US Open Day 9 Preview: The Quarterfinals Commence - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

Grand Slam

US Open Day 9 Preview: The Quarterfinals Commence

Will Naomi Osaka and Alexander Zverev live up to expectations in New York?

Avatar

Published

on

The grounds of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (usopen.org)

Eight men and eight women are just three matches away from Grand Slam glory.

 

On the men’s side, all remaining players are age 27 or less, meaning the champion will become the youngest active male to win a Major.  This will mark the first Grand Slam event in four years with someone not named Roger, Rafa, or Novak lifting the winner’s trophy.  The women’s side includes three mothers for the first time in the Open Era.  One had not won a match in a year until two weeks ago, another hadn’t played a tournament in over three years, and the other is the best female player of all-time.  In a fortnight full of inspiring stories, what will unfold during the next six days?

Yulia Putintseva (23) vs. Jennifer Brady (28)

Jennifer Brady is playing some great ball.  The 25-year-old was the champion in Lexington a few weeks ago, and is into her first Major quarterfinal without dropping a set.  With a versatile serve, penetrating groundstrokes, and improved movement, Brady’s opponents have failed to find a weakness to manipulate.  But she’s 0-2 against Putintseva, who twice before has reached this stage of a Major (both times at Roland Garros).  Also 25-years-of-age, Yulia survived a dramatic and controversial battle against Petra Martic on Sunday, which saw both players take medical timeouts at inconvenient times for their opponent.  Putintseva brings the drama wherever she goes, and is a feisty competitor who is not opposed to talking some trash.  But despite her strong ground game, Yulia does not possess the weapons or speed of the American.  Brady is a considerable favorite to reach the semifinals of her home Slam.

Sascha Zverev (5) vs. Borna Coric (27)

This is a rematch from the second round of the 2017 US Open, a match in which Zverev was goaded into many 30-40 ball rallies instead of harnessing his power game.  Coric would grind his way to a four-set win on that day.  Three years on, Zverev is a much-improved player.  Despite his second serve yips resurfacing last week, they’ve been less of an issue through four rounds, with 71 aces to 29 double faults.  By contrast, Coric has struggled of late, but his grit was on full display in his epic comeback two rounds ago over Stefanos Tsitsipas, where he saved six match points.  That was Borna’s second consecutive five-setter, which ended past 1:00am local time.  However, he bounced back impressively two days later, ousting Jordan Thompson in straight sets to reach his first Major quarterfinal.  Overall, Coric leads their head-to-head 3-1, with Zverev’s only win coming in Miami two years ago.  But if Sascha serves well and plays aggressively, he should be able to reach his second consecutive Slam semifinal.  Coric will not defeat himself and is a great counterpuncher, yet Zverev can better dictate play.

Naomi Osaka (4) vs. Shelby Rogers

Could we have an all-American semifinal?  Perhaps, though Rogers faces a much taller task then her friend Jen Brady.  Osaka was the champion here two years ago, and is the only woman to win back-to-back Majors since Serena Williams did so in 2015.  While Naomi withdrew from the Western & Southern Open final 10 days ago due to a hamstring injury, and still has it wrapped, it does not appear to be effecting her play.  She served exceptionally well two days ago against Anett Kontaveit, winning 84% on her first serve and 82% on her second.  Rogers fought hard and deserves full credit for reaching for first Major quarterfinal, despite Petra Kvitova double faulting on match point in the final set tiebreak.  Rogers has talked of focusing on her fitness during the pandemic shutdown, and the results have followed.  Just a few weeks ago in Lexington, she came back from a set down to upset Serena Williams.  Rogers does have three match wins against Osaka, though two were those were at lower level events, and the other was three years ago on clay.  Even without a partisan crowd filling Arthur Ashe Stadium, the American will surely be nervous in the biggest match of her career, having never advanced beyond the third round of a Major previously.  And with Osaka hitting the ball as soundly as she is, Naomi is a strong favorite to reach her third Slam semifinal.

Denis Shapovalov (12) vs. Pablo Carreno Busta (20)

Like today’s other men’s quarterfinal, this is also a rematch from the 2017 US Open.  In the fourth round three years ago, Carreno Busta prevailed after three tiebreak sets against an 18-year-old Canadian making his debut in the second week of a Major.  The Spaniard has also claimed their other two hard court meetings, with Shapovalov’s only victory coming on clay.  But Denis has shown this fortnight that he’s now a more complete player.  He escaped near-defeat against Taylor Fritz to win in five, then followed it up with a strong effort to take out David Goffin in four.  Carreno Busta advanced after Novak Djokovic was infamously defaulted on Sunday.  However, it’s worth noting Pablo is a former semifinalist here, and it was his defiant play which brought that frustration out of Novak.  But with Denis’ superior offensive skills, I like Shapovalov to extend his best-yet run at a Major.

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%.

Avatar

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Avatar

Published

on

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 pridelife.com.
“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.

Continue Reading

ATP

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.

Avatar

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending