Finally… Nadal And Federer Are Finding Their Form, Del Potro Captivates The Crowd - UBITENNIS
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Finally… Nadal And Federer Are Finding Their Form, Del Potro Captivates The Crowd




Del Potro and Thiem enchant the New York crowd with two incredible final sets. Rublev is quietly advancing to the final stages. Four American girls reach the quarters, but in my opinion Kvitova will prevail at the end.


Roger Federer (

NEW YORK, FLUSHING MEADOWS – Finally, Karolina Pliskova won a match playing like the No. 1 player in the world: 6-1, 6-0 over Brady in 46 minutes. The Czech showed tremendous progress compared to her previous round, when she was one point from elimination against Zhang Shuai. Pliskova must reach the final to protect her number one ranking: She will face Vandeweghe in the quarterfinals on Wednesday and eventually the winner of Keys-Kanepi in a potential semifinal. Keys advanced to the quarters upsetting Svitolina and at the same time eliminating the Ukrainian from the race to become world No. 1 at the end of the tournament. The two remaining contenders for the No. 1 spot are now Pliskova and Muguruza.

Finally, CoCo Vandeweghe’s Grand Slam results are living up to the American’s enormous potential this year. Her US Open record was miserable, with four eliminations in the first round and three in the second. On Labor Day Monday, CoCo prevailed 6-4,7-6 over Safarova, after sending Radwanska back to Poland in the previous round.

Finally, 32-old-year Kaia Kanepi re-emerged from the ashes and is now playing some good tennis again. After suffering from mononucleosis and dealing with plantar fasciitis in both feet, last year the powerful Estonian almost threw in the towel. This will be Kanepi’s sixth appearance in a Grand Slam quarterfinal, after starting the tournament ranked No. 418 and advancing to the main draw through the qualies. She is only the second qualifier in history to reach the quarterfinals. Kanepi and Keys played against each other so long ago that it is not even worth considering their head-to-head stats. This will be Keys’ third consecutive US Open quarterfinal.

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Finally, Serena’s absence is providing the women’s tournament with renewed interest and curiosity. It is a wide “Open” tournament for real. In my opinion, Petra Kvitova, who doesn’t always perform up to her full potential, is probably the best of the current crop.

Finally, Rafa Nadal, who dominated Dolgopolov in the round of 16, is beginning to play his best tennis again. This was probably Nadal’s best performance since he won his tenth title at Roland Garros in June.

Finally, Roger Federer, who had already showed some substantial progress against Lopez, rediscovered his form in the round of 16 match against Kohlschreiber, despite a medical time-out that scared many Roger fans at the end of the second set when the Swiss was leading 6-4, 6-2. As soon as Roger sprinted back to the court and started jumping around, it was a sigh of relief for his countless supporters around the world. Roger will now face Del Potro in a blockbuster quarterfinal match: Federer lost the 2009 US Open final to the Argentine in a match that the Swiss maestro should have won in four sets. “I don’t remember much about that match, but I do remember that he played better than me in the fifth set. It is one of those matches that I would like to play again,” Roger said.

Finally, Del Potro managed to find the right medicine to defeat both Dominik Thiem and the flu, after saving two match points in the fourth set when Juan Martin was down 5-6, 15-40. During the match, it almost felt like the two contenders were playing in Buenos Aires instead of New York City, while the massive Argentinian contingency kept chanting “Olè, olè, olè delPo, delPo, delPo!” at the top of their lungs. Del Potro was suffering from a flu that prevented him from playing at his best in the first two sets of the match, but kept battling hard and hitting forehand bullets that slowly started to find their marks. A disoriented Thiem made the crucial mistake to let his debilitated opponent in the match at the beginning of the third set, which the Austrian ended up losing 6-1. In the fourth and fifth set the two players traded massive groundstrokes with breathtaking rallies until the Argentine closed out the best match of the men’s tournament with the score of 1-6, 2-6, 6-1, 7-6, 6-4.

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Finally, American tennis is not only the Williams Sisters. Four of the eight women’s quarterfinalists are from the United States, which is a remarkable achievement considering Serena’s absence. CoCo Vandeweghe and Madison Keys are in the top half of the draw, while Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens are in the bottom section. Venus will have a tough task against an in-form Petra Kvitova, while on paper Stephens will probably have more chances against Sevastosa of Latvia, who upset Maria Sharapova a couple of days ago.

