Madison Keys Cruises Past Kaia Kanepi To Reach A First US Open Semifinal - UBITENNIS
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Madison Keys Cruises Past Kaia Kanepi To Reach A First US Open Semifinal

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15th seed Madison Keys had seen her Fed Cup teammates Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens and her semifinal opponent, the 20th seed Coco Vandeweghe all book their places in the semifinals of the US Open, against players from Europe. The 22-year-old American had pressure to join them, and she got the job done as she defeated Kaia Kanepi, who was ranked at 418 in the world, 6-3, 6-3 in just one hour and nine minutes to reach her first US Open semifinal and second Grand Slam semifinal in her career.

 

Keys’ victory over Kanepi means that for the first time since the US Open in 1981, there will be four American women in the semifinals at Flushing Meadows, vying for a place in Saturday’s final, which included Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Tracy Austin and Barbara Potter. With Kanepi’s defeat for the first time since the French Open in 2013, there will not be a first-time Grand Slam semifinalist, a run that spanned for 17 successive Slams at Wimbledon in 2013 to this year’s Wimbledon.

The USA Fed Cup captain Kathy Rinaldi was part of the foursome, that was the last time which featured four American women in a Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon in 1985.

Keys has endured two wrist surgeries in the span of ten months but she has rebounded at this year’s US Open with some vintage form, that seen her rise to seven in the world last year. The 15th seed got off to an authoritative start with a hold to love, and Kanepi who’s ten years older than Keys responded with a hold to love of her own.

The Estonian qualifier is no stranger to the latter stages of Grand Slams as this was her sixth appearance in a Grand Slam quarterfinal. She lost in the previous five, twice at the French Open, twice at Wimbledon and twice in New York, including an appearance in 2010. Furthermore, Kanepi had the chance to break through as she created three break points but she was unable to capitalize on one of them, with the American holding onto her serve to lead 2-1.

The six-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist was unable to trouble Keys consistently (Photo by Clive Brunskill / Getty)

The former world number 15 would later rue her mistakes as Keys broke Kanepi’s serve and she consolidated the break with some consistent serving, stretching out to a comfortable 4-1 lead.

Both players were hitting hard from the baseline, and Kanepi was struggling to get another look in the first set on Keys’ serve. Therefore, the 22-year-old American, who’s under the tutelage of 1998 champion Lindsay Davenport, who’s in her second stint in charge of Keys. In just 30 minutes, in front of a raucous home crowd on the Arthur Ashe Stadium, Keys was halfway to her first US Open semifinal with a 6-3 lead.

Keys wins in straight sets to complete an All-American semifinal lineup

It was the nightmare start for the former top 15 player as she was immediately broken by Keys on the third break point chance in the second set, and the 15th seed continued to serve well, sending down aces, and serving big out wide, consolidating the break to lead 2-0.

Both players held onto their serves with little trouble, however, the American was looking to hammer the final nail in Kanepi’s coffin as she was going for a double break but the 32-year-old remained strong, producing a bludgeoning forehand in the corner to save the second break point, and received a helping hand with two back-to-back backhand errors netted from Keys, keeping the break to one but trailed 2-3.

The finishing line was in sight for the 2015 Australian Open semifinalist, and she was feeling a little bit of pressure on her serve as Kanepi continued to hit the ball into the corners, nonetheless, Keys remained strong on her serve, and she let out a big “come on” as she stretched out to a 4-2 lead.

Keys’ serve was on fire and her semifinal clash with Vandeweghe will feature hard-hitting from both players (Photo by Clive Brunskill / Getty)

The American’s serve was doing the damage in her next service game as she placed a couple of aces out wide, and clinched the game with a swinging forehand winner down the line, and she was one game away from a place in the semifinals, with a comfortable 5-3 lead.

