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Zverev vs. Auger-Aliassime, 13-year-old Fruhvirtova highlight UTS2
Seven matches take place at UTS2 on Saturday, all building up to Sunday's finale.
Published Jul 31, 2020
It’ll be an action-packed day at the second edition of the Ultimate Tennis Showdown on Saturday, with seven matches taking place at the Mouratoglou Academy in Nice, France: both women’s semifinals, as well as five men’s matches that will determine the men’s semifinal match-ups on Sunday.
The day session, which begins at 2:30 p.m. local time, features the last four men’s round-robin matches of the event. Those matches will determine which players will be the top finishers in the two round-robin groups, and thus who will join Alexander Zverev and Felix Auger-Aliassime in the final four.
The top finisher in Group A will come down to the fourth match of the day session between Richard Gasquet and Feliciano Lopez, after both players went 2-0 in the group last weekend. Gasquet leads their tour-level head-to-head, 7-1, which includes a 6-0 record on hard courts, though Lopez did push the Frenchman to sudden death when they played during the first edition of UTS earlier this month.
Meanwhile, the top spot in Group B is up for grabs for every player left in the group—Fernando Verdasco, Benoit Paire, Corentin Moutet and Dustin Brown—after all four went 1-1 in their round-robin matches last weekend. Paire plays Moutet in the second match of the day session, while Verdasco follows against Brown. Tto win the group, a player will not only have to win their last round-robin match, they’ll need the best quarters won-to-lost ratio (and points, if it comes down to that).
The other round-robin match of the day will see Grigor Dimitrov take on Nicolas Mahut in a Group A match that has no effect on the semifinals, as neither player can advance to the final four.
The first match of the night session, at 8:30 p.m. local time features the two highest-ranked players at the event, No. 7 Zverev and No. 20 Auger-Aliassime. Whoever wins that blockbuster clash gets to choose which of the Group A and Group B winners they’ll face in the semifinals on Sunday.
Zverev has beaten Auger-Aliassime routinely in both of their tour-level meetings, both of which came in 2019, the German winning on clay in Monte Carlo, 6-1, 6-4, and on hard in Beijing, 6-3, 6-1.
Rounding out the night session will be back-to-back women’s semifinal matches, pitting Alize Cornet against 13-year-old prodigy Brenda Fruhvirtova, and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova against Ons Jabeur.
As utslive.tv puts it, "She is 13 years old. Yes, you heard it right, and it’s not an aberration. Without a doubt, Brenda Fruhvirtova is the new tennis prodigy. The Czech rising star has been training at the Mouratoglou Academy for over three years now, and it was enough time to shine on the big stages. In February, she won the world-famous U14 junior tournament, Les Petits As, one year after her sister Linda."
The women’s field features two former Top 15 players—Cornet peaked at No. 11 on the WTA rankings in 2009, while Pavlyuchenkova reached a career-high of No. 13 in 2011. Jabeur had been soaring up the rankings this year before the coronavirus pandemic caused the suspension of the tour in March—the Tunisian began the year at No. 76, but she was already up at No. 39 when play was stopped.
Pavlyuchenkova and Jabeur have met once before on the WTA tour, with Jabeur prevailing in the first round of Dubai in 2017, 7-6 (6), 2-6, 6-4, while Cornet and Fruhvirtova are playing for the first time.
The men’s semifinals and final, as well as the women’s final, will take place on Sunday.
Monday, July 27: Sofia Kenin | Monday, July 27: Elena Rybakina | Monday, July 27: Alex de Minaur, Dayana Yastremska, Casper Ruud | Tuesday, July 28: Stefanos Tsitsipas | Tuesday, July 28: Thiago Seyboth Wild | Wednesday, July 29: Amanda Anisimova | Wednesday, July 29: Brandon Nakashima | Thursday, July 30: Coco Gauff | Thursday, July 30: Caty McNally | Thursday, July 30: Jannik Sinner, Iga Swiatek | Friday, July 31: Felix Auger-Aliassime | Friday, July 31: Carlos Alcaraz