US Open Day 4 Preview: Five Must-See Matches - UBITENNIS
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US Open Day 4 Preview: Five Must-See Matches

These are the matches to watch at Flushing Meadows.

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Thursday at the US Open, there will be appetizing action all throughout the grounds of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Both Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer resume their campaigns. Meanwhile the rising stars of the sport will be bidding to make their mark.

Roger Federer vs. Benoit Paire

Roger Federer will move to the day session on Thursday, scheduled second on Arthur Ashe Stadium. Federer is 6-0 lifetime against Paire, but their last match was quite the entanglement. Earlier this year in Halle, Roger had to save two match points to survive a third set tiebreak. As has been the pattern in his career, Paire’s backhand failed him under pressure at the end of that match. Federer looked extremely sharp in his opening round, but will need to stay on his toes against Paire. The veteran Frenchman can cause headaches for his opponents, though he can also self-destruct on court. We know he’s capable of upsetting top players in New York: he took out Kei Nishikori in the opening round in 2015. But if Federer plays as well as he did on Tuesday, Paire should not be able to cause him much grief.

Aryna Sabalenka vs. Vera Zvonareva

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The 20-year-old Sabalenka has been the revelation of the summer on the WTA tour. In the US Open Series, she defeated six top 20 players. Aryna was a semifinalist in Cincinnati, and won her first WTA title just last week in New Haven. She was pushed by American Danielle Collins in her opening round here, but fought through to prevail 6-4 in the third. Her opponent on Thursday is a 33-year-old former US Open finalist, playing in the main draw of the Open for the first time since 2011. Zvonareva came through qualifying to get into her first Major since the 2015 Australian Open, after a few years of retirement. In her final round of qualifying in New York, she had to save match points to come back from a big third-set deficit. Then in the first round of the main draw, her opponent served for the match before Vera mounted another comeback. This is of course their first meeting, and Sabalenka should get through this based on her recent form. But Aryna must be a bit drained after playing so much tennis over the past few weeks, and the past few days have shown us the fighting spirit of Zvonareva. This is an intriguing matchup to start the day out on Court 13. The winner may face Petra Kvitova on Saturday.

Dominika Cibulkova vs. Su-Wei Hsieh

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This match will open the day’s play on Court 11. These are two of the most fun players on the WTA tour to watch. Hsieh played in two of the most entertaining women’s matches of 2018: her three-set loss to Angelique Kerber at the Australian Open, and her upset of World No.1 Simona Halep at Wimbledon. Her unorthodox style of slices mixed with flat groundstrokes can drive her opposition crazy. Meanwhile the 5’3” Cibulkova is one of the toughest competitors out there, with a great defense-to-offense skillset. Dominika has won all three of their previous matches in straight sets, and was the player who defeated Hsieh at Wimbledon following her upset of Halep. However, it’s worth reiterating Hsieh’s success at the Majors this year. Still Cibulkova should be favored here, and would possibly face Angelique Kerber in an enticing third round matchup.

Frances Tiafoe vs. Alex De Minaur

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This ATP Next Gen battle will be the last match of the day on Court 17. Their only previous meeting was last year in Brisbane, where De Minaur, as an Australian wild card, defeated Tiafoe in a tight three-setter. A year later in Brisbane is when Alex really made a name for himself with his run to the semifinals. The very next week in Sydney, the 19-year-old made the final. And earlier this summer in Washington DC, De Minaur advanced to his second tour-level final. 2018 has also been a breakout year for Tiafoe, who won his first ATP title in Delray Beach. In addition, Frances was a finalist on the clay of Estoril earlier this year. He recently reached a career-best ranking of 38th in the world. Both players got their first-ever US Open wins on Tuesday. The defensive skills of De Minaur could frustrate Tiafoe, but Frances will look to use the energy of the American crowd as he did in his opening round. This should be a good one, and could be a matchup we see deciding tournament titles in years to come.

