Mischa Zverev Stuns John Isner To Reach The Fourth Round In New York - UBITENNIS
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Mischa Zverev Stuns John Isner To Reach The Fourth Round In New York

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23rd seed Mischa Zverev played inside the Arthur Ashe Stadium for the first time in his career, and he sent the USA’s number one John Isner, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(5) in two hours and six minutes to reach the fourth round at the US Open for the first time in his career. The elder Zverev brother will face another American in  17th seed Sam Querrey for a place in his second Grand Slam quarterfinal of the year on Sunday.

 

The German had come through two back-to-back five set matches to reach the third round at the US Open, and it remained to be seen if the serve and volleyer had enough gas left in the tank. Isner opened proceedings in this intriguing third round clash between the two seeded players, who rely on their serves in their matches.

The 10th seed held serve and Zverev responded with a hold to love of his own.  Both players had no problems on their serve as it was a serve dominated encounter. However, the turning point in the opening set of the match was a poor ninth game from Isner. The 2011 US Open quarterfinalist committed an untimely double fault, which handed Zverev two break point chances.

This year’s Australian Open quarterfinalist, who beat Isner in a five-set thriller in the second round of the Australian Open, recovering from a two sets to love down position, he made no mistake and broke Isner’s serve at the first time of asking. The bottom half of the draw is wide open, and the 30-year-old, Russian-born German continued to serve well as he produced two aces. He created his first set point chance with a serve and volley winner. Zverev clinched the opening set in just 30 minutes, 6-4.

The grimace on Isner’s face showed the agony of how he was playing and the injury (Photo by Elsa / Getty)

Isner’s chances of reaching the second week at the US Open for the fourth time were fading as he trailed 0-30 on his serve in the second set but he fired down an ace and remained strong on his serve to take a crucial 1-0 lead at the start of the second set. Zverev’s serve and volleying tactics were spot on as he served to love once again.

The 10th seed committed another double fault, and Zverev had a chance to break the Isner serve once again, however, his serve came to the rescue with a big serve out wide, coupled with back-to-back aces to lead 3-2. Nevertheless, the 23rd seed did not need to wait long for another opportunity to break Isner’s serve as the American committed back-to-back double faults, which handed Zverev a 4-3 lead.

It was a tough day at the office for Isner (Photo by Elsa / Getty)

The USA’s number one male tennis player received an intense medical time out on his neck. However, Isner had the chance to break back immediately as he produced a scintillating passing backhand winner down the line. In typical Zverev fashion, he served well and got himself out of trouble to lead 5-3.

It was a nightmare for the tenth-seeded American as his serve was under pressure once again, as the 23rd seed broke Isner’s serve for the second time in the second set with a backhand return winner down the line, taking a 6-4, 6-3 lead in just one hour and 10 minutes.

Zverev books his place in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows

It was crucial for Isner to hold onto his serve at the end of the first set, which he was unable to do, which allowed Zverev to serve first in the third set. The German held serve easily, and he was making inroads on Isner’s serve by racing out to a 0-30 lead. The big-serving American managed to hold onto his serve with some big serving that bailed him out of trouble once more to level proceedings at 1-1.

The third set was flowing on serve with both players keeping the points short and engaging in short rallies at the back of the court. Furthermore, the set was evenly poised at 3-3 but it was Isner who was looking for the first break of serve in this set as he was finally looking to get a stranglehold on this matchup.

He produced a passing forehand winner down the line at 15-40 but under pressure, Zverev saved both break points and he held onto his serve with a serve and volley winner to lead 4-3.

The German’s serve and volleying skills were on point in this third round clash (Photo by Elsa / Getty)

Inevitably with both players continuing to remain untroubled on their serve, the third set would be decided in a tiebreaker. Zverev clinched the first point to take a 1-0 lead but Isner responded with two back-to-back serve and volley winners to take a 2-1 lead. However, the first mini break came when Zverev produced a stunning backhand passing winner down the line to lead 4-2.

A wild forehand sailed long from the American’s racquet, and his US Open misery was almost over as he had to fend off three match points at 6-3 down. Fortunately, for Isner, he was able to save both of them on his serve but he was unable to save a third as Zverev shocked the Arthur Ashe Stadium with a stunning half volley winner to clinch an impressive, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(5) and book his place in the fourth round for the second time in his career at a Grand Slam.

