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

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.



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 Australia Face Calls To Honour Margaret Court In 2020 Amid Potential Backlash

The 77-year-old is regarded as one of her country’s greatest-ever tennis players, but has been criticised for a series of homophobic comments she has made.



Controversial tennis legend Margaret Court has said she wants to be treated the same as fellow former great Rod Laver concerning the upcoming anniversary of one of the biggest milestones she has ever achieved in her career.


2020 will mark 50 years since Court won all four grand slam titles within the same season. An elusive achievement in the world of tennis. Only three women in total have managed to complete a calendar grand slam – Maureen Connolly (1953) and Steffi Graf (1988) are the others. Court also still holds the record for the most grand slam singles titles ever won by a tennis player at 24. One ahead of Serena Williams.

Court said she has received no contact from Tennis Australia regarding any plans to mark her milestone. Laver, who is the only man to ever complete the calendar grand slam twice, was honoured this year for his accomplishment. It is the 50th anniversary of when he claimed the four major trophies back in 1969.

“I think Tennis Australia should sit and talk with me (about the anniversary),” Court told Nine News Australia.
“They have never phoned me. Nobody has spoken to me directly about it. I think they would rather not confront it.
“They brought Rod in from America. If they think I’m just going to turn up, I don’t think that is right. I think I should be invited. I would hope they would pay my way to come like they paid for his, and honour me. If they are not going to do that, I don’t really want to come.”

Any move to honour Court at the Australian Open in January is likely to split opinion. The 77-year-old has been criticised for a series of homophobic remarks she has made for many years. In 1990 she once said that Martina Navratilova was a bad role model for children because she is gay. A vocal opponent of same-sex marriage, she said in another interview in 2017 that tennis was ‘full of lesbians’ and those who identify as transgender were ‘the work of the devil.’ In another incident, Court wrote a comment to an Australian newspaper is which she said took a swipe at former player Casey Dellacqua after she announced the birth of her child. Dellacqua is in a same-sex relationship.

There have been calls for Court’s name to be removed from one of the premier stadiums at the Australian Open in light of hew views. Billie Jean King, who is one of the founding members of the WTA, has previously called for the arena to be renamed.

“I don’t feel any of that should be brought into my tennis career,” Court told The Sydney Morning Herald about calls for her name being removed. “It was a different phase of my life from where I am now and if we are not big enough as a nation and a game to face those challenges there is something wrong.
“Many gay people think my name shouldn’t come off it. There are many gay people who don’t believe in gay marriage. They know that marriage is between a man and a woman and they will say that. Then you get the radicals coming at me, you have got these minority groups in every area now having a say and taking on nations and taking on big companies.”

Whilst her comments have triggered controversy, Court has insisted that she has nothing against gay people. Claiming she has members of the LGBT community attend her church. Following retirement from tennis, Court became a Christian pastor.

“I have gay people in the church. It is nothing against the people themselves, I just said what the Bible said. If I can’t say what the Bible says, there is something wrong.”

The ball is now very much in the court of Tennis Australia, who oversees the running of the Melbourne major. Although coming to a decision will not be easy. In June they were named as one of the best sporting organisations for LGBTIQ+ inclusion in the annual Pride Sport Awards in Melbourne.

“As previously stated, Tennis Australia recognises the tennis achievements of Margaret Court, although her views do not align with our values of equality, diversity and inclusion.” A statement from Tennis Australia reads.

During her career Court won 140 titles in the Open Era (1968 onwards). 92 of those were in singles and 48 were in doubles. At the 1963 Australian Open and 1970 US Open she won all three titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles.

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Grand Slam

Simona Halep To Change Grand Slam Schedule Ahead of Olympics

The Romanian is set to play extra events in the majors in a bid to boost her chances of winning a medal in Tokyo.



Former world No.1 Simona Halep has her eyes set on winning more than one medal at the 2020 Olympic Games after confirming she will play extra matches during three grand slam tournaments next year.


The 28-year-old intends to participate in the mixed doubles along with a yet to be decided compatriot. It will be a rare appearance for Halep, who has only played in two mixed doubles tournaments throughout her professional career so far. Doing so at the 2015 US Open and 2016 French Open with Horia Tacu.

Despite her lack of experience in the discipline, the Romanian is hoping to build some momentum in the grand slams next year. A two-time grand slam champion, she has focused solely on singles competition at every major for over four years.

“I have only Melbourne, maybe French Open, and grass. Grass is a little bit dangerous because the surface is tough and you can get hurt a little bit with the men’s serve.” Halep told reporters in Beijing.
“But the goal is to play all the time mixed doubles with my partner to get used to the game, to be able to achieve a good result at the Olympics.”