Kei Nishikori vs. Gael Monfils

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Starting off the night session on Louis Armstrong Stadium will be a meeting of two very fast movers around the court who have often been held back by injuries over the years. Nishikori of course is a former finalist in New York, and was a semifinalist the last time he played here in 2016. Kei missed last year’s event, and about six months of action overall, due to a wrist injury. His results this year have been sporadic as he’s worked to get back to 100%. He was a finalist in Monte Carlo, and a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon. Nishikori though went just 3-3 during the US Open Series. Monfils was also a semifinalist here two years ago, where he contributed a bizarre effort (or lack thereof). He appeared to be tanking during his semifinal against Djokovic, a strategy which proved successful in disrupting and annoying Novak for a bit. But in the two years that have followed, Monfils hasn’t gotten farther than the fourth round at any Major, and did not play any events in the US Open Series due to injury. Kei owns a 3-1 record over Gael, though Monfils won their most recent meeting last year at the Rogers Cup in a third set tiebreak. That avenged Nishikori’s win at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where Kei saved match points to advance to the medal rounds. I like Nishikori’s chances to advance against the ever-unpredictable Monfils.

Other notable matches on Day 4:

  • Wimbledon Champion Angelique Kerber vs. Johanna Larsson
  • Wimbledon Champion Novak Djokovic vs. American Tennys Sandgren, a quarterfinalist this year in Australia
  • Plus Major Champions Maria Sharapova, Petra Kvitova, Caroline Wozniacki, and Marin Cilic all in action.

ORDER OF PLAY DAY 4 – FULL SCHEDULE

Play begins 16:00 GMT unless otherwise stated

ARTHUR ASHE STADIUM (Play begins 17:00 GMT)

J.Larsson (SWE) vs A.Kerber (GER) [4]

B.Paire (FRA) vs. R.Federer (SUI) [2]

Play begins no sooner than 00:00 GMT

N.Djokovic (SRB) [6] vs. T.Sandgren (USA)

M.SHarapova (RUS) [22] vs. S.Cirstea (ROU)

LOUIS ARMSTRONG STADIUM

P.Kvitova (CZE) [5] vs. Y.Wang (CHN)

N.Mahut (FRA) vs. A.Zverev (GER) [4]

M.Keys (USA) [14] vs. B.Pera (USA)

Play begins no sooner than 00:00 GMT

G.Monfils (FRA) vs. K.Nishikori (JPN) [21]

L.Tsurenko (UKR) vs. C.Wozniacki (DEN) [2]

GRANDSTAND

A.Sasnovich (BLR) vs. D.Kasatkina (RUS) [11]

C.Garcia (FRA) [6] vs. M.Puig (PUR)

L.Pouille (FRA) [17] vs. M.Baghdatis (CYP)

Play begins no sooner than 00:00 GMT

M.CIlic (CRO) [7] vs. H.Hurkacz (POL)

COURT 17

N.Osaka (JPN) [20] vs. J.Glushko (ISR)

N.Kyrgios (AUS) [30] vs. P.Herbert (FRA)

E.Bouchard (CAN) vs. M.Vondrousova (CZE)

A.de Minaur (AUS) vs. F.Tiafoe (USA)

COURT 5 (Play begins at 17:00 GMT)

F.Fognini (ITA) [14] vs. J.Millman (AUS)

T.Townsend (USA) vs. J.Ostapenko (LAT) [10]

K.Mladenovic (FRA) vs. C.Suarez Navarro (ESP) [30]

L.Djere (SRB) vs. R.Gasquet (FRA) [26]

COURT 10

M.Kukushkin (KAZ) vs. H.Chung (KOR) [23]

K.Bertens (NED) [13] vs. F.Di Lorenzo (USA)

R.Haase (NED) vs. D.Goffin (BEL) [10]

K.Siniakova (CZE) vs. A.Tomljanovic (AUS)

COURT 13

V.Zvonareva (RUS) vs. A.Sabalenka (BLR) [26]

D.Schwartzman (ARG) [13] vs. J.Munar (ESP)

A.Krunic (SRB) vs. K.Flipkens (BEL)

COURT 7

J.Sousa vs. P.Carreno Busta (ESP) [12]

COURT 11

D.Cibulkova (SVK) [29] vs. S.Hsieh (TPE)

J.Benneteau (FRA) vs. J.Struff (GER)

COURT 12

M.Ebden (AUS) vs. P.Kohlschreiber (GER)

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(VIDEO) Jannik Sinner And Lorenzo Musetti Create Italian Grass Court History

Italian tennis keeps getting stronger as Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Musetti make more history on grass.