After the match, Zverev spoke to Pam Shriver about his victory over Isner. “Thanks to Jez for that, he made me work so hard a couple of weeks ago, he said don’t worry about how you do before the US Open, you’ll be ready for the US Open. I said I feel so tired, I don’t know how I will recover by then.”

He was then asked if he expected to be the last Zverev brother standing in the men’s singles draw. “Not really, that’s a surprise to me, because my brother is number six in the world. He beat Federer in Montreal in the final, I was expecting him to be in the round of 16 or quarters.” 

Shriver also mentioned Zverev’s run to the quarterfinals in Melbourne, and his experience on playing on the big courts.  “I learned how to enjoy myself on the big court because u can try to play your best, it happens automatically, because the crowd is unbelievable, Arthur Ashe is the biggest court, in the world, it’s just phenomenal.

The German was unaware that his compatriot and 1989 champion Boris Becker was in attendance. “Honestly, I didn’t know he was here until just now because I have my visor on I don’t see anything except my corner and my shoe laces (Waves to Boris). Maybe it’s good I didn’t see him because I would have gotten nervous maybe.

 

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Cincinnati Daily Preview: Brits Andy Murray and Cam Norrie Meet in the Second Round

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A look at Center Court at the Lindner Family Tennis Center (twitter.com/cincytennis)

On Monday, Andy Murray overcame another three-time Major singles champion, Stan Wawrinka, in a three-hour thriller.  In the second round, he meets the new British No.1 Cam Norrie, who reached his first Slam semifinal last month at Wimbledon.

 

WTA action is headlined by three matches between Slam singles champs, which includes world No.1 Iga Swiatek.  Also on Wednesday, Rafael Nadal will play his first match since withdrawing from the Wimbledon semifinals.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Wednesday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.


Andy Murray vs. Cameron Norrie – 11:00am on Center Court

Murray will be happy he had a day of rest after his emotionally and physically taxing match against Wawrinka.  He has compiled a solid record of 23-14 this season, with 2022 being his most active year since 2017, when his hip issues began.  But Norrie has taken his place as the top British male, and has really come into his own over the past 18 months.  Cam is now 38-18 this season, and has reached 10 finals since the start of last year.  Their only prior meeting occurred three years ago in Beijing, with Murray prevailing in a long, tight three-setter that lasted nearly three hours.  But three years later, Norrie is a much-improved competitor.  While playing your fellow countryman is often tricky, especially when they’ve been knighted, Cam should be favored to even their head-to-head.


Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Sloane Stephens (WC) – Not Before 3:00pm on Grand Stand

Swiatek is vying for her 50th win of the season on Wednesday, with 37 of those victories coming consecutively between February and July.  But since those 37 wins in a row, Iga is only 3-3, and suffered a frustrating loss last week in Toronto to Beatriz Haddad Maia 7-5 in the third after three hours of play.  Stephens continues to be a streaky player, as the 2017 US Open champion has gone on multiple winning and losing streaks of four matches or more throughout the year.  On Monday night, she crushed Alize Cornet 6-1, 6-0.  Sloane often plays her best tennis in American hard courts, and advanced to the third round or better of this tournament in seven straight appearances between 2012 and 2019.  These two Major champs have never played before.  Stephens could be primed for another win streak, and it would be understandable if Swiatek experienced a dip in her level after all the tennis she’s played this year.  Yet after dominating the tour for most of the year, Iga should still be favored.


Other Notable Matches on Wednesday:

Victoria Azarenka vs. Emma Raducanu (10) – It’s a two-time Australian Open champ against the reigning US Open champ.  Azarenka defeated Kaia Kanepi in three sets on Tuesday, while Raducanu easily prevailed over Serena Williams 6-4, 6-0.

Elena Rybakina vs. Garbine Muguruza (8) – It’s another two-time Major champ against the reigning Wimbledon champ.  Rybakina is 2-2 since her surprising run at The All-England Club, while Muguruza is a subpar 9-13 on the year.  They split two meetings last year, with Elena victorious in the more notable encounter, in the quarterfinals of the Tokyo Olympics.

