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

With Wednesday’s outer court matches completely rained out, today will be one of the year’s busiest days of tennis.

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Naomi Osaka - US Open 2019 (photo via Twitter, @usopen)

Only nine of 32 singles matches were decided yesterday, meaning we have 55 second round singles matches to be played on Thursday.  The outer courts will be overflowing with quality matchups, some of which were previewed yesterday here.  Today we’ll focus on the day’s most intriguing matchups on Arthur Ashe and Louis Armstrong.  And the best news? The forecast is warm and sunny.

 

Naomi Osaka (1) vs. Magda Linette

Osaka did not play her best in the opening round, but upped her level enough to oust Anna Blinkova in three.  But today she faces a hot player with a lot of confidence. Linette just won her first WTA title last week at the inaugural Bronx Open, storming through qualifying to win eight matches in nine days.  And while Osaka defeated Linette at this year’s Australian Open, Magda prevailed when they played last summer in Washington. Linette is a strong defensive player, so Osaka will need to stay on the offense and manage her unforced error count.  The defending champion still had her knee wrapped up on Tuesday, but it did not appear to be a significant factor. This is a dangerous second round draw, but I expect Osaka to improve her game today and advance.

Rafael Nadal (2) vs. Thanasi Kokkinakis (WC)

With four top 10 seeds already gone in Nadal’s half of the draw, Rafa is now an even heavier favorite to return to the US Open final.  Today he’ll face Australian opposition for the second straight round. As Nick McCarvel highlighted on Twitter, the 23-year-old Australian earned his first win at a Major in over four years on Tuesday.  It’s been an extremely challenging few seasons for Kokkinakis, a promising young player who has suffered from injuries to the point where he considered retiring from the sport. I’m sure he’ll embrace this opportunity to face an all-time great on tennis’ biggest stadium.  They met at the 2014 Australian Open with Nadal prevailing in straight sets, though Thanasi was a 17-year-old wild card at the time. Kokkinakis has shown he’s capable of competing with the game’s best, as he upset Roger Federer in Miami last year. I think Thanasi will make this competitive and compelling, but Rafa is certainly favored.

Sascha Zverev (6) vs. Frances Tiafoe

These are two ATP Next Gen players who have been in significant slumps of late.  Since Tiafoe’s Grand Slam breakthrough at the Australian Open in January, he’s a meek 14-17.  And he’s just 2-5 in his career at the US Open, and his win on Tuesday was thanks to an Ivo Karlovic retirement.  This Slam has also been a troubling event for Zverev, who was just 4-4 in New York prior to this year. Sascha has been playing some subpar tennis in recent months, with his serve remaining particularly troubling.  He’s admitted to being distracted by off-court issues since winning the ATP Finals last November. Zverev leads their head-to-head 3-1, though Tiafoe’s victory was in their only match played in the US, two years ago in Cincinnati.  After watching how Sascha barely survived a five-setter in the last round, I suspect Tiafoe will be the victor today, especially with the New York crowd behind him.

Timea Babos (Q) vs. Coco Gauff (WC)

The 15-year-old American continues to amaze.  In front of a packed Louis Armstrong Stadium two days ago, Coco came back from a set down to defeat Anastasia Potapova, another impressive young talent.  And now Gauff draws a qualifier in the second round, in seemingly a winnable match. But Babos is far from a pushover. As a qualifier, she’s already accumulated four wins over the past 10 days.  She’s currently a part of the top-seeded team in the women’s doubles event, and has reached the quarterfinals or better in doubles at all of the last eight Majors. While that success hasn’t translated over to the singles court, she did reach the third round here three years ago.  However, I think Cocomania will continue to run wild in Flushing Meadows. Gauff showed on Tuesday, as she did at Wimbledon last month, her ability to find a way to win even when her best tennis is eluding her.