The unranked Estonian was the first qualifier to reach the quarterfinals at the US Open in 36 years since the USA’s Barbara Gerken and an error-strewn game from Kanepi spelled lights out as Keys, shrieked with joy as Kanepi’s forehand went long, clinching a well-deserved, 6-3, 6-3 victory in just one hour and nine minutes, booking her place in the semifinals against Coco Vandeweghe, with both Americans bidding to reach their first Grand Slam final.

Keys was pleased to have reached her first US Open semifinal. “This means the world to me, if someone told me, this is where I would be right before Wimbledon, I wouldn’t have believed you, and yes I’m just so happy to be here, we’re going to have four American women playing here tomorrow, that’s going to be amazing.”

Keys further added on her night match on Ashe, playing in the last eight. “It was definitely further down the road, after Paris I flew home, had surgery and just wanted to have a good year, I think this is a pretty good year for me.”

Keys on four American women in the semifinals. “I was really nervous, the car ride was over, I was definitely feeling it, once I got out, I was alright.

The 15th seed spoke about her upcoming clash with Vandeweghe. “The fact we never played each other, three weeks in the span of five, it’s going to be tough, she’s playing well, there’s  going to be some big serves, I don’t think there’s going too many long points sorry guys, I’m excited to play.

Keys is proud to be a member of all four American women in the semifinals. “I think it’s pretty cool, don’t you guys agree with me on that, we all were rooting for each other today, I thought it would be a special moment, I’m happy I helped everyone out and got my name in there.

Finally, the American had played her previous night matches against Elena Vesnina and Elina Svitolina on Ashe late at night, and she was happy to have finished earlier than usual. “I mean I have hours now, usually I’m getting dinner at 2 am, so I think I’ll eat at a normal time tonight.”

Grand Slam

US Open 2022: Djokovic, Medvedev Early Favorites but Will the Serb Be Allowed to Compete?

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Wimbledon was a great success for the World’s No.1 ranked Novak Djokovic, as the Serbian star claimed another Grand Slam title. However, with the grass season officially behind us, tennis enthusiasts are looking towards the US Open. 

 

The Hard Court season is around the corner, and the usual suspects are topping the bookmaker’s odds to win the final Grand Slam of the season – the US Open – which will take place at Flushing Meadows, New York City. 

US Open 2022 betting odds & favorites to win it all 

To the surprise of nobody, Djokovic is topping the current US Open tennis odds at Caesars sportsbook New York as he looks to finish the Grand Slam season with another success added to his resume. 

Daniil Medvedev is the second favorite to win the competition, and Carlos Alcaraz is the third betting favorite. Interestingly, Rafael Nadal – all-time record holder with 22 Grand Slam titles – is currently priced at +660, making him an outsider to the aforementioned players. 

Tennis fans eagerly anticipated a meeting between Djokovic and Nadal in the Wimbledon finals, but the Spaniard was forced out of the competition due to an injury. A US Open final meeting between the two most successful ranked tennis stars is undoubtedly a match we’re all craving, but can Nadal prove the sportsbooks wrong and battle his way into another final? 

With less than a month until the first round begins, here are the latest available odds to win the US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, taking place between Aug 29 – Sep 11, 2022.      

Players Odds to win the US Open outright 
Novak Djokovic +150 
Danill Medvedev +225
Carlos Alcaraz Garfia+350
Rafael Nadal +550
Stefanos Tsitsipas +1,200 
Alexander Zverev +1,400 
Matteo Berrettini+1,600
Jannik Sinner +1,800 
Felix Auger-Aliassime +2,000
Andrey Rublev +2,500
Taylor Fritz +2,500 
Dominic Thiem +2,800
Denis Shapovalov +3,500 
Miomir Kecmanovic +3,500
Nick Kyrgios +3,500
Hubert Hurkacz +4,000 
Jenson Brooksby +4,000 
Cameron Norrie +4,000 
Casper Ruud +4,000 
Roger Federer +5,000 

Despite owning the favorable betting position to win the US Open outright, Djokovic remains unvaccinated. The current regulations state that non-US citizens must be vaccinated to compete in the US, so he’s ineligible to play. 