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Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Musetti created Italian grass court history by becoming the first Italians to reach ATP grass court finals in the same week.

The world number one, Jannik Sinner, overcame Zhizhen Zhang in straight sets to reach the final in Halle.

It’s Sinner’s best ever performance at Halle and will now face doubles partner Hubert Hurkacz for the title on Sunday.

Meanwhile at Queen’s Club Lorenzo Musetti reached his second ATP 500 final with victory over Jordan Thompson in three sets.

It’s Musetti’s third ATP final of his career and his first ATP 500 final since 2022 where he beat Carlos Alcaraz in the Hamburg final.

Ubitennis founder Ublado Scanagatta reflects on the historic achievements by Sinner and Musetti and the impact it could have on the whole pyramid of Italian tennis.

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Lorenzo Musetti Faces Tommy Paul in Queens Final

Lorenzo Musetti will take on Tommy Paul in the Queen’s Club final.

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Lorenzo Musetti beat Australian Jordan Thompson 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in two hours and eighteen minutes to reach the final at Queens for the first time – and now plays Tommy Paul who beat compatriot Sebastian Korda 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) and has the chance to be American number one with victory tomorrow.

In a great match for the spectators with contrasting styles and shot selection, the Italian played better in the key moments in the third set while Thompson was hampered by a back injury throughout, although seemed to be moving well.

“[That was] one of the toughest matches this week,” said Musetti, who fell to the floor after his victory. “Jordan was playing an amazing level, especially the second and third sets. It was a really tough game at 4-3 when I played some amazing shots which gave me the break, and I didn’t shake even under pressure and it was a key moment for me. I’m really proud of what I am achieving this week.”

Thompson had a slow start; his serve was not firing and he was broken in his first service game and was quickly 3-0 down. Musetti played some excellent points, covering all parts of the court showing deft touches at the net as well as depth and power off both wings from the baseline.

Though he won the set convincingly, Thompson refocussed immediately at the start of the second and broke serve straight away when Musetti’s backhand slice sailed wide. He served far better throughout getting far more free points, and levelled the match at a set-all.

However, the key to the match was the game with Thompson serving with new balls at 3-4 down in the third set. Serving wide proved unwise as he was picked off twice by Musetti; first a sliced return down to Thompson’s feet as he was coming in, and then a crunching forehand winner put him 15-30 down.

Later in the game, a beautiful backhand half-volley lob gave Musetti a first breakpoint of the set but he was unable to take it, and moments later he missed another when he chased down a dropshot but the net cord took his forehand wide. He missed a third breakpoint after a solid rally from Thompson, but the pressure finally told when Musetti took his fourth chance when Thompson’s backhand drop volley landed fractionally out. The hawk-eye replay showed just how close it was and Musetti was now just a game away.

Musetti was gifted the first point of the final game with a poor drop shot from Thompson, but followed it up with a well-constructed rally finishing off with a forehand volley into the open court. A half-volley approach shot drew another error from his opponent bringing him match point and a service winner meant he won the game to love and reach an ATP Final for the first time in two years.

Explaining his tattoos after his win, he said: “I love this sport, I’m really passionate about tennis since I was a kid,” “I dreamt to be a tennis player and become number one in the world, and I have another tattoo which says ‘family’ so having a team which is a family. I really care about people, and I am surrounded by people that love me. This win is for them.”

