advanced to the second week of a Major for the first time.  She also won back-to-back grass court titles in 2022 and 2023, both in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.  And earlier this season in Miami, which plays at a similar court speed to that of Wimbledon, Ekaterina reached the semifinals, with wins over both Swiatek and Pegula.

Raducanu and Alexandrova have never played before, and Emma will certainly benefit from an overwhelming amount of crowd support.  However, that also comes with a lot of pressure and expectation, especially after such strong wins just a few days prior.  I give Alexandrova the slight edge on Monday.


Victoria Azarenka (16) vs. Sloane Stephens – Last on No.2 Court

These are two hard court Major champions who have not advanced to the quarterfinals of this event in about a decade.  Azarenka is a two-time semifinalist here, but hasn’t gone that far in 12 years.  Stephens’ sole quarterfinal appearance occurred in 2015.

During 2024, Vika has been the better player.  She is 24-11, and recently reached the semifinals of Berlin on this surface.  Stephens is just 18-16, and went just 1-2 on grass in June. 

Their rivalry dates back to a contentious semifinal at the 2013 Australian Open, when Azarenka took a nearly 10-minute medical timeout late in the match, and was subsequently accused of doing so for the purpose of disrupting Stephens’s momentum.  Overall Vika is 5-4 against Sloane, and while they have never played on grass, recent form dictates Azarenka be considered the favorite.


Other Notable Matches on Monday:

Carlos Alcaraz (3) vs. Mark Lajal (Q) – After winning his third Major in Paris, Alcaraz spent some time partying in Ibiza, then lost his second match at Queens Club in straight sets to Great Britain’s Jack Draper.  Lajal is a 21-year-old Estonian qualifier making his Major debut, and took to Instagram on Friday to boldly proclaim that Carlitos would be losing in the first round of Wimbledon.

Aleksandar Kovacevic vs. Daniil Medvedev (3) – Medvedev is 28-9 in 2024, but is yet to reach a semifinal this year on clay or grass.  Kovacevic is a 25-year-old American who is just 1-3 in the main draw of Slams. 

Gael Monfils vs. Adrian Mannarino (22) – This past week in Mallorca, Monfils advanced to the semifinals, losing to eventual champion Alejandro Tabilo in a third-set tiebreak.  Mannarino is a meager 8-17 on the season, and arrives on a three-match losing streak on grass.  In this battle of veteran Frenchmen, Gael leads their head-to-head 5-2, though they are 1-1 at SW19.

Emina Bektas vs. Aryna Sabalenka (3) – Sabalenka comes into this fortnight at less than 100%, as she pulled out of Berlin last week with a shoulder injury, which she told the media this week is still bothering her.  Bektas is a 31-year-old American looking for her first victory at a Major.

Naomi Osaka (WC) vs. Diane Parry – Osaka is only 4-3 lifetime at The Championships, and is 15-12 on the year, after going 2-2 on grass between ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Berlin.  Parry is a 21-year-old from France who debuted inside the top 50 earlier this season, and is coming off a semifinal run on grass in Nottingham. 

Caroline Dolehide vs. Coco Gauff (2) – Gauff is now 32-10 this year, and was a grass court semifinalist in Berlin.  It was a first-round loss at this tournament a year ago to fellow American Sofia Kenin that prompted Coco to make changes to her team, which helped propel her to her first Major title just two months later in New York.  Dolehide is another fellow American who was a surprise finalist at last fall’s WTA 1000 event in Guadalajara, where she herself defeated Kenin in the semifinals.  Coco has taken both of their prior matches in straight sets.

Jannik Sinner (1) vs. Yannick Hanfmann – Sinner is a superb 38-3 on the season, and just won his first grass court title last week in Halle.  Unlike the last Major, Jannik arrives at this one fully healthy, which means trouble for the field.  In the first round of the 2023 US Open, he comfortably defeated Hanfmann in straights.