Finally, the young rising star Rublev – who is currently ranked No. 53 – seems ready to compete at the highest level unlike the much-vaunted Zverev and Shapovalov. Yesterday Rublev convincingly defeated David Goffin, even though the Belgian is a much more experienced player. The top half of the men’s draw is ensuring that we will at least have a very interesting and appealing finalist: whether it’s Nadal, Federer, Del Potro or Rublev, the victory of any of those four players could write a new exciting chapter in tennis history.

Finally, the bottom half of the men’s draw is proving to be the biggest disappointment of the tournament. On Tuesday afternoon, Carreno Busta was the first man to book a spot in the semifinals after a comprehensive 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 win against Schwartzman. The other quarterfinal will feature Kevin Anderson against Sam Querrey: The winner of that match will probably emerge as the finalist from the bottom section of the draw.

Finally, an American male player could reach the US Open final for the first time since 2006, when Andy Roddick lost to Roger Federer.

(Article translation provided by T&L Global – Translation & Language Solutions –

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Laver Back In the Conversation For Greatest Player?

Daniil Medvedev thwarted Djokovic’s Calendar Year Grand Slam ambitions and is ready to take over as the best in the game.




Who’s the greatest player ever?


How about Rod Laver, the owner of two Calendar Grand Slams?

Or what about Rafa Nadal, the owner of 21 major singles titles (including Olympic Gold)?

Or what about 20-20-20-Laver?


Since Novak Djokovic failed in his bid to win a Calendar Grand Slam on Sunday, I nominate the last of the three possibilities. 20-20-20-Laver sounds like a winner.

For Djokovic just to enter the conversation was a major achievement, and that was spurred by the Serbian’s bid for a Calendar Grand Slam.

Daniil Medvedev ended that conversation on Sunday, at least for now, with his straight-set 4-4-4 dismantling of Djokovic in the U.S. Open final.


As 2021 turned out, it was a really disappointing year for Djokovic, even though he won the year’s first three Grand Slam events. Most players would be out celebrating if they won three Grand Slams in one year.

The loss to Alexander Zverev in the Tokyo Olympics ended Novak’s Golden Grand Slam. And then Medvedev took care of the Calendar Grand Slam talk and the possibility of Djokovic breaking a 20-20-20 deadlock with Nadal and Roger Federer.

So, what’s next? I doubt that Novak is planning to skip the Australian Open in January. Even that one won’t be easy for Djokovic as a result of what has happened in late summer.


Djokovic has practically owned the Australian Open with nine titles in Melbourne, and eight of the last 11. But Medvedev and Zverev will be major obstacles for Djokovic in Melbourne, along with Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The Australian Open isn’t likely to be a picnic for Novak, even if Federer and Nadal skip the trip. If so, Federer and Nadal will be leaving the Australian Open in capable hands.

Things should start heating up by the quarterfinals Down Under.

By the way, Djokovic is 34 years old. That’s about the age Nadal started having trouble winning Grand Slams.


Medvedev beat Djokovic at just about everything he tried on Sunday. Djokovic was never in the game on serving competition or powerful forehands.

Those areas belonged to the 25-year-old Russian.

And movement? On this day, Medvedev had a picnic. The 6-6 first-time Grand Slam winner was everywhere with his amazing quickness. Djokovic couldn’t put a dent in his baseline defense.

Medvedev even out-did Djokovic in the Serbian’s usually solid drop shot department, pinning  even more disappointment on Novak.

Novak even caused a ball girl to change directions during the match as he swung his racket near the surface in  frustration after losing a point. Later, he punished his racket by smashing it into the court and destroying it.


The key to the relatively easy win for Medvedev was his serve. He was a perfect 15-for-15 on first-serve points in the opening set.

Medvedev obviously had little trouble with his serve until he was ready to end the match. With Medvedev owning a match point at 5-2 in the third set, the crowd tried to help Djokovic. Only then when the crowd got into the act of trying to break Medvedev’s attention did he double-fault twice in a row before netting a forehand to give Djokovic the game.

But in the final game of the match, Medvedev was ready for the crowd attack, although he double-faulted another match point away before ending the match with a big serve out wide for a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory. Djokovic managed only to hit the bottom of the net with his backhand return.

And suddenly, the tall Russian looks like the best player in the game.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award as the tennis columnist for the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier newspapers. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at

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Raducanu Proved She’s The Better Player

The British sensation shocked the tennis world – can she keep it up in the coming years?




They played in the largest tennis stadium in the world.


They were teenagers. They achieved a dream early in their careers.

It just as easily could have been a junior championship a year earlier in their careers.

Only a few people would have been watching then. Such an event might not even have drawn newspaper coverage.


