US Open 2015 Women’s Draw: Serena to battle the US to get on top! - UBITENNIS
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US Open 2015 Women’s Draw: Serena to battle the US to get on top!

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US OPEN – If Serena Williams (1) is to win a 4th major title this year at the US Open to complete the calendar slam, her 5th in a row as she is the 3-time defending champion, it will not be an easy road. Her path to the final is laid with new and familiar foes. She is pitted in the quarter being nicknamed “The American Quarter” as it houses her sister Venus Williams (23), Sloane Stephens (29), Madison Keys (19), Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Coco Vandeweghe and Madison Brengle just to name a few. There are also several non-Americans, Aga Radwanska (15) and Belinda Bencic (12), also in this section and they both have a win against Serena this year. Serena will require both mental and physical strength something she has in spades to lift her 22nd major here at the US Open to equal Steffi Graf on the all-time major winners list.

 

Fortunately for Serena she does not have to play all these players to get to the semifinal but she might have to get by most of them. She could face Stephens in the 3rd round then Keys or Radwanska in the Round of 16 and either Bencic or her sister Venus in the quarters. There is also the newly minted top 10 Karolina Pliskova (8) who could very much be Serena’s opponent in the last 8.

Serena is in the top half with 2006 champion Maria Sharapova (3) who is slated as her semifinal opponent if the seeds hold true to form. Sharapova is coming into this event without playing a single match since her semifinal loss to Serena at Wimbledon earlier this summer. She opens her campaign against a former compatriot Daria Gavrilova who now plays for Australia. Gavrilova took out Sharapova in a tough 3-set match in Miami earlier this year. Sharapova avenged that loss later on in Rome but the edge might be in Gavrilova’s favour since she is coming into these championships, match tough unlike Sharapova.

Sharapova’s path has a few more Russians in the midst with Svetlana Kuznetsova (30) former champion here back in 2004 as a possible 3rd round opponent and Ekaterina Makarova (13) last year’s semifinalist in the Round of 16. However, they might not prove to be much of a challenge for her as Kuznetsova has not played any tennis since the French Open and Makarova has twice had to withdraw from tournaments this summer hardcourt series with injuries. On the other end of this half are Ana Ivanovic (7), Carla Suarez-Navarro (10), Jelena Jankovic (21) and Eugenie Bouchard (25) all of whom has the potential of really doing well here at the Open and doing just as equally bad.

It should be noted that Bouchard has been seen around the grounds of the tournament hitting with tennis legend Jimmy Connors. Bouchard who recently parted ways with Sam Sumyk is coachless at the moment. Bouchard’s management team released a statement saying that this collaboration between Bouchard and Connors has “no long-term plans” and that Connors and Bouchard “have been friends for a long time” and he is only helping her this week as he too is in New York.

JIMMY CONNORS COACHING CANADIAN

JIMMY CONNORS COACHING CANADIAN BOUCHARD

The bottom half of the draw is relatively tame compared to the top half as Simona Halep (2) should have an easy time to the semifinals. The Romanian has shown herself in the last few weeks as being a serious contender for this title. She made it to two consecutive finals at Toronto and Cincinnati in the two big warmup tournaments this summer. She is definitely peaking at the right time especially since losing first round at Wimbledon and was unable to make it to the 2nd week of the French Open. Alize Cornet (27) and Sabine Lisicki (24) should not be much of a bother for Halep though they can be formidable opponent especially Lisicki who possesses a huge game albeit a very inconsistent one.

In this both half, there is the very dangerous floater in Victoria Azarenka (20) who is a two-time finalist here (2012-2013). She has come with a few points of winning this title back in 2012 and has shown throughout this year that she is ready for the big time. She is not in the same half as Serena who knocked her out of both the French Open and Wimbledon so she should be in good position to make some noise here once again. She would have to get by Angelique Kerber (11) in the 3rd round and Lucie Safarova (6) in the Round of 16. Safarova has not been consistent since her run at the French Open but she is capable of playing inspired tennis and might just play her way again to another major final.

There is always a question mark next to the name of Petra Kvitova (5) at any tournament particularly if it is not the grass courts of Wimbledon. The fact that she has now be been diagnosed with mononycleosis (mono) and lost a significant amount of weight, even more doubts is cast upon her at these championships. She lost in the 2nd round last year and the brutal hot and humid conditions in New York do not suit her. Nonetheless, she too is capable of getting her act together to play inspired tennis especially since there are no real danger in her section other than Julia Georges or Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (32) in the 3rd round. Andrea Petkovic (18) or Garbine Muguruza (9) could be her opponent in the 4th round and Caroline Wozniacki (4) in the quarterfinals.