Paula Badosa vs. Karolina Muchova – This is only Muchova’s second tournament since last year’s US Open due to a wrist injury, and she withdrew midway through her first event back this past week in Eastbourne.  Badosa is another player whose career has been derailed by injury, as she missed the last half of last season, and is just 13-12 since returning.  They have split their two previous matchups, though Muchova’s victory came three years ago at this event.


Monday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Matteo Berrettini battles past Alejandro Tabilo to reach the quarter final in Kitzbuehl

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Matteo Berrettini beat second seed Alejandro Tabilo 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-5) to reach the quarter final at the Generali Open in Kitzbuehl. 

Berrettini has extended his winning streak to seven consecutive matches following his second title of the year in Gstaad against Quentin Halys. The Italian player won 79% of his first service points.  

Berrettini went up 2-2 0-30 but Tabilo hit two aces to hold  serve. Tabilo led 30-15 at 3-4, but Berrettini hit three aces to hold serve. Berrettini earned his first mini-break to take a 5-4 lead after a double fault from Tabilo and won the final two points to close out the tie-break 7-4. 

Tabilo saved four break points in the second game from 0-40 down to hold serve at deuce. Berrettini went up a break in the eight game to take a 5-2 lead. The Italian player was not able to serve out the match at 5-3 in the second set, as Tabilo broke back in the 10th game. Both players went on serve en route to tie-break. Berrettini earned two mini-breaks to take a 5-2 lead. Tabilo pulled one mini-break back, but Berrettini sealed the win on his third match point.

“Having the chance to just play, feeling good and healthy, fighting for matches is just what I wanted for so many matches. So I am enjoying it and I am looking forward for my next match”, said Berrettini.

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Jannik Sinner Withdraws From Olympics Due To Tonsillitis

Jannik Sinner has withdrawn from the Olympics due to tonsillitis.

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(@TheTennisLetter - Twitter)

World number one Jannik Sinner has withdrawn from the Olympics due to tonsillitis.

The Italian was well placed to win a medal in Paris but has now had to withdraw from the games due to illness.

It was supposed to be his first Olympics as he was set to be the top seed in both singles and doubles.

However Sinner seems to still be struggling from his health problems that he had at Wimbledon in his quarter-final match against Daniil Medvedev.

In a statement on Twitter Sinner said he was strongly advised to miss the Olympics and will now watch from home.

Sinner will now be replaced in the singles draw by Andrea Vavassori while Luciano Darderi will now team up with Lorenzo Musetti in doubles.

Now Sinner aims to be healthy in time for his title defence in Canada which starts on the 5th of August.

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Coco Gauff ‘Proud’ Of Being Named Olympic Flagbearer alongside Lebron James

Coco Gauff will be the US flagbearer alongside Lebron James at the opening ceremony in Paris.

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(@marioboc17 - Twitter)

Coco Gauff has explained her pride about being named Olympic flagbearer alongside NBA legend Lebron James.

The American found out when Christopher Eubanks revealed the news to Gauff and the rest of the US tennis team in a video that was posted on Instagram.

It was news that came as a shock to Gauff who is set to make her first appearance at the Olympics.

The incredible news got better as she will be flagbearer alongside idol and NBA legend Lebron James.

Speaking about the news Gauff spoke about the pride she feels and how the Olympics is one of her goals for the season, “I still feel like this is all a dream.” Gauff said to Vogue.

“There is no greater honor than being chosen by my fellow athletes to be this year’s flag bearer, especially alongside one of my idols, Lebron. I would say the biggest things on there are to win another Slam, and a medal at the Olympics.”

Gauff is in a good position to win a medal at the Olympics and will be full of confidence heading into the event having reached the semi-finals of Roland Garros, where the Olympic tennis event is being played.

Now the American gets to complete her Olympic experience by having a moment of a lifetime alongside one of America’s all-time great athletes, “I never thought in a million years I would have the honour of carrying the American flag for Team USA in the Opening Ceremony,” Gauff stated.

“I could not be more proud to lead my teammates with LeBron as we showcase our dedication and passion on the biggest stage there is — at a moment where we can bring athletes and fans together from around the world.”

The opening ceremony will take place on Friday evening while the tennis event gets underway on Saturday.

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