US Open Day 10 Preview: The Quarterfinals Conclude - UBITENNIS
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US Open Day 10 Preview: The Quarterfinals Conclude

The severe heat in New York continued to significantly impact the tournament on Tuesday. Luckily temperatures are forecasted to become more comfortable again starting on Wednesday.

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Wednesday will see two former champions and two former finalists battle it out for a place in this year’s US Open semi-finals.

 

In the men’s draw, Marin Cilic will take on Kei Nishikori is what will be a repeat of the 2014 US Open final, which Cilic won in three sets. Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic will continue his bid for a second consecutive major title. Taking on Australian underdog John Millman, who stunned Roger Federer on Monday.

As for the women, Naomi Osaka is seeking a place in her first ever grand slam semi-final when she faces Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko. A win would make her the first Japanese woman to reach the last four of a major since Kimiko Date at the 1996 Wimbledon Championships. In the other match, 2017 runner-up Madison Keys faces Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro.

Marin Cilic vs. Kei Nishikori

This is a rematch from the 2014 US Open final, which of course Cilic won in straight sets for his only Major title. Marin has since appeared in two further finals at Grand Slam events, while Kei is yet to repeat that feat. Nishikori had actually dominated this rivalry up to that 2014 final, but Cilic has now won three of their last four meetings. Kei though won their only 2018 matchup, in April on the clay of Monte Carlo. Both men had complicated third round matches on Saturday: Nishikori against Diego Schwartzman, and Cilic against Alex de Minaur, in a thrilling match that went until 2:22am. Marin recovered impressively though to take out David Goffin in straight sets on Monday, while Kei easily dispatched of Philipp Kohlschreiber. Both men should be fresh for this quarterfinal. Cilic has been the more prominent player on tour over the past two seasons, as Kei hasn’t been to a Major semifinal since the 2016 US Open. But Nishikori appears to be fully healthy for the first time in a long time, and has played a bit sharper than Cilic in this tournament. In what will be a baseline battle, Kei’s movement may prove the difference, especially on the slower-playing courts this year in New York. However, I wouldn’t count out Marin, who’s stepped up well in at the Majors many times, and was a finalist at the last Grand Slam event played on a hart court. While I’m completely unsure who will win, I’m confident we’re in for a great match.

Novak Djokovic vs. John Millman

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Well, this is not the match the tennis world was anticipating. John Millman’s upset of Roger Federer in the heat and humidity on Monday night prevented the Federer/Djokovic quarterfinal from becoming a reality. But full credit to Millman, who played an excellent match against the all-time great on tennis’ biggest court. And the 29-year-old Australian is fully worth our attention and admiration. As Darren Cahill highlighted on ESPN in the US, Millman was a pro for seven years before finally getting his first tour-level victory. Cahill also spoke of how dedicated Millman has been in his training and on the practice court, so this is far from an overnight success story. And how can you not like a guy who is too humble to even celebrate the biggest win of his life, out of respect to his opponent? Does Millman have a shot against Djokovic? Coming off such a physically and emotionally draining match, it’s highly unlikely. Their only previous match was at Queen’s Club earlier this year, and Djokovic dropped just three games. Millman will surely give his all, and provide us with some entertaining rallies. But Djokovic should prevail comfortably here, especially playing at night, and with cooler temperatures on Wednesday. Want further evidence Novak is the favorite? This is the 11th straight time Djokovic has made the quarterfinals in New York, and he’s 10-0 at this stage.

Madison Keys vs. Carla Suarez Navarro

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Keys is through to her third Major quarterfinal this year, and her fourth out of the last five Grand Slam events. She was dominant against Dominika Cibulkova in her last round. Suarez Navarro is coming off her defeat of Maria Sharapova on Monday night, and is into her seventh Major quarterfinal. Unfortunately, Carla is 0-6 at this stage. She’s also 0-3 against Keys, though all three of their matches have gone three sets, so none have been straightforward for Madison. Suarez Navarro will need to use all of her variety and guile to counter Keys’ power. But with the night crowd in New York on her side, Madison is the favorite to return to the semifinals for the second straight year.

