Two years ago, Rafael Nadal won his last hard court Major. Much like it has this fortnight, the draw opened up for Rafa at the 2017 US Open, as he didn’t face a top 20 seed to win that title. Over the next year, he would only complete two hard court tournaments without retiring or withdrawing, as he suffered from knee issues that have plagued his career. He again had to withdraw from his scheduled Indian Wells semifinal against Roger Federer this past March due to his knee. But this summer, Nadal has been in peak form on hard courts. For the first time in his entire career, he defended a hard court title by winning his second consecutive Rogers Cup. And now he’s into his fifth US Open final, having dropped only one set.
A year ago, Daniil Medvedev wasn’t even seeded at this event. He had just entered the top 50 after winning the lead-up tournament in Winston-Salem. The 23-year-old would win another title just a few weeks later in Tokyo, and continued to build momentum in 2019. He leads the ATP with 50 match wins, 20 of which have come within the past six weeks on an incredible run through the summer hard court season. Medvedev has reached the final of his last four events, and finds ways to win despite being exhausted and a bit injured from all the tennis he’s played. But a tired Daniil didn’t behave his best on court, inciting boos from the New York audience on multiple occasions. However, he’s made nice with the crowd in his last two matches, and should receive a rather pleasant welcome when he walks onto the court for his first Major final.
Rafael Nadal (2) vs. Daniil Medvedev (5)
Just like the women’s final from yesterday, this is a rematch of the Rogers Cup championship match earlier this summer. On that day, Nadal allowed Medvedev only three games, crushing the Russian 6-3, 6-0. Based on that result, which is their only previous meeting, and considering how emotionally and physically fatigued Medvedev is at this point, it’s hard to imagine Daniil prevailing on this day. Medvedev has been able to win some matches this fortnight he frankly had no business winning by exposing his opponents’ weaknesses, supplying them with no rhythm, and allowing them to crumble under the weight of the moment. But Rafael Nadal is not a player who is susceptible to such tactics. While I’m sure Rafa will be feeling a bit nervous as he plays for his 19th Major, which would pull him just one title behind Roger Federer, he takes no match for granted, and will compete as if his life depends on it. Medvedev will need to go-for-broke as he did to take out Novak Djokovic in Cincinnati a few weeks ago, but sustaining that level against Nadal in a best-of-five match is a daunting task. I hope Daniil can make a match out of this, but the outcome feels inevitable. Nadal should win comfortably, making the chase for the most Major singles titles between himself, Federer, and Djokovic all the more compelling.
Other notable matches on Day 14:
Four top singles players face off in the women’s doubles final, as it will be Indian Wells and Miami champions Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka (4) vs. Vika Azarenka and Ash Barty (8), who won in Rome earlier this year.
Caroline Wozniacki Bids Emotional Farewell To Tennis After Defeat to Jabeur
Caroline Wozniacki gave her last on-court interview and said goodbye to the fans after she lost the last match of her career.
Caroline Wozniacki brought the curtain down on her exceptional tennis career with a tearful farewell on Margaret Court Arena.
Appropriately, the Dane’s last professional match was the kind of pulsating three-set battle she is famous for. Ultimately, she lost it 7-5 3-6 7-5 to Ons Jabeur, but the occasion was about so much more than that.
It was a time for Wozniacki to look back at what she achieved and celebrate her triumphs. And, although she was clearly emotional that it was all over, there was no regret in her voice.
“I think it’s only fitting that my last match would be a three-setter, a grinder, and that I would finish my career with a forehand error,” the Dane said in her on-court interview.
“Those are the things that I’ve been working on my whole career, and I guess this was just meant to be.”
Wozniacki continued, “There’s so many things I will remember. Obviously the achievements I had on the court were amazing. The feelings that the fans give us players when we’re out here are really amazing.”
“I will remember the support I’ve had from my family – especially my dad who has coached me all these years.”
“Those are the special memories that I will always cherish. The journey we’ve been on together has been really amazing. It’s been a great ride. I really am happy, but I’m ready for the next chapter (in my life) and I’m excited for what’s to come. You may see me around – off the court.”
Players pay tribute to Wozniacki
During a special tribute, some of the players Wozniacki competed against gave their thoughts on the Dane. Several mentioned that she was a great fighter, while others praised her positive attitude.
Meanwhile, Sloane Stephens summed up many an opponent’s feelings when facing Wozniacki. “Most annoyingly, she just got every ball back – literally every ball,” the American said. “And she had that backhand which was just not fun (to face).”
“I have a lot of really nice memories of her of just being a really genuinely nice person,” added Naomi Osaka.
