Tag: Cristian Garin

ATP Tour wrap: Future of ATP Tour on show across globe

THREE rising stars of the ATP Tour caused huge upsets across the three tournaments taking place, with Hugo Gaston, Carlos Alcaraz and Brandon Nakashima all bundling out top four seeded opponents to advance through to the next stage of their respective tournaments. In Mexico, the Mifel Open’s finalists were decided, whilst the semi-finalists for the Swiss Open and Croatia Open were determined overnight.

Nakashima took down second seed John Isner to advance through to his first ever ATP Tour final. The San Diego native is a week shy of his 20th birthday and ranked 134th in the world, but will hit a career-high by the end of the week. Having lost in his two matches prior to Los Cabos, Nakashima has made it all the way to the final, knocking out Isner 7-5 6-4 to face top seed Cameron Norrie in the final.

Norrie has also not won an ATP Tour title, and is at a career-high number 30 in the world. Set to be seeded at the US Open, the Brit will be in uncharted territory in the final, but is six years older and more than 100 ranking spots higher than his opponent. He defeated another American in Taylor Fritz, bundling out the third seed rather easily 6-3 6-1, to reach the decider.

For Frenchman Hugo Gaston, he picked up the win of his career at the Swiss Open with a stunning three-set epic against fourth seed Chilean Cristian Garin. The 6-4 1-6 7-6 upset was made all the more impressive by the fact it was on clay, Garin’s clear dominant surface. Gaston was made to work for it in the third set tiebreaker however, going 24 points for an eventual win of 13-11. The match lasted two hours and 20 minutes, with the 20-year-old Frenchman saving four match points in the process during that tiebreaker, winning the last three points of the clash to claim victory.

“I am very happy to be in my first [ATP Tour] semi-final,” Gaston said post-match. “It was a great fight. It was a really long match. I always tried to play my game, and it is a good win for me. I hope I can continue like that.”

He will hold the hopes of his nation in his hands, facing seventh seed Laslo Djere who toppled Gaston’s compatriot, Arthur Rinderknech. Djere won in a tight three sets, 6-4 6-7 6-4 to advance through to the Swiss Open semi-finals. In the other semi, third seed Casper Ruud will take on Czech qualifier Vit Kopriva, following Ruud’s three-set win over sixth seeded Frenchman Benoit Paire, 6-2 5-7 6-3. Kopriva put in one of the performances of the tournament with a 6-1 6-0 shellacking of Swede Mikael Ymer.

Meanwhile in the final ATP Tour tournament, Spanish star Alcaraz booked his spot in the semi-finals of the Croatia Open with a three-set victory over third seed Serbian Filip Krajinovic. He got up 7-6 2-6 6-1 to advance through to the final four, with compatriot and top seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas the next opponent in his way. Ramos-Vinolas toppled Italian Stefano Travaglia easily, 6-2 6-1.

“I’m really happy to be in my second ATP semi-final. I think this tournament is going to be different than the first [time I made a semi-final] in Marbella [earlier this year],” Alcaraz said post-match. “I think I’m going to play differently. I think I’m going to handle the tough moments in a different way than I did in Marbella, and I think I’m ready to play against Ramos in the semi-finals with power.”

In the other quarter finals, fourth seed Frenchman Richard Gasquet defeated Damir Dzumhur in straight sets 6-3 7-6, while German qualifier Daniel Altmaier got the better of another seeded Serbian in Dusan Lajovic. Altmaier defeated the higher ranked Lajovic 6-2 6-4 to bundle out the second seed and take on Gasquet to try and reach the clay court final.

SWISS OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[3] Casper Ruud (NOR) defeated [6] Benoit Paire (FRA) 6-2 5-7 6-3
Hugo Gaston (FRA) defeated [4] Cristian Garin (CHI) 6-4 1-6 7-6
[7] Laslo Djere (SRB) defeated Arthur Rinderknech (FRA) 6-4 6-7 6-4
[Q] Vit Kopriva (CZE) defeated Mikael Ymer (SWE) 6-1 6-0

CROATIA OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[1] Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) defeated Stefano Travaglia (ITA) 6-2 6-1
[Q] Daniel Altmaier (GER) defeated [2] Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 6-2 6-4
[7] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) defeated [3] Filip Krajinovic (SRB) 7-6 2-6 6-1
[4] Richard Gasquet (FRA) defeated Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 6-3 7-6

MIFEL OPEN SEMI-FINALS RESULTS:

[1] Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated Taylor Fritz (USA) 6-3 6-1
Brandon Nakashima (USA) defeated [2] John Isner (USA) 7-5 6-4

 

Picture credit: ATP Tour

ATP Tour wrap: Rinderknech stuns RBA in Swiss Open upset

ARTHUR Rinderknech has caused the upset of the day across the globe in the Swiss Open ATP Tour tournament, downing second seed Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets. The Frenchman won 6-2 6-4 in the biggest win of his career to advance through to the quarter finals at the event. Set to enter inside the Top 100 after hitting his career-high of 100th recently, the Frenchman has now won nine Tour matches in 2021, another career-high.

In a match that lasted one hour and 34 minutes, Rinderknech was consistently powerful from the back court, and took control of points to dictate play and stun the usually-reliable Spaniard. He was not the only Frenchman through to the final eight, with young gun Hugo Gaston almost coughing up a 6-0 first set dominance to win following two tight tiebreakers. Whilst he looked good for the easy win against fifth seed Federico Delbonis, the teenager needed the full three sets for a 6-0 6-7 7-6 victory.

In the other two Swiss Open Round of 16 matches, fourth seed Cristian Garin and seventh seed Laslo Djere both advanced to the quarter finals. Garin won 6-3 6-0 against Australian Marc Polmans in convincing style, while Djere knocked off Belgian qualifier Zizou Bergs in three sets, 6-2 4-6 6-2.

In Croatia, four Round of 16 matches were completed overnight, with the two seeds grabbing tight two-set victories. Top seed Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas defeated home nation wildcard Duje Ajdukovic in a tighter-than-expected contest, getting through 7-5 6-4. Similarly, fourth seed Frenchman Richard Gasquet won 7-6 6-4 in a neck-and-neck contest over Italian qualifier Alessandro Giannessi. In other results, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Damir Dzumhur won 6-3 6-1 over Italian Marco Cecchinato, whilst it was better news for another Italian in Stefano Travaglia who toppled Spaniard Carlos Taberner, 6-4 6-3.

