US Open Day 3: A Grounds Pass Diary - UBITENNIS
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US Open Day 3: A Grounds Pass Diary



A grounds pass at the US Open gives you access to every court except Arthur Ashe Stadium.  On a normal day early in the tournament, it’s hard enough to keep up with all the action on the grounds.  But this is no normal day: with most of yesterday’s matches postponed due to rain, there are 87 singles matches scheduled for Day 3.  Here’s my diary of the day as I scurry around to catch as much tennis as possible.


View from the 7 train.  On the left: construction of the new Louis Armstrong Stadium.  On the right: Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Normally I would arrive before play begins to watch players practice, but 7 train delays did not allow for that, so I immediately plotted out which court would be my first stop for the day.

The temporary Louis Armstrong Stadium

11:00am – Settle into Louis Armstrong Stadium for the resumption of Elina Svitolina vs. Siniakova.  Svitolina easily won the first set yesterday 6-0, they will now re-start in the second set tiebreak.  This year’s temporary Louis Armstrong stadium consists of metal bleachers with “luxury” porta-potties underneath, but finds some charm in its intimacy and the surrounding trees.  Finding shade on long days like this is critical, yet usually challenging, so the trees are a welcome sight.  Svitolina won the first set 6-0, but we re-start play in the second set tiebreak.  An extremely extended rally gives Siniakova three set points, and she takes the set on the third.  It’s only 11:15, and we already have some intrigue with the number four seed pushed to a final set.

Another extended rally ends with a beautiful drop shot and lob combo, giving Siniakova the break to open the third.  Siniakova is hitting a lot of backhand winners, and dictating play with her ground strokes.  The third set sees lots of long rallies, but in the end Svitolina is able to grind out the win with some superb defense.

Grigor Dimitrov in action on the Grandstand

12:15pm – I arrive at the Grandstand on the opposite side of the grounds and watch Grigor Dimitrov finish off an easy 6-1 first set over Vaclav Safranek of the Czech Republic.  It’s a mismatch with the Cincinnati champ against the 210th-ranked qualifier, but nonetheless Dimitrov looks very sharp, winning in straight sets.  He could be ready for his first deep run in New York.

I was surprised to find there were a lot more fans watching Kyrgios on Armstrong than Dimitrov on the Grandstand.  Dimitrov is the more established player, but Kyrgios is much more popular on this day.  The stands were only about 20% full on the Grandstand, while people lined up to get onto Armstrong.

Alexander Zverev hits with his coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero.  In the background, Martina Hingis gets in some doubles practice.

1:45-2:15pm – I wander the practice and outer courts for a bit.  I get to see Marin Cilic, Jelena Ostapenko, Alexander Zverev, Martina Hingis, and Steve Johnson all on the practice courts.  Catch the final point of a five-set victory for Taro Daniel of Japan over American Tommy Paul.  Daniel’s reward after a five-set win?  He’ll play Nadal tomorrow.  I then walk right past Fabio Fognini, returning to court from a bathroom break.  He promptly loses the next six games to an opponent who has never won a tour-level match, and Fabio is heading home.  Typical Fognini.


2:30pm – Take a quick lunch break, and thanks to the little radios American Express gives out, listen to coverage of Nick Kyrgios’ match.  The ESPN team is critical as Kyrgios struggles with injury and motivation.  Kyrgios goes out to a much lower-ranked countryman.  Typical Kyrgios.

David Goffin takes on Julien Benneteau on Court 5

3:00pm – Grab a seat on intimate Court 5 for ninth seed David Goffin versus veteran Frenchman Julien Benneteau.  Goffin still has the knee he injured at Roland Garros taped up, but his movement doesn’t look hampered as he scrambles his way to a 2-1 set lead.  Benneteau then completely goes way, dropping 12 of the first 14 points of the fourth set, so I also decide to go away.

Lucas Pouille and Jared Donaldson warming up on Court 17.

3:45pm – In the opposite corner of the grounds, another Frenchman, Lucas Pouille, gets his match underway against Jared Donaldson.  The American cramped during his win on Monday, and got off to a slow start here.  Donaldson appeared tense early on.  He looked up in frustration to the row in front of me repeatedly, where coaches Marsy Fish and Jan-Michael Gambill were seated.  Both players struggled with consistency, but Pouille played better at the end of each of the first two sets.  I exited during the third set to ensure I didn’t miss my top priority for the day (Donaldson would come back and win the next two sets, but Pouille prevailed in the fifth).

