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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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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