US Open Day 7 Preview: Five Must-See Matches - UBITENNIS
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Grand Slam

US Open Day 7 Preview: Five Must-See Matches

Today’s preview will take you chronologically through what to watch as the round of 16 begins.




Court 17 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (

After three rounds, Novak Djokovic remains a heavy favorite to win his 18th Major.  On the women’s side, a clear favorite is yet to emerge.  Six Major champions are through to the fourth round: Serena Williams, Angelique Kerber, Naomi Osaka, Petra Kvitova, Victoria Azarenka, and Sofia Kenin.  But it still feels like anything can happen, especially with the last 13 Slams claimed by 11 different women.


Angelique Kerber (17) vs. Jennifer Brady (28)

This will be the first match of the day on Louis Armstrong Stadium.  Brady is into the fourth round at a Major for the third time, but faces a stiff test in her first career meeting with the three-time Major champion.  The 25-year-old American’s serve and forehand have been clicking since the WTA restart.  Brady breezed to the title in Lexington last month without dropping a set.  She’s also reached this stage with three straight-set victories, as none of her opposition have claimed more than three games in a set.  But Kerber has advanced comfortably as well, and has looked confident despite this being her first event since January’s Australian Open.  Her reunification with coach Torben Beltz may have a lot to do with that.  It will be fascinating to see if Kerber’s excellent defensive skills can deter Brady’s offensive weapons.  The difference here may be experience, and that’s a definitive advantage for the 2016 champion.

Petra Martic (8) vs. Yulia Putintseva (23)

Arthur Ashe Stadium action will commence at noon local time with this WTA meeting of seeded players.  It will be the guile and variety of Martic against the power and attitude of Putintseva.  Surprisingly, these two WTA veterans have never played before.  Martic had the best season of her career a year ago, reaching her first Major quarterfinal at Roland Garros, and the third round or better at the other three Slams.  Putintseva herself is a two-time French Open quarterfinalist, but this is her best Major result outside of clay.  Yulia hits hard off both wings and can control her destiny today if she racks up the winners.  But she can become error-prone at times, and that’s when her dramatics often commence.  Martic is the steadier and less-negative competitor.  The way she employs a wide array of shots could easily exasperate Putintseva, and may spell the end of Yulia’s 2020 US Open.

Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Pablo Carreno Busta (20)

Next up on Ashe is the undefeated world No.1, who is 26-0 on the year and has looked more impressive with each passing round.  He was surely a bit tired after playing some grueling matches in the Western & Southern Open just a few days before this event, but appears now to be fully fresh.  Novak is 3-0 against his opponent today, which includes their only hard court meeting last year in Cincinnati.  But Carreno Busta is no pushover.  He was a semifinalist here three years ago, and has won three hard court titles in his career.  Unfortunately for Pablo, there’s just not much in his game that can threaten the three-time champion.  Prior to his loss in the fourth round last year to Stan Wawrinka, Djokovic had won 11 consecutive round of 16 matches in New York.  But it’s worth noting Novak was injured here a year ago.  I would be shocked if a healthy Djokovic stalls at this stage for the second straight year.

David Goffin (7) vs. Denis Shapovalov (12)

This will kick off the night session on Arthur Ashe Stadium.  It’s Shapovalov’s second time into the round of 16 at a Major, with the first occurring three years ago at this same event.  But he almost didn’t make it this far, narrowing escaping defeat when Taylor Fritz choked while serving for the match on Friday.  Goffin has advanced to the quarterfinals at each of the other three Slams, but never in New York.  He’s gone 0-3 in the fourth round here the last three years, though none of those losses were embarrassing (Andrey Rublev, Marin Cilic, and Roger Federer).  David prevailed in their only previous meeting, a tight hard court match last year in Tokyo decided by two tiebreak sets.  Shapovalov may play freely, feeling as if he’s living a second life in this draw.  But Goffin was impressive in taking out a red-hot Filip Krajinovic in straight sets two days ago, and he’s had success playing on fast hard courts.  Over the course of three-to-five sets, there’s less that can go wrong in his game.  I expect Goffin today will complete the career Slam of quarterfinals.