Taylor Fritz (11) vs. Nick Kyrgios – Fritz started the summer by winning the title in Eastbourne, while Kyrgios was the champion in Washington.  This will be their first career meeting.

Rafael Nadal (2) vs. Borna Coric (PR) – Despite his injury issues, Nadal is a staggering 35-3 in 2022, and 20-1 on hard courts.  Coric missed a full year of action due to shoulder surgery, and is just 12-12 at all levels since returning.  Borna has won two of their four previous meetings, including six years ago at this event.


Wednesday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Cincinnati Daily Preview: Serena Williams Plays Emma Raducanu, Venus Faces Karolina Pliskova

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Serena Williams practicing on Monday in Cincinnati (twitter.com/cincytennis)

In what is expected to be the next-to-last event of her storied career, Serena Williams will play her opening round match on Tuesday.  And in a blockbuster matchup, she faces reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu.  Can the 19-year-old defeat the GOAT, or can Serena pull off one more high-profile victory before her career comes to an end?

 

Tuesday’s schedule in Cincinnati features many other top names as well.  Center Court alone also includes Naomi Osaka, Daniil Medvedev, Nick Kyrgios, and Venus Williams, who takes on Karolina Pliskova in a battle between two of the WTA’s all-time best servers.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Tuesday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.


Karolina Pliskova (14) vs. Venus Williams (WC) – Second on Center Court

This will only be Venus’ third singles match of the season, as multiple injuries have hampered the 42-year-old in recent years.  Williams has only earned one singles win in the last 18 months.  Pliskova has struggled this season since a hand injury caused her to miss the first two months of 2022.  But Karolina had her best run of the season last week in Toronto, where she reached the semifinals, which included a three-set win over fourth-seeded Maria Sakkari.  Venus and Karolina played three times between 2015 and 2017, with Pliskova taking two of those three encounters.  Their most notable match was in the fourth round of the 2016 US Open, which Karolina won in a third-set tiebreak.  In 2022, Pliskova is a considerable favorite to prevail.


Serena Williams (DA) vs. Emma Raducanu (10) – Not Before 7:00pm on Center Court

This will only be Serena’s fourth singles match of the season, and she’s 1-2 since returning at Wimbledon.  Last week in Toronto, she made a tearful exit from the court after her straight-set loss to Belinda Bencic, as the Canadian crowd gave the 23-time Major singles champion a standing ovation.  With this mini-retirement tour being new territory for Serena, how will she react to what will be a boisterous American crowd on Tuesday?  She’ll surely feel nervous, but Raducanu will as well, as she likely assumed she would never get to play Serena.  Emma has understandably struggled since her shocking, life-changing run a year ago at the US Open, as she’s just 11-14 on the year.  But she’s still played a lot more tennis of late than Serena.  This match was originally scheduled for Monday evening, and reports indicated it was postponed until Tuesday due to an injury concern regarding Serena.  That’s advantage, Emma.  But as we’ve learned over the course of the last several decades, Serena is fully capable of willing her way to victory even when she’s far from her best.


Other Notable Matches on Tuesday:

Naomi Osaka vs. Shuai Zhang – Osaka is just 1-2 this summer, and was forced to retire last week in Toronto due to a back issue.  She is 3-2 against Shuai, though they haven’t played in nearly four years.

Nick Kyrgios vs. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina – Kyrgios has won 14 of his last 16 singles matches, and is on an eight-match win streak in doubles.  Davidovich Fokina is only 4-9 this season on hard courts.

Coco Gauff (11) vs. Marie Bouzkova (Q) – Gauff is now the new world No.1 in doubles, and is on the brink of making her top 10 debut in singles.  Bouzkova has claimed 18 of her last 22 matches at all levels. 

Mackenzie McDonald (WC) vs. Carlos Alcaraz (3) – McDonald was a finalist last year in Washington, but arrived in Cincinnati on a three-match losing streak.  Alcaraz was upset last week in an extended affair with another American, Tommy Paul.  Earlier this year at Indian Wells, Carlitos beat Mackie 6-3, 6-3.