In the tournament played most recently, the full Round of 16 undertaken at the Mifel Open in Mexico. On the hard court there, all the seeds in action advanced, with a couple needing three-set contests. Second seed John Isner overcame a scare from Russian Evgeny Donskoy to advance 7-5 3-6 7-6, while fifth seed Australian Jordan Thompson claimed victory against Austrian Sebastian Ofner, 3-6 6-4 7-5. It was a little easier for other seeds, Cameron Norrie and Steve Johnson who managed to navigate the second round in straight sets.

Norrie defeated Swede Elias Ymer and Johnson toppled Japan’s Yasutaka Uchiyama, with both matches going down 7-6 6-3. In the other completed matches at the time of publishing, unseeded Australian Alex Bolt took down Ecuador’s Emilio Gomez 6-3 6-1, whilst American qualifier Ernesto Escobedo defeated compatriot Denis Kudla in a tight two sets, 6-4 7-6. The last match underway was between third seed American Taylor Fritz, and Ukrainian Ilya Marchenko.

MIFEL OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated Elias Ymer (SWE) 7-6 6-3
[2] John Isner (USA) defeated Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) 7-5 3-6 7-6
Brandon Nakashima (USA) defeated [4] Sam Querrey (USA) 6-3 6-4
[5] Jordan Thompson (AUS) defeated Sebastian Ofner (AUT) 3-6 6-4 7-5
[6] Steve Johnson (USA) defeated Yasutaka Uchiyama (JPN) 7-6 6-3
Alex Bolt (AUS) defeated Emilio Gomez (ECU) 6-3 6-1
[Q] Ernesto Escobedo (USA) defeated Denis Kudla (USA) 6-4 7-6
[3] Taylor Fritz vs. Ilya Marchenko (UKR)

CROATIA OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) defeated [WC] Duje Ajdukovic (CRO) 7-5 6-4
[4] Richard Gasquet (FRA) defeated [Q] Alessandro Giannessi (ITA) 7-6 6-4
Damir Dzumhur (BIH) defeated Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 6-3 6-1
Stefano Travaglia (ITA) defeated Carlo Taberner (ESP) 6-4 6-3

SWISS OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

Arthur Rinderknech (FRA) defeated [2] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) 6-2 6-4
[4] Cristian Garin (CHI) defeated Marc Polmans (AUS) 6-3 6-0
Hugo Gaston (FRA) defeated [5] Federico Delbonis (ARG) 6-0 6-7 7-6
[7] Laslo Djere (SRB) defeated [Q] Zizou Bergs (BEL) 6-2 4-6 6-2

Picture credit: ATP Tour

ATP Tour wrap: Upsets galore at Hamburg as quarters completed across the board

THREE of the four quarter finals at Hamburg European Open went the way of the underdog, with four seeds all bundled out at the quarter finals stage. The biggest name to fall was tournament favourite and number one seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who went down to sixth seed Filip Krajinovic in three sets.

The Greek talent won the first set 6-3, but then the Serbian hit back with some inspired tennis to take out the match in one hour and 59 minutes, 3-6 6-1 6-3. Krajinovic weathered 11 aces to win 76 and 57 per cent of his first and second serves off a 64 per cent clip, eclipsing Tsitsipas’ effort of 65 and 41 per cent. The Serbian sixth seed broke five times to two and won 69 and 44 per cent of his service and return points to the top seed’s 56 and 31 per cent.

“He started really well, really aggressively,” Krajinovic said. “I could not find my game, could not find my serve, he was overpowering me. “But at the end of the first set, I started to feel better, I was going for my shots. It paid off in the end. I am happy to beat Tsitsipas, he is an amazing player.

“I always play well here, and I hope I keep playing well here. “[Laslo] Djere is an amazing player, so it is going to be a tight match next. It is going to be an interesting [match] tomorrow.”

Now a Serbian is guaranteed in the Hamburg final after Krajinovic’s compatriot Laslo Djere made light work of third seed Nikoloz Basilashvili, 6-2 6-2. The third Serbian on court was not as fortunate, with fifth seed Dusan Lajovic going down to second seed Pablo Carreno Busta in a tight two-setter, 7-6 6-3. Carreno Busta will take on Argentina’s Federico Delbonis in the other semi-final after Delbonis took care of Benoit Paire in a come-from-behind win, 4-6 7-6 6-4.

In Sweden, the four quarter finals were completed on the clay with unseeded Federica Coria causing the big upset set, knocking out second seed Cristian Garin in three sets. The Argentinian won 6-4 4-6 6-2 to advance through to the semi-finals, leading top seed Casper Ruud as the sole seed in the last four after a walkover against Switzerland’s Herni Laaksonen. Qualifier Laaksonen was joined on the exits by fellow qualifier Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech who suffered defeat at the hands of German Yannick Hanfmann. The unseeded German won 6-4 6-3 to book a final four spot, with the other winner being Roberto Carballes Baena who knocked off Slovakian Norbet Gombos, 6-4 6-2.

In the third tournament, the two remaining quarter finals were completed with a mixed bag for the United States. Unseeded Jenson Brooksby continued his run with a dominant 6-0 6-3 victory over Peter Gojowczyk, whilst compatriot Maxime Cressy suffered a loss to seventh seed Jordan Thompson, 6-3 7-6.

