US Open Day 5 Preview: Four Must-See Matches - UBITENNIS
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US Open Day 5 Preview: Four Must-See Matches

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Garbine Muguruza (zimbio.com)

In draws that were already missing many big names, and now with 31 of the 64 singles seeds losing in the first four days, this tournament is completely up for grabs. Who is ready to seize this golden opportunity?

 

Petra Kvitova vs. Caroline Garcia

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This will be the first match of the day on Arthur Ashe Stadium. Since winning the title in Birmingham earlier this year, Kvitova was just 5-5 leading into the US Open. And the Open has been Petra’s worst major in her career, having never advanced past the quarterfinals. Kvitova though played well in her first two rounds, ousting veterans Jankovic and Cornet. Garcia has quietly put together the most consistent season of her career, highlighted by her quarterfinal appearance at her home major, the French Open. She recently broke into the top 20 for the first time, and has accumulated 33 wins thus far in 2017. These two have split four previous meetings, but Garcia took the most recent two, both of which were on hard courts. This feels like a probable three-setter that could go either way.

Kevin Anderson vs. Borna Coric

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From there I would recommend moving your attention to the Grandstand, where the second match on the schedule will be a clash between two in-form players. Coric may have played the best match of his career on Wednesday, upsetting number four seed Alexander Zverev in a scintillating four-set win. Is he ready to back it up? This would be another big step for Coric, as he’s yet to go farther than the third round at a major. Meanwhile, the US Open is the only major where Kevin Anderson has been past the fourth round. The South African upset Andy Murray in New York two years ago to make his first major quarterfinal. Anderson debuted in the top 10 in 2015, but his level of play dropped off in the following year and a half as he dealt with multiple injuries. Over the past few months Anderson has gotten back on track and been a much improved player. He made the fourth round at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon, and won seven matches during the summer hard court season. Coric is likely to have a letdown following Wednesday’s performance, so I expect Kevin Anderson to advance to his third straight fourth round at a major.

Garbine Muguruza vs. Magdalena Rybarikova
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Regarding the third matches on court of Day 5, this may be your best bet. It is a rematch of the Wimbledon semifinals, but let’s hope this one is a bit closer than that encounter. On that day, Muguruza allowed Rybarikova only two games. That semifinal was Magdalena’s 20th match of the short grass court season, so one would think Rybarikova would be better rested and ready to compete on Friday. The Slovakian has actually defeated Muguruza twice before, though Garbine’s won both of their meetings on hard courts. The Wimbledon and Cincinnati champion is playing with more momentum than ever before, and is many people’s pick to win this tournament. However, Muguruza has not historically performed well under the weight of expectations. Does she have enough confidence now to overcome that? It will be interesting to see how she does as her opponents get tougher, but she’s still the favorite to prevail in this third round contest.

John Isner vs. Mischa Zverev
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The night session on Arthur Ashe Stadium will kick off with the big-serving American against the serve-and-volleying German. They are 2-2 in their head-to-head, with Zverev taking both of their 2017 clashes. This includes an epic five-set battle at this year’s Australian Open, where Zverev outlasted Isner 9-7 in the fifth. The U.S. Open courts are playing slower than the fast courts in Melbourne, which I think will favor Isner. This will grant Isner just a little more time to set up his passing shots as Zverev rushes the net. John will also have the Friday night home crowd behind him, and he’ll have some fond memories to draw from under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium. Isner upset Andy Roddick in a 2009 night session match which went to a fifth set tiebreaker. Surprisingly, Isner won his first two matches of this US Open without going to a tiebreak. Meanwhile Zverev has already played two five-setters in his first two rounds. For all of those reasons, Isner should be able to overcome the older Zverev brother.

Order of play (singles matches only)

Arthur Ashe stadium (11am local time)
Petra Kvitova CZE (13) v Caroline Garcia FRA (18)
Denis Shapovalov CAN v Kyle Edmund GBR
Maria Sakkari GRE v Venus Williams USA (9)
Not before 7pm local time
Mischa Zverev GER v John Isner USA (10)
Sofia Kenin USA v Maria Sharapova RUS

Louis Armstrong (11am start)
Nicolas Mahut FRA v Pablo Carreno Busta ESP (12)
Ashleigh Barty AUS v Sloane Stephens USA
Magdalena Rybarikova SVK (31) v Garbine Muguruza ESP (3)
Sam Querrey USA (17) v Radu Albot MDA

Grandstand (11am start)
Diego Schwartzman ARG (29) v Marin Cilic CRO (5)
Kevin Anderson RSA (28) v Borna Coric CRO
Anastasija Sevastova LAT (16) v Donna Vekic CRO

Court 17
Thomas Fabbiano ITA v Paolo Lorenzi ITA
Lucas Pouille fra (16) v Mikhail Kukushkin KAZ

Court 5
Ekaterina Makarova RUS v Carla Suarez Navarro ESP
Aleksandra Krunic SRB v Julia Goerges GER (30)

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Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev And Taylor Fritz Looking Forward To Diriyah Cup

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev and Taylor Fritz will start their Australian preparations in Saudi Arabia next week.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas (@WeAreTennisTR - Twitter)

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev and Taylor Fritz are looking forward to boosting their Australian Open preparations when they compete in the Diriyah Cup in Saudi Arabia.

