US Open Day 10 Preview: The Quarter-Finals Conclude - UBITENNIS
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US Open Day 10 Preview: The Quarter-Finals Conclude

With a chance of thunderstorms throughout the day, some of Wednesday’s quarterfinals may be played indoors.

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Rafael Nadal (@usopen on Twitter)

Of the eight singles quarter finalists playing today, only one has ever before appeared in a Major final.  That would of course be Rafael Nadal, who is a 26-time Major finalist, and has won 18 of those finals. As if that doesn’t already paint Rafa as a heavy favorite, he’s 7-0 against his opponent today.  In the other men’s quarterfinal, it’s a speedy and flashy veteran against a powerful and passionate newcomer. On the women’s side, the youth movement is in full effect, with all of today’s competitors at 23 years of age or younger.  Which of these four youngsters will step up and advance to their first Major final?

 

Rafael Nadal (2) vs. Diego Schwartzman (20)

Rafa and Diego played a few high-quality contests last year at Majors.  The issue is Schwartzman is yet to win one. And unlike Djokovic and Federer, Nadal has looked in peak form at this event, and fully healthy.  Rafa is also well-rested, having only dropped one set, and getting a walkover in the second round. That is a stark contrast to last year, when he played some grueling matches in the middle rounds of this tournament.  Nadal is a heavy favorite to reach his eighth US Open semifinal, against a player who is 0-2 at this stage of Majors.

Bianca Andreescu (15) vs. Elise Mertens (25)

The 19-year-old Canadian hasn’t lost a completed match in over six months.  Granted she missed many of those months due to injury, and had a walkover and a retirement mixed in there, but it still encompasses 21 completed matches.  And the Rogers Cup champ hasn’t lost all summer, currently on a 10-match win streak. But going this deep at a Major is brand new territory for Bianca, and her opposition today has been crushing it at this tournament.  Elise Mertens has only lost 16 games in eight sets played (and won). As Carole Bouchard reported on Twitter, Mertens changed her service motion leading into this event, to help alleviate arm and shoulder pain. It’s paid immediate dividends, as she’s only been broken twice through four matches.  But this is a big step up in competition for Mertens, who is yet to face a seeded player. In their first career meeting, I don’t think there’s much separating these two, aside from Bianca’s fight. She’s exhibited her will power time after time this season, and I’m not betting against her to reach her first Slam semifinal.

Gael Monfils (13) vs. Matteo Berrettini (24)

This should be good.  Both men have been playing some great tennis during this fortnight, on the heels of strong seasons.  They’re both in the top 15 of the year-to-date rankings. And their contrast in styles should make for some great, complex rallies.  Monfils possesses a decade of extra experience over the 23-year-old, but Matteo has proven a quick learner on tour with his quick rise up the rankings.  On the heels of this career-best result at a Major, Berrettini will rise to a career-high ranking on Monday. They’ve never played before, and Monfils is always a wild card as to exactly what version of him will show up, especially in a big match situation.  But he’s become a more reliable competitor of late, and his game should be enough to diffuse the power of the Italian. And as great as Berrettini played in his last match against Andrey Rublev, a letdown in the biggest match of his career seems likely. I like Monfils to return to the US Open semifinals for the first time in three years.

Belinda Bencic (13) vs. Donna Vekic (23)

In her first year on tour, Bencic reached her first Slam quarterfinal here five years ago at the age of 17.  Now after her career was sidetracked by injuries, she’s finally back in a quarterfinal after her takedown of world No.1 Naomi Osaka.  Meanwhile this is Vekic’s debut at this stage of a Major, and she’s frankly a bit lucky to be here. Julia Goerges served for the match in their fourth round encounter, but choked the match away.  But Vekic is an extremely talented player, who like Bencic has persevered through some lean years of her own after some early success as a teenager. They’ve split two previous meetings, though neither was on a hard court.  Bencic prevailed five years ago on grass, while Vekic won comfortably earlier this year at Roland Garros. Bencic is a bit quicker around the court, and has more guile in her game. She should advance here, though I worry if she’s due for a letdown of her own following her upset of Osaka.  But Bencic’s experience advantage over Vekic should help her navigate her way to her first semifinal at a Major.

Other notable matches on Day 10:

In the mixed double semifinals, Sam Stosur and Rajeev Ram (3) vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jamie Murray, who are the defending champions.

And the other semifinal finds sisters on opposite sides of the net, as it will be Hao-Ching Chan and Michael Venus (1) vs. Latisha Chan and Ivan Dodig (4).

Order of play

Arthur Ashe Stadium

12:00:
(13) Belinda Bencic (Swi) v (23) Donna Vekic (Cro)
(24) Matteo Berrettini (Ita) v (13) Gael Monfils (Fra)

00:00:
(15) Bianca Vanessa Andreescu (Can) v (25) Elise Mertens (Bel)
(20) Diego Sebastian Schwartzman (Arg) v (2) Rafael Nadal (Spa)

ATP

Roger Federer Can Win Australian Open, Says Laver

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

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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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Daniil Medvedev Gave Rafa Fans The Scare Of A Lifetime

Charleston Post and Courier columnist James Beck reflects on the US Open men’s final and what the future might have in store.

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NEW YORK — Rafa, you gave your followers quite a scare.

 

No. 19 looked like it was in the books when you got the first break point of the ninth game of the third set. But it wasn’t, and the second break point flew by as well.

Oh well, it was just 5-4, Daniil Medvedev. There was still time to close out the match in three sets. But after deadlocking the set at 5-5, you won only one point in the last two games of the set.

IT MIGHT BE A LONG NIGHT

Settle back, Rafa Nadal fans. It might be a long night.