Naomi Osaka (4) vs. Anett Kontaveit (14)

The last match of the evening features two of the WTA’s best players this summer.  These two just played last week here in the Western & Southern Open, and it was an extremely close encounter.  Kontaveit was within a few points of upsetting the two-time Major champion, yet Osaka fought her way to victory 7-5 in the third.  Overall Naomi is 3-0 against Anett.  But today may be the day the 24-year-old Estonian earns her first victory over Osaka.  Kontaveit should take a lot of positives away from the lead she built against Osaka last week.  It’s been a good season for Anett, reaching her first Major quarterfinal in Australia.  Additionally, she already has 10 match wins since the tour restart last month.  And Osaka’s leg injury couldn’t have been helped by her two-and-a-half-hour struggle against Marta Kostyuk two days ago.  Kontaveit’s aggressive groundstrokes may be too much for a less-than-100% Osaka to overcome.

Other Notable Matches on Day 7:

2018 ATP Finals champion Sascha Zverev (5) vs. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, the 99th-ranked player in the world who is into the fourth round of a Major for the first time.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova (6) vs. Shelby Rogers.  In their only previous meeting, at the 2016 French Open, the 27-year-old American prevailed 6-0, 6-7, 6-0.

Borna Coric (27) vs. Jordan Thompson.  Both men are vying for their first Slam quarterfinal.  What will Coric have left after his remarkable comeback against Stefanos Tsitsipas two nights ago?

Grand Slam

REPORT: French Open Attendance To Be More Than Halved Amid COVID-19 Threat

It is understood that the number of fans allowed to attend daily has been cut by roughly 55%.




This year’s French Open has been forced to dramatically reduce their initial plans for 11,500 daily visitors, according to information obtained by L’Equipe newspaper.


The number has reportedly been cut to just 5000 following a ‘governmental decision’ linked to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Organisers had originally set out plans for three separate zones with two holding up to 5000 people and an additional welcoming 1500. However, it has now emerged the new number will only be applied to one specific zone where the premier Philippe-Chatrier Court is located. Meaning that it is possible that matches played on courts Suzanne-Lenglen and Simonne-Mathieu will not be opened to the public.

In recent days France has seen a rise in coronavirus cases and reported 9784 new infections in the country on Wednesday. A slight dip of France’s all-time high of 10,561 which was recorded last Saturday. It is understood that the decision to reduce the crowd size at Roland Garros is also based on spikes in other countries apart from France.

There has been no official comment from the French Tennis Federation (FFT) but L’Equipe reports that the change has been made in line with new local government guidance. The ruling will have no impact on next week’s qualifying tournament which is being played behind closed doors.

Leading up to the clay-court major some players have voiced caution about attending the event with crowds. Outspoken player Nick Kyrgios, who is not playing in Paris this year, went as far as accusing organisers of not taking the pandemic seriously enough. Former champion Simona Halep has also voiced her own concerns.

“I just read that they will have fans,” Halep told reporters earlier this week. “But I’m pretty sure that it’s going to be very strict.
“We cannot be with the fans, we cannot be with the people that are not in the bubble, so I think they will be separate. Hopefully it’s going to be safe, and we will feel like here, like in the bubble.”

The French Open will start on September 28th. Rafael Nadal and Ash Barty are the reigning champions but Barty will not be defending her title due to travelling concerns related to COVID-19.

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Grand Slam

‘Her Values Are Not What Tennis Stands For’ – Andy Murray Backs Calls To Rename Margaret Court Arena

The British tennis star is the latest top name to hit out at Court over her history of anti-gay comments.




Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray has said the Australian Open should consider renaming one of their premier courts after Margaret Court due to her controversial views.


The former world No.1 says 78-year-old Court, who holds the record for most singles Grand Slam titles won, doesn’t represent the values of the sport. Despite being one of Australia’s most decorated tennis players of all time, Court has a history of making various anti-gay views but maintains that she is not homophobic. She once said that the women’s tour was ‘full of lesbians‘ and during her playing career described rival Martina Navratilova as a ‘bad role model’ due to her sexuality. In other incidents she also boycotted Qantas airlines due to their support of marriage equality and publicly criticised former player Casey Dellacqua for having a baby with her same-sex partner.

Murray joins a list of figures calling for a change along with Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe who both held an on-court protest back in January calling for the name change. The Brit argues that the controversy surrounding Court takes focus away from tennis and this should not be the case. This year the Australian was honoured at the Melbourne major with a low-key event to mark the 50th anniversary of her calendar Grand Slam.

