TENNIS – The US Open men’s draw took place today at the Billie Jean King Tennis Centre and before any ball has been struck, this final major is set to be an incredible event. There are so many blockbuster matches set to take place from the very first round to the last. This is surely the biggest event on the tennis calendar all year.
For the top 8 seeds, if they hold true to form, this is how they are set to meet in the quarterfinals
Novak Djokovic (1) v Rafael Nadal (8) [Top Half/First Quarter]
Kei Nishikori (4) v David Ferrer (7) [Top Half/Second Quarter]
Andy Murray (3) v Stan Wawrinka (5) [Bottom Half/Third Quarter]
Roger Federer (2) v Tomas Berdych (6) [Bottom Half/Fourth Quarter]
However, there might be a few problems in the way of some of the top 8 getting to that stage. Murray has to face the young hot Australian Nick Kyrgios in the opening round. Kyrgios who has been the source of much controversy is known to be a big match player having taken out Nadal at Wimbledon last year and beating Federer earlier this year in Madrid. Nadal himself has to face Croat Borna Coric in his first round match, a player who has beaten him before, last fall in Basel, Switzerland. This is not the end of the Spaniard’s troubles as Fabio Fognini (32) looms in the 3rd round,Milos Raonic (10) in the Round of 16 and then Djokovic for a place in the semifinal.
Nonetheless, despite these huge first round encounters, some things remain unchanged. Djokovic should have a relatively easy route to the quarterfinals at least. He remains the player to beat despite losing two hardcourt finals this summer in Montreal and Cincinnati. However, he lost those to Murray and Federer which are not bad losses to say the least. He is unlikely to be troubled by the likes of Andreas Seppi (25) or Roberto Bautista-Agut (23). If he meets Nadal there, he would hope to even their head-to-head record here at the Open as Nadal is 2-1. It would be earliest they have ever met at this event as their three previous encounters were all in the final. Nadal won in 2010 and 2013 with Djokovic taking the title in 2011.
Last year’s finalist, Nishikori (4) has a relatively easy section and should be able to get back to the semifinal stage as he did last year to beat Djokovic. He is again in the same half as Djokovic. Neither Gael Monfils (16) nor Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (19) has shown any level of consistency to be able to challenge the Japanese. However, they are dangerous floaters and tend to come alive on the big stages. Ferrer still remains a questionable element at this event since he has not played an event since the French Open due to injuries. This leaves defending champion Marin Cilic (9) with an excellent opportunity to make it to the quarterfinals again where he might face Nishikori, a re-match of last year’s final. However, Nishikori beat Cilic in their most recent meeting this summer at the Citi Open in Washington DC.
If Murray gets by Kyrgios, he should get to the quarterfinals especially since Kevin Anderson (15) who he might face in the Round of 16 proves to be unreliable in the big matches. Defending French Open champion Wawrinka has a possible tricky 3rd round encounter against American Jack Sock followed by Gilles Simon (11) in the Round of 16. Nonetheless, it should be a battle between Murray and Wawrinka if they both get to the quarterfinals. The winner would play Federer fresh off his 7th title in Cincinnati. Federer has a relatively easy route to the semifinals again with only Philipp Kohlschreiber and either Ivo Karlovic (21) or John Isner (13) in the round of 16 before he possibly faces Berdych in the quarters. The Czech started off so well with year making the semifinals of the Australian Open. However, his form has definitely fallen off since late Spring and he is struggling to show any consistent form. Berdych does have a win against Federer at this event back in 2012, so he might be confident to repeat.
All in all, this US Open event is set to be a massive event and we are not even factoring the fact that Serena Williams is on tap to complete the calendar grand slam here.
(VIDEO) Novak Djokovic Makes Tearful Tribute To Mentor Kobe Bryant After Australian Open Win
The world No.2 pays his respect to ‘one of the greatest athletes of all time’ on the Rod Laver Arena.
World No.2 Novak Djokovic shed tears following his quarter-final win over Milos Raonic after paying tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant.
