US Open Day 6 Preview: Five Must-See Matches - UBITENNIS
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Grand Slam

US Open Day 6 Preview: Five Must-See Matches

Saturday is headlined by a blockbuster third round matchup between two of the sport’s biggest new superstars.



Naomi Osaka (@TennisChannel - Twitter)

By Matthew Marolf


To kick off the night session on Arthur Ashe Stadium, defending champion Naomi Osaka faces 15-year-old American phenomenon Coco Gauff. Earlier in the day on Ashe, another fast-rising teenager, Bianca Andreescu, takes on last year’s Australian Open champion, Caroline Wozniacki. And on the men’s side, some of the ATP’s most exciting players are in action: Nick Kyrgios, Gael Monfils, Denis Shapovalov, and Rafael Nadal.

Naomi Osaka (1) vs. Coco Gauff (WC)

Osaka is on a 16-match winning streak at hard court Majors, dating back to last year’s US Open. There were a lot of questions coming into this event regarding her knee, which forced her to retire in Cincinnati. While she struggled a bit in her opening match, she easily advanced in straight sets on Thursday. But now she’ll face a situation eerily similar to last year’s ugly US Open final, where the crowd will be squarely against her, and exuberantly cheering on her opponent.

Coco Gauff has electrified the audience on Louis Armstrong Stadium this week, enduring two thrilling three-setters.  Tonight she makes her Arthur Ashe Stadium debut, and looks to advance to the round of 16 for the second consecutive Major. As impressive as Coco has been, expecting a 15-year-old to defeat the defending champion and world No.1 on tennis biggest stadium may be too much. And I’m not sure how much Gauff will have left emotionally after already playing two dramatic matches this week. Osaka’s experience on this court, as nightmarish as some of it is, should pay dividends. If Naomi maintains her level from the last round, she should advance here.

Bianca Andreescu (15) vs. Caroline Wozniacki (19)

What 19-year-old Bianca Andreescu has achieved this year is quite something. The Canadian came out of nowhere to win two Premier events, at Indian Wells and in her home country’s biggest tournament, the Rogers Cup. Overall this year at all levels, Andreescu is 38-4. Her four losses are all to current top 30 players. One of those was a mid-match retirement, and the other three were tight three-setters. While she missed several months of the year letting her body recover from injury, she hasn’t lost a completed hard court match in six months. Her talent and fight have been on full display in 2019.

One of her first hard court victories this season came at the expense of Wozniacki, back during the first week of the year in Auckland. Caroline is a two-time finalist in New York, and loves playing here. But she’s been struggling with rheumatoid arthritis over the past year, and has only played 40 matches since last year’s US Open. After coming back from a set down twice already this week, I’m not sure how much she’ll have left today. I like Bianca’s chances to advance to the fourth round of a Major for the first time in her career.

Nick Kyrgios (28) vs. Andrey Rublev

This will be the late night match on Arthur Ashe Stadium. Whoever decided to schedule Kyrgios late on a Saturday night is asking for trouble. Despite showcasing some of his usual drama, Nick has played extremely well through two rounds. He’s yet to drop a set this week. And he beat Rublev in their only prior encounter, last year on a hard court in the Russian’s home country.

But a year later, Rublev is a much stronger player, having recovered from a lower back injury that side-tracked his career. The 21-year-old upset Roger Federer two weeks ago in Cincinnati, as well as Stefanis Tsitsipas earlier this week. He’ll surely be a tough out, but I suspect Kyrgios will be motivated in front of the late night crowd, as he was on Tuesday night against Steve Johnson. And considering Nick’s immense talent, the match will be on his racket.

Gael Monfils (13) vs. Denis Shapovalov

Monfils has rather quietly put together a solid year, with a title and three other semi-final appearances. He’s on the verge of cracking back into the top 10 with a few more nice runs this season. And the US Open has been the Frenchman’s second best Major: three times he’s reached the quarterfinals or better. Meanwhile two years ago here, Shapovalov reached his first round of 16 at a Slam in just his second Major main draw. But Denis is yet to repeat that feat.

Prior to Winston-Salem last week, the 20-year-old Canadian had a losing record on the year, though he’s already accumulated five match wins since adding former US Open semi-finalist Mikhail Youzhny to his team at that event.  This will be the first career meeting between these two, and they’ll open the night session on Louis Armstrong Stadium. While most eyes will be on Osaka and Gauff at that time, I imagine this match will draw a good crowd of day session ticketholders who won’t be able to get into Ashe at night. Monfils loves a good audience, and he’s the favourite here based on recent form. He should be able to negotiate a large amount of errors out of Shapovalov.