Alexander Zverev and Borna Coric get set for what would be a stellar match on the Grandstand.

6:00pm – Returned to the Grandstand for the start of Alexander Zverev against Borna Coric.  The Grandstand got jam-packed for this one, especially as the start of the night session on Ashe was delayed. All players look bigger in person than on TV, but Zverev’s height is especially impressive from courtside.  On the fashion front, Zverev abandoned the knee-high tube socks he wore on Monday.  Good choice.

Zverev quickly won the first set.  In the second set, he saved one set point on a 41-shot rally, but lost a second set point to even the match.  Coric would return the favor by saving break points in the third on 25, 29, and 40-shot rallies.   Coric would take the third in a tiebreak.  At 5-6 in the fourth, Coric would save three sets points, and take the fourth set tiebreak to complete the big upset.  Zverev only broke serve once in the match despite 11 tries, and played too tentatively in the big moments.  At 9:45pm on Day 3, the fourth seed is out.

10:00pm – take a quick food break and watch the big screens by the fountains in the main plaza.  Get to see Shapapolov take the first set over Tsonga, and Sloane Stephens finish off eleventh seed Dominika Cibulkova.

10:20pm – Back to the Grandstand for Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza.  She’s playing 92nd-ranked Ying-Ying Duan of China.  Muguruza gets a critical break in the ninth game and takes the first set.

10:50pm – Unfortunately bedtime is fast approaching, so I begrudgingly need to go home.  Still seven matches on court as I head out.  Just another 12-hour day at the Open.

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India’s Sumit Nagal Receives Sponsorship Boost After Revelling Financial Struggles



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A leading food and drink company has pledged to support India’s highest-ranked men’s player who was unable to train at his usual facility in Germany earlier this year due to a lack of money. 


Earlier this week world No.159 Sumit Nagal made a public plea for financial support to help him continue his career as a tennis player. In recent years he has been based at the Nansel Tennis Academy in Germany but was unable to train there during the first three months of the 2023 season due to a lack of funds. During this period he relied on his friends, including former player Somdev Devvarman, to help maintain his fitness. 

“If I look at my bank balance, I have what I had at the beginning of the year. It is 900 euros. I did get a bit of help. Mr Prashant Sutar is helping me with MAHA Tennis Foundation and I also get monthly (salary) from IOCL but I don’t have any big sponsor,” Nagal told the Press Trust of India.
“I am investing whatever I am making. The yearly cost where I travel with one coach is costing me around Rs 8 million to Rs 10 million (90,000-113,000 euros) and that is just with one travelling coach (no physio). Whatever I have made I have already invested,” he added.

Nagal, who is 26 years old, has reached the semi-finals of better at five tournaments on the lower-level Challenger Tour so far this season. His only Grand Slam result was at the US Open where he lost in the first round of qualifying to Taro Daniel. It was at the US Open where he took a set off Roger Federer before losing in 2019. 

Despite being the only player from his country to be ranked in the top 400, Nagal is currently not part of the Target Olympics Podium Scheme. An initiative set up by the Indian government to provide support to their top athletes.

After learning about Nagal’s ongoing struggles on the Tour, a leading company has decided to support the tennis player by signing a three-year deal with him. Gatorade specializes in sports drinks and is manufactured by PepsiCo. Under the deal, Nagal will receive support with his recovery and nutrition from experts at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI).  

“I am deeply moved and grateful to join hands with Gatorade. This association comes to me at a pivotal time, and I am thankful my hard work and passion is getting recognized and appreciated. With Gatorade by my side, I am sure I will reach new heights and give it my all both on and off the court,” the Indo-Asian News Service quoted Nagal as saying on Thursday. 

Speaking about the new partnership, Ankit Agarwal from PepsiCo India has hailed the collaboration. Agarwal is the company’s Associate Director of Energy & Hydration. 

“Sumit is a role model for the new-gen athletes of India with his career being a true example of hard work and sweat that makes talent shine,” he said.
“As a brand that is dedicated to supporting athletes in removing barriers to sporting success, we are delighted to welcome Sumit to the Gatorade squad.”

