US Open Day 1 Preview: Five Must-See Matches - UBITENNIS
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US Open Day 1 Preview: Five Must-See Matches

On August 31st of a challenging year, the second Major finally gets underway.

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Novak Djokovic goes for his fourth US Open title (usopen.org).

Over the course of the next six weeks, two Grand Slam events will be decided, as Roland Garros will commence just four weeks from today. 

With Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal not present in Flushing Meadows, an undefeated Novak Djokovic is the heavy favorite to win his 18th Major.  That would place him right behind Federer (20) and Nadal (19) for most men’s Grand Slam singles titles.  The women’s singles draw is even more unpredictable than usual, with six of the world’s top 10 sitting this fortnight out, including three of last year’s semifinalists.  After losing four consecutive Grand Slam finals, can Serena Williams finally claim her 24th Major?

 

Sascha Zverev (6) vs. Kevin Anderson

This is pretty much the toughest draw Zverev could face: a former finalist who is unseeded due to injuries from last year.  Anderson missed the majority of 2019, and is just 4-4 this season.  The South African is 0-5 against Sascha, with three of those matches taking place on North American hard courts.  Anderson’s lack of match play paired with the lopsided head-to-head is a bad combination.  However, Zverev has never played his best tennis in New York, with last year’s trip to the fourth round being his best career result.  And Sascha lost his opening round match at last week’s Western & Southern Open to another top player coming back from injury, Andy Murray.  The serving issues that plagued Zverev at this year’s ATP Cup have returned, as Murray broke him twice in a row to come back and win 7-5 in the third.  All signs indicate this will be an extended battle on Arthur Ashe Stadium.  I give the slight edge to Anderson due to his previous success at this event, Zverev’s propensity for overcomplicating best-of-five matches, and Sascha’s service yips.

Anastasija Sevastova (31) vs. Coco Gauff

Last summer, Gauff was the talk of the tennis world, with her breakout runs at Wimbledon and the US Open.  But like Zverev, Coco is battling some serving glitches, which enabled Maria Sakkari to easily eliminate Gauff last week.  Sevastova loves playing in New York, having reached the quarterfinals or better three of the last four years.  Her unorthodox style has frustrated many power hitters like Gauff on these courts.  And surely Gauff will be negatively impacted by the lack of spectators at this event, as the fans were boisterous in their support for her a year ago.  However, Sevastova is a measly 1-8 on the season, though it’s worth nothing her only victory came in Fed Cup over Serena Williams.  While Anastasija has shown she’s capable of deep runs here without arriving with much momentum, Gauff should be able to fight her way through this tricky opening round opponent.

David Goffin (7) vs. Reilly Opelka

If the skyscraping American was 100% healthy, I would favor him for the upset here.  Opelka and Goffin have split their two previous meetings, though Opelka claimed their most recent one last fall on a hard court in Basel.  But after reaching the quarters last week without dropping a set, Reilly retired against Stefanos Tsitsipas with a right knee injury.  And Goffin is one of the last players you want to face when you are hobbled, considering his speed and consistency.  If Opelka’s knee is close to 100%, this could be a captivating battle.  If not, it could be a straightforward win for Goffin.

Anett Kontaveit (14) vs. Danielle Collins

Danielle Collins is one of those players who can hit almost anyone off the court when she’s on.  The 26-year-old American started the year strong with victories down under over the likes of Elina Svitolina, Belinda Bencic, and Sofia Kenin.  But last week she lost her only match since January to a qualifier.  And today she faces one of the WTA’s most reliable performers.  Kontaveit has an impressive 19 wins in this abbreviated season.  The 24-year-old Estonian has reached the quarterfinals or better at four of six events played, and was extremely close to ousting Naomi Osaka last week.  Her aggressive ground game should apply enough pressure to yield many errors off the often overaggressive Collins.  In a wide open women’s draw, Kontaveit is a name to keep an eye on.

Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Damir Dzumhur

Last week, Djokovic was able to overcome neck issues, an upset stomach, and the distraction of off-court politics to extend his 2020 undefeated record to 23-0.  He narrowly escaped defeat in both the semifinals and finals, against in-form opponents Roberto Bautista Agut and Milos Raonic respectively.  Just 48 hours later, he’ll begin his quest for his second consecutive Major title.  While he’ll surely still feel a bit drained, this should be a rather comfortable opening round for the three-time champion of this event.  Even though Dzumhur can be a pesky opponent with a lot of speed about the court, he hasn’t won more than two games in a set in two previous hard court encounters against Djokovic.  And while Damir took a set off Roger Federer at last year’s US Open, it will be a challenge to repeat that feat against an extremely confident Novak.

Other Notable Matches on Day 1:

2018 champion Naomi Osaka (4) vs. Masaki Doi, her fellow countrywoman from Japan.  What shape will Osaka’s leg be in just two days after withdrawing from the Western & Southern Open final?

The women’s top seed and 2016 finalist Karolina Pliskova (1) vs. Anhelina Kalinina, the 145th ranked player in the world from Ukraine.

2016 champion Angelique Kerber (17) vs. Ajla Tomljanovic.  Kerber recently reunited with Torben Beltz, who coached Kerber to multiple Major titles.

Two-time Major champion Petra Kvitova (6) vs. Irina-Camelia Begu.  Kvitova is 4-0 against Begu, but often struggles in New York.

ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas (4) vs. Albert Ramos-Vinolas, a veteran from Spain who is 3-9 in his career at the US Open.

Full order of play (GMT)

ARTHUR ASHE STADIUM
Ka. Pliskova (CZE) [1] vs. A. Kalinina (UKR)
K. Anderson (RSA) vs. A. Zverev (GER) [5]

NOT BEFORE 7:00 PM
N. Djokovic (SRB) [1] vs. D. Dzumhur (BIH)
N. Osaka (JPN) [4] vs. M. Doi (JPN)

LOUIS ARMSTRONG STADIUM 11:00 AM
A. Kerber (GER) [17] vs. A. Tomljanovic (AUS)
D. Shapovalov (CAN) [12] vs.S. Korda (USA)

NOT BEFORE: 3:00 PM
C. Gauff (USA) vs. A. Sevastova (LAT) [31]
S. Johnson (USA) vs. J. Isner (USA) [16]
T. Maria (GER) vs. A. Riske (USA) [13]

COURT 17 11:00 AM
K. Mladenovic (FRA) [30] vs. H. Baptiste (USA)
I. Begu (ROU) vs. P. Kvitova (CZE) [6]
S. Tsitsipas (GRE) [4] vs. A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP)
D. Collins (USA) vs. A. Kontaveit (EST) [14]
R. Opelka (USA) vs. D. Goffin (BEL) [7]

COURT 5 11:00 AM
D. Schwartzman (ARG) [9] vs. C. Norrie (GBR)
D. Koepfer (GER) vs. T. Fritz (USA) [19]
K. Edmund (GBR) vs. A. Bublik (KAZ)
R. Montgomery (USA) vs. Y. Putintseva (KAZ) [23]
M. Bouzkova (CZE) vs. J. Pegula (USA)

COURT 11 11:00 AM
P. Andujar (ESP) vs. B. Coric (CRO) [27]
P. Carreno Busta (ESP) [20] vs. Y. Uchiyama (JPN)
T. Martincova (CZE) vs. P. Martic (CRO) [8]
U. Blanch (USA) vs. C. Garin (CHI) [13]
A. Blinkova (RUS) vs. J. Brady (USA) [28]

COURT 4 11:00 AM
F. Di Lorenzo (USA) vs. A. Sasnovich (BLR)
A. Mannarino (FRA) [32] vs. L. Sonego (ITA)
M. Linette (POL) [24] vs. M. Inglis (AUS)
M. Brengle (USA) vs. L. Tsurenko (UKR)
P. Martinez (ESP) vs. J. Struff (GER) [28]

COURT 6 11:00 AM
S. Travaglia (ITA) vs. J. Thompson (AUS)
P. Gojowczyk (GER) vs. H. Hurkacz (POL) [24]
K. Kozlova (UKR) vs. W. Osuigwe (USA)
V. Golubic (SUI) vs. V. Lapko (BLR)
I. Khromacheva (RUS) vs. S. Rogers (USA)