Halep made her Olympic debut back in 2012, but opted not to play in the 2016 edition. In London she lost in the first round of both the singles and women’s doubles competition. Halep is bidding to become only the third Romanian tennis player in history to win an Olympic medal. Following in the footsteps of Tecau and Florin Mergea, who won a silver medal together in Rio 2016.

“I want to win any medal in the Olympics to fulfil everything I have done in tennis,” Halep said following her triumph at Wimbledon in July. “It is a chance to play for my country and I have always loved to do that. The disappointment from [losing in Fed Cup] this year really hurt me so to play well to get a medal, it would be a dream.”

The world No.6 has also been confirmed as her country’s flag-bearer for the upcoming event in Tokyo.

Playing through the pain

Whilst her long-term goal has been set out, Halep’s focus for the immediate future is on this week’s China Open. She kicked-off her campaign on Sunday with a clinical 6-1, 6-1, win over Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson. Peterson was her first real test since withdrawing from Wuhan due to a back injury. Whilst the score looks positive, she is not getting too ahead of herself.

“I’m not 100 percent recovered, I still feel pain,” said the sixth seed.
“Always when you have an injury, it’s a little bit risky.
“But I accepted it, I took the risk.”

A former runner-up of the tournament, Halep is hopeful of having a strong run. Beijing is her first tournament since turning 28 on Friday. To mark the occasion, she celebrated the milestone at one of the world’s most prestigious landmarks.

“Every year it’s nice to come back here,” she said. “This tournament’s a big tournament and important for everybody, and the atmosphere is very nice. You can see everyone is focused on their job.
“This year I celebrated my birthday at the Great Wall. It was actually the first time I’ve visited the Great Wall after coming here many years in a row. I think it’s going to be a good week for me—even if I was a little bit injured last week, I feel good now. I’m feeling good to play and to win matches.”

Halep will play Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova in the second round on Monday.

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Roger Federer Can Win Australian Open, Says Laver

The 81-year-old speaks out about the world No.3.



Roger Federer (@usopen on Twitter)

Tennis legend Rod Laver has back world No.3 Roger Federer to add to his record-breaking grand slam tally in the future.


The 38-year-old currently holds the record for most major singles won by a man at 20. However, both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are closing in on that tally. Djokovic is currently on 16 and Nadal in one adrift on 19 following his latest triumph at the US Open. Meanwhile, Federer has only featured in the final in one out of the last six grand slam tournaments. Doing so at Wimbledon in July where he failed to convert two championship points against Djokovic. His last major title took place at the 2017 Australian Open.

Despite the recent lack of major silverware for the Swiss Maestro, Australian great Laver believes he can still challenge for the biggest titles in the sport. Saying that it is possible that Federer could continue playing until the age of 40.

“He seems to be fine and that’s what counts. If you love the game as much as you do, that’s fine.” He commented on Federer’s longevity in the sport.
“I also give Roger a very good chance of winning the Australian Open again in Melbourne in January.”

Laver admits that it is possible that the two other members of the Big Three could end their careers with more titles than Federer. Nadal is five years younger than him and Djokovic is six. However, he believes there is one thing that separates him from the others.

“Nadal, Djokovic and Federer are all big champions. But Roger surpasses tennis, the world of sport, and sports in general in a way that no one in history has done before him. He is the most recognized athlete in the world and a figurehead for this great game.

The first encounter between Laver and Federer took place 13 years ago in Melbourne at the Australian Open. Since then, the two have formed a bond with Laver saying they ‘clicked’ straight away.

The biggest example of the friendship between the two is perhaps best illustrated by the Laver Cup. An annual team tournament where Europe takes on the rest of the world. Similar to that of Golf’s Ryder Cup. Named in honour of the tennis great, Federer is one of the co-founders of the event. Which has since been granted a place within the ATP Calendar. Although no ranking points are on offer.

This year’s edition will be held in Switzerland for the first time. Critics have been quick to point out the disparity between the two teams. Europe consists of all players ranked inside the top 20 compared to one from the world team. However, Laver dismissed the significance.

“I do not think so. The team World has excelled in both Laver Cups in doubles and also celebrated one or two big victories in singles. I expect it to be exciting.” He said.

The three-day 2019 Laver Cup will get underway in Geneva on Friday.

List of players participating

 Team Europe
Captain:  Björn Borg
Vice-captain:  Thomas Enqvist
Player Rank
 Rafael Nadal 2
 Roger Federer 3
 Dominic Thiem 5
 Alexander Zverev 6
 Stefanos Tsitsipas 7
 Fabio Fognini 11
 Team World
Captain:  John McEnroe
Vice-captain:  Patrick McEnroe
Player Rank
 John Isner 20
 Milos Raonic 24
 Nick Kyrgios 27
 Taylor Fritz 30
 Denis Shapovalov 33
 Jack Sock 208

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