Djokovic hasn’t given up hope

The unvaccinated tennis stand-out was removed from the Australian Open in January, as the government declared he’d disobeyed strict Covid-19 regulations. 

The 35-year-old is now facing a similar fate at Flushing Meadows but has insisted on continuing his US Open training camp. 

As it currently stands, Djokovic won’t play at the US Open. Still, the Serbian star remains hopeful and recently took to social media with a video clip of himself preparing for the tournament. 

I am preparing as if I will be allowed to compete while I await to hear if there is any room for me to travel to the US,’ Djokovic wrote on Twitter. 
‘Fingers crossed!’ 

After posting a video of himself preparing, fans showed their support in abundance with the hashtag #LetNovakPlay. 

Further support for the Serbian star has continued with a petition on Change.Org. As of Saturday morning, close to 45,000 people had signed the petition requesting the US Tennis Association and the federal government to agree for Djokovic to gain entry into the US. 

‘I just wanted to take a moment and say to all of you how grateful I am to see so many messages of support and love from all around the world these days,’ Djokovic wrote to his fans. 
‘It feels special that people connect with my tennis career in such a loving and supportive way and wish for me to continue to compete.’ 

Several US politicians have expressed their opinions on the matter and have insisted that US President Joe Biden ease the rules so that Djokovic can participate at the upcoming Open. 

American politicians aren’t the only ones speaking up against Biden’s rules. The Serbia-American Voting Alliance (SAVA) has also written a letter asking the President to reconsider the regulations preventing Djokovic from competing in the United States. It read, “The US Open is the biggest tennis tournament in the world, and it won’t be what it is without Novak Djokovic. 
“Considering the economic situation and the crisis at all levels, America must not allow the US Open not to take place in its full glory and capacity, which means the arrival of Novak Djokovic, who has been crowned three times at the US Open, Novak does not pose any security threat, is one of the healthiest people in the world due to his disciplined life and serves as a role model and inspiration to millions around the world. 
“It is in America’s interest that the biggest tournament in the world hosts the best player in the world, especially since he just won the seventh Wimbledon in London.”  

Should the restriction be removed, Djokovic has the opportunity to level Rafael Nadal for the most Grand Slam titles of all time (22). 

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Grand Slam

McEnroe Labels Novak Djokovic’s Possible US Open Ban As ‘Crazy’

The American tennis great says he ‘respects’ Djokovic’s decision not to get vaccinated against covid-19.

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Novak Djokovic at the 2021 Rolex Paris Masters (Credit: Roberto Dell'Olivo)

John McEnroe says he is hoping that a solution can be found for Novak Djokovic to play at the US Open later this year.

 

As it currently stands 21-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic will not be allowed to play in New York due to government rules related to the entry of unvaccinated individuals. To travel to America, visitors are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they qualify for a special exemption. Djokovic has not been jabbed and stated after his Wimbledon triumph that he is not planning to do so. 

On Wednesday the United States Tennis Association (USTA) issued their entry lists for the US Open which also included Djokovic in the men’s draw. However, they also posted a statement confirming that they will ‘respect’ the American government’s rules concerning unvaccinated players. 

“The US Open does not have a vaccination mandate in place for players, but it will respect the U.S. government’s position regarding travel into the country for unvaccinated non-U.S. citizens,” the USTA said. 

Weighing in on the debate, former world No.1 McEnroe described the prospect of Djokovic missing the US Open as ‘crazy’ during an interview with Tennis 365. The Serbian has won four out of the last seven Grand Slam tournaments. He missed this year’s Australian Open following a high-profile legal dispute over the legitimacy of his visa which resulted in his deportation.