COURT 7 11:00 AM
M. Vondrousova (CZE) [12] vs. G. Minnen (BEL)
J. Paolini (ITA) vs. C. Garcia (FRA)
M. Safwat (EGY) vs. G. Simon (FRA)
M. Giron (USA) vs. M. Polmans (AUS)
R. Peterson (SWE) [32] vs. K. Flipkens (BEL)

COURT 8 11:00 AM
A. Davidovich Fokina (ESP) vs. D. Novak (AUT)
P. Lorenzi (ITA) vs. B. Nakashima (USA)
U. Arconada (USA) vs. K. Juvan (SLO)
A. Sharma (AUS) vs. D. Yastremska (UKR) [19]
J. Sousa (POR) vs. M. Mmoh (USA)

COURT 9 11:00 AM
J. Londero (ARG) vs. E. Donskoy (RUS)
C. Dolehide (USA) vs. A. Friedsam (GER)
M. Cressy (USA) vs. J. Kovalik (SVK)
F. Gaio (ITA) vs. R. Berankis (LTU)
E. Rybakina (KAZ) [11] vs. K. Zavatska (UKR)

COURT 12 11:00 AM
D. Lajovic (SRB) [18] vs. E. Gerasimov (BLR)
J. Sock (USA) vs. P. Cuevas (URU)
K. Bondarenko (UKR) vs. A. Kiick (USA)
F. Krajinovic (SRB) [26] vs. M. Ymer (SWE)
A. Li (USA) vs. A. Rus (NED)

COURT 14 11:00 AM
J. Jung (TPE) vs. F. Coria (ARG)
M. Krueger (USA) vs. P. Sousa (POR)
T. Kwiatkowski (USA) vs. S. Kwon (KOR)
C. Bellis (USA) vs. T. Korpatsch (GER)
C. Giorgi (ITA) vs. A. Van Uytvanck (BEL)

COURT 15 11:00 AM
V. Gracheva (RUS) vs. P. Badosa (ESP)
D. Kovinic (MNE) vs. L. Cabrera (AUS)
M. Kostyuk (UKR) vs. D. Kasatkina (RUS)
A. Balazs (HUN) vs. M. Kukushkin (KAZ)
L. Harris (RSA) vs. M. Cecchinato (ITA)

Grand Slam

The Wimbledon Naughty List: Which Players Have Been Fined And What For?

Ubitennis takes a look at who has been hit with a penalty and more importantly why.

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Nick Kyrgios might be the player everybody’s talking about due to his behavior but few realize that he is one of 19 to be hit with a financial penalty during the first week of Wimbledon.

In fact, more than $75,000 worth of fines has already been issued during the first week of the championships. According to official data, more than three times as many men have committed an offense than women. Although interestingly it is only two female players who have been punished for receiving coaching and nobody in the men’s draw.

Australia’s Kyrgios leads the leaderboard for the biggest fine after what has been a controversial past few days. In his first round match, he argued with the umpire and spat in front of some people in the crowd who he said were ‘disrespecting him.’ Resulting in him being hit with a $10,000 penalty. He later said during his press conference that he was tired of being verbally abused by some fans watching him play.

 

Then on Saturday in a dramatic clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas he argued once again with officials, got a warning for swearing and at one stage called for his opponent to be defaulted for hitting a ball into the stands. 

“Why would I need to apologize? I’m getting fined for it. Because I got — I always get fined. I’m very keen to see what he will get after today.” Kyrgios said following his third round win. 

Kyrgios has been fined another $4000 for his antics and Tsitsipas has to pay $10,000 for his behavior. The relationship between the two took another dramatic turn after the match when the Greek accused his peer of bullying during an explosive press conference

After Kyrgios, America’s Reilly Opelka was docked $5000 for swearing. The value of the fine is an interesting one when three other players have also been fined for the same offense but they only have to pay $3000. The difference could be due to repeated swearing during the match.

The majority of the men’s fInes are for either unsportsmanlike conduct or audible obscenities. The only exception is Benoit Paire who was fined $2500 for equipment abuse.

As for the ladies’ draw, Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko received the biggest fine ($4500) for coaching. Former world No.1 Garbine Muguruza was another player to be published for her actions.

Here is a breakdown of the fines issued between Day 1 and Day 6 of the championships. 