HAMBURG EUROPEAN OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[6] Filip Krajinovic (SRB) defeated [1] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 3-6 6-1 6-3
[2] Pablo Carreno Busta (SRB) defeated [5] Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 7-6 6-3
Laslo Djere (SRB) defeated [3] Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 6-2 6-2
Federico Delbonis (ARG) defeated [8] Benoit Paire (FRA) 4-6 7-6 6-4

HALL OF FAME OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[7] Jordan Thompson (AUS) defeated Maxime Cressy (USA) 6-3 7-6
Jenson Brooksby (USA) defeated Peter Gojowczyk (GER) 6-0 6-3

NORDEA OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[1] Casper Ruud (NOR) defeated [Q] Henri Laaksonen (SUI) W/O
Federico Coria (ARG) defeated [2] Cristian Garin (CHI) 6-4 4-6 6-2
Yannick Hanfmann (GER) defeated [Q] Arthur Rinderknech (FRA) 6-4 6-3
Roberto Carballes Baena (GER) defeated Norbert Gombos (SVK) 6-4 6-2

 

Picture credit: ATP Tour

ATP Tour wrap: Players heating up heading into quarter finals   

WORLD number 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas had a good return to the court overnight progressing to the quarter finals at the Hamburg European Open, defeating German Dominik Koepfer in straight sets.

Having lost to American Frances Tiafoe in a disappointing first round exit at Wimbledon, the top ranked Greek was a little shaky early when he dropped the first serve of the match, however he was able to regain his composure to win a first set tie-break.

Koepfer fought hard throughout the match and led 3-2 in the second set before Tsitsipas broke serve twice to close out the set and win the tie 7-6 (7-2) 6-3. The match lasted one hour and 44 minutes in what was gruelling contest according to the top ranked seed.

“I think it’s fair to say that things were tricky today. I had an opponent who was willing to fight and give his best performance out there today.”

“Things worked out for me. At the end of the first set and towards the second set I think I started loosening up, and I felt more flexible in my game,” Tsitsipas said during his post-match interview on-court.

Tsitsipas will face Filip Krajinovic after the Serbian knocked out another German in Philipp Kohlschreiber during an intense three set battle. Krajinovic won 73 per cent of his first-service points (47/64) to defeat the wildcard 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in two hours and 25 minutes.

Fellow Serbian Laslo Djere joins Krajinovic in the quarters after defeating Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild in straight sets. Nikoloz Basilashvili was handed a walkover against Sebastian Baez after the Argentinian was ruled out after testing positive to COVID-19.

In Sweden, Round of 16 action was underway for the Nordea open and unfortunately for Aussie John Millman he bowed out in a disappointing result against Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech. The qualifier defeated the fourth seeded Millman in three sets (6-3 3-6 6-3) and is looking at a quarter-final match up with Yannick Hanfmann who also caused an upset in a straight sets victory over seventh seed Jiri Vesely.

Federico Coria was victorious in three sets over Italian Marco Cecchinato. Coria will now face Cristian Garin in the final eight after the second seeded Chilean won 6-3 6-3 against Spaniard Pedro Martinez.

Over in the USA, the Hall of Fame Open continued in Newport with three locals winning through to the quarter finals. Maxime Cressy defeated fellow American and second seeded Sam Querrey 6-4 2-6 6-2, while countrymen Jenson Brooksby and Denis Kudla also battled it out over three sets. 20-year-old Brooksby came out on top as he aims to prove himself as a tough competitor on the ATP tour. Wildcard Jack Sock defeated number three seed Yoshihito Nishioka in an easy 6-2 6-3 win.

Kazakhstani Alexander Bublik, who is the number one seed at the tournament, had a close encounter with 42-year-old wildcard Ivo Karlovic, eventually overrunning his opponent in the third set to win 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-1. As Bublik said himself the match was a battle of “server against server”, with Bublik serving 22 aces to the Croatian’s 21.

The World No. 37 will now face Chinese Taipei’s Jason Jung who caused a big upset over local Tennys Sandgren, winning 6-2 6-2 in a demolition. Jung did not concede any of his service games and he won 82 per cent (32/39) of his first serve points.

In other results, seventh seed Jordan Thompson and eighth seed Kevin Anderson both won in straight set victories over Yuichi Sugita, and Sebastian Ofner respectively. While Peter Gojowczyk caused an upset over World No. 61 Vasek Pospisil, winning 6-3 6-3.

 

HAMBURG EUROPEAN OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] [WC] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) defeated Dominik Koepfer (GER) 7-6 (7-2) 6-3
[3] Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) defeated [LL] Sebastian Baez (ARG) W/O
[6] Filip Krajinovic (SRB) defeated [WC] Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 7-5 4-6 6-3
Laslo Djere (SRB) defeated [Q] Thiago Seyboth Wild (BRA) 7-6 (7-1) 6-1

NORDEA OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

Yannick Hanfmann (GER) defeated [7] Jiri Vesely (CZE) 6-4 6-3
[2] Cristian Garin (CHL) defeated Pedro Martinez (ESP) 6-3 6-3
[Q] Arthur Rinderknech (FRA) defeated [4] John Millman (AUS) 6-3 3-6 6-3
Federico Coria (ARG) defeated Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 4-6 6-4 6-3

HALL OF FAME OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

Maxime Cressy (USA) defeated [2] Sam Querrey (USA) 6-4 2-6 6-2
[1] Alexander Bublik (KAZ) defeated [WC] Ivo Karlovic (CRO) 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-1
[WC] Jack Sock (USA) defeated [3] Yoshihito Nishioka (JAP) 6-2 6-3
Peter Gojowczyk (GER) defeated [4] Vasek Pospisil (CAN) 6-3 6-3
Jason Jung (TPE) defeated [5] Tennys Sandgren (USA) 6-2 6-2
[7] Jordan Thompson (AUS) defeated Yuichi Sugita 6-0 6-2
[8] [WC] Kevin Anderson (RSA) defeated [Q] Sebastian Ofner (AUT) 7-5 7-6 (7-3)
Jenson Brooksby (USA) defeated Denis Kudla (USA) 6-3 4-6 7-5

Photo credit: REUTERS/Cathrin Mueller

ATP Tour wrap: Canadians make history as upsets erupt on Manic Monday

A HUGE manic Monday at Wimbledon was always set to be a cracker, and with a couple of intriguing upsets in tow the fourth round of men’s action did not disappoint. Whilst the last matchup of the day between Daniil Medvedev and Hubert Hurkacz was suspended midway through the fourth set due to rainfall, the remaining seven results were remarkably mixed.