This meeting was much bigger and more important. The two participants would be $2.7 million richer between them before the day ended. They would become famous the world over, at least for now.

But this was Saturday, 9/11/21.

Real life now sets in. There probably are at least 100 other players in the world who are just as outstanding as Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez. Yet, most of them will never be involved in a Grand Slam singles final.


What Raducanu and Fernandez accomplished will never be forgotten, always listed in tennis annals.

England will always be proud of its new Grand Slam champion. At long last, Virginia Wade has company.

And Canada will never forget its feisty Grand Slam runner-up.

They stood the test while other more touted and talented players buckled at the knees. High-ranked players crumbled at the thought of losing to a mere teenager.

Next time, that advantage probably won’t exist.


Raducanu and Fernandez played the final like the teenagers they are.

Raducanu came close to making it a one-sided result when she held match point twice with a 5-2 lead in the second set. But Fernandez did not give up on her left-handed game that Raducanu had conquered before in the junior ranks.

After losing both points and the game to make the match closer, Raducanu fought off a pair of break points in the next game before making good on her third match point for a 6-4, 6-3 victory.

The British 18-year-old generally outplayed the 19-year-old Fernandez most of the 111-minute final. Raducanu had more firepower on her serve and ground strokes.


Raducanu played like a tour veteran, even if it was only her fourth tour-level event. It was her 10th straight win without dropping a set, counting her three wins in qualifying just to get into the main draw. No women’s qualifier before even had advanced to a Grand Slam final.

She has the game to win consistently on the tour, but probably not strong enough to challenge the Top 10 players and Grand Slam titlists right away. She’s now no longer under the radar. Everyone wants to beat a Grand Slam champion.

This may have been just a one-shot opening that Raducanu took full advantage of to win a Grand Slam title.  Just in case the road ahead gets bumpy, she might want to be thrifty with the $1.8 million payday.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award as the tennis columnist for the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier newspapers. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at

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Novak Djokovic Was Pushed To An Amazing Performance

Zverev fell just short of beating the world N.1, and now Medvedev is the last obstacle still standing on his path to a Calendar Year Grand Slam




Novak Djokovic was simply amazing Friday night.


True, he made a few mistakes against Alexander Zverev, but not when they counted most.

Zverev also was superb, but his mistakes came when they counted really big.

For those reasons, Djokovic is getting ready to play for the unthinkable. No one had thought much about a Calendar Grand Slam until back in June when Djokovic shocked the tennis world with a victory over Rafa Nadal at the French Open.

By the time Wimbledon came around without Roger Federer and Nadal in the field, the odds were high that Djokovic actually could achieve a Calendar Grand Slam. And then he won Wimbledon and in the process turned the race for most Grand Slam titles into a 20-20-20 battle.


When Federer and Nadal pulled out of the U.S. Open, all of Djokovic’s goals except a Golden Grand Slam when he lost to Zverev at the Olympics were in play.

Nearly two weeks later, Djokovic is one victory away from breaking out of the 20-20-20 deadlock as well as completing a rare Calendar Grand Slam.

Zverev pressed Djokovic into playing his very best to escape with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory in the U.S. Open semifinals. Only a cold start to the fifth set chilled Zverev’s hopes of spoiling Novak’s dreams.

Even after losing the first five games of the fifth set, Zverev still came close to making things interesting by winning the next two games and going to 30-30 in the eighth game.


Zverev’s improving game, and his big strokes and serves probably were enough to make Novak hope he won’t have to face Zverev’s hard balls again in January at the Australian Open.

That leaves only Daniil Medvedev between Djokovic and immortality.

Medvedev will have to be at his best to beat Novak. The slender 6-6 Russian can’t afford even a brief meltdown if he is to take Djokovic to the wire.

Medvedev appeared to be in awe of Djokovic when the two met in  this year’s Australian Open final.  Djokovic won that one easily in straight sets.


Medvedev’s game is a piece of work. He is completely unpredictable.

His whip forehand is one of the best shots in tennis. He backs it up with incredible movement.

It all depends on whether Medvedev can stick with Novak until the end. If Medvedev is still there, Novak likely will feel the heavy legs from his 214-minute bout with Zverev.

Not even Djokovic can out-move Medvedev. And the Russian’s uniquely quick serve has plenty of pop. He is due to win a Grand Slam.

But Medvedev will have to pull off a miracle against one of the smartest and slyest players tennis has ever seen if he is to win this U.S. Open.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award as the tennis columnist for the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier newspapers. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at

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