US Open Day 9 Preview: The Quarterfinals Commence - UBITENNIS
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US Open Day 9 Preview: The Quarterfinals Commence

Can anyone stop GOAT-contenders Serena Williams, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal from reaching the final?

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Federer and Nadal are just two rounds away from finally playing at the US Open, and both are heavy favorites to win their next two matches.  And on the women’s side, Serena is not just the only Major singles champion remaining, but no one else has even reached a final. The next six days provide these all-time greats with a golden opportunity to add to their Grand Slam tally.

 

Elina Svitolina (5) vs. Johanna Konta (16)

Svitolina lost her first four Major quarterfinals, though is now vying to win her second in a row.  And she’s blitzed her way through this draw, winning all eight sets played and easily diffusing power players like Venus Williams, Dayana Yastremska, and Madison Keys.  Also, Svitolina is 4-0 against Konta, with all those matches occurring on a hard court. Elina should be favored in the first match of the on Arthur Ashe Stadium, but don’t discard Johanna’s chances.  The British No.1 has shown herself to be a good big-match player, as she did on Sunday in winning an extremely tight match over the third seed, Karolina Pliskova. She’s now reached the quarterfinals at all four Slams, and is playing for her third semifinal.  She’s capable of controlling her own destiny if her serve is on. Konta will need to be at her best against a red-hot Svitolina, though I still give Elina the edge based on their history.

Daniil Medvedev (5) vs. Stan Wawrinka (23)

After riling the New York crowd up to the sound of roaring boos on Friday night against Feliciano Lopez, I thought Medvedev would look to be more subdued in his next match and not draw as much attention to himself.  And he did just that throughout his fourth round match against Dominik Koepfer. But the moment the match ended, that all changed, as he broke into a dance to antagonize the crowd. And in his post-match interview, he again encouraged the fans to keep booing him, saying it again urged him onto victory as he struggled to find the energy to compete.  This afternoon on Ashe, I’m sure the crowd will happily oblige and greet him with another chorus of boos. Medvedev won his only previous meeting against Wawrinka in the first round of the 2017 Wimbledon, though Stan was hampered in that match by his knee, which would soon require surgery. While Daniil is an astounding 18-2 in hard courts this summer, having made the finals of every event he’s entered, that’s a whole lot of tennis within a five-week period.  Even though Djokovic was of course less than 100% in his fourth round match against Wawrinka, Stan played some great tennis, forcing the world No.1 into submission. Wawrinka should advance to his fourth US Open semifinal, to the delight of the audience. That is, as long as he’s healthy. Amazon Prime in the UK reported that Wawrinka was sick in the locker room following his victory over Djokovic. If he’s as depleted at Medvedev, this could get very interesting.

Serena Williams (8) vs. Qiang Wang (18)

Serena Williams is 37-14 in Major quarterfinals.  Qiang Wang is 0-0. Those stats pretty much sum up this matchup.  Full credit to Qiang Wang for advancing to her first Slam quarterfinal, and taking out French Open champion Ash Barty in the last round, but she’ll be a huge underdog on Tuesday night against the six-time champion.  The only question mark here is the condition of Serena’s ankle, which she rolled two days ago. But reports indicate she looked just fine in practice yesterday. Serena hasn’t lost at this stage of the US Open since 2007.  In her first match against the Chinese No.1, I don’t see that changing.

Roger Federer (3) vs. Grigor Dimitrov

Here we have another mismatch between an all-time great and a surprise quarterfinalist.  Kudos to Dimitrov to fight his way this far, especially considering he arrived in New York with a losing record on the year, and a disastrous 1-7 in his last eight matches.  He played the best tennis we’ve seen out of him in nearly two years in an impressive win over Alex de Minaur on Sunday. But he’s 0-7 against the man he modeled his strokes after, and has only won two out of the 18 sets they’ve played.  Even though Roger struggled in his first two rounds, he’s played magnificently in the last two, with both matches lasting less than 90 minutes each. Federer is a strong favorite to advance to his 11th US Open semifinal, and his first since 2015.

Other notable matches on Day 9:

There are two women’s doubles quarterfinals featuring top singles players.  In the first, it’s Indian Wells and Miami champions Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka (9) vs. Yingying Duan and Saisai Zheng (12), who were finalists at the French Open.  Mertens is also still alive in singles.

In the second, French Open champions Timea Babos and Kiki Mladenovic (1) vs. Vika Azarenka and Ash Barty (8), the Rome champions.

Order of play (time BST)

Arthur Ashe Stadium
17:00:
(5) Elina Svitolina (Ukr) v (16) Johanna Konta (Gbr)
(23) Stan Wawrinka (Swi) v (5) Daniil Medvedev (Rus)

00:00
(8) Serena Williams (USA) v (18) Qiang Wang (Chn)
(3) Roger Federer (Swi) v Grigor Dimitrov (Bul)

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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