The 16-time grand slam champion took to the Rod Laver Arena wearing a green zip-up top. On the top right of his jacket with Bryant’s initial along with the numbers 8 and 24. The jersey numbers Bryant worn throughout his 20-year NBA career with the LA Lakers. A love heart was also placed under the numbers on Djokovic’s top.
“’I don’t know what we could say. It really caught us by surprise.” An emotional Djokovic said during his on-court interview with John McEnroe on Tuesday.
‘He was one of the greatest athletes of all time, he inspired myself and many other people around the world. I had that fortune to have a personal relationship with him over the last 10 years.’
‘When I needed some advice and support, he was there for me. He was my mentor, my friend, it’s just heartbreaking to see what has happened to him and his daughter. It’s unbelievable.’
Bryant was killed on Sunday in a helicopter crash that also claimed the life of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others. As an athlete, he achieved numerous milestones. Including being named the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time NBA Finals MVP. He was also a two-time Olympic gold medallist and played in 18 All Star Games.
Just days before Bryant’s death, Djokovic spoke about their friendship during an interview with ESPN. Praising him for the support he received during his elbow injury and fall in the rankings during 2017 and the start of 2018. Reflecting on the conversations the two have had, he said he received some ‘valuable guidance.’
“Kobe has been one of my mentors,” Djokovic told ESPN. “I’ve had several phone conversations with him and also of course when we see each other live in the past couple of years. When I was going through the injury with my elbow and struggling to mentally and emotionally handle all of these different things that were happening to me and dropping in the Rankings and then having to work my way up, he was one of the people who was really there for me to give me some very valuable advice and guidelines to kind of believe and trust in myself, trust the process that I’ll be back.”
Djokovic will play Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.
The tribute can be watched below (from 00:30 to 01:40)
Dominic Thiem reaches his first quarter final at the Australian Open
Dominic Thiem eased past Gael Monfils 6-2 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 50 minutes on the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open. Thiem has extended his winning streak to 6-0 in his head-to-head matches against Monfils.
He fought back from two sets to one down to beat Australia’s Alex Bolt in the second round, but he won eight of his past nine sets to advance to the quarter finals.
Thiem got two breaks in the first set and never faced a single break point in the entire match. The Austrian player converted his fourth break point after three deuces, as Monfils missed a backhand volley wide. Thiem started the third set with an early break in the first game, as Monfils hit an inside-out forehand wide from the middle of the court wide. Thiem won his next service games and held his final game at love.
Thiem will face Rafael Nadal in a re-match of last year’s Roland Garros final.
“I think that I played my best match so far at this year’s Australian Open. It’s a very good feeling. The score looks way easier than the match was. I think I was lucky to make an early break in each set and I was managing to hold my serve well. I am so happy because I am in the quarter final here for the first time”, said Thiem.
Alexander Zverev tops Andrey Rublev to set Australian Open quarter final against Stan Wawrinka
Alexander Zverev beat his friend Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 37 minutes to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open for the first time in his career and his third at Grand Slam level.
Zverev broke serve once in each set. The German player has not dropped a set at this year’s edition of the Australian Open.
Zverev ended Rublev’s 15-match winning streak. Rublev had not lost a match since October, winning four matches at the Davis Cup last November and back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide.
In the opening set Zverev earned his first break at 3-3, as Rublev hit a forehand into the net. He held his serve to consolidate the break and wrapped up the first set after 29 minutes, when Rublev hit a crosscourt backhand wide.
Zverev started the second set with an immediate break in the first game of the second set and closed it out with a hold at love with an ace after 29 minutes.
Zverev broke serve for the third time in the match in the ninth game of the third set to take a 5-4, when Rublev made a groundstroke error, and sealed the win with a forehand volley.
“It feels amazing. I played some great matches against some great opponents. This is Andrey’s first loss of the season, having won two tournaments and getting through to the fourth round with unbelievable tennis. I have known Andrey since we were ten years old. I think he will be top 15, top 10 very soon. I am just happy and I hope I can continue”,said Zverev.
Zverev will face Stan Wawrinka in the quarter final. The German star beat Wawrinka twice in their previous two head-to-head matches in St. Petersburg 2016 and Miami 2017.
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