The last words were left for one of the Dane’s best friends: Serena Williams. “It’s going to be really hard for me to not have Caroline on the tour,” she said. “I’m really happy for her and I know that she’s doing what she wants to do and that’s what it’s all about.”
Wozniacki was then asked how she fought so hard on court but made so many friends on tour.
“When you’re on the court, you’re there to compete and there to win,” the Dane responded. “But when we’re off the court, we’re all in the same boat. We’re all travelling to the same tournaments and I think it makes it a lot more fun if you have friends on tour.”
After her final on-court interview, all that remained was for Wozniacki to say goodbye. Tournament director Craig Tiley gave her a hug and presented her with a koala. Then her dad Piotr lifted her up and carried her across the court.
Finally, the Dane walked around the stadium thanking the fans for their love and support with happy tears in her eyes. She will be remembered very fondly by the tennis community.
Serena Williams Crashes Out Of The Australian Open With Shock Loss To Wang
Serena Williams suffered a shock third-round exit at the 2020 Australian Open. She lost a tight three-set match to Wang Qiang.
Serena Williams unexpectedly tumbled out of the 2020 Australian Open at the third-round stage with a 6-4 6-7(2) 7-5 defeat to Wang Qiang.
It is a massively upsetting results for the American. And it means that her quest for a Margaret Court-equalling 24th Grand Slam title will have to continue if she wants it to be successful.
For Wang, this day means something entirely. It is undoubtedly the biggest win of her career so far and should give her great confidence for her first-ever Grand Slam last-16 match in two days’ time.
It also marked an extraordinary transformation from the Chinese player. At the US Open in September, she was humiliated by the great American. She lost 6-1 6-0 in 44 minutes and did not hit a single winner.
Today in Melbourne, she took the game to Serena and hit 25 of them. In addition, she made sure she held onto her serve as much as possible (she was only broken once) and she made the American play as many balls as she could.
Wang punishes Serena’s mistakes
The 23-time Grand Slam champion did not perform at her best. She made more unforced errors (56) than winners (43), which is usually a bad sign. And she only got 56% of her first serves, which enabled Wang to attack her second serve.
To the 27th seed’s immense credit, she capitalised on Serena’s mistakes. She remained so consistent and made so few unforced errors in the match (just 20 in 160 minutes of play) that she reduced the margin for error for her opponent significantly.
This meant that when the American faltered, Wang could pounce. She was gifted 0-30 in the ninth game of the first set and hit two winners to seize the crucial break.
Then Serena made some sloppy errors in the fifth game of the second set and the Chinese player broke her again. Unfortunately for the 27th seed, the World No.9 played arguably her best tennis of the match to break back four games later and then eventually take the set 7-2 in the tie-break.
In the decider, Wang served brilliantly. She got 74% of her first serves in and won 84% of those points. Consequently, she did not face a single break point in the set.
By contrast, Serena had to save two break points to keep the match going all the way to 6-5 in the Chinese player’s favour.
However, that was the limit of the American’s resistance. She made five unforced errors to gift Wang the game and with it the win that she had worked so hard for.
The Chinese player will now take on another surprise winner – Ons Jabeur – in the fourth round. The Tunisian became the last player to beat Caroline Wozniacki in her career when she recorded a 7-5 3-6 7-5 win.
Barty eases into Last 16
While the former World No.1 was knocked out, the current occupier of that ranking – Ashleigh Barty – suffered no such strife. She continued her serene progress through the draw with a comfortable 6-3 6-2 victory over rising star Elena Rybakina.
The Australian, 23, has now lost just twelve games in her last six sets after she dropped the first set against Lesia Tsurenko in round one.
It is ominous form, but if Barty’s rivals are starting to worry, they may take some comfort from the fact that the World No.1 might have to play the woman who beat her at Wimbledon – Alison Riske – in the next round.
Furthermore, if the Australian makes it to the quarter-final, she will probably face a very tough task in the shape of Petra Kvitova.
The Czech, 29, has made this Grand Slam business look very easy so far at this year’s Australian Open. She followed up straight-set victories over Katerina Siniakova and Paula Badosa with a 6-1 6-2 thrashing of Ekaterina Alexandrova to book her place in the fourth round.
(VIDEO) Australian Open Day Four: American Men Continue To Exceed Expectations
Ben Rothenberg from The New York Times joins Ubitennis to discuss the unexpected run of good fortune for American players in the men’s draw at Melbourne Park. The two also discuss why Roger Federer will not be looking forward to his third round match.
The fourth day of the Australian Open saw few surprises. Both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer progressed to the third round with straight sets victories. Nick Kyrgios was in solid form during his triumph over Gilles Simon. As for the women’s draw, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova experienced little difficult during their second round matches.
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