Wozniacki too is facing some doubt at these championships. She is coming off injuries and some poor results at both Toronto and Cincinnati. She has elected to play the final tune-up tournament this week before the Open in Connecticut despite claims that she is being forced to play events by the WTA to avoid penalties. This is her fourth tournament in as many weeks this summer before coming into the Open. She would have to get past American Christina McHale in the 2nd round and possibly Flavia Pennetta (26) in the next. It would be a battle if both Wozniacki and Pennetta were to get that stage with the odds being in the favour of the Italian.

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Canada Daily Preview: Two Clashes Between Top 10 Seeds in the Third Round

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Felix Auger-Aliassime practicing this week in Montreal (twitter.com/OBNmontreal)

On Thursday, all third round matches will take place in both Montreal and Toronto, making for another extremely busy day of tennis.  And two of those third round encounters see top 10 seeds collide.  In Montreal, Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime faces Cam Norrie in a rematch from last Friday’s Los Cabos semifinals.  In Toronto, Aryna Sabalenka plays Coco Gauff, who survived an extended battle on Wednesday against Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina

 

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Thursday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time in Toronto and 12:00pm local time in Montreal.


Aryna Sabalenka (6) vs. Coco Gauff (10) – 11:00am on Grandstand in Toronto

Gauff’s second-round victory on Wednesday was a grueling affair.  After failing to convert four match points in the second-set tiebreak, Coco finally prevailed in a third-set tiebreak.  And she did so despite striking 13 double faults, a part of her game that continues to trouble her.  Sabalenka spent over an hour less time on court, defeating Sara Sorribes Tormo in straight sets.  Gauff leads their head-to-head 2-1, though all three meetings have been rather tight.  And of late, Coco has been the much stronger performer.  Going back to her run to the French Open final, Gauff has claimed 15 of her last 19 matches.  By contrast, Sabalenka arrived in Toronto having lost three of her last four.  While Coco will surely feel a bit tired on Thursday, she’ll also feel relieved having escaped what would have been a heartbreaking loss a day earlier, and should play a bit more freely.  And most importantly, she’s currently feeling much more confident than Sabalenka.


Cameron Norrie (9) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (6) – Not Before 4:00pm on Court Central in Montreal

Last week in Los Cabos, Norrie took out Auger-Aliassime in straight sets.  However, that was Cam’s first victory over Felix in five tries.  The previous four had all gone the way of the Canadian, including another hard court matchup earlier this year in Rotterdam.  Auger-Aliassime pulled out a dramatic first-set tiebreak on Wednesday night over Washington runner-up Yoshihito Nishioka in thrilling fashion, eventually prevailing in straights.  Earlier in the day, Norrie advanced comfortably, allowing Botic van de Zandschulp only three games.  Just six days removed from their last encounter, Felix will be eager for revenge, especially at his home country’s biggest event.  But playing at home comes with a lot of pressure, and Auger-Aliassime is only 3-4 in his last seven matches.  Cam is the more in-form player, and should be favored to earn his second win over Felix in less than a week.


Other Notable Matches on Thursday:

Jessica Pegula (7) vs. Camila Giorgi – Giorgi is the defending champion, and is yet to drop a set through two matches.  Last year in the semifinals of this same event, she defeated Pegula in three.  But overall the American leads their head-to-head 5-2 at all levels, and has twice defeated Camila since that semifinal.

Nick Kyrgios vs. Alex de Minaur – It’s Australian versus Australian, and the Washington champ against the Atlanta champ.  Kyrgios upset world No.1 and defending champion Daniil Medvedev on Wednesday, and has now won 13 of his last 14 matches.  De Minaur has already defeated Denis Shapovalov and Grigor Dimitrov this week. 

Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Beatriz Haddad Maia – In typical Swiatek fashion, she required just over an hour to prevail over Ajla Tomljanovic in her opening match.  Haddad Maia eliminated Canada’s Leylah Fernandez on Wednesday, and won 13 straight matches on grass in June.

Bianca Andreescu vs. Qinwen Zheng – Andreescu outlasted Alize Cornet on Wednesday night in a tight three-setter.  Qinwen benefitted from Ons Jabeur’s retirement due to abdominal pain during their second round matchup. 


Thursday’s full Order of Play is here.

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‘Super Confident’ Nick Kyrgios Admits Admiration for Medvedev Ahead Of Clash

Nick Kyrgios has had positive things to say about Daniil Medvedev ahead of their second round meeting in Montreal.

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Nick Kyrgios (@atptour - Twitter)

Nick Kyrgios has spoken highly of world number one Daniil Medvedev ahead of their second round clash in Montreal.

 

Kyrgios is in some of the best form in his career having reached the final of Wimbledon last month.

That has been followed up by a doubles title in Atlanta and a singles and doubles triumph in Washington.

