Madison Keys Cruises Past Kaia Kanepi To Reach A First US Open Semifinal
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 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.
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.”
SuperTennis Granted Rights To US Open Until 2027
SuperTennis will be the home for the US Open in Italy until 2027.
SuperTennis have been given exclusive rights to show the US Open in Italy until 2027 after a new agreement was reached.
The USTA and SportCast reached the agreement as announced in a press release.
SportCast are the Italian Tennis and Padel Federation Group company that manages the SuperTennis TV channel in Italy.
In the press released the USTA confirmed they reached a five year agreement with SportCast for SuperTennis to show the US Open until 2027.
The deal means that SuperTennis will show the best daily matches live and delayed alongside coverage on the SuperTenniX digital platform, which gives FITP members and subscribers access to stream all matches across the two week tournament.
It also means that the US Open joins Wimbledon, Davis Cup and a number of ATP and WTA events to be shown on SuperTennis.
Chief Commercial Officer at the USTA, Kristen Corio, had this to say on today’s announcement, “SuperTennis has proven to be a trusted home for the sport in Italy,” Corio said in the press release.
“With a number of Italian players at the forefront of this rising generation of talent, it’s an exciting time to begin this new partnership and we look forward to working together with SuperTennis to continue growing the audience for the US Open.”
Meanwhile the president of Italian Tennis and Padel Federation, Angelo Binaghi, was delighted with the latest news and talked about the impact it has on Italian tennis, “The Italian Tennis and Padel Federation continues its development policy through the promotion of great tennis in our country, and with the founding of the SuperTennis channel 15 years ago, it brought back the sport of tennis to our dedicated audience,” Binaghi said.
“Alongside providing extensive coverage of Wimbledon, we are now proud to make another tennis Grand Slam available to all Italian tennis fans. The US Open is a tournament that has recently provided some incredible stories, including the historic 2015 US Open final won by Flavia Pennetta over Roberta Vinci.
“The level of access that SuperTennis can provide to its viewers will only contribute to the further promotion of tennis and the increased support of our national tennis players.”
This year’s US Open will take place from the 28th of August until the 10th of September with Iga Swiatek and Carlos Alcaraz looking to defend their titles.
Undeterred Novak Djokovic Hopeful Of US Open Return In 2023
Novak Djokovic says he ‘really wants’ to play at this year’s US Open when it is likely he will be allowed to enter the country.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion is currently unable to enter American territory due to being unvaccinated against COVID-19. All foreign arrivals are required to be vaccinated before travelling to the country under an emergency law implemented to curb the spread of the virus. Although this law is expected to come to an end in May.
Djokovic had attempted to apply for a special exception which would have allowed him to play Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami but was refused by authorities. Even though he had the backing of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) who pledged their support on social media. Furthermore, American players who are unvaccinated are allowed to play in these events.
Speaking to CNN about his recent absence, a defiant Djokovic has insisted that he has no regrets about not being able to play. The Serbian has said in the past that he didn’t want to have the vaccine as he has concerns about the impact it might have on his body.
“I have no regrets,” Djokovic states. “I’ve learned through life that regrets only hold you back and basically make you live in the past. And I don’t want to do that. I also don’t want to live too much in the future. I want to be as much as in the present moment, but of course think about future, create a better future.”
On Monday Djokovic lost his No.1 ranking to Carlos Alcaraz who won the Indian Wells title. He has held the top spot for a total of 380 weeks so far in his career which is more than any other player – male or female – in the history of the sport.
“I congratulate Alcaraz. He absolutely deserves to come back to No.1,” Djokovic commented.
“It’s a pity that I wasn’t able to play in Indian Wells [and] Miami. I love those tournaments. I had plenty of success there. But at the same time, it is the conscious decision I made and I knew that there is always a possibility that I won’t go.”
Djokovic’s last match on American soil was back in September 2021 when he lost in the final of the US Open to Daniil Medvedev. He is a three-time champion at the Grand Slam and has also contested the final on six other occasions between 2007-2021.
The 35-year-old remains optimistic that he will return to New York later this year as long as the government emergency legislation is lifted.
“I really want to be playing there, want to be there,” Djokovic said. “I actually had in 2021 when I lost in the finals against (Daniil) Medvedev, probably one of the best moments I ever had with the New York crowd. And I’ve been fortunate to win that tournament three times, play many finals. And even though I lost that match, I received a lot of love and appreciation from people and I want to go back and I want to reconnect with the crowd there. So that’s something I’m looking forward to and hopefully it will happen.”
So far this year Djokovic has won two Tour titles in Adelaide and at the Australian Open. Out of 16 matches played, his only loss was to Medvedev at the Dubai Tennis Championships.
Wimbledon Likely To Scrap Ban On Russian Players, Says Two-Time Champion Murray
Andy Murray has told BBC Sport that he understands the ban implemented on Russian and Belarussian players competing at Wimbledon will be lifted this year.
The All England Club, as well as by British LTA, has been under pressure to conduct a u-turn on their policy following the backlash they received last year from both the ATP and WTA. In 2022 Britain became the only country on the Tour to ban players from their events as a result of the war in Ukraine which has claimed thousands of lives. Organisers said their decision to do so was based on advice from their government who voiced concern that Russia could use UK-based events as propaganda.
However, the governing bodies of men’s and women’s tennis condemned the move with both of them issuing fines to the LTA. It has been reported by The Telegraph newspaper that the WTA is willing to halve their $1M fine if athletes from the two nations are allowed to play this year. It has also been reported that officials are contemplating the possibility of requiring these players to sign some sort of contract to say they will not be making political gestures before being allowed to play. However, this has not been publicly confirmed.
Whilst there is yet to be any official statement, Murray appears confident that the ban will be lifted based on what he has heard. Murray, who donated more than £500,000 of his prize money from last season to charities supporting Ukrainian children affected by the war, has previously voiced his opposition to the 2022 ban.
“It’s a really difficult one and I do feel for the players who weren’t able to play last year – but I also understand the situation and why it’s really hard for Wimbledon to make a call on it as well,” Murray told BBC Sport.
“My understanding is that they are going to be allowed to play and I’m not going to be going nuts if that is the case.
“But if Wimbledon went down another route I would be understanding of that.”
Besides their financial penalty, Wimbledon lost their right to award ranking points last year for the first time in history. There have also been concerns that should the ban not be reversed, the rights for some events held in the UK such as Eastbourne could be removed and sold elsewhere.
Under current rules, players from Russia and Belarus are allowed to play on the Tour but only under a neutral status. They are currently suspended from all team competitions such as the Davis Cup.
Murray spoke about Wimbledon to reporters in Indian Wells ahead of his first round clash with Tomas Etcheverry of Argentina. So far this season he has won six out of nine matches played with his best run being to the final of the Qatar Open last month.
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