Naomi Osaka vs. Lesia Tsurenko

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The only other time these two faced off was in a 25K tournament in Mexico, back in 2014. Osaka won in straight sets, but needless to say the US Open quarterfinals are a bit of a different situation. That’s especially true when it’s the first Major quarterfinal for both players. It’s shocking to see Tsurenko still alive in this tournament considering how much she was suffering in the heat for the first half of her fourth round match. Lesia was down a set and a break to Marketa Vondrousova on an extremely hot Monday afternoon, feeling dizzy and appearing as if she might retire. As she described in her post-match interview, she saw the shade would soon creep across the court, and told herself to just try to survive another few minutes, and she would feel better. Sure enough, she not only completed the match, she won it. It’s been a breakout season for the 29-year-old Ukranian, who also made the fourth round of Roland Garros and the quarters in Cincinnati. Tsurenko defeated Muguruza in Cincy, and Wozniacki earlier in this tournament. But she won’t be the favorite against Osaka, who has a much bigger game, and impressively ousted the in-form Aryna Sabalenka in an exciting fourth round match. We’ve seen Osaka be overwhelmed by big moments in the past, but the 20-year-old has matured into a more composed competitor this season. This feels like Osaka’s moment to take her career to the next level.

Order of play

Arthur Ashe Stadium – 17:00 BST start
Women’s Singles
N. Osaka (JPN) [20] vs. L. Tsurenko (UKR)
Men’s Singles
M. Cilic (CRO) [7] vs. K. Nishikori (JPN) [21]
Not before 0:00 BST
Women’s Singles
C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) [30] vs. M. Keys (USA) [14]
Men’s Singles
N. Djokovic (SRB) [6] vs. J. Millman (AUS)

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Simona Halep ‘Happy To Be Back’ Amid Uncertainty Over US Open Plans

The Romanian still has reservations about her future plans after taking her first international flight in five months.

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World No.2 Simona Halep admits the prospect of travelling from Europe to America will be ‘mentally tough’ as she ponders whether or not to play at the US Open.

 

The reigning Wimbledon champion is set to return to competitive tennis in the Czech Republic where she will play her first tournament in five months at the Prague Open. Halep was originally due to make her return in Palermo but withdrew from the event due to ‘travelling anxiety’ despite being assured she wouldn’t have to go through quarantine. Speculation has mounted in recent weeks about if the Romanian would travel to the US Open later this year with the 28-year-old confirming she will make her final decision after Prague.

“I haven’t made the final decision yet,” AFP quoted Halep as telling reporters during a virtual press conference on Sunday.
“The travelling from Europe is a little bit tough with changing flights — we don’t have straight flights — so it’s going to be tough for me personally, mentally,” she told a video conference.
“I don’t want to put myself into that stress. As I said I haven’t decided yet, but the conditions are tough for me at this moment.”

Three members of the top 10 on the women’s Tour have already pulled out of the New York major, which will be played behind closed doors for the first time in history. Ash Barty, Kiki Bertens and Elina Svitolina have all withdrawn from the major due to concerns. In comparison, only one member of the top 10 on the men’s Tour, Rafael Nadal, has withdrawn specifically related to COVID-19 concerns.

Prague is Halep’s first international trip after being in lockdown in Romania since February. A country which reported 1,378 new coronavirus cases and 50 new related deaths on Friday in what was their highest 24-hour figure since the pandemic began.

“I’m a bit nervous but things are very controlled here and very safe so I feel safe,” she said upon arrival in the Czech capital.
“I’m happy to be back, I’m happy to be healthy.”

It will be double duty for Halep in Prague. Besides being the top seed in the singles draw, she will also be playing the doubles alongside local favourite Barbora Strycova. Who reached the semi-final of Wimbledon last year before losing to Serena Williams. It is the first time ever the two are playing alongside each other on the Tour.

“I’m sure we will have fun. I’m sure that she will understand if I miss easy balls at the net, and I hope we’ll enjoy it.” Halep commented on their collaboration.

Halep will start her singles campaign against Slovenia’s Polona Hercog.