Two of the day’s upsets involved five sets, as 20-year-old Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime and Hungarian Marton Fucsovics both reigned supreme over higher ranked opposition. Auger-Aliassime created a huge upset with a topsy-turvy 6-4 7-6(6) 3-6 3-6 6-4 victory over fourth seed German Alexander Zverev, coming from 2-4 down in both the first and second sets – as well as battling a brief rain delay – to claim the huge four hour clash.

“It’s a dream come true, I’m just a normal guy from Canada,” Auger-Aliassime said. “It’s the biggest victory of my life, under a closed roof the atmosphere was amazing and I’m living this win with you.”

“It was super difficult, knowing I have never beaten him, let alone won a set against Alex,” he said. “When he started to come back I really needed to dig deep and without the fans it would have been a lot tougher.”

Auger-Aliassime hit a whopping 54 winners – including 17 aces – utilising his impressive forehand on his way to the fifth top 10 win of his career, and ultimately the biggest so far.

Meanwhile, 48th ranked Fucsovics came from behind to topple fifth seed Andrey Rublev, 6-3 4-6 4-6 6-0 6-3, well and truly earning his maiden grand slam quarter final appearance. The unseeded Hungarian is the first from his nation to make the Wimbledon quarter finals since 1948, and the first to make an overall grand slam quarter since the 1981 Roland Garros.

“From the beginning, I had a very good feeling on the court,” Fucsovics said post-match. “I was serving well. I was moving very well. I hit the ball very well. I hit a lot of winners, so I was very confident.”

“In the second and third sets, I had some unlucky service games where Andrey made very good returns, but then I took a toilet break and I calmed down a little bit,” Fucsovics said. “When I stepped on the court again, I was very relaxed. I started to serve unbelievable. Big serves, aces. Then I felt that when I broke him [in the fourth set] that I had a good chance to turn this around.”

Despite a shaky history against Rublev, which included the Russian winning the duo’s past five matches throughout 2020/21, Fucsovics turned the tables this time on the grass and “took [his] chances”.

“I was not thinking about the previous matches. This one was a different match,” Fucsovics said. “We played on grass. I really like the surface. I think my game fits the surface very well. I think Andrey’s game is not the best on grass, so I just was focusing on the next points. I took my chances. I didn’t give up. Then that was the key.”

Also coming away with an upset was 10th seed Denis Shapovalov, who joined compatriot Auger-Aliassime in the quarters following a two hour and seven-minute clash with eighth seed Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, 6-1 6-3 7-5. While not quite as big an upset with just two ranks separating the competitors, it was hugely significant in a different way – the first time multiple Canadian men have reached the quarter-finals at a Grand Slam.

“I played some really high-level tennis today,” Shapovalov said. “I got a little bit nervous in the third set, but that is totally normal, and I dealt with that really well. I played flawlessly and I am super happy with myself.”

“To beat a player like [Roberto] Bautista Agut in straight sets backs up my level from my match against Andy [Andy Murray]. I am happy, I feel like I am improving every single match. I knew it was going to be a process on this surface, to really develop my game on it. I have always loved playing on it [grass], it is just about getting comfortable.”

Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer both came away victorious in straight sets, as the world number one overcame Cristian Garin 6-2 6-4 6-2 in one hour and 49 minutes, while the Swiss Maestro proved too good for Italian Lorenzo Sonego, coming away with the 7-5 6-4 6-2 victory. Matteo Berrettini claimed the quickest win honours with a 6-4 6-3 6-1 sweep of unseeded Belarusian Ilya Ivashka, requiring two minutes less than Djokovic to cement his spot in the quarter finals, while Karen Khachanov could very well be the last Russian standing if Medvedev cannot retain his marginal lead, as the 25th seed disposed of unseeded American Sebastian Korda in five, 3-6 6-4 6-3 5-7 10-8.

WIMBLEDON ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) defeated [17] Cristian Garin (CHI) 6-2 6-4 6-2
[16] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) defeated [4] Alexander Zverev (GER) 6-4 7-6 3-6 3-6 6-4
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) defeated [5] Andrey Rublev (RUS) 6-3 4-6 4-6 6-0 6-3
[6] Roger Federer (SUI) defeated [23] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) 7-5 6-4 6-2
[7] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) defeated Ilya Ivashka (BLR) 6-4 6-3 6-1
[10] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) defeated [8] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) 6-1 6-3 7-5
[25] Karen Khachanov (RUS) defeated Sebastian Korda (USA) 3-6 6-4 6-3 5-7 10-8

[2] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) leads [14] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) 6-2 6-7 6-3 3-4

 

Picture credit: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Wimbledon 2021: Who’s into week two?

THE opening week of Wimbledon action for 2021 is done and dusted, and as the only grand slam that has retained the “Middle Sunday” day off for grass court maintenance, we take a look at the athletes from both the women’s and men’s draw who have secured their spot in the fourth round.

In the women’s draw, just four of the top 10 seeds remain following a blockbuster week of action. World number one Ash Barty has maintained control as second seed Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka‘s fine form continues, with Iga Swiatek and Karolina Pliskova rounding out the top 10 seeded seventh and eighth, respectively. With the next five competitors out of the running it is Czech Barbora Krejcikova up next in 14th, followed by a string of four from 18th seed Elena Rybakina, followed by Karolina Muchova, teen Coco Gauff and history-making Tunisian Ons Jabeur. Rounding out the remaining seeds is another American in Madison Keys, former champion Angelique Kerber and Spaniard Paula Badosa, seeded 30th – that makes 12 seeds remaining from 32.

Things are looking very different in the men’s draw, with just two top 10 seeds falling in the opening round – third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who went down in a shock first round upset, and ninth seed Diego Schwartzman. Plenty of big names remain with champions Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, and a couple of Top 5 Russians in Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, all in fine form. Outside the Top 10 just five seeds remain with 14th seed Hubert Hurkacz, 16th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime and 17th seed Cristian Garin continuing their winning ways, as Lorenzo Sonego joins seventh seeded compatriot Matteo Berrettini, and Karen Khachanov rounds out the Russian seeds into the second week.

Outside of the seeded competitors just four women remain, with teen wildcard Emma Raducanu stunning her home crowd, as another wildcard in Liudmila Samsonova backed up her Bett1Open title with an excellent first week at The Championships. Australian Ajla Tomljanovic and Swiss talent Viktorija Golubic round out the Round of 16 draw. In the men’s, the only unseeded competitors that remain are Marton FucsovicsIlya Ivashka and Sebastian Korda.

Some intriguing clashes are set for Monday’s Round of 16, as youngster Gauff and former champion Kerber go head-to-head, while the battle between Barty and an in-form Krejcikova is sure to spark plenty of interest, as will Swiatek and Jabeur, with the young Pole more suited to clay than grass despite her recent form, and Jabeur coming in off the back of her Eastbourne win last week. Raducanu and Tomljanovic will also go head-to-head in an enticing match-up. Elsewhere, expect a huge tussle between Federer and Sonego, while Auger-Aliassime will be fresh to take on Alexander Zverev following an early withdrawal from Nick Kyrgios during his Round of 32 encounter. Two clay court specialists in Denis Shapovalov and Roberto Bautista Agut will also be interesting, as the two look to assert themselves on the grass.

WOMEN’S ROUND OF 16 DRAW

[1] Ash Barty (AUS) vs. [14] Barbora Krejcikova (CZE)
[WC] Emma Raducanu (GBR) vs. Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS)
[30] Paula Badosa (ESP) vs. [19] Karolina Muchova (CZE)
[20] Coco Gauff (USA) vs. [25] Angelique Kerber (GER)
[8] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) vs. [WC] Liudmila Samsonova (RUS)
[23] Madison Keys (USA) vs. Viktorija Golubic (SUI)
[7] Iga Swiatek (POL) vs. [21] Ons Jabeur (TUN)
[18] Elena Rybakina (KAZ) vs. [2] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR)

MEN’S ROUND OF 16 DRAW

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. [17] Cristian Garin (CHI)
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) vs. [5] Andrey Rublev (RUS)
[25] Karen Khachanov (RUS) vs. Sebastian Korda (USA)
[10] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) vs. [8] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP)
[7] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) vs. Ilya Ivashka (BLR)
[16] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) vs. [4] Alexander Zverev (GER)
[6] Roger Federer (SUI) vs. [23] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA)
[14] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) vs. [2] Daniil Medvedev (RUS)

Picture credit: Wimbledon Twitter

ATP Tour wrap: Korda eliminates Evans, joins illustrious group

UNITED States young gun Sebastian Korda has joined an illustrious group by winning through to the fourth round at both Roland Garros and now Wimbledon prior to his 21st birthday. The 20-year-old defeated Daniel Evans, 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4 in two hours and 24 minutes to advance to the Round of 16 and join a group of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Marin Cilic, Tomas Berdych and Lleyton Hewitt as other players to achieve the feat.

“I just stayed calm in the biggest moments as much as I could,” Korda said post-match. “I tried to stay relaxed and keep playing attacking tennis, that’s what I do. I’m really proud of myself for that today.”

“[It’s] a big achievement. A year ago, I was 220 in the world and I’m here in the fourth round at Wimbledon. It’s incredible. I have my family to thank, my coaches and everybody around me.”

Korda produced 13 aces against Evans, also winning 58 per cent of his second serve points, and breaking five times to three despite one less break point opportunity. He smashed 51 winners tp 21 across the four sets, though also hit 43 unforced errors to 18. In winning, Korda advanced through to the fourth round to take on 25th seed Karen Khachanov.

The Russian defeated giant-killer Frances Tiafoe in straight sets, 6-3 6-4 6-4. Khachanov won in an hour and 46 minutes, hitting 29 winners to 26 and only 22 unforced errors to 24, also serving 13 aces and winning 77 per cent of his net points. He joined compatriot fifth seed Andrey Rublev in the Round of 16, following Rublev’s four-set win over 26th seeded Italian Fabio Fognini.

Rublev won 6-3 5-7 6-4 6-2 in just under three hours to earn a spot in the fourth round. The Russian hit 13 aces to the Italian’s eight, and despite having seven less winners (36-43), had 15 less unforced errors (28-43). Rublev also broke five times to Fognini’s twice, and won 73 and 53 per cent of his first and second serve points compared to the Italian’s 66 and 41 per cent.

Top seed Djokovic had no troubles until the third set, saving a set point against American Denis Kudla to win 9-7 in the third for an overall win of 6-4 6-3 7-6 in two hours and 17 minutes. The tournament favourite hit 34 winners to 30 and had 28 unforced errors to 35, only dropping six points off his first serve in a dominant overall effort. In victory, Djokovic became the first ATP Tour player to win at least 75 matches at each of the Grand Slam events.

“I had to slow down the pace in the game because he was really handling the flat ball well from the back of the court. He has really good balance,” Djokovic said post-match. “I think his backhand and forehand as well are pretty flat. He moves around pretty well on the grass-court surface. He’s a really good player.”

The last remaining British hope in wildcard Andy Murray was eliminated in the third round, with the two-time Grand Slam winner bundled out by an impressive Denis Shapovalov. The Canadian 10th seed won 6-4 6-2 6-2 in two hours and 17 minutes to end Murray’s run at his home Grand Slam and roll into the fourth round. He hit 45 winners to Murray’s 16, and served up 13 aces, winning 71 and 57 per cent of his first and second serve points, breaking six times and looking strong off the return and at the net.

“Honestly, I told him at the net that he’s my hero,” Shapovalov said of Murray in his post-match speech. “Achievements aside, what he’s been able to do in the sport to come back with an injury like this, to be playing the tennis that he’s playing, moving the way he’s moving… I said after his second match it was truly like ‘vintage Andy’ and so much fun to see as a fan.

“The first set we played today was super, super intense, I had to really, really give it my all. After that, I was able to maintain the level as he dropped a little bit. But still, it’s incredible what he’s done to reach the third round like this. Obviously he’s just starting back up, so it’s going to be amazing to see what he can do.”

