US Open Day 3 Preview: Five Must-See Matches - UBITENNIS
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US Open Day 3 Preview: Five Must-See Matches

Victoria Azarenka’s match with Daria Gavrilova headlines another star-studded line-up at the US Open on day three.

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Victoria Azarenka (zimbio.com)

By Matthew Marolf

Tuesday was downright sweltering in New York, with many players visibly affected by the conditions. As highlighted by Ben Rothenberg on Twitter, there were already eight retirements on the men’s side through the first two days. The heat and humidity are proving to be a bit too grueling for the best-of- five format. Wednesday’s weather is forecasted to be just as tough, which will definitely impact play once again.
Daria Gavrilova vs. Victoria Azarenka
This will be first up at 11:00am local time on the intimate Court 17, the fourth biggest court on the grounds. Azarenka is a two-time former finalist at the US Open, though she hasn’t advanced that far in five years. Since that time, she’s had injuries, birthed a child, and fought a custody battle, all of which took time away from her career. She’s just 14-10 in 2018, and is just 8-8 since her run to the semi-finals in Miami earlier this year. She’s never played her second round opponent before, the 25th seed from Australia. But Gavrilova has struggled a bit in 2018, with just about as many wins as losses. Daria went 1-3 in the summer hard court lead-up events. That being said, she impressively won her first round match without dropping a single game. While Gavrilova is a spunky competitor, she still cannot be
playing with a ton of confidence. This is a good opportunity for Azarenka to get a victory over a seeded player. The winner may play Sloane Stephens in the next round.
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Daniil Medvedev

Stefanos Tsitsipas (zimbio.com.)

In their only previous meeting, Medvedev prevailed in three sets earlier this year in Miami. But Tsitsipas has come into his own since that match in March. It started in April with his run to the final in Barcelona. After further impressive tournaments at Estoril, Wimbledon, and Washington, DC, he beat four straight top 10 players to make the final at the Rogers Cup. Stefanos now at a career-high ranking of 15th in the world. On the other side of the net, while he hasn’t made quite as flashy a splash, Medvedev has also had some strong results this year. He started 2018 by coming through qualifying to win the title in Sydney, and won his second title of the season just a few days ago in Winston-Salem. Medvedev comes into New York on a seven-match win streak. A dip in Tsitsipas’ level considering his recent stellar results seems inevitable, and it could start here against his 6’6” opponent from Russia. But Tsitsipas showed off his composure and bounce-back ability throughout the Rogers Cup, so I wouldn’t wager money against him. This could be a good one to start the day on Court 10.

Dominic Thiem vs. Steve Johnson

Dominic Thiem (zimbio.com)

The second match of the day on Court 17 will see the ninth seed face an American who’s played extremely well on US soil in 2018. Steve Johnson won titles in Houston and Newport, and made the finals just last week in Winston-Salem. Meanwhile, Theim’s struggles off the clay have continued in 2018. He’s just 3-5 since Roland Garros, and comes into New York on a three-match losing streak, though he’s been hampered throughout the summer by a shoulder injury. Dominic is yet to be farther than the fourth round at a non-clay Major. A year ago at the US Open, he was cruising in his fourth round match against an ill Juan Martin Del Potro, before the Argentine made a comeback of legendary proportions. There’s got to be some scars for Dominic from a defeat such as that. Thiem is 2-1 against Johnson, but both of those wins came on clay. Johnson won their only hard court meeting, last year in Tokyo. All three of their matches have gone the distance. Both men won their first round matches in straight sets. Considering the court surface, as well as both men’s recent results, I like Johnson’s chances to pull off the upset here.

Venus Williams vs. Camila Giorgi


Seven-Time Major Singles Champion Venus Williams will be second up on the new Louis Armstrong Stadium. Venus survived a near-three hour battle with Svetlana Kuznetsova during the hottest part of the day on Monday. Considering her lack of match play this season, and the leg injury she’s been nursing all summer, and 38-year-old Williams will not be 100% for this match in the scorching heat. Of course Giorgi is an unpredictable player who goes for broke on her shots regardless of the score or opponent. Camila was a quarterfinalist at the last Major, with that Wimbledon performance being her best Major result yet. She was defeated by Venus’ sister Serena in that tournament. In their only previous meeting, Venus won in three sets at the 2015 Australian Open. This match could go either way, and could just as easily be decided by Venus’ condition as it could Giorgi’s winner-to-error ratio.