Caroline Wozniacki (19) vs. Danielle Collins

This is a huge contrast in styles, between the defensive Wozniacki and the ultra-offensive Collins.  The 25-year-old American was a hugely surprising semifinalist in Australia this year. But Collins owns a losing record since that run, and pulled out of last week’s Bronx Open with an undisclosed injury.  Meanwhile Wozniacki has endured a tough year after revealing she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis a year ago. She’s just 15-12 this season, having pulled out of multiple events. She appeared down and out in her opening round against Yafan Wang, but battled her way back to victory.  Caroline and Danielle have split two previous meetings, both of which were on clay. If Wozniacki is feeling close to 100% today, I like her defense skills to overcome the oft-erratic offense of Collins. Plus, Wozniacki knows how to win in New York. She has more wins at the US Open than any other Major, and is a two-time former finalist.

Other notable matches on Day 4:

Wimbledon champion Simona Halep (4) vs. Taylor Townsend (Q), the second consecutive American qualifier Halep faces at this event.

Madrid champion Kiki Bertens (5) vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who was a quarterfinalist in Australia earlier this year.  Pavlyuchenkova has taken two of their three recent hard court meetings.

Petra Kvitova (6) vs. Andrea Petkovic.  Petkovic owns a 5-3 record over Kvitova, and defeated her in the opening round of last year’s Australian Open 10-8 in the third.

In a battle between two of the WTA’s feistiest players, Aryna Sabalenka (9) vs. Yulia Putintseva.

Canadian teenage superstar Bianca Andreescu (15) vs. Kirsten Flipkens (LL), who hasn’t advanced beyond the second round of a Major in over five years.

The American No.1 John Isner (14) vs. Vasek Pospisil, who upset Karen Khachanov on Tuesday.

2014 champion Marin Cilic (22) vs. Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, a 28-year-old from Germany with a 4-10 career record at the Majors.  Since reaching last year’s US Open quarterfinals, Cilic has almost as many losses as wins.

Order of play

Arthur Ashe Stadium – 5pm (BST) start

A Zverev [6] vs F Tiafoe

S Halep [4] vs T Townsend

Not before 12am (BST)

C Wozniacki [19] vs D Collins

T Kokkinakis vs R Nadal [2]

Louis Armstrong Stadium – 4pm (BST) start

N Osaka [1] vs M Linette

J Isner [14] vs J Struff

Not before 12am (BST)

C Gauff vs T Babos

C Stebe vs M Cilic [22]

Grandstand – 4pm (BST) start

S Kenin [20] vs L Siegemund

H Dellien vs D Medvedev [5]

J Ostapenko vs A Riske

Not before 10pm (BST)

A Hoang vs N Kyrgios [28]

Court 5 – 4pm (BST) start

A de Minaur vs C Garin [31]

J Konta [16] vs M Gasparyan

K Flipkens vs B Andreescu [15]

Not before 10pm (BST)

H Laaksonen vs D Shapovalov

Court 10 – 4pm (BST) start

K Mladenovic vs F Ferro

J Brooksby vs N Basilashvili [17]

K Kanepi vs D Vekic [23]

F Verdasco [32] vs H Chung

Court 13 – 4pm (BST) start

M Sakkari [30] vs S Peng

E Alexandrova vs S Zhang [33]

A Pavlyuchenkova vs K Bertens [7]

T Sandgren vs V Pospisil

Court 4 – 4pm (BST) start

K Muchova vs S Hsieh [29]

F Lopez v Y Nishioka

J Goerges [26] vs F Di Lorenzo

Court 6 – 4pm (BST) start

G Barrere vs D Goffin [15]

A Bedene vs B Paire [29]

A Kalinskaya vs K Ahn

Court 7 – 4pm (BST) start

D Kudla vs D Lajovic [27]

E Mertens [25] vs Kr Pliskova

A Sabalenka [9] vs Y Putintseva

D Schwartzman [20] vs E Gerasimov

Court 8 – 4pm (BST) start

P Martic [22] vs A Bogdan

P Carreno Busta vs R Berankis

A Bublik vs T Fabbiano

Court 9 – 4pm (BST) start

I Swiatek vs A Sevastova [12]

M Berrettini [24] vs J Thompson

P Andujar vs L Sonego

Court 11 – 4pm (BST) start

P Cuevas vs K Majchrzak

S Cirstea vs A Bolsova

A Rublev vs G Simon

Court 12 – 4pm (BST) start

D Evans vs L Pouille [25]

A Popyrin vs M Kukushkin

Court 14 – 4pm (BST) start

R Peterson vs D Yastremska [32]

M Kecmanovic vs P Lorenzi

Court 15 – 4pm (BST) start

O Jabeur vs A Sasnovich

A Kontaveit [21] vs A Tomljanovic

Grand Slam

Tennis Umpire Bernardes Suffers Heart Attack In Melbourne Quarantine

The well-known official is said to be ‘doing well’ after suffering a major health scare.

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Carlos Bernardes (image via Tennis World USA)

Renowned tennis umpire Carlos Bernardes was rushed to hospital after suffering a heart attack inside his hotel room, according to various sources.

 

The Brazilian tennis official was staying in one of the hotels currently used for quarantine in Melbourne. A picture of Bernardes being taken to hospital in an ambulance has been posted on social media but there have been no official statement from local authorities on the situation. It is understood that he is ‘doing well’ following the medical emergency.

Australian media reported that Bernardes was in ‘hard quarantine’ which is the system used for those who have been classed as potential contact cases of people who test positive for COVID-19. At present there are 72 players in this kind of quarantine after a series of flights en route to Australia reported positive cases. Under government rules, they are not allowed to leave their room for 14 days. Others are allowed to leave their rooms for up to five hours each day.

According to Brazilian tennis official Ricardo Reis Bernardes experienced no complications and he is continuing to be medicated. Reis has issued details concerning Bernardes’ condition in a statement which has been published by Tenis Brasil.

“He had a heart attack in the morning. We are at the same hotel. When I saw the ambulance arrive, I even sent him a photo saying that someone was not well, and he said: ‘I was the one who called. I am in pain. In the chest and such,” he said.
“Luckily he called quickly and the service came too.’
“It was a heart attack, the veins was clogged. But he was medicated and he spent a few hours in the hospital taking medication. We spoke several times yesterday afternoon and evening [Wednesday, Australian time].
“”Now, in the morning [Thursday], I haven’t talked to him yet. But he was well and medicated. They were going to put on a stent, but he didn’t have to. They had the veins unblocked and etc. And he was fine. In the afternoon and at night he was fine, we talked in the afternoon and at night and everything was fine “

Bernardes is a veteran Tour official after having worked on the ATP Tour since 1990. He has taken charge of numerous high-profile men’s matches including two US Open finals in 2006 and 2008, as well as the 2011 Wimbledon final.

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Novak Djokovic’s Quarantine Letter Fails To Win Over Officials

Three senior government figures have dismissed a list of demands set out by the world No.1 over the weekend.

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Efforts by Novak Djokovic to make adjustments to the conditions for players quarantining in Australia have been overwhelmingly rejected by government officials.

 

On Sunday it was reported that the 17-time Grand Slam champion wrote a letter to Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley in which he outlined a series of measures he would like to see implemented in order to make the current conditions for players better. Among his list of suggestions, Djokovic called for players to be moved to private housing with access to tennis courts. He also urged for more testing to be conducted in a bid to reduce the length of ‘hard quarantine’ some are going through.

Djokovic’s letter comes as at least 72 players are currently placed in stricter quarantine after being classed as a close contact to a positive case. En route to Melbourne a series of flights reported at least one person on board have tested positive for COVID-19. Under regional rules, all those on board the plans are classed as closed contacts. Those affected are required to stay in their room for 14 days and will not be allowed to train.

Responding to the letter Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has shut down Djokovic’s ideas without any hesitation. Speaking to reports Mr Andrews insisted that no special treatment will be given.