In other results, Hungarian Marton Fucsovics took out ninth seed Diego Schwartzman in fourth sets to join Korda as the only other unseeded player in the top half of the draw. Fucsovics won 6-3 6-3 6-7 6-4 to advance through to the Round of 16. Meanwhile eighth seed Roberto Bautista Agut knocked off German Dominik Koepfer in straight sets 7-5 6-1 7-6, whilst 17th seed Cristian Garin set up a Round of 16 head-to-head with Djokovic after getting past Spaniard Pedro Martinez, 6-4 6-3 4-6 6-4.

WIMBLEDON ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) defeated Denis Kudla (USA) 6-4 6-3 7-6
[5] Andrey Rublev (RUS) defeated [26] Fabio Fognini (ITA) 6-3 5-7 6-4 6-2
[8] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) defeated Dominik Koepfer (GER) 7-5 6-1 7-6
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) defeated [9] Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 6-3 6-3 6-7 6-4
[10] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) defeated Andy Murray (GBR) 6-4 6-2 6-2
[17] Cristian Garin (CHI) defeated Pedro Martinez (ESP) 6-4 6-3 4-6 6-4
Sebastian Korda (USA) defeated [22] Daniel Evans (GBR) 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4
[25] Karen Khachanov (RUS) defeated Frances Tiafoe (USA) 6-3 6-4 6-4

Picture credit: ATP Tour

ATP Tour wrap: Federer through to third round as Australians find form

PLENTY of intriguing results came to light on a huge fourth day of men’s action at the 2021 Wimbledon Championships, with a number of unseeded Australians making their way into a huge third round of action while Roger Federer was amongst the successful seeds on the day.

Federer’s pursuit for one last grand slam title continued following a straight sets victory over Frenchman Richard Gasquet, challenged in the first before completing the 7-6(1) 6-1 6-4 result, becoming the oldest player in 46 years to reach the third round. Federer hit 10 aces and won an impressive 84 per cent of his first serve points off a 65 per cent clip, also hitting 50 winners for just 26 unforced errors throughout the one hour and 51-minute clash.

“I know Richard really well,” said Federer. “We’ve played so many times against each other. It’s always a pleasure playing against him. He’s got the most wonderful backhand… It was a wonderful match for me. I was really happy with my performance today. A tough first set and a great second set. I was just a little bit better in the third. I’m very, very happy, of course.

“It’s not the most important to feel your absolute best in the first and second rounds. What you don’t want to do is go out. Because then you’ve got to really look at everything and question yourself. I’m not there. I’m in the third round, I’m really happy with my level right now. Today was special, so I’m very happy with that.”

Federer will take on hometown hopeful Cameron Norrie in the third round, after the 29th seed Brit defeated wildcard Australian Alex Bolt in just over 90 minutes to earn his maiden third round appearance.

“I hope the crowd’s going to get into it, regardless of who they cheer for,” said Federer. “I understand if it’s for him, but if it’s for me, it’s because of the past 20 years of big matches I’ve played here. Cam’s a good guy, too. He’s had a wonderful year. Played great at Queen’s and he’s backing it up here. I know it’s going to be a tough match and I’m happy for him it’s going well. But enough now, he needs to go out!”

Second seed Russian Daniil Medvedev continued his strong form on grass, downing teen Carlos Alcaraz in straight sets, requiring just one hour and 35 minutes to claim the 6-4 6-1 6-2 victory. Medvedev commended Alcaraz’s effort, especially given the teen’s penchant for the clay surface over grass.

“The faster you go at a Grand Slam the better, but Carlos is an amazing player,” Medvedev said in his on-court interview. “I was actually even surprised in a way with the first set. Grass is definitely not his best surface, but he was giving it all there. Of course [in the] second and third sets, maybe the gap was too high. But I’m sure he’s going to be sooner or later in the Top 10 and maybe even higher.”

Meanwhile, fourth seed Alexander Zverev overcame Tennys Sandgren with his service game and 13 aces doing the talking, as seventh and eighth seeds Matteo Berrettini and Roberto Bautista Agut both claimed second round victories. Bautista Agut was one of just two players to win in five – the other American Taylor Fritz against compatriot Steve Johnson – in three hours and 33 minutes. Five more seeds claimed wins, as 14th seed Hubert Hurkacz defeated another American in Marcos Giron in three, while 16th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, 17th seed Cristian Garin, 23rd seed Lorenzo Sonego and 32nd seed Marin Cilic were all taken to four sets. Just two seeds fell, with 13th seed Frenchman Gael Monfils going down to Spaniard Pedro Martinez, while 18th seed Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov also fell, going down in straight sets to Kazakh Alexander Bublik in three.

A trio of Australians reigned supreme, as fan favourite Nick Kyrgios overcame Italian Gianluca Mager, while James Duckworth took down another American in Sam Querrey and Kei Nishikori fell to Jordan Thompson. Nishikori’s compatriot Yoshihito Nishioka had little more luck, going down to Aljaz Bedene in just 84 minutes – the quickest of the day by over 10 minutes – as Ilya Ivashka was the remaining winner on a hug day of action.

WIMBLEDON ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

[2] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) defeated [WC] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) 6-4 6-1 6-2
[4] Alexander Zverev (GER) defeated Tennys Sandgren (USA) 7-5 6-2 6-3
[6] Roger Federer (SUI) defeated Richard Gasquet (FRA) 7-6 6-1 6-4
[7] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) defeated [LL] Botic Van de Zandschulp (NED) 6-3 6-4 7-6
[8] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) defeated Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 6-3 6-3 6-7 3-6 6-3
Pedro Martinez (ESP) defeated [13] Gael Monfils (FRA) 6-3 6-4 4-6 7-6
[14] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) defeated Marcos Giron (USA) 6-3 6-2 6-4
[16] Felix Auger Aliassime (CAN) defeated Mikael Ymer (SWE) 6-4 4-6 7-6 6-1
[17] Cristian Garin (CHI) defeated [Q] Marc Polmans (AUS) 7-6 6-2 2-6 7-6
Alexander Bublik (KAZ) defeated [18] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 6-4 7-6 7-6
[23] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) defeated Daniel Elahi Galan (COL) 4-6 6-3 7-6 6-1
[29] Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated [WC] Alex Bolt (AUS) 6-3 6-1 6-2
[31] Taylor Fritz (USA) defeated Steve Johnson (USA) 6-4 7-6 4-6 6-7 6-4
[32] Marin Cilic (CRO) defeated [Q] Benjamin Bonzi (FRA) 6-4 3-6 6-3 7-6
Aljaz Bedene (SLO) defeated Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) 6-1 6-0 6-2
James Duckworth (AUS) defeated Sam Querrey (USA) 7-5 6-7 6-3 6-2
Ilya Ivashka (BLR) defeated Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-4
Nick Kyrgios (AUS) defeated Gianluca Mager (ITA) 7-6 6-4 6-4
Jordan Thompson (AUS) defeated Kei Nishikori (JPN) 7-5 6-4 5-7 6-3

 

Picture credit: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Wimbledon qualifiers: Who made the cut?