Now the Australian is into the second round in Montreal after defeating Sebastian Baez 6-4 6-4.

Now Kyrgios takes on the ultimate challenge as he takes on world number one Daniil Medvedev who heads into the match in form himself having beaten Cameron Norrie to win the Los Cabos title.

Speaking ahead of the match the Australian admitted he was confident but has nothing but admiration for Medvedev’s game style, “I know I’ve got Medvedev next which kind of sucks,” Kyrgios told the Tennis Channel.

“I feel like against pretty much any player right now, I’d feel extremely confident. Obviously I feel confident going up against him, but we all know what he can produce. It’s going to be a good match for sure. I’m a bit tired but I’m gonna try and give him a good run.

“I’d like to play 95 per cent of the draw in the next round but if it’s anything like today, I know there’s going to be a lot of balls coming back and it’s going to be tough. A part of me wants the challenge, but a part of me knows it’s not going to be easy at all. I’m not gonna shy away from it, I’m going to do everything I can to recover and rest.

“But he’s a hell of a player and it’s incredible to see how he plays. He returns so far back, hits some crazy shots that we’ve never seen before. He does it his own way, he’s unorthodox and really special in the game. I love watching him play because he just looks so crazy out there, it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen.

“I love people who just play the way they want to play. He’s comfortable in his own skin so hopefully it will be two contrasting styles as well. Not going to get much different tennis from me, I’m going to serve massive and play big and try to dictate. If I do that well, usually it works.”

Kyrgios is hoping to have good results this week as well as next week in Cincinnati so he can be seeded for the last grand slam of the year at the US Open.

The duo have met on three occasions with Kyrgios leading the head-to-head 2-1 but it’s Medvedev who won their last meeting at the Australian Open in four sets.

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Bianca Andreescu survives thrilling match against Kasatkina in Toronto return

Bianca Andreescu reached the second round in her home tournament while Naomi Osaka and Emma Raducanu crashed out.

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(@Andreescu_Fans - Twitter)

The 2019 champion made her return three years after winning the title and reached the second round to the delight of the Canadian fans.

 

Bianca Andreescu is into the second round of the National Bank Open being hosted at Sobeys Stadium in Toronto, Ontario after beating the San Jose champion Daria Kasatkina in straight sets 7-6, 6-4.

Although the scoreline seemed pretty routine this match had everything with highs and lows for both players but the Toronto native managed to get through.

“She played really well, super consistent and I am so happy I had that mental toughness to get through in two sets and that was key for me.”

In the first set both players got off to a very nervous start as the first five games of the match were breaks of serve before Andreescu was able to secure the first hold of the match to take a 4-2 lead.

At 5-3 with the Russian serving the Canadian earned two set points but was denied by the number 11 seed and the next game broke the world number 53 to go back on serve at 5-5.

The Toronto native responded by breaking right back once again and served for the set for the second time but Kasatkina broke once more to force a tiebreaker.

The Russian found herself up 4-2 but lost the following two points and the Canadian fought back and managed to take the tiebreaker 7-5 and the first set 7-6 in one hour and 25 minutes.

Dealing with high blood pressure she was seen by the trainer and the doctor during the break between both sets and she was given medication to rectify the problem.

Once again holding serve seemed to be the issue as after the world number 53 held the opening service game of the second set she broke to take an early 2-0 lead.

Kasatkina responded by breaking right back and holding to even the set at 2-2 and broke once again using her powerful forehand on breakpoint to seal the break.

Again she failed to consolidate the break and the Canadian broke her right back and after consolidating the break broke again to take a 5-3 lead and a chance to serve out the match.

Andreescu wasn’t able to close it out as the number 11 seed broke right back but in the following game, the Canadian responded by winning the match on her opponent’s serve.

After the match in her post-match on-court interview, she was asked if she felt the exact same emotions she had back in 2019 and what she will remember from the match.

“I wished I enjoyed it a bit more and I was really looking forward to having that positive attitude that I always have.”

Andreescu will now face Alize Cornet on Wednesday after the Frenchwomen was able to beat another Frenchwomen Caroline Garica in a tough three-set match on Monday night.

A busy Tuesday in Toronto

It was a busy day in Toronto and here are some of the other results from day 2 at the National Bank Open.

Belinda Bencic the number 12 seed got by the Czech qualifier Tereza Martincova in straight sets 6-4, 6-2, and Naomi Osaka was forced to retire down 7-6, 3-0 against Kaia Kanepi due to a back injury.

Amanda Anisimova beat the Canadian wild card, Carol Zhao, in straight sets as well 6-3, 6-1, and Camila Giorgi, the defending champion, ousted the number nine seed Emma Raducanu also in straight sets 7-6, 6-2.

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