The men’s final of Sunday’s U.S. Open was going the distance, even though Nadal served with double game points in the decisive 10th game of the fourth set, but still lost the set.

Nadal even served for the match with a 5-2 lead in the fifth set. He lost that one on a time violation first-serve penalty leading to a double fault to end the game.

Was it time to get worried about Rafa getting No. 19 this night? Was this going to be a Serena-like  case of bad fortune for Nadal? Of course, Serena Williams one day earlier had failed again for an all-time tying No. 24 Grand Slam title.

It could have happened to Nadal, too. Anything could have, judging from the way his tall and amazingly agile and quick Russian opponent was playing.

MIGHTY SERVE ENDED A HISTORIC FINAL

Nadal looked like he had a lock on No. 19 again before wasting two match points with Medvedev serving the ninth game of the fifth set.

Rafa even had to fight off a break point in the 10th game before ending the nearly five-hour marathon with a perfectly place serve down the middle.

He went flat on his back in disbelief, and Medvedev went around the net. The two embraced.

It, indeed, was one of the most memorable moments in the history of Grand Slam tennis.

Finally, a 7-5, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 victory that pushed Nadal’s Grand Slam championship total to within one of Roger Federer’s all-time record.

AN AMAZING PERFORMANCE BY BOTH PLAYERS

This was simply an amazing match that left a packed Arthur Ashe Stadium, mostly of Nadal supporters, drained. It was that riveting.

This had to be one of the greatest U.S. Open finals ever.

Medvedev put on an unthinkable display of grit and talent, a sheer desire to win. Medvedev and Nadal  were like acrobats at times as they moved around the court to pull off amazing tennis stunts. Anything was possible because of the two players’ athletic abilities.

Nadal is definitely for real. But if his 23-year-old Russian opponent is for real, as he certainly appeared Sunday night, the Australian Open isn’t going to be a picnic for Federer, Nadal or the injured Novak Djokovic, or anyone else.

And then there’s the French Open where Rafa will be heavily favored to get No. 20 if he fails in Melbourne. Of course, if Rafa plays the way he did in the first two sets on Sunday, he may notch No. 20 Down Under.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? WHY NOT A DRAW?

What happens if both Nadal and Federer are tied for the all-time lead with 20 Grand Slam titles each?

If they’re deadlocked in another year or two, it might be time for a permanent dual timeout for both players. As sad as such a day would be, it would be a day to celebrate. Co-record holders wouldn’t be a bad way to go since retirement is inevitable for these two great players.

Although Federer demonstrated at Wimbledon and Nadal showed Sunday night, they can still rival the best tennis has to offer, but the rest of the men’s tennis game isn’t going to take a break waiting for these two greats to retire. Medvedev and his likes will continue to close the gap until there isn’t one.

PRESSURE WILL CONTINUE TO BUILD

As a result of what happened in Sunday’s U.S. Open final, the days ahead will add even more pressure for both Nadal and Federer each time a Grand Slam rolls around.

Federer already has felt that pressure, both here and at Wimbledon, as he tried to widen his lead over Nadal and Djokovic. Even Nadal seemed to feel some of the same pressure Sunday night while trying to close out Medvedev.

After defeating Federer in the Wimbledon final, Djokovic called Federer “one of the greatest ever” in his acceptance comments after the match. Federer frowned, but Djokovic was right.

Djokovic knows, because he’s not out of the all-time race just yet.

It would be nice if Federer and Nadal could/or would retire at the same time, and join Rod Laver as the greatest men’s tennis players ever. But just not quite yet.

 

James Beck is the long-time tennis columnist for the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier newspaper. He can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. See his Post and Courier columns at 

http://www.postandcourier.com/search/?l=25&sd=desc&s=start_time&f=html&t=article%2Cvideo%2Cyoutube%2Ccollection&app=editorial&q=james+beck&nsa=eedition

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US Open A Ratings Hit In North America

Both the men’s and women’s finals managed to attract some record TV viewing figures.

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Bianca Andreescu’s win over Serena Williams in the final of the US Open was the most watched women’s final on ESPN of all time, according to official figures.

 

The Canadian 19-year-old rallied to a 6-3, 7-5, win over the former world No.1 to claim her first grand slam title. Her triumphed attracted an overnight rating of 2.7 million on ESPN. A 13% increase on last year (2.4) when Naomi Osaka defeated Williams. At its peak, which was towards the end of the second set, the rating was as high as 3.9. ESPN has also confirmed that the 2019 women’s final was their joint-highest US Open rating of all time.

Across the border, Andreescu’s win also made history in her home country of Canada. An average audience of 3.4 million watched her match on TSN and RDS with a peak of 5.3 million. Making in the networks most watched tennis match in history. It is also the most-watched broadcast since the Toronto Raptors won the 2019 NBA Championships. TSN has also noted that Andreescu’s run has helped them achieve a 69% rise in views compared to 2018 to 10.7 million people watching the grand slam at some point. Meanwhile, their digital platforms have achieved a 145% year-on-year rise with 13 million impressions on TSN’s social media platforms.

There was also success for the networks with the men’s final. Rafael Nadal edged out Daniil Medvedev in a dramatic five-set encounter. The Spaniard was leading by two sets, before his opponent drew back to draw level. Forcing a tense decider. Their encounter was ESPN’s most popular men’s US Open final since 2015 and a 33% increase on 12 months ago. It attracted an overnight rating of 2.0. The 2015 clash between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer scored a 2.4 rating.

The strong broadcast numbers coincide with what has been a record year for the New York major. A record 737,872 fans attended the event over two weeks with the Arthur Ashe Stadium managing to have 23 out of 24 sell out sessions. The number doesn’t include the ‘Fan Week’ that took place before the start of the main draw. 115,355 people attended that to bring the overall figure to 853,227.

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