THE Championships at Wimbledon are set to begin tomorrow, with a huge two weeks of grass court action returning after being cancelled in 2020. We delve into the 32 men’s and women’s competitors who enter the main draw of their respective events following three rounds of qualifiers.

MEN’S

The 16 men’s competitors range from highly experienced names to younger developing players, with a couple of upset wins seeing lower ranked players enter the main draw. Top seed Pole Kamil Majchrzak fell at the final hurdle, with the 104th ranked player going down in four to 209th ranked Chilean Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera. Second seed Mackenzie McDonald was much more fortunate, overcoming a two set deficit to compatriot Maxime Cressy, to claim entry to the main event, although fourth seed Francisco Cerundolo and fifth seed Yasutaka Uchiyama both fell to Zhizhen Zhang and Oscar Otte respectively. Rounding out the top qualifiers were a couple of Frenchmen in Arthur Rinderknech and Benjamin Bonzi, with the two top 10 seeds joined by compatriot Gregoire Barrere, while Denis Kudla and Brandon Nakashima joined McDonald in the main draw. A couple of Australians in Chris O’Connell and Marc Polmans also earned their way through, with 11 of the 32 seeds making their way into the main event and the remaining five hoping to continue causing upsets as the first round looms tomorrow.

Of the 16 competitors who earned a main draw entry, there are a couple who face dangerous opposition right off the bat. Arguably the most unlucky is Dutch competitor Tallon Griekspoor, who has drawn fourth seed Alexander Zverev, while McDonald faces daring Russian Karen Khachanov and O’Connell will look to knock 13th seed Gael Monfils off his perch. Bernabe Zapata Miralles will look to oust Cristian Garin, who has not played a lead-in tournament to Wimbledon so could prove an intriguing matchup against the warmed up Zapata Miralles, while Zhang is the first male Chinese competitor to make the main draw at Wimbledon during the Open Era, making his grand slam debut against fellow qualifer Antoine Hoang.

WOMEN’S

Just two top 10 qualifying seeds made it through to the main draw, as number one Maria Camila Osorio Serrano and fourth seed Anna Kalinskaya both reigned supreme in three, joined by six other seeds in the main entry. The 15th and 16th seeds Greet Minnen and Claire Liu both found their form, as a smattering of 20-30 ranked seeds earned their way through, with 23rd seed Croatian Ana Konjuh, 24th seed Belarusian Olga Govortsova, 30th seeded Chinese talent Wang Xinyu and 31st seeded Frenchwoman Clara Burel all finding a way to win through qualifiers. Of the four Australians in the final round of qualifiers just Ellen Perez found success, defeating French 10th seed Oceane Dodin in the process, as Priscilla Hon fell in three to Kalinskaya, Astra Sharma went down to Liu, Storm Sanders fell to Burel, and Arina Rodionova struggled to compete with hometown hopeful Katie Swan, going down in 67 minutes – the equal quickest match of the day, only rivalled by Govortsova’s win over Cristina Bucsa.

Perez and Burel will go head-to-head in the opening round while Minnen has drawn yet another Australian in hard-hitter Ajla Tomljanovic, so will look to utilise her form on grass thus far. Konjuh will take on the ever dangerous Sara Sorribes Tormo, and while it will be away from the Spaniard’s preferred clay surface, Sorribes Tormo had a solid run at Bad Homburg during the week so cannot be underestimated. Monica Niculescu has arguably drawn the toughest first round opposition in second seed Aryna Sabalenka, while Xinyu has been similarly unlucky set to face fourth seed Sofia Kenin.

 

Picture credit: ATP Tour

2021 Wimbledon preview: Will the Fed Express have one last stop? Can Serena equal the Grand Slam record?

THE Wimbledon Championships are finally here. One of the most eloquent events on the planet, the third Grand Slam of the year played on the grass courts of London are set to begin overnight with plenty of sub-plots in both the men’s and women’s draws. For the greatest ever champions at the event, there is a chance it will be the last hurrah, with Roger Federer and Serena Williams both gunning for perhaps their last Wimbledon titles. Standing in their way are the likes of Novak Djokovic – looking to equal Rafael Nadal and Federer on 20 Grand Slams – and Ash Barty who when fully fit has proven she can get it done across any surface.

WOMEN’S:

Looking at the WTA Tour draw, the immediate thought is to those not at the event in a couple of Grand Slam winners. World number two Naomi Osaka and world number three Simona Halep are both not competing at the All England Club, leaving Barty and Aryna Sabalenka as the top two seeds. It will be Sabalenka’s highest ever seeding at a Grand Slam, and for a player who has failed to make it past the fourth round at any major, or the second round at Wimbledon, all eyes will be on the Belarusian at the event.

Sabalenka has been handed a soft draw to begin with, as four qualifiers and a wildcard sit in the first two rounds, with 32nd seed Ekaterina Alexandrova set to be her first seeded opponent if Sabalenka can – and should – make the third round. It gets a little tougher from there with the in-form Maria Sakkari and Elena Rybakina a potential third round matchup and then the winner in-line for a Sabalenka Round of 16 clash.

At the other end of the draw, tournament favourite Barty can beat anyone on any surface, and first up will be Carla Suarez Navarro in a battle of two of the Tour’s heartwarming talents. Barty’s exploits and worldwide respect are well known, but Suarez Navarro is returning to the Tour after beating a Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis in September, having retired from the professional Tour in order to look after her health. Whilst not the ideal first round match back for the Spaniard, it will be a great sub-plot to see her back out there.