John Isner (14) vs. Marin Cilic (22)

It’s the American No.1 against the 2014 US Open champion. However, neither man has experienced a good 2019.  Isner’s year started off pretty well, reaching three semi-finals before advancing to the final in Miami. But John suffered a stress fracture in his foot during that final, and missed three months of the year. And while he did win the grass court title in Newport, he went just 3-3 on North American hard courts leading up to this event.

On the other side of the net, Cilic has been a shell of his former self. Marin has been battling his nerves for the past year, and more recently some service yips have become evident. Cilic leads their head-to-head 8-3, but Isner has claimed three of their last five meetings. Their most notable encounter was at Wimbledon in 2015, when Cilic prevailed 12-10 in the fifth. This will be a mid-afternoon match on the Grandstand, which will surely be filled with vocal American support for Isner. Considering the way Cilic has choked under pressure so many times of late, Isner should be favoured in a match that will likely involve a few tiebreaks.

Other notable matches on Day 6:

Rafael Nadal (2) vs. Hyeon Chung (WC). It’s nice to see Chung healthy and back in the mix, but I’m not sure how much he’ll have left after barely surviving against Fernando Verdasco in a fifth set tiebreak on Thursday night.

Sascha Zverev (6) vs. Aljaz Bedene. Zverev has already played two five-setters this week, and Bedene is another player who came through in a fifth set breaker on Thursday.

Kiki Bertens (7) vs. Julia Goerges (26). Bertens leads their head-to-head 2-1, though they’ve never played on a hard court.

Belinda Bencic (13) vs. Anett Kontaveit (21). This will be their first career meeting, with the winner playing either Osaka or Gauff.

2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko vs. Kristie Ahn (Q), a 27-year-old American who had never won a match at a Major prior to this week.

Grand Slam

Wimbledon Set To Change Historic All-White Dress Code Rule

The clothing policy at the the grass-court major, which dates back to the Vcitoria era, has been under increasing scruity in recent years.



Ons Jabeur (TUN) playing against Venus Williams (USA) on No.1 Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 3 Wednesday 30/06/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jon Super

It is understood that The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) are having discussions about making changes to its dress code following concerns from female players. 


The Telegraph is among a series of sources to report that organizers are speaking with the WTA about changing their policy to address players’ concerns about playing in white whilst going through their menstrual cycle. Whilst no official announcement has been made, it is underwood that there will be a relaxation on what colour underwear and bras are worn. Although the top layer of clothing must remain completely white. 

During this year’s championships, there was a protest shortly before the women’s finals called ‘Address The Dress Code.’ During an interview worth The Guardian, protesters said they wanted to highlight the anxiety women face whilst playing in their whites. 

More recently, tennis coach and former British Fed Cup captain Judy Murray told The Daily Mail that more players needed to speak out on the issue to drive a change to the policy. Murray, who is the mother of three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray, has also called for the inclusion of women in the decision-making panel when it comes to these matters. 

“One of the biggest problems previously in sport was that it was always white shorts, white kit and so on in lots of different sports. Everything was white. Nearly all sports have moved over to colour now.” Said Murray. 

“I think it’s certainly a much more open talking point, but it would probably need more of the players to speak out openly about the trauma it can cause you, if you are wearing all white and then possibly have a leak while you’re playing. I cannot think of a much more traumatic experience than that.”

In a statement sent to The Telegraph, the AELTC confirmed that they are currently looking into making adjustments to the dress code. As it currently stands, the rule states that all players must wear almost all white whilst playing and practising at the Grand Slam. However, around the neckline and the cuff of sleeves can be in colour but no thicker than 1cm. The same applies to Caps (including the underbill), headbands, bandanas, wristbands and socks. 

“Prioritising women’s health and supporting players based on their individual needs is very important to us, and we are in discussions with the WTA, with manufacturers and with the medical teams about the ways in which we can do that.” The AELTC said. 

The all-white policy can be traced back to the 1870s when it was widely considered that white was best at not showing sweat. During the Victorian era, it was viewed as improper to visibly sweat. The tournament has since continued with this tradition. 

Next year’s Wimbledon will begin on Monday, July 3rd. 

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Nick Kyrgios Urges Officials To Allow Djokovic To Play Australian Open



Nick Kyrgios has lent his full support to Novak Djokovic and his bid to be allowed to return to the Australian Open next year. 


Nine-time champion Djokovic is currently waiting to see if government officials will waive his ban from entering the country. Earlier this year, the former world No.1 was deported from Australia following a high-profile dispute regarding the legality of his visa. Djokovic said he was told by Tennis Australia that a medical exemption would allow him entry into the country despite not being vaccinated against COVID-19. Something the border force and government deemed not to be a legitimate reason. After winning his first court case regarding the process of how his detention was handled, a second at the High Court ruled in favour of the government, who decided to deport him. 

