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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Roland Garros 2024: ‘Proud’ Iga Swiatek Seeks Consistent Improvement

Iga Swiatek continues to find improvement despite her dominance ahead of her Roland Garros opener.

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Ubitennis/Francesca Micheli

Iga Swiatek had admitted she is ‘proud’ of her clay court season but is seeking consistent improvement over the rest of the season.

The world number one is aiming for a third consecutive Roland Garros title and heads into Paris in dominant form.

Titles in Madrid and Rome with two contrasting wins over Aryna Sabalenka means she is the overwhelming favourite heading into the fortnight.

Speaking ahead of her opening match Swiatek spoke about how she is a better tennis player from 2022 and how proud she is of her clay court season so far, “I think I’m a better player because I just grew and I worked hard during the past two years,” Swiatek explained in her press conference.

“I feel like I’m progressing, so I guess I should be a better tennis player. Comparing the results, or my feelings, two years ago it was all kind of new for me, and I think I won so many matches also because nobody really expected it.

“When the streak started, I wasn’t even second in the rankings, so I think other players were also unprepared maybe for my game sometimes. Now it’s different. Now they are prepared, and I feel like I keep having a target on my back, because I’m No. 1. So I think actually I’m more proud of what’s happening right now and winning all these titles this year already has shown that we are going on the right path.”

Despite her recent dominance, Swiatek isn’t resting on her laurels as she continues to seek improvement.

The Pole has been working on several areas on her game including the serve as she has become a more aggressive player over the last couple of years.

Swiatek spoke on the changes she has made with her coach as she seeks more consistent improvement, “Changing the technique, I think it allowed me to serve faster. We worked on my placement as well, so it got better for sure. I feel like I have more options when I’m serving,” Swiatek told the Roland Garros website.

“As you could see in Rome, for example, I had many situations when I was a break point down, and I was able to kind of save the game with my first serve. So this tournament showed that we are going in the right direction. Next goal is to keep my serve at a consistent level throughout the whole season. We’ll see how that’s going to go.

“But I think overall my coach from the beginning had a great idea about my serve. The other thing is me implementing it, so we are working hard for the movement to be smooth and to get muscle memory, so even under the biggest pressure and stress, I’m going to be serving the same way.”

Swiatek will begin her campaign against qualifier Leolia Jeanjean in her opening round match on Monday with potentially Naomi Osaka awaiting in round two.

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Roland Garros 2024: Practice Makes Perfect For Carlos Alcaraz In Roland Garros Title Bid

Carlos Alcaraz is looking to overcome the pain barrier as he searches for Roland Garros glory.

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Carlos Alcaraz is bidding for a first Roland Garros title but the Spaniard will need to overcome the pain barrier in order to achieve his goal.

The world number three enters this year’s tournament with mixed preparations having suffered an injury during practice in Monte-Carlo.

Alcaraz failed to play in Barcelona, where he was defending champion, before exiting Madrid at the quarter-finals stage to eventual winner Andrey Rublev.

Despite Alcaraz’s lack of fitness, the Spaniard will feel he has a good chance of achieving a special landmark as he has the opportunity to win 75% of the career Grand Slam.

Speaking ahead of the fortnight Alcaraz admitted he is feeling better but needs to change some psychological feelings when hitting the forehand again, “I’m feeling better. At least I can practise, hit balls without pain. That’s a really good point for me,” Alcaraz explained in his pre-tournament press conference.

“I’m not feeling any pain in the practices when I step on the court. But I’m still thinking about it when I am hitting forehands. Probably I’m gonna say I’m a little bit scared about hitting every forehand 100 percent. So I have to change it in my first match.”

Roland Garros holds a special place in Alcaraz’s heart having had good memories and matches in the past with the Spaniard reaching the semi-finals last year.

Now Alcaraz is aiming to win his maiden title in Paris as he continues his development at an elite level.

The Spaniard spoke about how special Roland Garros is and spoke about how wide open this year’s tournament is given the form and fitness of Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner, “Right now, I don’t see a clear favourite to win the tournament, but there is a wide range of players who can do it,” Alcaraz explained.

“It’s Roland-Garros and it’s a really special tournament. Everybody wants to do good results here. This tournament is one of the main reasons that I’m practicing every day. I want to be a better player, to be able to win these kinds of tournaments.”

Alcaraz starts his Roland Garros on Sunday against lucky loser J.J. Wolf.

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Tomas Machac Stuns Novak Djokovic To Reach Maiden ATP Final In Geneva

Tomas Machac is into his first career ATP final after stunning Novak Djokovic in Geneva.

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Tomas Machac is into his first ATP final after defeating Novak Djokovic 6-4 0-6 6-1 in Geneva.

The world number one seemed to be struggling physically throughout the contest as Machac earned the biggest win of his career.

After trailing 4-1 in the opening set, Machac played aggressive tennis against a sub-par Djokovic to win five games in a row and take the opening set.

In the second set Djokovic was back to his brilliant best as he won six consecutive games to level the match at one set all.

However the Serb was clearly struggling with his fitness and conditioning as Machac secured the biggest win of his career, reaching a first ATP final.

Speaking after the match Machac was lost for words as he looks ahead to Saturday’s showdown, “I have no reaction right now, I just fought for every ball,” Machac told the ATP website.

“When you play against Novak you just hope. You just try to play your best and see what it looks like. I am looking forward to playing in a final for the first time.”

As for Djokovic, the Serb is yet to reach a final this year and will need to get his form back on track as he prepares to begin his Roland Garros title defence against Pierre-Hughes Herbert.

Meanwhile Machac will play either Casper Ruud or Flavio Cobolli in the final.

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