If Barty can survive the talented Suarez Navarro – who has made the fourth round of Wimbledon three times – then her first big test will come against home nation hero Johanna Konta in the third round. Konta is fairly strong on grass, and should test Barty, though a fourth round matchup with Kiki Bertens – the 10th best grass court in the draw – will be a potential blockbuster. Williams is also lurking in Barty’s half if the pair make it all the way to the semi-finals, with Williams every chance to greet the world number one in the final four.

The second ranked grass court player in the draw is Czech Petra Kvitova who has copped American Sloane Stephens up first, then might have four consecutive opponents of home nation hero Heather Watson, American Jessica Pegula, fellow Czech Karolina Pliskova, and 2020 Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin. That draw is as rough as they come considering Pegula’s form, and Kenin and Pliskova’s ability on grass.

Garbine Muguruza is another to take note of, ranked third overall on the surface, and matched up with Fiona Ferro in the opening round. All eyes will be on a potential third round clash with Ons Jabeur. The Tunisian recently claimed her first WTA Tour – the first Arab player to ever do so – and she is ranked fourth overall on the surface, which sets up a tantalising clash in only the third round.

If smokies are what you are looking for, then do not sleep on young gun Coco Gauff, who is capable of pulling off big wins on the surface as she has shown since debut at Wimbledon. She will have to do it the hard way with Belinda Bencic and Williams as her likely third and fourth round opponents, though Williams also has Bad Homburg champion Angelique Kerber to deal with in the Round of 16.

Other grass court players who are ranked highly include Daria Kasatkina, Liudmila Samsonova and Madison Keys, with Elise Mertens and Elina Svitolina some other seeds who are more than capable on the surface, making it some high-quality tennis.

First round matches to watch:

[10] Petra Kvitova (CZE) vs. Sloane Stephens (USA)
[1] Ash Barty (AUS) vs. Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP)
[24] Anett Kontaveit (EST) vs. Marketa Vondrousova (CZE)
[18] Elena Rybakina (KAZ) vs. Kristina Mladenovic (FRA)
[8] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) vs. Tamara Zidansek (CZE)

MEN’S:

In the ATP Tour draw, the sixth seeded Federer will have a tough road to a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam. The Swiss Maestro is running out time with age and durability catching up to him, and the Wimbledon event organisers have done him no favours. Adrian Mannarino is never a first round matchup you want in a Grand Slam, with another Frenchman in veteran Richard Gasquet, home nation hero Cameron Norrie and the either the red-hot Lorenzo Sonego or reliable Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta waiting in the fourth round. Mallorca winner Daniil Medvedev is the top four seed in his quarter of the draw, with Alexander Zverev the other one in his half. Medvedev has one of the toughest first round matches in German Jan-Lennard Struff, whilst Zverev has a host of Americans lining up in the early rounds.

The match of the first round surely has to be 21st seed Ugo Humbert up against Australian Nick Kyrgios. One of many classics across the draw, it is hard to look past it as one that will be as entertaining as they come. With Australian Open runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and young gun Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime also in that little group in the first three rounds, there are plenty of great matches. Just above that section is a first round match to die for with the old and the new as Australian Alexei Popyrin takes on US Open runner-up Kei Nishikori in the first round. Nearly every first round match in that section is phenomenal, with another Australian in Jordan Thompson locking horns with 12th seed Casper Ruud, and Russian bolter Aslan Karatsev facing Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.

Djokovic is favourite for the event and he looks to have a fairly safe draw until the quarter finals. Brit wildcard Jack Draper is up first, with the teenager certainly having a memorable opening round encounter, before the Serbian is set to play former Top 10 player Kevin Anderson. Djokovic’s first seeded encounter could be Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, with the wounded Gael Monfils and clay court oriented Cristian Garin the highest ranked en route to Djokovic’s quarter finals. A mouth-watering last eight clash with either Jannik Sinner or Andrey Rublev would be a must-watch, but both young guns must overcome their own draws in the process. Sinner faces tricky Hungarian Marton Fucsovics in the opening round, and also has the likes of Jiri Vesely and Diego Schwartzman for company, with the diminutive Argentinian facing out-of-sorts Benoit Paire in the opening round. Rublev takes on Federico Delbonis in the first round, with Fabio Fognini a tough third round potential matchup.

With no Nadal in the draw, third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas steps up into the placing, with Frances Tiafoe up first, and the likes of Karen Khachanov and Eastbourne champion Alex de Minaur possible third and fourth round opponents. Australia’s top ranked player has to contend with in-form Sebastian Korda in the first round, and also has a potential third round clash with home nation hero and grass court talent Dan Evans. The Brit will take on one of the better grass court players over time in Feliciano Lopez in the opening round though, so there are no easy matches. Another Australian in John Millman has copped Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round, with Andy Murray earning a wildcard and coming up against Georgian 24th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili. Murray is a really good chance in that contest, though Denis Shapovalov as a third round opponent seems stiff.

Seventh seed Matteo Berrettini is currently the second ranked grass court player, with the 25-year-old Italian taking on Argentinian Guido Pella in the first round. He has a fairly standard draw to begin with, as John Isner appears to be his logical third round opponent. Karatsev is an unknown on grass and is line for a Round of 16 clash with Berrettini, though Ruud as the highest ranked player in the section will be keen to step up to the plate.

Another to keep an eye on in the draw is Marin Cilic – who has a potential third round clash with Medvedev – with the Croatian ranked inside the Top 10 grass court players. As Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Milos Raonic and David Goffin are all missing, the draw is open for some underdog stories to come through, and there are plenty of tantalising first round matches, never mind the third round and beyond clashes.

First round matches to watch:

[21] Ugo Humbert (FRA) vs. Nick Kyrgios (AUS)
[2] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) vs. Jan-Lennard Struff (GER)
[6] Roger Federer (SUI) vs. Adrian Mannarino (FRA)
[15] Alex de Minaur (AUS) vs. Sebastian Korda (USA)
Kei Nishikori (JPN) vs. Alexei Popyrin (AUS)

 

Picture credit: Michael Regan/Getty Images