By Editorial Team
Frances Tiafoe battled his way into the round of 16 after defeating an ailing Kevin Anderson in four sets and edging out Andrea Seppi in strong fashion at the 2019 Australian Open. Frances was able to dig deep in his first round match against Kevin, and that confidence carried over into the second round giving him the edge to pull out a five set victory against Andreas 6-7, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Frances’ road to the second week of play does not get any easier as he now faces the well rested and fine tuned 20th seed, Grigor Dimitrov. The last time these two met it was a grind to the finish as Grigor was able to hold off Frances 7-6 in the third set in the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Canada round of 16.
Frances’ game matches up well against Grigor, but he’ll have to match his intensity to continue to pull out consecutive wins over top 20 players. If Frances is able to maintain this high level of play and swing with confidence from both sides of the court anything is possible. For Frances its about maintaining his energy and keeping up his positive momentum as Grigor tries to sprint out to a big lead early in the match. Mental toughness will be the key against the battle tested 20th seed.
Last season ended on a sour note for Frances as he failed to win big matches following a disappointing early round US Open loss. It now seems as if he transitioned coaches and has brought on more close knit family into his camp enabling him to feel more comfortable and play freely. With a few more top wins in January, Frances will be able to get better draws, go on deeper runs in major events and ultimately propel himself into the top 20 this season.
Stephens and Keys raise the bar in Fed Cup playoff
By Editorial Team
The Fed Cup has come home for the US women’s team to the Alamo state with both Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys in the drivers’ seat.
After the early round defeat to Australia, Madison is anxious to redeem Team USA and position itself in the running for 2020. When asked about the status of the team and anticipation for the weekend, Keys stated,
“We’re playing to stay in World Group I. It’s obviously very important, We were all really bummed about the loss, and we’re looking to walk away with a win after this weekend.”
Chemistry is definitely in favor of the US team as the players and coaches are all very close off the court as friends, but against Switzerland its definitely a business trip.
Coming off a title win in Charleston, Madison is set to keep the momentum going full steam as she prepares to make a decent run toward the French Open later next month.
While title hopes are around the corner for Madison, Sloane is planning on regaining her rhythm and finding her strokes while she competes. Fans shouldn’t be surprised if Sloane goes deep in this year’s French Open as she is able to turn it around on a dime – noting last year’s final run in Paris.
Stable coaching appears to be Sloane’s biggest challenge now as she must find a suitable replacement after Fed Cup Captain, Kathy Rinaldi, has been filling in recently for Sly Black.
This Fed Cup match should a simple win for the deep high caliber of talent on the US team. Play is scheduled for April 20-21 in San Antonio, Texas with matches aired live on Tennis Channel.
Healthy, Tsonga takes on Edmund in Morocco
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is up against top seed Kyle Edmund tomorrow in the Grand Prix Hassan II in Casablanca, Morocco.
Tsonga is having a good start to the season with the exception of an early qualifying loss in Miami. Playing on the red clay surface is definitely a new venture to Tsonga after being off seven months from competitive play.
After his first round win over Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, Tsonga commented on his form:
“It was my first match on clay in a while. So I’m happy that I won today. I did what I needed to do today and played well during the first set,” said Tsonga, whose last outdoor clay match came at 2017 Roland Garros. “It has been almost two years since I didn’t play on outdoor clay. It’s nice to be back on clay.”
Perhaps this is the biggest test for Tsonga since his recovery. A win tomorrow could definitely put the Tour on notice while improving his ranking just before going into the red clay stretch and grand slam season.
Keys wins 4th title in Charleston
By Editorial Team
Madison Keys was able to defeat the 5th seed Caroline Wozniacki 7-6, 6-3 today to win her 4th title and 1st tournament win in close to 2 years.
This win against top WTA Tour players is great for Madison’s confidence as she goes into the thick of the clay court season.
Red clay has not been that kind to Madison even after reaching the semifinals last year. 2019 could be the year for a grand slam title, but consistency and health will play a major role in that for Madison.
The first 3 months of this season have been dismal for Madison with little to show in term of wins, but at the Volvo Car Open – her favorite tournament – she was able to overcome major hurdles with big wins over Sloane Stephens and Caroline Wozniacki.
Volvo Car Open
“It means so much,” Keys stated in her post-match press conference. “I’ve always loved Charleston. It’s always been one of my favorite tournaments, so to now be able to say that I’ve won the tournament and be on the trophy is really, really special.”
“It’s definitely been a really great week for me, especially after having some really tough losses the last couple of weeks,” Keys continued. “And to be able to really bounce back and have a really good week of training with my coach, Nacho, and then be able to come and win the tournament, it definitely is a very good springboard for heading over to Europe.”
Is it Madison’s year? Fans will have to wait for the French Open and hope that a favorable draw propels her to the end of the second week.
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