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REPORT: Madrid Open To Be Axed Amid COVID-19 Concerns In Latest Setback For Tennis

Hopes of Spain holding their top tennis event in 2020 are over.

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The world of tennis is set to suffer another severe blow with multiple media sources confirming that organisers of Spain’s most prestigious tennis tournament will officially cancel their event on Tuesday. 

 

The Mutua Madrid Open will be removed from the 2020 calendar following a meeting involving tournament owner Iron Tiriac. Recently doubts have been cast on the event after local health officials called for it to be suspended due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Although the final decision was up to Tiriac and his team. It had been due to take place between September 12 to 20, following the conclusion of the US Open. 

“We have to be realistic now, we have to accept that health is always the priority. We must not endanger anyone, neither the fans, nor the players, nor the staff, all those who come to Madrid in September,” tournament director Feliciano Lopez told L’Equipe over the weekend. 

Spain has seen their rate of COVID-19 cases rapidly rise since the country ended its lockdown. According to El Pais, the number of cases recorded within 24 hours is eight times the amount compared to 40 days ago. Rising from 334 (June 20) to 2,789 (between July 29 and 30). On Friday July 31st there were 3092 new cases in the country in what is a post-lockdown record.

Held at the Caja Magica, the Madrid Open is a key event for both men and women. It is currently classed as a Masters 1000 for the men and as a Premier Mandatory for the women. Last year each of the singles champions took home €1,202,520 in prize money. It was originally set to be played in May but was postponed due to the pandemic.

The demise of Madrid this year is another setback for what is becoming a rapidly thinning 2020 tennis calendar. Within the past two weeks China has confirmed that they will not be hosting any tournaments this year, Japan’s scrapped it’s premier women’s event and the Italian Open has been advised to not allow any fans to their event this year. 

As a result of the latest development, only two WTA clay-court events will take place after the US Open leading up to Roland Garros. They are both set to get underway on September 21st in Rome and Strasbourg. As for the men, Rome will be their only point of call. 

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Serena Williams leads a high-quality line-up in Lexington

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Twenty-three time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams will be the top seed at the inaugural edition of the Lexington Open from 10th August 2020 on the same week as the Prague Open. The Lexington Open will be the first US tournament of the US hard court season, which will continue with the Western and Southern Open and the US Open, which will be held in the same venue at Flushing Meadows in New York. 

 

Serena was very close to tie Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles, but lost four times in a Major final after giving birth to her daughter Olympia. 

The US legend will play her first match since she hepled the US team beat Latvia in the Fed Cup last March in Everett. There Serena beat Jelena Ostapenko but she was defeated by Anastasija Sevastova. 

Williams will lead a star-studded line-up, which features this year’s Australian Open finalist and former Roland Garros and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, Aryna Sabalenka, Sloane Stephens, Johanna Konta, Amanda Anisimova and Yulia Putintseva, Ons Jabeur, Victoria Azarenka, Heather Watson and US rising star Cori Gauff. 

Sabalenka won two consecutive editions of the Wuhan tournament in 2018 and 2019, in Shenzhen in 2019, the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai in 2019 and the Doha final in 2020. 

Stephens won her first Grand Slam title at the US Open in 2017 and reached the final at 2018 Roland Garros. She finished runner-up to Elina Svitolina at the 2018 WTA Finals in Singapore. The US player lost to Canadian teenager Leylah Annie Fernandez in Monterrey in her last WTA Tour match before the pandemic. 

Amanda Anisimova won her maiden WTA title in Bogotà in 2019 in her first professional tour tournament on clay. Last year the young US player beat Simona Halep en route to becoming the youngest semifinalist at the French Open since 2006. This year Amanda lost to Serena Williams in the semifinal in Auckland last January. 

Johanna Konta reached the French Open semifinal and the Rome Final in 2019. The British player enjoyed her best year in 2017, when she won the Miami title and reached the Wimbledon semifinal rising to her best ranking at world number 4. 

The Top seed Open will be the first WTA tournament to be played in the United States since the coronavirus pandemic swept across the United States. The Kentucky tournament will feature a 32-player singles draw and a 16-player doubles field. 

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