US Open Day 6 Preview: Five Must-See Matches - UBITENNIS
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US Open Day 6 Preview: Five Must-See Matches

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Juan Martin del Potro (zimbio.com)

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will return to the court on Saturday. Despite not playing their best in their first two rounds, they’ll still be heavily favored in their matches. Let’s focus instead on what should be some of the more competitive matches on Day 6.

Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Coco Vandeweghe
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This will be the second match of the day on Arthur Ashe Stadium. Radwanska leads the head-to-head 5-1, and surprisingly has won all of their hard court meetings in straight sets. Vandeweghe has never even won a set on a hard court against Radwanska, including their meeting a few weeks ago in Toronto. That being said, Coco has been the more in-form player in 2017, with six more wins on the year than Agnieszka. Vandeweghe’s year was highlighted by her run to the semifinals at the Australian Open, though she’s never played well at her home major: her appearance in this year’s third round is her best showing yet. Coco is obviously a strong hard court player, but can she figure out how to defeat Radwanska on this surface, and get a big win in front of a supportive American crowd?

Jelena Ostapenko vs. Daria Kasatkina

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Meanwhile on Louis Armstrong Stadium, this will be a battle of two 20-year-olds, and could be a preview of a rivalry for many years to come. These youngsters already faced off earlier this year in the United States, as this is a rematch from the final in Charleston. Kasatkina prevailed on the green clay that day, but obviously Ostapenko went on to win a much bigger title on the red clay in Paris just two months later. Jelena won the other two times they played, but they have never met on a hard court. This matchup is reminiscent of the Alexander Zverev/Borna Coric contest from Wednesday: two 20-year-olds taking the court, but one has achieved much more than the other. Can Kasatkina, like Coric did on Wednesday, make a statement by upsetting the more accomplished player?

Roberto Bautista Agut vs. Juan Martín Del Potro
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Over on the Grandstand we’ll see one of the most popular players on tour against one of the hottest players on tour. After returning to the court last year following multiple wrist surgeries, Del Potro was warmly welcomed back, and ascended to some great heights. After upsetting Stan Wawrinka at the 2016 Wimbledon, he defeated Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in winning a silver medal at the Rio Olympics. He would then bring more glory to his country by helping to win Argentina’s first ever Davis Cup title, winning scintillating five-setters over Andy Murray and Marin Cilic in carrying his team to victory. 2017 however has seen Del Potro struggle to get any momentum going. He has not titles on the year, and has yet to advance past the third round at a major. On the other hand, Bautista Agut is putting together the strongest season of his career. The 29-year-old is currently at his career-high ranking of number 13. He has two titles on the year, including just last week in Winston-Salem. The two have split their previous meetings – both were on hard courts, and both were tight encounters. At his best, Del Potro is the better player, and should be able to dictate the outcome with his ground strokes. Unfortunately since Del Potro has not been at his best of late, Bautista Agut should be favored on Saturday.

David Goffin vs. Gael Monfils

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Back on Louis Armstrong, we’ll have two of the speediest players in the world. It will be interesting to see how much either of them have left in their tanks though, as both men played five sets just 48 hours ago. These two have also split their previous meetings, both of which were hard court battles last year that went to a final set. Goffin was red hot for the first several months of 2017, before an extremely unfortunate incident at the French Open where he injured his ankle by sliding onto the tarp folded up at the edge of the court. Goffin has only played nine matches since then, with this week being the first time in three months that he’s won back-to-back matches. Monfils meanwhile has underperformed through all of 2017 after having the most consistent year of his career in 2016. He’ll surely be feeling some pressure in this match, as he’s defending semifinal points from last year’s US Open. If Monfils and Goffin’s legs have recovered from their second round matches, this should be an extremely entertaining affair.

Madison Keys vs. Elena Vesnina

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This will be the final match of the day under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium. Following multiple procedures on her wrist earlier this year, Keys has found her game again this summer. She won the title in Stanford, beating Garbine Muguruza in the semis and Coco Vandeweghe in the final. Muguruza then gained revenge in Cincinnati, but Keys pushed her to a final set tiebreak. Earlier this year, Vesnina achieved the biggest title of her career, which happened to be on American hard courts in Indian Wells. However, Vesnina has been unable to follow-up, as since Indian Wells she’s had more losses than wins. Keys won both previous matches she’s had against Vesnina, and will be the favorite here. Still this is a step up in competition for Keys from her first two rounds, and will help reveal just how serious a contender she may be to win her first major in New York.

SINGLES ORDER OF PLAY – Day 6, September 2

Play starts at 11:00 local time unless otherwise stated
Arthur Ashe Stadium
Karolina Pliskova (CZE) [1] v Shuai Zhang (CHN) [27]
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) [10] v CoCo Vanderweghe (USA) [20]
Rafael Nadal (ESP) [1] v Leonardo Mayer (ARG)
From 19:00
Roger Federer (SUI) [3] v Feliciano Lopez (ESP) [31]
Elena Vesnina (RUS) [17] v Madison Keys (USA) [15]

Louis Armstrong Stadium

Adrian Mannarino (FRA) [30] v DOminic Thiem (AUT) [6]
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) [12] v Daria Kasatkina (RUS)
David Goffin (BEL) [9] v Gael Monfils (FRA) [18]

Grandstand
Victor Troicki (SRB) v Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR)
Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) [11] v Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) [24]
Elina Svitolina (UKR) [4] v Shelby Rogers (USA)

Court 17

Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) [33] v John Millman (AUS)
Jennifer Brady (USA) v Monica Niculescu (ROU)

Court 5

Lucie Safarova (CZE) v Naomi Osaka (JPN)
Damir Dzumhur (BIH) v ANdrey Rublev (RUS)

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Iga Swiatek Demolishes Aryna Sabalenka To Seal Third Rome Title

Iga Swiatek claimed her third Rome title after a dominant victory over Aryna Sabalenka.

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Iga Swiatek claimed her third Rome title by dominating Aryna Sabalenka 6-2 6-3 to send a big message of intent ahead of Roland Garros.

The world number one completed the Madrid and Rome double with a sensational performance.

Now Swiatek is the titleholder for the three biggest clay court titles as she will aim to defend her Roland Garros title.

The contest was a rematch from the Madrid final but this was far from the three hour contest that was produced in Spain.

Swiatek raised her level of play while Sabalenka committed way too many unforced errors throughout the contest.

The Pole broke on two occasions to wrap up a comfortable 37 minute set as her forehand was doing a lot of damage.

There was a comeback in the second set from the Australian Open champion as she produced effortless and consistent power, making the second set very competitive.

The world number one was forced to save break points as she just managed to be more stable on big moments.

A more controlled second set from Swiatek was rewarded towards the end of the set as once again Sabalenka crumbled under pressure when it mattered.

Two late breaks of serve completed the Swiatek surge as the Pole enters the second Grand Slam of the season in dominant form.

As for Sabalenka it’s a disappointing performance that she will look to put right at Roland Garros.

Roland Garros starts on the 26th of May where Swiatek is defending champion.

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Internazionali d’Italia Daily Preview: Sascha Zverev Plays Nicolas Jarry for the Men’s Singles Championship

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Nicolas Jarry on Friday night in Rome (twitter.com/InteBNLdItalia)

Sunday features three championship matches: the finals in men’s singles, men’s doubles, and women’s doubles.

On Sunday in Rome, Sascha Zverev will play for his first Masters 1000 title in over two years, while Nicolas Jarry will play in his first-ever final above ATP 250 level.  Zverev leads their head-to-head 4-2, but they are tied at 2-2 on clay.  Which man will walk away with the title?


Sascha Zverev (3) vs. Nicolas Jarry (21) – Not Before 5:00pm on Center Court

Zverev is 27-9 this season, and lost only one set on his way to this championship match.  That came in the semifinals against another Chilean, Alejandro Tabilo.  This is Sascha’s first ATP final since September of last year, and he’s playing for his first Masters 1000 title since 2021 in Cincinnati.  Zverev will soon go on trial in his home country of Germany, as he faces charges of domestic abuse.

Just like eventual champion Andrey Rublev in Madrid, Jarry arrived in Rome on a four-match losing streak.  And he had never advanced beyond the quarterfinals at a Masters 1000 tournament, so this result is quite surprising.  But 28-year-old Jarry is a tall presence (6’7”) who thumps the ball.  As per Tennis Channel, he was averaging 89 mph on his forehand during his three-set semifinal victory over Tommy Paul.  Nico has claimed a trio of three-setters on the way to the biggest match of his career, most notably upsetting Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals.

Zverev certainly has a huge edge in experience at this level, and in finals.  This is his 33rd ATP final, where he holds a record of 21-11.  And it’s his 11th Masters 1000 final, where he is 5-5.  Jarry has only previously appeared in six finals, all at 250-level, where he is 3-3.  But clay is the Chliean’s specialty, as all seven of his career finals have come on this surface.

Yet sometimes experience has a negative impact, particularly when you have suffered some painful losses.  Zverev has lost four of his last six Masters 1000 finals, and he is infamously 1-6 in Major semifinals.  So he has a lot of recent scar tissue from high-profile matches.

In that way, Jarry may benefit from a lack of experience.  While he’ll certainly be nervous on this big occasion, Nico has displayed plenty of confidence and composure against more experienced players throughout this event.  And he owns two prior victories over Zverev.  But when these two met in another final, five years ago in Geneva, Sascha saved two championship points to prevail.  That’s a result that sticks with both players throughout their rivalry.

However, I’m picking Jarry to pull off the upset and win the biggest title of his career on Sunday.  Zverev has a history of getting tight and playing more defensively in crucial moments.  Jarry’s aggressive mindset can take full advantage of such passive play.  And with so many top ATP players currently battling injuries, Zverev will likely feel a lot of pressure to win this title ahead of Roland Garros, especially as the much higher seed on this day.


Other Notable Matches on Sunday:

Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos (1) vs. Marcelo Arevalo and Mate Pavic – The top seeds are playing for their sixth Masters 1000 title as a team, and own a record of 5-1 in finals at this level.  Arevalo and Pavic are vying for the first Masters 1000 title of their new partnership for 2024.  Both teams are yet to drop a set this fortnight. 

Coco Gauff and Erin Routliffe (3) vs. Sara Errani and Jasmine Paolini – This is the first tournament for the team of Gauff and Routliffe, though both have won big doubles titles with other partners.  This is the biggest final to date for the Italian team of Errani and Paolini, though Errani won five WTA 1000 doubles titles alongside Roberta Vinci a decade ago, while Paolini won the WTA 1000 event in Dubai earlier this year in singles.


Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Emma Raducanu Criticises Gender Pay Gap And Responds To Critics Ahead Of Roland Garros

Emma Raducanu has criticised the gender pay gap in tennis as Rome’s prize money for the women’s tournament was significantly lower than the men’s tournament.

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Emma Raducanu has criticised the gender pay gap after the tournament in Rome significantly payed less to it’s female athletes than it’s main counterparts.

Although Roland Garros and the tournament in Madrid offered the same pay to the winners of both female and male competitions, the same cannot be said for Rome this week.

The winner between Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka will get 250,000 Euros less than the winner of the men’s final between Alexander Zverev and Nicolas Jarry.

It’s a statistic that is damning on the sport and Emma Raducanu has criticised the figure as she states that the women’s game is technically better than the men’s game, “A lot of women’s players are technically better,” Raducanu told The Times.

“They rely on speed, agility and brain rather than brute strength. The prize money gap is huge on the ATP tour, which I don’t necessarily think is fair, but equally playing three sets in the slams is a lot better than the men’s five, which is brutal.”

Meanwhile as for Raducanu, the Brit is preparing for Roland Garros qualifying next week as she missed out on a wildcard into the main draw.

Despite Raducanu’s gradual improvement over the last few weeks the trolls on social media have failed to go away as the former US Open champion continues her commercial commitments.

Speaking out on the critics Raducanu stated that they don’t see the work of an athlete behind the scenes, “There are those who see me doing a shoot or posing for a commercial and they don’t see the seven hours before that at the training centre, doing physio, gym, hitting balls,” Raducanu explained.

“But if on a rare evening I go to a premiere and I get photographed, that’s my downtime.”

Next week’s appearance in Paris will only be Raducanu’s second Roland Garros having reached the second round two years ago.

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