 

The tournament takes place from the 8th-10th of December with the 12 player tournament offering the perfect preparation for the first Grand Slam of the year.

As well as Tsitsipas, Rublev and Fritz, the field includes some of the world’s best players including Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Cameron Norrie, Nick Kyrgios, Dominic Thiem and Stan Wawrinka.

Speaking ahead of the event Tsitsipas claimed that the event will be very good preparation ahead of the Australian Open which starts on the 16th of January, “This is going to be very good preparation for me,” Tsitsipas told The National.

“Most players choose to have an off period from tennis but for me, it’s very important to get matches in before I travel to Australia. So having good competitors to compete against (top players), this is the best preparation that I can have before starting the 2023 season.

“I know that the people in Saudi Arabia may not have the opportunity to see tennis players like us very often. So, for sure, I’m going to give it my best. I’m going to have a good time.”

Saudi Arabia has held a whole host of events including formula one and Golf events with there being more and more concerns from fans over sports-washing given the country’s human rights record.

However the Greek isn’t too concerned about that and is looking forward to exploring the country’s culture:

“I’m happy they’re introducing a big event like this, and in the heart of Saudi Arabia to give opportunities to citizens from all over the world to explore this beautiful country, through its sports, through its very rich heritage and culture, and through other activities that are available within the country.”

As for Fritz, the American is coming off a career best season having won his maiden Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells as well as reaching the semi-finals at the ATP Finals.

The 25 year-old said that playing against the best players in the world will only help his preparations for the Australian Open, “I think it’s going to help prepare for the Australian Open and for the rest of the year because I can start out by playing against the best players in the world,” Fritz claimed.

“The field is so strong, so it’s always great to surround yourself with a lot of great players. People should come to support because hopefully it’ll be a lot of good tennis.

“Hopefully they’ll be cheering for me to win. They can expect a lot of big hitting, big serving, and hopefully some nice shot-making.”

Finally Rublev said that competing in Saudi Arabia will help find his level with the Russian having an inconsistent end to the season at the ATP Finals.

Rublev is looking to break more ground in 2023 as he searches for his Grand Slam breakthrough, “I think it’s really great because sometimes when you finish the season and you have eight weeks of not playing tournaments, you start to feel a bit stressed or nervous because you can’t tell if you’re improving or not,” Rublev admitted.

“So these kind of events help to check how your level is at the moment because you compete against other great players.”

The tournament begins on Thursday and will last for three days.

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Emma Raducanu Draws Inspiration From Andy Murray Ahead Of 2023

Emma Raducanu spoke about Andy Murray’s influence on her career.

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(@HeartThamesNews - Twitter)

Emma Raducanu has spoke about Andy Murray’s influence on her career and is optimistic about turning her form in 2023.

 

The former US Open hasn’t had too bad of an off-season after receiving her MBE for her services to sport.

Raducanu made history in 2021 as she won the US Open as a qualifier at 18 years of age.

However the Brit has yet to back that up with Raducanu changing coach on a number of occasions as she looks for some stability in 2023.

Speaking in a recent interview with Grazia Raducanu said that she believes that momentum can change quickly in tennis and that confidence is the key to success, “[In tennis] it could look like it’s all going down, down, down and just not getting any better,” Raducanu was quoted by tennishead as saying.

“Just one match can have a big influence on your confidence and once you have confidence and the momentum comes, you feel like you can’t lose. It’s a very individual sport – people are friendly but it’s difficult to be really close with those you’re competing with.”

One player that can relate to what Raducanu is saying is Andy Murray with confidence being a key theme of the highs and lows of Murray’s career.

Raducanu said that she talks to Murray regularly about the highs and lows of tennis, “Andy Murray is so good to talk to because he’s been through pretty much what I’ve been going through,” Raducanu said.

“I have always looked up to him and watched him winning his first Wimbledon and the Olympics.”

Raducanu will hope that she can use Murray’s words as inspiration for next season as she currently sits at 75 in the world.

The Brit will start her season in 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand on the 2nd of January.

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Fernando Verdasco Given Two Month Doping Ban

Fernando Verdasco has been banned from tennis until the 8th of January.

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Fernando Verdasco (@UniversTennis - Twitter)

Fernando Verdasco will miss the first week of the 2023 season after being provisionally suspended for two months after testing positive for the drug methylphenidate.

 

The former world number seven tested positive for the drug at the Challenger event in Rio De Janeiro and has accepted a voluntary ban until the 8th of January.

As well as testing positive for the drug methylphenidate, Verdasco had also forgot to renew his Therapeutic Use Exemption despite the Spaniard admitting that he was diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

In a statement published today the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA), explained why his ban has been shortened from two years to two months, “The ITIA accepts that the player did not intend to cheat, that his violation was inadvertent and unintentional, and that he bears no significant fault or negligence for it,” they said in a statement on his website.

“In the specific circumstances of this case, based on the player’s degree of fault the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme allows for the applicable period of ineligibility to be reduced from two years to two months.”

The 39 year-old will as a result miss the first week of the new season with the Spaniard being currently ranked at world number 125.

In 2022, Verdasco’s best results on the ATP tour were quarter-final performances in Buenos Aires and Estoril while he also won a challenger title in Monterrey in March.

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