“People are free to provide lists of demands but the answer is no,” he said.
“I know that there’s been a bit of chatter from a number of players about the rules – well, the rules apply to them as they apply to everybody else, and they were all briefed on that before they came and that was a condition on which they came.’
“There’s no special treatment here … because a virus doesn’t treat you specially.”

Emma Cassar, who is the COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria Commissioner, shares a similar view to the Premier regarding Djokovic. Stating that there will be no changes made to the current rules.

“It’s a firm NO from me,” Cassar told 3AW Radio.

Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is showing little sympathy to Djokovic’s initiative as he called for everybody to continue following the rules implemented.

“I think it’s just time people followed the rules, do their quarantine, play Tennis,” Morrison commented on the matter. “I’m sure they’ll put on a great spectacle and the Australian Open will go ahead.”

Under a plan set out by Tennis Australia, Djokovic is spending his quarantine in Adelaide along with the three highest ranked players on both the ATP and WTA Tour’s. Meanwhile, others are residing in Melbourne.

The Australian Open will start on February 8th.

The things Djokovic asked for

  • Fitness and training material in all rooms
  • Decent food, according to the level of the tournament and from an elite athlete
  • Reduce the days of isolation for the 47* isolated players, carrying out more tests that confirm that all are negative
  • Permission to visit your coach or physical trainer, as long as both have passed the PCR
  • If the previous proposal has the green light, that both the player and his coach are on the same floor of the hotel
  • Move as many players as possible to private houses with a court to train

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Grand Slam

REPORT: Novak Djokovic Sends Letter To Australian Open Chief Over Quarantine Measures

There is a fresh headache for Craig Tiley with the world No.1 calling for changes to the current system.

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Novak Djokovic has issued a letter to the head of the Australian Open calling for new measures to be put in place to enable fairness for all players in quarantine, according to the Spanish website Punto de Break.

 

It is understood that the 17-time Grand Slam champion has called for Craig Tiley to do more to support those who have had to go into a stricter quarantine after being on board a plane with somebody who tested positive for COVID-19. Under rules set out by the local government, all players in this situation must isolate for 14 days in their room and not leave. At the time of Djokovic’s letter two planes carrying players were affected but since then a third has emerged. French player Alexandre Muller has confirmed that those who were on flight QR7485 from Doha must enter the strict quarantine. It is unclear as to how many players this will affect.

Journalist Fernando Murciego has reported that he has obtained information concerning Djokovic’s letter in which he calls for a series of measurements. Including the use of more PCR testing to help reduce the 14-day period of strict quarantine for players. He has also called for as many players as possible to be moved to private houses with tennis courts. Something that is unlikely to happen given the complexity and number of players.

According to Punto de Break, Djokovic has asked for the following :-

  • Fitness and training material in all rooms
  • Decent food, according to the level of the tournament and from an elite athlete
  • Reduce the days of isolation for the 47* isolated players, carrying out more tests that confirm that all are negative
  • Permission to visit your coach or physical trainer, as long as both have passed the PCR
  • If the previous proposal has the green light, that both the player and his coach are on the same floor of the hotel
  • Move as many players as possible to private houses with a court to train

*This number has since increased following confirmation of the Doha flight.

Djokovic, who is the former president of the ATP Player Council before resigning to help set up the PTPA, has not commented on the letter and neither has Tiley. Although one government official has already stated that there will be no changes to the length of their quarantine system.

The rules of close contacts haven’t changed, and there’s no other way you can consider this. If you’re on a plane for 16 to 24 hours in air that circulates throughout the plane, you are a close contact.” The Commissioner for COVID-19 Quarantine in Victoria, Emma Cassar, told reporters on Sunday. .
“The program is set up to keep people safe. We will not be modifying the program or watering it down under any circumstances.”

Whilst Tiley has the say when it comes to the running of the Melbourne Grand Slam his power is somewhat limited by his own government and their policy on COVID-19. Tennis Australia says they are currently in discussions with both players and relevant parties regarding the scheduling of future events.

Djokovic is spending his quarantine in Adelaide along with the top three ranked players on both the ATP and WTA Tour’s.

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