US Open Daily Preview: Can Teenagers Leylah Fernandez and Carlos Alcaraz Extend Their Thrilling Runs? - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

Focus

US Open Daily Preview: Can Teenagers Leylah Fernandez and Carlos Alcaraz Extend Their Thrilling Runs?

Avatar

Published

on

Leylah Fernandez on Sunday after defeating Angelique Kerber (twitter.com/usopen)

Leylah Fernandez and Carlos Alcaraz are two of three teenagers to reach the US Open quarterfinals, along with Emma Raducanu, who will play on Wednesday.  It was only two years ago when a then-19-year-old Bianca Andreescu won this title.  Will another teenager become champion this week in New York?

 

Fernandez and Alcaraz have two well-established stars standing in their way: Elina Svitolina and Felix Auger-Aliassime.  They are joined on Tuesday’s schedule by another improbable quarterfinalist, qualifier Botic Van de Zandschulp, who will face 2019 runner-up Daniil Medvedev.  And the day’s most blockbuster matchup sees two top 10 seeds square off, in Aryna Sabalenka and Barbora Krejickova.

Daniil Medvedev (2) vs. Botic Van de Zandschulp (Q) – 12:00pm on Arthur Ashe Stadium

What an effort by the 25-year-old Dutchman, ranked 117th in the world, to advance to the quarterfinals.  Botic dropped the first set in each of his three qualifying matches, as well as his first three matches in the main draw.  He’s taken out two top 15 players in Casper Ruud and Diego Schwartzman, the two best wins of his career.  But what could be possibly have left after 18 sets played across four main draw matches, and 27 sets played over the last 13 days?  Meanwhile, Daniil Medvedev has been purely dominant through four rounds, dropping only 32 games through 12 sets.  This should be a straightforward victory for the World No.2, who is looking to advance to the US Open semifinals for the third straight year.

Elina Svitolina (5) vs. Leylah Fernandez – Second on Arthur Ashe Stadium

Can Leylah Fernandez upset a third consecutive top player?  Her shocking wins over Naomi Osaka and Angelique Kerber, each after losing the first set, exhilarated the New York crowd.  The Canadian will be the underdog again on Tuesday, and will certainly have the audience behind her.  If she can maintain her level from the last two sets of her last two matches, while taking balls early and using her lefty-ness to create sharp angles, she has a legitimate shot of becoming a semifinalist.  However, Svitolina is yet to drop a set this fortnight, and is playing with supreme confidence coming off her Olympic bronze medal in Tokyo.  She’s also on a nine-match winning streak, dating back to her title run two weeks ago in Chicago.  Svitolina claimed their only previous meeting in straight sets, last year in Monterrey, which incidentally is the event where Fernandez won her first WTA title this year.  Elina’s speed around the court will counteract some of Leylah’s offense, and her experience should prove to be a crucial asset.  Svitolina was a semifinalist in her last appearance here two years ago, and I like her chances to repeat that feat.

Aryna Sabalenka (2) vs. Barbora Krejcikova (8) – 7:00pm on Arthur Ashe Stadium

The biggest question in this match could be the condition of Krejcikova.  At 6-5 in the second set of the last round against Garbine Muguruza, Barbora took an extended medical timeout off court, later describing that she couldn’t breathe and felt dizzy.  Once returning to court, Krejcikova would close out the match in a second set tiebreak, much to the chagrin of Muguruza and her team, who were not happy about the long break, or the time Barbora was taking between points.  If the French Open singles and doubles champion is fully recovered, she’s the favorite on this day.  Krejcikova has now won 29 of her last 32 matches, and is another player who has not dropped a set thus far.  Notably, Sabalenka did take their only prior meeting in three sets, last fall in Linz.  But Barbora is a completely different player now, with few holes in her game, and more variety than Aryna. 

Felix Auger-Aliassime (12) vs. Carlos Alcaraz – Last on Arthur Ashe Stadium

This is the only singles quarterfinal of the day where neither player has previously reached a Major semifinal.  Auger-Aliassime was one match away from doing so at Wimbledon, but lost in four sets to eventual runner-up Matteo Berrettini.  Alcaraz only debuted at the Grand Slam level this year, and is now the youngest men’s singles quarterfinalist of the Open Era, and the youngest man into the quarters of any Major since Michael Chang at 1990’s French Open.  These two men both find inspiration in the Nadal family.  Carlos idolizes Rafa, while Felix is currently coached by Rafa’s uncle and longtime coach, Toni.  Felix’s considerable edge in experience, as well as his superior serve, should enable him to achieve his first Major semifinal.  However, this is another case where the crowd will be firmly cheering on the teenager, and Carlos has embraced that energy and used it to propel himself to victory.  Alcaraz plays with a level of belief rarely found in players his age, while Auger-Aliassime has been known to tighten up under pressure.  But the Canadian has displayed impressive composure in recent wins over Sascha Zverev and Frances Tiafoe, and I think he’s ready to take his career another step forward.

