US Open Day 2 Preview: Five Must-See Matches - UBITENNIS
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US Open Day 2 Preview: Five Must-See Matches

Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Caroline Wozniacki will all kick-off their campaigns at Flushing Meadows.



The USTA’s five-year, $600-million renovation is complete. A brand-new Louis Armstrong Stadium opened play on Monday, adding a second court with a roof to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.


And within the first 90 minutes of Day 1, history was made on that very court. The top women’s player in the world, Simona Halep, was eliminated, the first time a top seed has ever lost in the opening round of the US Open. On the heels of a Wimbledon where all top 10 ladies’ seeds were out within the first seven days, are there a lot more upsets in store as the first week of the Open progresses?

On Monday, the heat and humidity in New York were significant factors for many players. With the temperatures forecasted to go even higher over the next few days, fitness and endurance will only become more important, especially on the men’s side where they play best-of-five.

Jelena Ostapenko vs. Andrea Petkovic

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This will be the first match of the day on Armstrong, and it could be another upset in the making to start the day on that court. The 21-year-old Ostapenko is seeded 10th, coming off her semifinal run at Wimbledon. But Jelena hasn’t won a singles match since The Championships. Petkovic is a former US Open semifinalist, yet has struggled with injury and form in recent years to the point where she even contemplated retirement. However, the 30-year-old has shown signs of rediscovering her play of yesteryear over the past few months. She gave World No.1 Simona Halep all she could handle at Roland Garros before an injury during the match derailed her efforts. Andrea then scored impressive wins over Belinda Bencic and Defending US Open Champion Sloane Stephens on her way to the semifinals in Washington, DC. Ostapenko won their only previous meeting two years ago in Doha, though that was another match in which Petkovic was suffering from injury. Considering the summer results of both players, and the general instability atop the women’s game, an upset here would not be shocking.

Caroline Wozniacki vs. Samantha Stosur

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Here we have a battle of Major singles champions to open the day’s play on Arthur Ashe Stadium. Stosur won this tournament seven years ago, but she’s just 5-4 in New York since that career highlight. Wozniacki of course finally got the Major monkey off her back this year in Melbourne, but she’s been far from 100% this summer. She withdrew from or retired from two of her three summer hard court tournaments, and was upset by the red-hot Aryna Sabalenka in her Rogers Cup opening round. Much like Ostapenko, Wozniacki arrives in New York with no wins since Wimbledon, and appears to be highly vulnerable to an upset. However, perhaps Stosur is not the best candidate for that job. She’s dropped to 64th in the world, and has more losses than wins in 2018. Wozniacki leads their head-to-head 7-5, through four of Stosur’s victories have come on hard courts. With Caroline at much less than 100%, it’s a great opportunity for the 34-year-old Stosur to get her biggest win in quite some time.

Novak Djokovic vs. Marton Fucsovics

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Next up on Ashe, the Wimbledon and Cincinnati champion, Novak Djokovic, will return to the US Open for the first time since he was a finalist in 2016. And he just may be the favorite to win this tournament based on his two recent titles, which included impressive victories over Nadal at Wimbledon and Federer in Cincinnati. This will be his first meeting against Fucsovics, the 26-year-old from Hungary who just last week reached a career-high ranking of 40th in the world. Marton won his first ATP title this year in Geneva, and held match points over Stan Wawrinka just a few weeks ago at the Rogers Cup, in a match that went deep into a third set tiebreak. Fucsovics is one of the highest-ranked players Djokovic could draw in the first round. While he may test Djokovic, Novak should comfortably prevail based on his recent form.

Caroline Garcia vs. Johanna Konta

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This is a blockbuster opening round matchup, which will be third up on the Grandstand. Three years ago, Konta arrived in New York barely ranked inside the top 100. But this is the tournament that launched her career to a new level, as she reached her first Major fourth round at the 2015 US Open, followed by her semifinal appearance at the next Grand Slam event in Melbourne. After reaching the semifinals at her home Major last year, the British No.1 fell into a big slump, partially due to injury. From Wimbledon last year until the start of the grass court season this year, Konta went just 16-17. Her ranking has dropped to 46th in the world, making this first round match possible. Garcia has certainly been the stronger player over the past year, but the Frenchwoman is just 4-4 in her last four tournaments. And Caroline is only 5-5 in New York throughout her career. Konta owns a 3-2 record against Garcia, though they haven’t played in over a year. This is another women’s match on Tuesday where an upset could be in the making.