Under Australian law, deportations such as these result in a three-year ban from returning to the country. However, Djokovic is hoping his ban will be removed by the latest administration who are said to be more sympathetic to the matter. 

Weighing in on the debate during the opening of the NBA store in Sydney, Kyrgios said it was important for the sport that the best players participate. Citing the recent retirement of Roger Federer, he argues that the remaining members of the Big Three must continue showing their presence at major events. 

I hope he is here, for the sport,” WAtoday quoted Kyrgios as saying.
“We just saw one of the legends leave the sport, Roger, and that’s going to be some shoes that no one is ever going to be able to fill.
“While Novak and Rafa [Rafael Nadal] are still around, we need these types of players. Otherwise, the people of Australia love the AO, Ash Barty brought us crowds, me and Thanasi [Kokkinakis] won it.
“We want to see the best players in the world there. Me being a competitor, I want to see Novak there.“

Djokovic’s potential presence at Melbourne Park would make him one of the key contenders for the title and could make it tougher for Kyrgios to claim his first Grand Slam title. The two locked horns in the final of Wimbledon earlier this year with Kyrgios claiming the first set before losing in four. 

“Of course, you want to have those guys there,” he said.
“He’s some of the reason why I play. As a kid, you want to play the best players in the world in the best stadiums. Hopefully, he is there.
“He’s had a rough run the last nine months and not being able to play here, play here, not being able to play here, hopefully, Australia welcomes him with open arms this time.”

Djokovic has won the Australian Open men’s title more times than anybody else in history. It is unclear when a final decision regarding his participation in the 2023 tournament will be made. 

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‘Unofficial’ Signs Give Novak Djokovic Hope Of Australian Open Return

The tennis star has given an update on his chances of returning to Melbourne Park following his deportation from the country.




Novak Djokovic says he is cautiously optimistic that he will be allowed to play at the 2023 Australian Open as legal negotiations continue. 


The 21-time Grand Slam champion was deported from the country in January following a high-profile legal battle with authorities over his visa. Djokovic said he was told he could use a medical exemption to enter the country despite not being vaccinated against COVID-19. At the time all arrivals needed to be vaccinated. The Australian border Force declared that exemption to be invalid and therefore his visa. Djokovic was then moved to an immigration facility before winning a court hearing over how his case was handled. However, in a second legal hearing, the High Court backed the government’s decision to deport the tennis star. 

As a result of being removed from Australia, Djokovic is currently banned from re-entering for three years. However, there is hope that this ban could be waived with the help of a new administration coming to power which is understood to be more sympathetic to the situation. 

“When it comes to Australia, there are some positive signs, but unofficially,” Djokovic said during a recent interview with Sportal“We are communicating through my lawyers in Australia. In fact, they are communicating with the authorities in charge of my case. I hope to have an answer in the next few weeks – whatever that answer might be, but of course I am hoping for a positive one – so that I have enough time to prepare for the start of the season, if that start is going to happen in Australia.”

Not everybody is thrilled by the prospect of the Serbian being allowed back into Australia. Former Home Affairs minister Karen Andrews has previously described such a move as a ‘slap in the face for those in Australia who did the right thing and got vaccinated.’ 

Djokovic is still not vaccinated against COVID-19 and has repeatedly stated that he doesn’t intend on doing so. In an interview with the BBC earlier this year, he explained that he had reservations about what is injected into his body and was cautious about the side effects. The COVID-19 injection has been deemed safe by the World Health Organization (WHO). 

“I respect that everyone has a different way of thinking in relation to my situation and my circumstances. After all, I have never offended anyone or ever tried to be disrespectful in any way. I always tried to show that it is important for everyone to have the right and freedom of choice.” He said. 
“For the choices I made, I knew there would be certain consequences like not going to America, and that is it. For Australia it was a different case, I had the exception, but in the end it did not work out. We know what happened, let’s not go back. This time I am waiting for the permission again. It is a good thing that they have now opened the borders for unvaccinated foreigners travelling to Australia. I have that ban, I hope it will be lifted. As I said, it is not in my hands, I hope the people in the Australian Government will give a positive answer, that is all.”

Djokovic is the most decorated male tennis player in Australian Open history with nine titles to his name. That is three more than his nearest challenges (Roy Emerson and Roger Federer both won the event six times). It was at Melbourne Park where he won his first major title back in 2008. 

“I really want to go there, I am over what happened this year and I just want to play tennis, it is what I do best. Australia has always been the place where I have played my best tennis, the results speak for themselves, so I am always extra motivated to go there. This time even more, so. I am hoping for a positive answer.” He concluded. 

The Australian Open will start on January 16th. It is unknown when a final decision regarding Djokovic’s participation will be made. 

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