Nagal has been ranked as high as No.122 in the world. So far in his career, he has won four Challenger titles with two of those occurring this year in Italy and Finland. 

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(VIDEO): Malaga Line-Up Set As Davis Cup Most Unpredictable Tournament In History

UbiTennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta explains why any of the eight teams in Malaga could win November’s Davis Cup Finals




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The Davis Cup quarter-final line-up is set after an incredible Group Stage over Bologna, Split, Manchester and Valencia.


Now eight teams remain including Novak Djokovic’s Serbia, Great Britain and Australia.

However surprise teams such as the Netherlands, Finland and the Czech Republic will also appear in the quarter-finals.

Ten-time champions Great Britain will face Serbia with the winners taking on the winner of the quarter-final between Italy and the Netherlands.

In the other half of the draw Canada will be heavy favourites against Finland while the Czech Republic face Australia.

The final eight tournament will take place in Malaga and will take place between the 21st and the 26th of November.

However this year’s Davis Cup could be the most unpredictable version in the tournament’s history with there being no Spain or USA.

It really could be anyone’ tournament with Tennis’ most prestigious team competition up for grabs in November.

In this video UbiTennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta explains why this year’s Davis Cup finals could be the most unpredictable edition of all-time and why any of the teams could win the title.

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Simona Halep Claims Doing Ban Is ‘Based On Scenarios’ Without Proof




Former world No.1 Simona Halep has questioned the fairness of her anti-doping hearing after being suspended from the sport for four years. 


The two-time Grand Slam champion is suspended from tour events until 2026 after an independent tribunal concluded that the Romanian broke rules set out in Tennis’ anti-doping program. In a 126-page report by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA), investigators accepted that the collagen supplement taken by Halep – called Keto MCT – was contaminated with Roxadustat “on the balance of probability.” However, they stated that there must have been another source of Roxadustat based on the level detected in her sample taken during the 2022 US Open. 

Furthermore, three experts in the area said they have ‘a high degree of confidence‘ that there was not an ‘innocent explanation’ for the abnormalities detected in Halep’s Athlete’s Biological Passport (ABP). They reported that ‘likely doping’ occurred based on an analysis of 51 valid samples of Halep’s blood and rejected her explanation for the irregularity. The tennis star cited blood loss during surgery and spells when she was inactive as her defence. 

Despite the comprehensive ruling, Halep has insisted that she is innocent and never intentionally took any banned substances. During an interview with Front Office Sports on Monday, the 31-year-old claimed that the ITIA’s four-year ban handed to her was based on ‘scenarios’ instead of any proof. 

“I was confident after the hearing because there were so many things that made no sense and that are not fair,” she said.
“When I received the decision, I was in complete shock. I could not believe that they suspended me for four years when we found the contamination and my blood was totally normal. They didn’t find anything bad in my blood. It’s crazy that they made this decision with everything [her legal team presented]. They judged me on scenarios. There is no proof. It’s just insane.”

The ITIA originally requested a six-year ban for Halep due to what they described as ‘repetitive and sophisticated’ doping practices. She is accused of using blood doping to improve her performance during Wimbledon and the US Open last year. However, the report found it was not ‘completely satisfied’ that Halep has been doping since March 2022 despite there being ‘strong grounds for suspicion.’

As for the substance Roxadustat, Halep says she would have never deliberately taken the drug as it would ‘work against her.’ She says that the drug would have worsened a thyroid issue which she has been dealing with for several years. Front Office Sports referred to a European Medicines Agency study which finds a possible link between the drug and decreased thyroid function. 

“There was no point for me to take this,” Halep said. “It’d work against me. It wouldn’t help me.”

The study couldn’t establish how common this side effect is due to the amount of data available at the time. 

In the wake of Halep’s ban, some have publicly expressed their views on the matter. One of the most notable to do so was Serena Williams who wrote on social media ‘8 is a better number” in a jibe at her former opponent. The reference was to the 2019 Wimbledon final when seven-time champion Williams lost in straight sets to Halep. 

“I think everyone has the right to judge me because the tribunal decided that I have the fault here,” Halep commented. “Someone told me today that those players who are hating on me because I beat them.”

Halep is set to appeal against her ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). 

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