Roger Federer vs. Yoshihito Nishioka

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This will kick off the night session on Ashe. Federer has been meticulous in managing his schedule over the past two years, but is it possible he arrives in New York a little light on match play? Following his Wimbledon loss to Kevin Anderson in the quarterfinals, he skipped the Rogers Cup to focus on Cincinnati, a tournament which he’s won seven times. Roger did advance to the final there this year, but was defeated by Djokovic. A loss on those very fast-paced courts in the best-of-three format won’t boost Federer’s confidence against Djokovic should they meet at the Open. And the chances of that happening are high, as the sixth-seeded Novak fell into Roger’s quarter of the draw. Roger’s opening opponent is a 22-year-old from Japan who is just 4-9 at tour-level events on the year. Nishioka is ranked 177th in the world and is into the tournament on a protected ranking, as Yoshihito tore his ACL and missed most of the 2017 season. Yoshihito shouldn’t pose a serious threat to Federer, but let’s see how comfortable Roger looks on the court. Dating back to Indian Wells this year, and most recently in Cincinnati earlier this month, Federer has often appeared pretty irritable on the court. He may need some sharp play and decisive wins going into the second week of this tournament.

Other notable matches on Day 2

  • Petra Kvitova, winner of five titles in 2018, vs. Yanina Wickmayer, a former US Open semifinalist
  • Wimbledon Champion Angelique Kerber vs. Margarita Gasparyan, currently ranked 370th in the world
  • Former Champion Maria Sharapova vs. 39-year-old Qualifier Patty Schnyder, a US Open quarterfinalist both 10 and 20 years ago.

Order of play

Arthur Ashe Stadium – 17:00 BST start
S. Stosur (AUS) vss C. Wozniacki (DEN) [2]
N. Djokovic (SRB) [6] vs. M. Fucsovics (HUN)

Not before 0:00 BST
Y. Nishioka (JPN) vs. R. Federer (SUI) [2]
M. Keys (USA) [14] vs. P. Parmentier (FRA)

Louis Armstrong Stadium – 16:00 BST start
A. Petkovic (GER) vs. J. Ostapenko (LAT) [10]
M. Gasparyan (RUS) vs. A. Kerber (GER) [4]
P. Polansky (CAN) vs. A. Zverev (GER) [4]

Not before 0:00 BST
N. Kyrgios (AUS) [30] vs. R. Albot (MDA)
M. Sharapova (RUS) [22] vs. P. Schnyder (SUI)

Grandstand – 16:00 BST start
N. Osaka (JPN) [20] vs. L. Siegemund (GER)
M. Cilic (CRO) [7] vs. M. Copil (ROU)
C. Garcia (FRA) [6] vs. J. Konta (GBR)

Not before 22:00 BST
F. Tiafoe (USA) vs. A. Mannarino (FRA) [29]

Court 17 – 16:00 BST start
P. Kvitova (CZE) [5] vs. Y. Wickmayer (BEL)
K. Flipkens (BEL) vs. C. Vandeweghe (USA) [24]
F. Fognini (ITA) [14] vs. M. Mmoh (USA)

Not before 21:00 BST
M. Marterer (GER) vs. K. Nishikori (JPN) [21]

Court 5 – 16:00 BST start
Y. Sugita (JPN) vs. R. Gasquet (FRA) [26]
K. Bertens (NED) [13] vs. Kr. Pliskova (CZE)
D. Collins (USA) vs. A. Sabalenka (BLR) [26]
F. Bagnis (ARG) vs. G. Monfils (FRA)