Andy Murray vs. Fernando Verdasco

Andy Murray (zimbio.com)

Over on Arthur Ashe Stadium, this will be the second match of the afternoon. Murray made his return to Grand Slam tennis on Monday, a gruelling battle against James Duckworth that lasted over three hours in the heat of the afternoon. With this being just the ninth match into his comeback from hip surgery, how much will Andy have left? He’ll likely need all the energy he can recapture in his second round, as Verdasco is a significant step up in competition. While he came into the Open with a .500 winning percentage on the year, we’ve seen over the years that he’s capable of some big tennis and some big upsets. That being said, we’ve also seen him buckle under pressure on big occasions. Verdasco had an easier first round than Murray, defeating his countryman Feliciano Lopez in straight
sets. Murray is 13-2 lifetime against Verdasco, and has won their last eight meetings. Fernando’s last win came almost 10 years ago, during his great run to the semi-finals at the 2009 Australian Open. This should be an intriguing second round matchup, and a good litmus test to see exactly where Murray’s game is right now.

Other notable matches on Day 3:
  • Wimbledon Semifinalist Julia Goerges vs. Two-Time Major Semifinalist Ekaterina Makarova.
  • Milos Raonic vs. an always-tricky opponent, Gilles Simon.
  • Plus Six-Time US Open Champion Serena Williams, Defending Champions Rafael Nadal and Sloane
    Stephens, 2016 Champion Stan Wawrinka, and 2009 Champion Juan Martin Del Potro all in action.

Order of play (All times local, -5 hours from BST)

Arthur Ashe Stadium
12pm

S. Stephens (USA) [3] v A. Kalinina (UKR)
A. Murray (GBR) v F. Verdasco (ESP) [31]
7pm
S. Williams (USA) [17] v C. Witthoeft (GER)
R. Nadal (ESP) [1] v V. Pospisil (CAN)
Louis Armstrong Stadium 
11am
T. Maria (GER) v E. Svitolina (UKR) [7]
1pm
C. Giorgi (ITA) v V.Williams (USA) [16]
J. Del Potro (ARG) [3] v D. Kudla (USA)
7pm
J. Sock (USA) [18] v N. Basilashvili (GEO)
G. Muguruza (ESP) [12] v K. Muchova (CZE)
Grandstand 
11am
U. Humbert (FRA) v S. Wawrinka (SUI)
J. Goerges (GER) [9] v E. Makarova (RUS)
J. Isner (USA) [11] v N. Jarry (CHI)
M. Sakkari (GRE) [32] v S. Kenin (USA)
Court 17 
V. Azarenka (BLR) v D. Gavrilova (AUS) [25]
D. Thiem (AUT) [9] v S. Johnson (USA)
J. Chardy (FRA) v K. Anderson (RSA) [5]
L. Safarova (CZE) v A. Barty (AUS) [18)
Court 5
B. Strycova (CZE) [23]  v L. Arruabarrena (ESP)
M. Raonic (CAN) [25] v G. Simon (FRA)
A. Bogdan (ROU) v K. Pliskova (CZE) [8]
5pm
D. Shapovalov (CAN) [28] v A. Seppi
Court 10
D. Medvedev (RUS) v S. Tsitsipas (GRE) [15]
Q. Wang (CHN) v I. Begu (ROU)
C. Norrie (GBR) v D. Lajovic (SRB)
V. King (USA) v R. Peterson (SWE)
Court 13
V. Lapko (BLR) v E. Mertens (BEL) [15]
C. Liu (USA) v A. Sevastova (LAT) [19]
T. Fritz (USA) v J. Kubler (AUS)
G. Pella (ARG) v P.Lorenzi (ITA

 

 

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Acapulco Faces Safety Issues Ahead Of ATP 500 Tournament

Acapulco faces safety and infrastructure issues before the ATP 500 tournament next week.

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Acapulco has faced safety concerns ahead of the tournament as players have been advised to stay in the tournament hotels or tennis venues.

As exclusively revealed by James Gray of the i newspaper, Acapulco is facing security and infrastructure concerns ahead of the tournament.