Daniil Medvedev (1) vs. Botic van de Zandschulp – Medvedev needs to win at least two matches this week to ensure he maintains his No.1 ranking.  He’s 2-0 against van de Zandschulp, taking seven of their eight sets contested, all on hard courts.


Tuesday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Cincinnati Daily Preview: Major Champions Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka Square Off

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Andy Murray practicing this past week in Cincinnati (twitter.com/cincytennis)

For the second consecutive week, a combined ATP Masters/WTA 1000 event is being staged in North America.  This week, it’s the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The singles draws in American’s heartland are loaded: the ATP draw features 14 of the world’s top 16, while the WTA draw features all 16 top-ranked players.

 

Most notably, Serena Williams will play what is assumedly the next-to-last event of her career, and will face reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu in the first round.  And Rafael Nadal will play his first match since withdrawing from the Wimbledon semifinals due to his ongoing left foot issues.

Monday’s action is headlined by Major champions Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka, who will play each other for the 22nd time. 

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Monday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.


Stan Wawrinka (PR) vs. Andy Murray – Third on Center Court

Their rivalry dates all the way back to 2005, when Wawrinka defeated Murray in Davis Cup.  Their most prominent encounter took place in the 2017 Roland Garros semifinals, when Stan outlasted Andy in a five-setter that lasted over four-and-a-half hours.  And neither man has been the same since that grueling battle.  Just weeks later, Murray’s hip problems derailed his career, while Wawrinka would undergo knee surgery.  Both men have now battled multiple serious injuries over the last five years.  Overall Andy is 12-9 against Stan, and 8-4 on hard courts.  Murray has gritted his way to 22 victories this year, while Stan is only 3-7 since returning from foot surgery this spring.  Based on current form, as well as Murray’s history at this event, where he is a two-time champion, the Brit is the favorite on Monday.


Matteo Berrettini (12) vs. Frances Tiafoe – Not Before 7:00pm on Center Court

Berrettini returned from surgery on his right hand in June, and promptly went on a 12-match win streak.  However, he unfortunately missed Wimbledon due to testing positive for COVID-19.  And last week in Montreal, Matteo lost in the opening round, though that one-sided loss to Pablo Carreno Busta doesn’t look quite as bad after Pablo’s fantastic run to his first Masters 1000 title concluded on Sunday.  Meanwhile, it’s been a disappointing year for Tiafoe, who is only 20-17 and has suffered some painful losses.  At Wimbledon, he lost a four-and-a-half hour fourth round match to David Goffin despite having a two-sets-to-one lead.  And just last week in Montreal, Frances was up 4-0 in the third over Taylor Fritz before losing the last six games of the match.  Their only previous meeting occurred four years ago on clay in Rome, where Matteo was victorious in his home country in straight sets.  Can Tiafoe avenge that loss in his own home country?  Frances often excels during night matches in the United States, with his five-set win over Andrey Rublev at last year’s US Open serving as a prime example.  But Matteo has been the much stronger performer for a few years now, and his potent serve/forehand combo makes him the favorite.


Other Notable Matches on Monday:

Amanda Anisimova vs. Daria Kasatkina (9) – Anisimova has reached the second week of every Major this season, while Kasatkina has won 18 of her last 24 matches, which includes a title run this month in San Jose.  Amanda leads their head-to-head 2-0, and dominated Daria 6-2, 6-0 at the beginning of this year.

Jil Teichmann vs. Petra Kvitova – Teichmann was a surprise finalist here a year ago.  Kvitova is only 17-15 this season, though she did win a title on grass in June.  They’ve played three times since last year, with Jil claiming two of those three matches.

Denis Shapovalov vs. Grigor Dimitrov (16) – Shapovalov has now lost nine of his last 10 matches dating back to May.  Meanwhile it’s been over four months since Dimitrov has won more than two matches in a row.  Grigor is 2-1 against Denis, and 2-0 on hard courts.

Sloane Stephens (WC) vs. Alize Cornet – It’s been a streaky season for Stephens, with nine of her 11 victories coming at just two events.  Cornet has achieved two noteworthy results this season: reaching her first Major quarterfinal in Melbourne, and ending Iga Swiatek’s 37-match winning streak at Wimbledon.  This is their first career meeting.


Monday’s full Order of Play is here.

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