Court 10 – 16:00 BST start
R. Berankis (LTU) vs. H. Chung (KOR) [23]
D. Schwartzman (ARG) [13] vs. F. Delbonis (ARG)
T. Babos (HUN) vs. D. Kasatkina (RUS) [11]
A. Kontaveit (EST) [28] vs. K. Siniakova (CZE)

Court 13 – 16:00 BST start
A. Cornet (FRA) vs. J. Larsson (SWE)
M. Cecchinato (ITA) [22] vs. J. Benneteau (FRA)
M. Vondrousova (CZE) vs. M. Buzarnescu (ROU) [21]
A. de Minaur (AUS) vs. T. Daniel (JPN)

Court 4 – 16:00 BST start
Y. Wang (CHN) vs. A. Schmiedlova (SVK)
M. Jaziri (TUN) vs. P. Carreno Busta (ESP) [12]
L. Pouille (FRA) [17] vs. Y. Maden (GER)
N. Gibbs (USA) vs. C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) [30

Court 6 – 16:00 BST start
M. Niculescu (ROU) vs. J. Glushko (ISR)
J. Brooksby (USA) vs. J. Millman (AUS)
M. Baghdatis (CYP) vs. M. Youzhny (RUS)
L. Cabrera (AUS) vs. A. Tomljanovic (AUS)

Court 7 – 16:00 BST start
M. Kukushkin (KAZ) vs. N. Rubin (USA)
D. Cibulkova (SVK) [29] vs. A. Rus (NED)
F. Gaio (ITA) vs. D. Goffin (BEL) [10]
Y. Putintseva (KAZ) vs. B. Pera (USA)

Court 8 – 16:00 BST start
L. Djere (SRB) vs. L. Mayer (ARG)
A. Sasnovich (BLR) vs. B. Bencic (SUI)
M. Puig (PUR) vs. S. Voegele (SUI)
B. Paire (FRA) vs. D. Novak (AUT)

Court 9 – 16:00 BST start
J. Sousa (POR) vs. M. Granollers (ESP)
T. Bacsinszky (SUI) vs. A. Krunic (SRB)
F. Krajinovic (SRB) [32] vs. M. Ebden (AUS)

Court 11 – 16:00 BST start
T. Townsend (USA) vs. A. Anisimova (USA)
V. Troicki (SRB) vs. T. Sandgren (USA)
Y. Hanfmann (GER) vs. P. Kohlschreiber (GER)
S. Cirstea (ROU) vs. A. Riske (USA)

Court 12 – 16:00 BST start
T. Smyczek (USA) vs. J. Struff (GER)
F. Di Lorenzo (USA) vs. C. McHale (USA)
M. McDonald (USA) vs. R. Haase (NED)
H. Tan (FRA) vs. E. Bouchard (CAN)

Court 14 – 16:00 BST start
S. Travaglia (ITA) vs. H. Hurkacz (POL)
G. Garcia-Lopez (ESP) vs. J. Munar (ESP)
V. Zvonareva (RUS) vs. A. Blinkova (RUS)
K. Mladenovic (FRA) vs. T. Zidansek (SLO)

Court 15 – 16:00 BST start
A. Van Uytvanck (BEL) vs. L. Tsurenko (UKR)
E. Alexandrova (RUS) vs. S. Hsieh (TPE)
J. Vesely (CZE) vs. C. Moutet (FRA)
Y. Bhambri (IND) vs. P. Herbert (FRA)

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‘Super happy’ Holger Rune Reacts To Winning First Match Since Wimbledon In Beijing



Holger Rune says he is pain-free and has gained confidence since reuniting with his former coach after ending his seven-match losing streak at the China Open. 


Rune, who is the third seed in Beijing this week, beat former top 10 player Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 6-4, in his opening match on Friday. The Dane fired 15 winners compared to only three unforced errors during the 85-minute encounter. It is the first time he has won a match on the Tour since Wimbledon in July.

“It feels very good. I had a tough period both with my body and with matches,” said Rune. “I’m happy to be back feeling good and feeling mentally well off the court. I’m super happy with my level today.”