ATP players have reportedly been told in an email to stay confined to the tournament hotels and the tennis venue as crime rates have increased in the city.

Organisers in Mexico have reassured people that players will be able to train safely with the following statement, “The Arena GNP, venue for the Mexican Open of Tennis, and the host hotel are currently operational to carry out the tournament,” the tournament organisers told the i newspaper.

“Since Tuesday, we have been receiving players in Acapulco, and they have already had the opportunity to train at the venue.”

However there are still infrastructural problems including lack of flights to Acapulco as well as other safety concerns which have been affected by Hurricane Otis.

Despite the problems the ATP seem confident that the event will be safe and secure ahead of the ATP 500 event, “It is not uncommon for players to receive security advisories from ATP as a precautionary measure across more than 250 Tour and Challenger Tour events each season,” A spokesperson told the i newspaper.

“The advisory sent for Acapulco factors in the additional complexity of Hurricane Otis’ disruption. There have been major efforts and investment to restore the Acapulco venue in recent months.”

The ATP 500 event in Acapulco will take place next week with Alex De Minaur being the defending champion.

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Ons Jabeur’s Latest Withdrawal Raises Doubts Over Season Ambitions

Ons Jabeur will be hoping to re-energize herself ahead of a big few months in her career.

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Ons Jabeur’s latest withdrawal in Dubai has raised doubts over how successful the Tunisian can be this season.

Despite having high hopes for revitalizing her season in Dubai, Ons Jabeur has had another setback in 2024.

The Tunisian was forced to withdraw from one of her favourite tournaments of the year in Dubai due to a knee injury.

This withdrawal came days after Jabeur said she was ready for the challenge in Dubai and was excited to compete in front of a passionate crowd in Dubai.

In a statement Jabeur explained her injury and why she was unable to compete in Dubai this week, “After consultation of my doctors and team we have decided that I will have to withdraw from Dubai this week and go for more medical treatments,” Jabeur was quoted by tennishead as saying.

“Looking forward to reconnect with all on the courts for the US swing. Thank you for your continuous support.”

This latest setback isn’t a coincidence though as Jabeur has struggled with injuries ever since her Wimbledon final.

The mental and physical toll that the last eight months have taken of Jabeur are starting to show.

There doesn’t seem to be a plan in place as Jabeur has been open about her mental health struggles since that comprehensive defeat to Marketa Vondrousova at Wimbledon.

That’s a potential problem for Jabeur going forwards as it continues to get tougher for the world number six to find motivation going forwards.

A long break away from tennis may be beneficial for Jabeur as it feels like this summer may be the Tunisian’s last opportunity at Grand Slam glory.

An innovative and new approach may be required for Jabeur as her physical and mental stamina continues to fade with every week.

However will Jabeur manage reinvent herself before it’s too late? Only time will tell and SW19 may be the final destination in that bid.

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Iga Swiatek ‘Proud’ After Claiming Doha Title

World number one Iga Swiatek won her 18th career title in Doha.

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Iga Swiatek defeated Elena Rybakina 7-6(8) 6-2 to claim the title in Doha.

The world number one sealed an 18th career title with a straight sets win over Rybakina.

Swiatek had previously struggled to beat the Kazakh and that continued at the start of the opening set with the Pole conceding a double break deficit at 4-1.

However Swiatek was resilient as she won four games in a row to get back on track in the opening set.

Rybakina broke in the eleventh game and had the opportunity to serve for the opening set but couldn’t take the opportunity.

In the tiebreak, Swiatek converted her fourth set point as she claimed a mammoth tiebreak 10-8.

After that Swiatek seized control as she broke twice after saving two break points in the second game.

The Pole held comfortably to claim her maiden title of the 2024 season in what was her first tournament since a third round exit at the Australian Open.

In her-post match speech Swiatek admitted that she is proud of her performance in Doha this week, “You don’t even know hard it was not to think about it,” Swiatek was quoted by France 24 as saying after winning her 13th match in Doha.

“I came here and was pretty stressed because I felt the expectations. I wanted to do everything step by step like I always do. I’m really happy. I’m really proud of myself.”

Swiatek will now look to continue that form in Dubai next week where she takes on either Sloane Stephens or Clara Burel in her opening round match.

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