“We have to find a way to get Novak into the US Open,” said McEnroe. “How can he not be there? He has just won Wimbledon, he is a great champion and he should be in the US Open.
“I don’t agree with his decision not to get vaccinated, but I respect it. He is one of the fittest guys in the world and everything he puts into his body, he is watching carefully.
“Now we are saying that because of his choice, he can’t play at the US Open. I mean, come on. He has already been deported from Australia for the same reason and here we are again.
“I hope someone finds a way to sort this out. It’s crazy that Novak misses the US Open at this stage.”

Djokovic has won the US Open three times in his career with his most recent triumph occurring in 2018. He also won the title in 2011 and 2015. The 35-year-old was also runner-up at the tournament on six other occasions.

Should he be unsuccessful in trying to enter America, it is unclear when Djokovic will play his next tournament. He has previously hinted that he could feature in the Laver Cup that will take place in September. 

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US Open: Unvaccinated Novak Djokovic On Entry List But Former Champion Thiem Is Missing

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Novak Djokovic (SRB) - Credit: AELTC/Simon Bruty

Novak Djokovic has automatically entered himself to play at this year’s US Open even though there is a strong chance that he will not be allowed to participate. 

 

The 21-time Grand Slam champion has been included in the provisional entry list which was published on Wednesday. However, organizers confirmed that they will ‘respect’ the US Government’s rules on the admission of vaccinated individuals into the country. As it currently stands those who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 are not allowed to enter the country unless they qualify for a special exemption. 

“The US Open does not have a vaccination mandate in place for players, but it will respect the U.S. government’s position regarding travel into the country for unvaccinated non-U.S. citizens,” the USTA said in a statement. 

Djokovic is one of those who are not vaccinated against the virus. Following his win over Nick Kyrgios in the Wimbledon final, the former world No.1 stated that he still has no intention of being jabbed. Even though it could result in his missing a series of key Masters 1000 events across the summer, as well as the US Open. Djokovic has previously said he is cautious about injecting substances into his body due to concerns about how he may react. The COVID-19 vaccination has been deemed safe by the World Health Organization. 

“I’m not vaccinated and I’m not planning to get vaccinated so the only good news I can have is them removing the mandated green vaccine card or whatever you call it to enter the United States or exemption,” Djokovic told reporters at Wimbledon. “I don’t know. I don’t think the exemption is realistically possible. If that is a possibility, I don’t know what exemption would be about.”

As Djokovic hopes for a change in the law for him to play, 2020 champion Dominic Thiem will be relying on receiving a wild card for him to participate. The Austrian has decided not to join the entry list with the use of his protected ranking. Thiem was unable to defend his title last year due to a right wrist injury which ended up sidelining him from the Tour for months. 

Elsewhere, a trio of former top 20 players are using their protected ranking to join the field. Stan Wawrinka, Borna Coric and Kyle Edmund are all using their passes. Wawrinka and Coric have both started their comeback from injury but Edmund hasn’t played a singles tournament since October 2020. Aljaz Bedene, who is set to retire from the Sport at the end of this season, is also using his protected ranking. 

Williams joins the women’s field

In the women’s tournament, Serena Williams has used her protected ranking of 16th to join the field. The American recently played her first tournament for 12 months at Wimbledon where she lost in the first round to France’s Harmony Tan. Williams, who is one major title away from equalling Margaret Court’s record of 24, has also entered herself into other tournaments leading up to the US Open. 

Reigning champion Emma Raducanu is 10th on the list and will be hoping to repeat her heroics from last year where as a qualifier she won 10 matches in a row without dropping a set en route to the title. Since then, the Brit hasn’t featured in another Tour final and has been hampered by various physical issues. 

Raducanu and Williams are two out of six former US Open champions on the entry list. The others are Naomi Osaka, Angelique Kerber, Sloane Stephens and Bianca Andreescu. 

Venus Williams, who last won the tournament back in 2001, isn’t on the list. However, she could enter via wild card if she is given one. 

The 2022 US Open main draw will begin on August 29th. The full list of men’s entries can be seen HERE and the women’s HERE

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