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Final 4, women and “Golden Card” : all you need to know about the final weekend of UTS2
Following the first weekend of competition at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in Sophia Antipolis, UTS2 will showcase its finale on Saturday and Sunday. On schedule, the men’s Final Four, the first ever women’s bracket at UTS and some prestigious newcomers.
What is the best word to describe the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy? The answer : “Innovation”.
For the second installment of Ultimate Tennis Showdown, the rules have been turned upside down. Unlike in UTS1, this second edition is taking place over two weekends only, in Sophia-Antipolis. Saturday, August 1 and Sunday, August 2 will wrap up the tournament, with a tempting Final 4 on the men’s side – one that welcomes two members of the top 20 in the ATP rankings – and the first women’s event in UTS history.
Here’s a guide so that you did not miss anything on the final weekend of UTS2!
Will Gasquet make it to another Final 4?
Only the winner of each group will punch his ticket to the Final 4. During the first weekend of action, Group A thinned out in a hurry. With two losses and no wins to their credit, Alexei “The Sniper” Popyrin and Grigor “Grigor” Dimitrov were mathematically eliminated from semifinal contention. Popyrin will even be replaced by Nicolas “Le Mousquetaire” Mahut for the last day of the group stage.
Modern-day D’Artagnan 🇫🇷⚔️
Mahut will face Dimitrov on Saturday – neither can qualify, so it won’t impact the race to the Final Four. pic.twitter.com/kx92sfABeD
— UTS | Ultimate Tennis Showdown (@UTShowdown) July 30, 2020
That leaves Richard “The Virtuoso” Gasquet and Feliciano “El Torero” Lopez to go head-to-head in what is virtually the group “final”. Both players are 2-0 so far, and therefore the winner is guaranteed to reach the semifinals – a stage which the Frenchman also found himself during UTS1.
Take out the calculators!
The competition is much closer in Group B. In fact, all four players are tied with 1-1 records. As such, every semifinal qualification scenario is still possible and Saturday’s matches promise to be quite a spectacle. It will all come down to quarter winning percentages, or even point winning percentages between the two men who end up with 2-1 records. Group B action this weekend will begin with an all-French duel between Benoit “The Rebel” Paire and Corentin “The Tornado” Moutet. After his last-place finish at UTS1, The Rebel has announced his new intentions: take it more seriously and “win UTS2”.
— UTS | Ultimate Tennis Showdown (@UTShowdown) July 26, 2020
In the other Group B match on Saturday, Dustin “The Artist” Brown – who competed in UTS1 – will go up against Fernando “El Fuego” Verdasco – who is making his first appearance at UTS.
Meanwhile, Alexander “The Lion” Zverev and Felix “The Panther” Auger-Aliassime are both newcomers to the competition. They are automatically qualified for the semifinals and will play against the two group winners.
— Félix AugerAliassime (@felixtennis) July 24, 2020
Why a match between Zverev and Auger-Aliassime before the Final 4?
Although their places in the Final Four are already assured, “The Lion” and “The Panther” will face each on Saturday. What are the stakes? Well, the winner gets the advantage of choosing his opponent for the next day – either the winner of Group A or the winner of Group B.
Since the Adria Tour fiasco, which Zverev was a part of, the German has not participated in any competition. He has, however, stood out on social networks – such as when he was seen partying just days after apologizing for the Adria Tour, the event organized by Novak Djokovic.
Sascha Zverev six days ago after Adria Tour coronavirus cluster:
“I deeply apologize to anyone that I have put at risk…I will proceed to follow self-isolating guidelines…stay safe 🙏.”
Sascha Zverev four hours ago: pic.twitter.com/vqBXvYdxkv
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) June 28, 2020
As for Auger-Aliassime, the Canadian had previously been forced out of UTS1 because of a left ankle injury. The second edition will now test the No. 20 player in the world, who will try to gauge his physical condition following his sprain in June.
The first women’s event in UTS history
Since its inception back in June, UTS has been a 100 percent male event. This time around, the women are joining the party. Four WTA players have accepted Patrick Mouratoglou’s invitation to compete for the UTS2 title over a single weekend. The “night session” on Saturday will first see Alizé “The Volcano” Cornet, 59th in the WTA rankings, go up against Brenda “The Prodigy” Fruhvirtova, who is only 13 years old! To close the evening, world No. 30 Anastasia “The Thunder” Pavlyuchenkova, coached by Mouratoglou between 2007 and 2009, will challenge Ons “The Warrior” Jabeur, world No. 39.
Just like with the men’s event, the ladies final will be held on Sunday.
Can a 13-year-old 𝙋𝙧𝙤𝙙𝙞𝙜𝙮 brave the elements? 🌋⚔️⚡️
— UTS | Ultimate Tennis Showdown (@UTShowdown) July 29, 2020
A “Golden Card Challenge” for the women
As one innovation always leads to another on the courts of the Mouratoglou Academy, the four contenders for the women’s UTS2 title will engage in the new “Golden Card Challenge”. The concept? Each player will have to hit as many targets as possible in 40 seconds. Whoever has the best final score will take a “Golden Card”, to be used whenever she wishes during the tournament. The precise nature of this special UTS card is still unknown – but it promises a new dose of twists and turns.
UTS2 final weekend schedule
Order of the play for the men on Saturday, August 1
- Match 1 – 2:30 pm Group A : Nicolas Mahut “The Musketeer” – Grigor Dimitrov (Live on utslive.tv)
- Match 2 – 3:45 pm Group B :Benoît Paire “The Rebel” – Corentin Moutet “The Tornado” (Live on utslive.tv)
- Match 3 – 5:00 pm Group B :Fernando Verdasco “El Fuego” – Dustin Brown “The Artist” (Live on utslive.tv)
- Match 4 – 6:15 pm Group A : Richard Gasquet “The Virtuoso” – Feliciano Lopez “El Torero” (Live on utslive.tv)
- Match 5 – 8:30 pm : Alexander Zverev “The Lion” – Felix Auger-Aliassime ‘The Panther” (Live on utslive.tv)
Order of play for the women on Saturday, August 1
- Match 1 – 9:45 pm: Alizé Cornet “The Volcano” – Brenda Fruhvirtova “The Prodigy” (Live on utslive.tv)
- Match 2 – 11:00 pm: Ons Jabeur “The Warrior” – Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova “The Thunder” (Live on utslive.tv)
Sunday, August 2
- Semifinal 1 – 5:00 pm (Live on utslive.tv, Tennis Channel in the United States)
- Semifinal 2 – 6:15 pm (Live on utslive.tv, Tennis Channel in the United States)
- Final – 10:15 pm (Live on utslive.tv, Tennis Channel in the United States)
- Final – 9:00 pm (Live on utslive.tv, Tennis Channel in the United States)