“She has obviously offended and upset a lot of people over the years. I think the players certainly have spoken up, which is a positive thing,” Murray told
“As far as renaming the venue. I think that yes, it’s something the sport should consider. I don’t know who makes the final decision on that but I don’t think her values are what tennis stands for. When you get to the Australian Open you want to concentrate on the tennis. Court’s views detract from that.”

Tennis Australia, who oversees the Australian Open, has previously distanced themselves from Court’s views. In a statement previously issued they said the decision to recognise the 50th anniversary of her triumph was solely due to her achievements and they do not endorse her views.

“Court was given a ceremony at the Australian Open this year to mark her achievements in the game, but the reception she received from the public was lukewarm,” Murray commented.

The issue of gay rights is rarely spoken about in the world of men’s tennis. Unlike the women’s game there are no openly gay male players and only a handful have publicly spoken about their sexuality in recent years. The most well known being former top 100 American player Brian Vahaly who came out after he retired from the sport.

“I think, certainly in men’s tennis, there have been a number of players who have come out as gay, but not while they’re competing. I think there’s still a stigma around it which obviously shouldn’t be the case,” said Murray.

There are various theories about the reasons where there may be no openly gay players on the Tour. Murray says he has never witnessed or heard homophobic comments whilst playing in the sport, but admits that it may be different if somebody did come out.

“I wouldn’t say that I have heard it in the locker room. If more gay men came out it’s something you might see more of potentially,” he explained.
“There have been a few things said in articles I’ve read where players have made homophobic comments, but I’ve not been in the presence of anyone when they have made homophobic comments in the locker room.”

Murray will return to action in less than two weeks time at the French Open in Paris.

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Nick Kyrgios Slams French Open Over Crowd Decision

The world No.41 explains why he is ‘disappointed’ with the French major as other players also voice caution about playing in front of crowds.




Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios has accused officials at the French Open of not taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously following their decision to allow spectators to attend.


The clay-court Grand Slam has created three separate zones where fans are allowed to attend with each of those having a daily capacity limit. The zones including court Philippe Chatrier and Suzanne Lenglen will hold up to 5000 each. Meanwhile an additional 1500 spectators will be allowed to visit the area surrounding the third court, Simonne Mathieu. The French Tennis Federation (FFT) says strict measures will be in place and their plans have been drafted following ‘advice from a committee of expert scientists.` Masks must be worn at all times by those attending.

Despite the measures that have been put in place, former top 20 player Kyrgios has criticised the move amid the number of cases in the country. France has recently seen a surge in their daily toll. On Tuesday they reported 7852 newly confirmed cases within a 24-hour period compared to 6158 the day before. Last Saturday the number surpassed the 10,000 mark.

“I am most likely not going to play,” Kyrgios told News Corp.
“Especially with the cases rising there. I don’t feel comfortable to go there and play.
“They are thinking about doing it with crowds. I don’t think the tournament is taking it seriously. It’s disappointing the level of seriousness they are taking towards it.”

Kyrgios hasn’t played a competitive match since February after choosing to skip the North American swing over concerns related to the pandemic. A decision that was also taken by the likes of Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep. Although he also previously hinted that it is unlikely that he will be travelling to Europe this year and therefore ending his season early. A approach that was also taken by compatriot Ash Barty.

The 25-year-old isn’t the only player to have express concerns about crowds at Roland Garros. 2018 champion Halep told reporters at this week’s Italian Open, which is being held behind closed doors, that she is hopeful that officials at the venue will be ‘strict’ with the measures.

“I just read that they will have fans,” she said. “But I’m pretty sure that it’s going to be very strict.
“We cannot be with the fans, we cannot be with the people that are not in the bubble, so I think they will be separate. Hopefully it’s going to be safe, and we will feel like here, like in the bubble.”

Meanwhile, cautiously-speaking Nadal says it is a case of wait and see what happens in Paris. This year he is bidding to win the major for an historic 13th time.

“I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know what’s the situation’s going to look like in Roland Garros,” he told journalists on Monday when questioned about the French Open.
“Let’s see how the virus evolves the next couple of weeks. Hopefully in a good way. Doesn’t look like that, no? Let’s see. We need to be patient and we need to wait to see how the situation improves.”

Unlike the main draw, the qualifying rounds will be held behind closed doors in order to make it easier for players to move around the venue. The tournament gets underway on September 21st with the main draw starting the week after.

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