WOMEN

  • Daria Saville AUS (round one) $4000 – EQUIPMENT ABUSE
  • Lesia Tsurenko UKR (round two) $4500 – COACHING
  • Garbine Mugurza ESP (round 2) $3500 – COACHING
  • Harriet Dart GBR (round 2) $4000 – EQUIPMENT ABUSE

MEN

  • Fernando verdasco ESP (round one) $3000 – AUDIBLE OBSCENITY
  • Adrian Mannarino FRA (round one) $3000 – UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT
  • Stan Wawrinka SWI (round one) $3000 – UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT
  • Yoshihito Nishioka JPA (round one) $3000 – UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT
  • Nick Kyrgios AUS (round one) $10,000 – UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT
  • Pedro Martinez ESP (round one) $3000 – UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT
  • Diego Schwartzman ARG (round one) $3000 – AUDIBLE OBSCENITY
  • Lukas Klein SVK (round one) $3000 –  UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT
  • Reilly Opelka USA (round two) $5000 – AUDIBLE OBSCENITY
  • Benoit Paire (round one) $2500 – EQUIPMENT ABUSE
  • Jiri Vesely CZE (round two) $3000 – UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT
  • Alejandro Davidovich-Fokina ESP (round two) $3000 – AUDIBLE OBSCENITY
  • Denis Shapovalov CAN (round 2) £3000 – UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT
  • Nick Kyrgios (round 3) $4000 – AUDIBLE OBSCENITY
  • Stefanos Tsitsipas (round 3) $10,000 – UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT

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Grand Slam

(VIDEO) Day 7 at Wimbledon: Jannik Sinner Stuns Alcaraz, Djokovic Fights Back

Ubitennis found Ubaldo Scanagatta reflects on all the action that took place on Sunday with renowned commentator Steve Flink.

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Jannik Sinner joins a small group of only six Italian men to have reached the last eight at SW19. The 20-year-old ousted the fierce Carlos Alcaraz in four sets. Another four-set triumph was Djokovic’s win over Dutch walk card Tim Van Rijthoven.

 

Hall of Famer Flink joins Ubitennis to give his view on the events that have taken place. 

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Wimbledon Daily Preview: Former Champions Nadal, Halep Headline Monday’s Play

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Simona Halep after her first round victory (twitter.com/wimbledon)

Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep are both currently on 10-match win streaks.  Nadal has won his last 10 matches overall, going back to his 22nd Major title run in Paris.  Halep has won her last 10 matches at Wimbledon, going back to her title run in 2019.  On Monday, both face seeded opposition on Centre Court.  Rafa takes on one of the sport’s fastest-rising players of the last 12 months, Botic van de Zandschulp, while Simona faces the No.4 seed Paula Badosa.

 

Throughout the tournament, this preview will analyze the day’s five most prominent matches, while highlighting the other notable matches on the schedule.  Monday’s play begins at 11:00am local time.


Nick Kyrgios vs. Brandon Nakashima – 1:30pm on Centre Court

Kyrgios helped create yet another circus during his four-set win over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the last round, in a match where both players behaved quite terribly.  But Nakashima is a player who will not fall for Nick’s theatrics, as he is extremely composed on court.  The 20-year-old American was ranked outside the top 100 a year ago, yet is projected to debut inside the top 50 with this result, his deepest run at a Major.  Brandon collected 45 match wins at all levels last season, with two Challenger titles and two ATP-level finals.  Nakashima is a consistent player, with strong groundstrokes off both sides.  But he does not possess the serving prowess of Kyrgios, nor the experience on big stages.  And there’s no bigger stage than Centre Court, Wimbledon.  Nick has fond memories on this court, as it’s where he made his Major breakthrough eight years ago with an upset over Rafael Nadal.  That remains only one of two Slam quarterfinals Kyrgios has achieved.  But in his first career meeting against Nakashima, he’s the favorite to reach that stage at a Major for the first time in over seven years.


Alize Cornet vs. Ajla Tomljanovic – Second on No.2 Court

Cornet became the player to end Iga Swiatek’s 37-match win streak, and she did so with a comprehensive straight-set win.  This is the Frenchwoman’s 18th season of Grand Slam play, and she finally achieved her first Major quarterfinal six months ago in Australia, where she took out both Garbine Muguruza and Simona Halep.  Tomljanovic achieved the same milestone a year ago at this event, when she defeated Emma Raducanu, Jelena Ostapenko, and Cornet.  On that day, Ajla prevailed over Alize 6-3 in the third.  Overall they have split four previous meetings.  Neither player was having a stellar season prior to this tournament, with both owning losing records on the year.  But on this surface, and in a highly-important matchup, I give the spunky competitive spirit of Cornet the slight edge.


Paula Badosa (4) vs. Simona Halep (16) – Second on Centre Court

Their only prior encounter occurred earlier this season in Madrid, where Halep was easily victorious by a score of 6-3, 6-1.  And while Badosa possesses the better ranking at this time, Halep actually has a better record on the year.  And Simona is now 9-1 on grass in 2022, which was the same record she had on grass in 2019, when she last played on this surface.  The two-time Major champion missed this event last year, as well Roland Garros and the Tokyo Olympics, due to a calf injury.  Neither player has dropped a set this fortnight, with Badosa taking out another two-time Slam champ, Petra Kvitova, in the last round.  That was a high-quality affair, with both Paula and Petra effectively applying their aggressive nature on this surface.  While Halep is the much more accomplished grass court player, I favor Badosa’s strong baseline game to again be rewarded on Monday, and to even her head-to-head with Halep.


Amanda Anisimova (20) vs. Harmony Tan – Third on No.1 Court

Both of these players already achieved phenomenal wins during the first week.  Anisimova came back from a set down to defeat Coco Gauff, while Tan prevailed over Serena Williams after over three hours of play.  Tan had never advanced beyond the second round of a Major, but followed up the biggest win of her career with two straight-set victories.  Anisimova is vying for her best result at a Slam since her 2019 run to the Roland Garros semifinals.  And it was during that run when her only previous matchup with Tan took place, with Amanda prevailing 6-3, 6-1.  Anisimova is in the midst of a strong season, with a record of 28-10.  Her outstanding backhand should allow her to dictate play and earn another win over Tan, despite Harmony’s diverse game filled with guile, drop shots, and tweeners.


Rafael Nadal (2) vs. Botic van de Zandschulp (21) – Third on Centre Court

This is a rematch from the third round of the last Major, when Nadal won in straight sets at his beloved Roland Garros.  Rafa did not look his best during his first two rounds here, but upped his level significantly in a comfortable victory over Lorenzo Sonego on Saturday.  Van de Zandschulp’s rise the last 12 months in his mid-20’s has been remarkable.  He reached the US Open quarterfinals as a qualifier, and has now advanced to the third round or better at the last four Slams.  And just a few weeks ago on grass at Queen’s Club, Botic was a semifinalist.  He may provide Nadal with his sternest test of this tournament yet, but defeating the 22-time Major champion, and ending Rafa’s bid for the calendar-year Grand Slam, would be extremely surprising.


Other Notable Matches on Monday:

Alex de Minaur (19) vs. Cristian Garin – De Minaur has only dropped one set to this stage, though he’s yet to face opposition ranked higher than 80th in the world.  Garin is into the fourth here for the second straight year, and also has only lost one set.  Alex leads their head-to-head 3-0, which includes a grass court contest right before this event in Eastbourne.

Elena Rybakina (17) vs. Petra Martic – Every set Rybakina has played in these Championships has been a tight one, but she’s yet to lose one.  Martic has also claimed all her sets thus far, which includes a victory over the eighth seed, Jessica Pegula.  Both players are vying for their second Major quarterfinal.  Elena is 1-0 against Petra, as she prevailed in two tiebreak sets a couple years ago in Dubai.

Taylor Fritz (11) vs. Jason Kubler (Q) – Fritz is on a seven-matchwin streak, dating back to his title run a week ago in Eastbourne.  Across the last two weeks, his serve has only been broken four times.  Kubler is a 29-year-old Australian who has been plagued by a heredity knee condition throughout his career.  He was 2-6 in the main draws of Slams prior to this fortnight.  At the 2018 US Open, Fritz was up two-sets-to-one over Kubler when Jason was forced to retire.


Monday’s full Order of Play is here.

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