Musetti’s previous two ATP finals brought him success on the hard courts and the clay courts. Could he complete the hattrick of surfaces on the tour? “Absolutely, it would be super nice, said Musetti. “Of course, here in Queens with so much history when you walk on court, when you see this beautiful showcase. And there are a lot of Italians here in London and I want to thank them, I really feel like at home. Tomorrow is my last step, so I want you to come and support me again, see you tomorrow!”


In the title match, he plays American Tommy Paul who beat an aching Sebastian Korda in straight sets 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) to reach his second grass court final after Eastbourne last year.

Serving at 4-5 down, Korda threw in two errors to go 0-30 down, and then fell on his ankle sliding at the back of the court chasing a wide forehand. He lost concentration and soon lost the set, before calling the trainer in the changeover where he also applied ice to his left eye.

Korda, who received a warning after snapping his racket over his knee in the first set, looked sluggish in the second set and seemed as if a succession of injuries may be catching up on him – some time off may well be good for him now before Wimbledon next week.

“I’m happy with how I’m playing,” said Paul afterwards. “I feel like every time I step on the grass, I’m learning something and I’m getting a little better. Hopefully tomorrow [will also] be a little better.”

Paul played solidly all round and only faltered when serving for the match when 5-3 ahead in the second set, and was broken after a bad bounce to give Korda a lifeline. Games went with serve into the tie-break where Korda double faulted at 1-1, and then followed up with three lethargic baseline errors to swap ends at 5-1 down. Yet another error gave Paul five match points and he took his second one with an ace down the middle to take revenge for last week when he lost to Korda in the quarter finals in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

“It was no secret between the two of us, we wanted to play offense, so I feel like I did a pretty good job there at the end,” explained Paul. “When I was serving for it, he played an awesome game and got the break there and put a lot of pressure on me, so I was happy to get through that.”

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Jack Draper Points To Mental Fatigue As Reason For Queen’s Club Exit

Jack Draper is aiming for a big Wimbledon result despite recent mental fatigue.

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Jack Draper has revealed mental fatigue has caught up to him after his Queen’s Club exit against Tommy Paul.

The Brit was a bit flat-footed as he lost 6-3 5-7 6-4 to the American in his quarter-final match.

It was a tiring performance in what has been an action-packed last week for Draper having won his first ATP title in Stuttgart which was followed by a career-best win against Carlos Alcaraz at Queen’s Club.

However, Draper revealed after the match that the recent success has had a price in the form of mental fatigue, “It was tough to play the tennis I wanted to play, but we have to deal with that. It’s part of the game. I felt like I was having to really get myself going. Maybe because the last couple of weeks are catching up with me a little bit,” Draper was quoted by The Independent as saying.

“Physically, I felt good, my body has been great. It just becomes mentally quite taxing having to go day after day. I finished Stuttgart on Sunday, I got here very, very late on Sunday. I was training and then went in again on Tuesday. Then the match yesterday, it felt like there was quite a lot of emotional energy invested in that.

“I’m definitely having to pick myself up, I felt quite flat at times, and I think that showed in my decision-making at times in the match. I played a few more sloppy shots than I wanted to. But if I want to be one of the best players in the world, then I have to keep backing up my performances and get used to going deep every week. That’s what I want to do and what was disappointing about this one.”

It was still a positive tournament for Draper who will now enter the world’s top 30 in the rankings next week.

Now Draper will head into Wimbledon as a seeded player and the last few weeks have been a stern reminder as to the work it takes to succeed at the highest level, “If you want to be a top, top player in the world, you have to back up results week by week, day by day. You know you are in a great place and are one of the best in the world when you are able to do that,” Draper explained.

“Every day we are facing amazing tennis players who can beat you. If you are not quite on your game, for instance today, you lose the match. That is the next stage for me now. I want to try to go deep in tournaments and back it up every week.

“My body is in a good place, these are just things I have to get used to at the highest level and learn. I’m still young so I’m trying to piece a lot of things together. It was my first title last week, I’ve done it at Challengers and Futures, but it’s very different on the main tour so I probably need a bit more time.”

Draper will look for his best ever Wimbledon result when he competes in the third Grand Slam of the season, which starts on the 1st of July.

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