Tuesday’s full Order of Play is here.

Focus

Serena Williams Set For Raducanu Challenge In Cincinnati

Serena Williams will play US Open champion Emma Raducanu in one of her final tournaments before the end of her career.

Avatar

Published

on

Serena Williams (@BleacherReport - Twitter)

In what could be the penultimate tournament of her career, 23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams takes on US Open champion Emma Raducanu in Cincinnati.

 

Potentially two more tournaments to go before a legend of the sport retires in the form of Serena Williams.

Williams began her farewell tour in Toronto where she went out in the second round to Belinda Bencic and will look to make a bigger impression in Cincinnati.

However an intriguing task awaits in her opening match in Ohio as she will take on US Open champion Emma Raducanu in the opening round.

Raducanu enters the match in uninspiring form having reached the quarter-finals in Washington before an opening round exit against Camila Giorgi in Toronto.

It will be interesting how this match fairs as Williams gets a taste of facing the younger generation before she departs the sport.

That match is in a packed part of the draw where the winner of that match will play the winner of Kaia Kanepi and Victoria Azarenka.

There is also a huge match between Bianca Andreescu and Camila Giorgi with the winner taking on seventh seed Jessica Pegula in the second round.

As for Serena’s sister, Venus Williams, she hasn’t fared much better with her draw as she takes on 14th seed Karolina Pliskova in her opening round.

Also in this section of the draw is fourth seed Maria Sakkari who takes on either a qualifier or Alison Van Uytvanck.

Other highlights of the bottom half of the draw will see Sofia Kenin take on Shelby Rogers while Amanda Anisimova takes on Daria Kasatkina.

Naomi Osaka is also in the bottom half of the draw where she takes on Shuai Zhang.

Meanwhile in the top half of the draw Iga Swiatek will look to bounce back after an early exit in Toronto as she takes on Sloane Stephens or Alize Cornet in her opening round.

Other exciting matches in the top half of the draw sees Simona Halep take on Karolina Muchova while Beatriz Haddad Maia takes on Jelena Ostapenko.

Here is the full Women’s singles draw with Serena Williams expected to play on Monday night:

Continue Reading

ATP

ATP Montreal: Ruud Thrashes Auger-Aliassime To Reach Semis, Mixed Results For Brits

Casper Ruud eased past Felix Auger-Aliassime to set up a semi-final meeting with Hubert Hurkacz in Montreal.

Avatar

Published

on

Casper Ruud (@OBNmontreal - Twitter)

Casper Ruud only dropped three games against Felix Auger-Aliassime to reach the semi-finals in Montreal.

 

The Norwegian is into the semi-finals in Canada after a dominant performance over home favourite Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Ruud dominated from the start of the match as he produced a sublime performance only committing nine unforced errors throughout the match to reach the last four.

Ruud has had a good season on hard courts this season and is looking to make his second consecutive hard court Masters 1000 final after reaching the final in Miami.

Speaking after the match Ruud admitted he got a bit lucky but is happy to be in the last four in Canada, “It was one of those days where everything goes in one favour and luckily it was in my favour,” Ruud told the ATP website.

“With a player like Felix, you need to rely on some margins going your way. I didn’t expect them to all go on my side. It was a bit of a difficult start. I got broken but then was able to turn everything around. I hit my spots, made the shots I needed to and make him hit a lot of balls. That was the game plan and it worked well.

“The last hard-court tournament I played in was in Miami where I reached the final. I wanted to make a deep run here. I didn’t think it was too likely, being the first hard-court tournament back, but I have been playing great from the first point in the first match.”

Ruud will look to claim his first Masters 1000 title this week and rise to four in the world in the ATP rankings.

Next for Ruud is the only Masters 1000 champion left in the draw in the form of Hubert Hurkacz.