The 20-year-old is experiencing a roller-coaster season where he reached the final of two Masters 1000 events and won a title in Germany during the first six months. However, recently he has struggled for wins on the Tour and ended his collaboration with Patrick Mouratoglou. 

On top of that, Rune has also been hampered by a back injury which he recently underwent treatment on before coming to China. He previously told Danish TV that he had a pinched nerve in the fifth lumbar vertebra in his spine since the clay-court season. As a result, he has had to make adjustments to his service motion to overcome this problem. 

“I didn’t feel any pain in my body,” he stated following his latest match. 
“I’m feeling healthy and taking care of my body. Mostly I’m happy to play without pain and enjoy myself.”

Guiding the world No.4 now is Lars Christensen who he has previously worked with since childhood. 

“It has helped my confidence. After some tough periods, he knows me so well,” Rune commented. “He knows when I’m back at my best level so it is easy for us to communicate and find the best version of Holger. That we did today.”

Rune will next play Grigor Dimitrov who staged an epic comeback to defeat Mackenzie McDonald. The Bulgarian was a set and 5-2 down before fighting back to prevail 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-1, over the American who was experiencing problems with his shoulder. 

Medvedev, Sinner though in contrasting matches

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In other matches at the tournament, second seed Daniil Medvedev stormed to a 6-2, 6-1, win over Tommy Paul. He has now recorded 39 hardcourt wins on the Tour so far this season which is more than any other player. 

“It’s not easy for both of us. Both of us a little jet lagged. Him maybe more, coming from Vancouver,” Medvedev said afterward. “Maybe that made the difference, but if I think only about myself, I’m happy with my level. 
“I played great. The start of the match was not easy, but it’s never easy first round, especially in another part of the world. Then I was playing better and better during the match, so I’m happy about my level.”

This week is the first time Medvedev has played since losing to Novak Djokovic in the US Open final. He is seeking to win his fifth title of 2023. 

Also through to the next round is Italy’s Jannik Sinner who struggled at times with his fitness during his troublesome 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-3, win over Dan Evans. The world No.7 served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but failed to capitalize on the opportunity, lost a 3-0 lead in the decider and then started limping on the court. During the closing stages, he also fell when trying to return a ball and appeared to hurt himself. Despite all the drama, Sinner still managed to seal the win. 

Sinner is now 16-1 in opening matches this season. He is bidding to reach his 12th tournament quarter-final in Beijing. 

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Roger Federer Targets Djokovic And Alcaraz For Laver Cup 2024 After Team World Thrashes Europe



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Roger Federer says he would love to see the two highest-ranked players on the men’s Tour play in the next Laver Cup after this year’s tie ended in a crushing defeat for Europe. 


Team World, which is captained by John McEnroe, dominated the clash in Vancouver after surging to a 10-2 lead heading into the final day of competition. On Sunday they were required to win only one match to claim the overall title which they did in the opening doubles match. Ben Shelton and Frances Tiafoe ousted the European duo of Andrey Rublev and Hubert hurkacz 7-6(4), 7-6(5). 

“I am proud of these guys. We brought together a great group of some youth and experience, guys that have been here before. Everybody played well,” McEnroe said of his team’s 13-2 victory.
“It was an awesome week. We kicked some ass.”
“Winning is a whole lot better than losing. We struggled the first couple of years, and now we have tasted winning and it feels good.”

In contrast, Europe didn’t have much joy at the event with their only victory being from Casper Ruud who defeated Tommy Paul on the second day of the tie. Since the start of the competition in 2017, Europe won four consecutive titles but 2023 is the second year in a row that they have been defeated. 

Hoping that this losing streak will come to an end next year when the event is held in Berlin, Federer says he wishes Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz will play. Djokovic has played in the Laver Cup twice before but Alcaraz is yet to make his debut.

“They destroyed Team Europe. Team World played fantastic, they really brought the energy. Everybody brought a point, they were stronger in the doubles. In the singles too, they were moving fast, they were ready to go. They thoroughly deserved victory,” said Federer.
“I would like to see Novak again, Alcaraz and Novak on the same team. Sascha Zverev would be great for the German market. Someone like [Holger] Rune, that really hurt Team Europe. Rune and [Stefanos] Tsitsipas pulling out. [Daniil] Medvedev would be great. I like watching [Andrey] Rublev, and maybe someone will come through,” he added.

Federer is a co-founder of the Laver Cup with his management company Team 8 partnering up with Tennis Australia and Jorge Paulo Lemann to create the event. In 2019 the team competition was awarded ATP Tour status with a spot on the official calendar and access to marketing facilities under an agreement. However, ranking points are not awarded to players. 

Due to the nature of the format, only one match was played on Sunday with fans not getting the chance of watching any singles. Something two-time French Open champion Ruud admits is a problem. 

“Two of the times that I have played was maybe in a way a little bit unfortunate with only one deciding doubles (match) on Sunday,” Ruud commented.
“The crowd didn’t get to see a singles (match) after or whatever. That’s not in my hands to decide what the format looks like.’
“But last year in London was great in many ways because you had so many great players and it came down to almost the last match. When I watched on TV the first series, it was so exciting because Roger played a couple of times, the final match of the Sunday and clutched it for Team Europe. It’s been a couple of years without playing that last singles match. But it’s a great initiative. Me, as a golf fan, watching the Ryder Cup all my life in my childhood, it’s great for tennis to have this event.”

The 2024 Laver Cup will be held at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin between September 20-22. 

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India’s Sumit Nagal Receives Sponsorship Boost After Revelling Financial Struggles



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A leading food and drink company has pledged to support India’s highest-ranked men’s player who was unable to train at his usual facility in Germany earlier this year due to a lack of money. 


Earlier this week world No.159 Sumit Nagal made a public plea for financial support to help him continue his career as a tennis player. In recent years he has been based at the Nansel Tennis Academy in Germany but was unable to train there during the first three months of the 2023 season due to a lack of funds. During this period he relied on his friends, including former player Somdev Devvarman, to help maintain his fitness. 

“If I look at my bank balance, I have what I had at the beginning of the year. It is 900 euros. I did get a bit of help. Mr Prashant Sutar is helping me with MAHA Tennis Foundation and I also get monthly (salary) from IOCL but I don’t have any big sponsor,” Nagal told the Press Trust of India.
“I am investing whatever I am making. The yearly cost where I travel with one coach is costing me around Rs 8 million to Rs 10 million (90,000-113,000 euros) and that is just with one travelling coach (no physio). Whatever I have made I have already invested,” he added.

Nagal, who is 26 years old, has reached the semi-finals of better at five tournaments on the lower-level Challenger Tour so far this season. His only Grand Slam result was at the US Open where he lost in the first round of qualifying to Taro Daniel. It was at the US Open where he took a set off Roger Federer before losing in 2019. 

Despite being the only player from his country to be ranked in the top 400, Nagal is currently not part of the Target Olympics Podium Scheme. An initiative set up by the Indian government to provide support to their top athletes.

After learning about Nagal’s ongoing struggles on the Tour, a leading company has decided to support the tennis player by signing a three-year deal with him. Gatorade specializes in sports drinks and is manufactured by PepsiCo. Under the deal, Nagal will receive support with his recovery and nutrition from experts at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI).  

“I am deeply moved and grateful to join hands with Gatorade. This association comes to me at a pivotal time, and I am thankful my hard work and passion is getting recognized and appreciated. With Gatorade by my side, I am sure I will reach new heights and give it my all both on and off the court,” the Indo-Asian News Service quoted Nagal as saying on Thursday. 

Speaking about the new partnership, Ankit Agarwal from PepsiCo India has hailed the collaboration. Agarwal is the company’s Associate Director of Energy & Hydration. 

“Sumit is a role model for the new-gen athletes of India with his career being a true example of hard work and sweat that makes talent shine,” he said.
“As a brand that is dedicated to supporting athletes in removing barriers to sporting success, we are delighted to welcome Sumit to the Gatorade squad.”

Nagal has been ranked as high as No.122 in the world. So far in his career, he has won four Challenger titles with two of those occurring this year in Italy and Finland. 

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