Hurkacz defeated the in-form Nick Kyrgios 7-6(4) 6-7(5) 6-1 to reach the semi-finals in Canada.

The eighth seed produced some big-serving and bold decision making as he reached his first semi-final since winning the Halle title.

Heading into their match, Ruud leads the head-to-head 1-0 where the Norwegian was victorious at Roland Garros this year.

Mixed results for British hopefuls

Meanwhile it was a mixed night for British players as Dan Evans reached his second career Masters 1000 semi-final while Jack Draper exited the tournament in the last eight.

Evans defeated Tommy Paul 1-6 6-3 6-4 to reach a landmark moment in his career in Montreal.

After his win Evans described the win as ‘extra special’ as he looks forward to a semi-final meeting with Pablo Carreno Busta, “The crowd, that’s what they buy their tickets for. That’s live sport,” Evans told the ATP website.

“You never know what’s going to happen. It was an amazing match, amazing atmosphere. I played on the court before. In the day it was amazing, but at night, there’s something about playing sport at night, it’s extra special.”

Evans will now play Carreno Busta in the last four after the Spaniard defeated British qualifier Jack Draper 7-6(4) 6-1.

Draper defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas earlier in the week but was no match for the resilient Spaniard.

Saturday’s semi-final will be the first meeting between Evans and Carreno Busta.

Continue Reading

ATP

Canada Daily Preview: Semifinal Saturday Features Ruud/Hurkacz and Pegula/Halep

Avatar

Published

on

Simona Halep on Friday in Toronto (twitter.com/NBOtoronto)

The singles and doubles semifinals will be played on Saturday in Canada.  In Montreal, a new men’s singles champion will be crowned, and Hubi Hurkacz is the only semifinalist to have previously won a Masters 1000 event (Miami, 2021).  Hurkacz is also in the doubles semifinals, so it will be a busy day for Hubi.  In singles, he faces a finalist from this year in Miami, Casper Ruud.

 

In Toronto, Simona Halep is the only former champion remaining, and is two wins away from her third title at this event.  On Saturday, she plays Jessica Pegula, who is into the semifinals in Canada for the second straight year.  Like Hurkacz, Pegula is also in the doubles semifinals.  She’s teaming with Coco Gauff, who will become the new doubles No.1 if they win the title.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Saturday’s play gets underway at 12:00pm local time in Montreal and 1:00pm in Toronto.


Hubert Hurkacz (8) vs. Casper Ruud (4) – Not Before 3:00pm on Court Central in Montreal

Hurkacz ended the winning streak of Nick Kyrgios on Friday, taking him out in three sets for the second time this season.  But Ruud was even more impressive on Friday, bouncing back from a marathon victory on Thursday over Roberto Bautista Agut to overwhelm Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime, dropping only three games.  Predominantly known as a clay court player, Casper is also establishing himself as a considerable threat on hard courts.  That’s especially true in North America, where Ruud has claimed 16 of his last 19 matches.  But Hubi’s success on this surface remains superior, as does his serving prowess.  While Ruud prevailed in their only previous encounter, just a few months ago at Roland Garros, Hurkacz is the favorite on a hard court.


Jessica Pegula (7) vs. Simona Halep (15) – 1:00pm on Centre Court in Toronto

Halep has been dominant through four rounds this week, advancing without the loss of a set.  Simona has quietly put together a strong record of 36-10 this season, though she’s yet to achieve a big result, with only one title at the 250 level at the start of the year.  Pegula only dropped one set this week, to defending champion Camila Giorgi.  And similar to Halep, she’s accumulated a solid record this year (29-14) without winning a title.  This will be the first career meeting between these two players.  Considering Halep is now 25-6 lifetime at this event, and the way in which she has easily prevailed all week, her superior movement and defense should be enough to reach her fourth final in Canada.


Other Notable Matches on Saturday:

Pablo Carreno Busta vs. Dan Evans – Carreno Busta has played superbly this week, eliminating the likes of Jannik Sinner and Matteo Berrettini without losing a set to this stage.  Dan Evans has survived two grueling three-setters in as many days.  This is their first career meeting.

Beatriz Haddad Maia vs. Karolina Pliskova (14) – Haddad Maia has earned three big wins across the last three days over Iga Swiatek, Belinda Bencic, and Leylah Fernandez.  Pliskova is looking to reach the Canada final for the second straight year.  They have split two previous encounters, both on hard courts.


Saturday’s full Order of Play is here.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending