US Open Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic Chases Tennis History in the Men’s Semifinals - UBITENNIS
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US Open Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic Chases Tennis History in the Men’s Semifinals




Novak Djokovic serving on Wednesday evening against Matteo Berrettini (

Novak Djokovic is just two matches away from the first men’s Grand Slam in 52 years, while simultaneously passing both Roger Federer and Rafael by winning his 21st Major overall.  But in order to reach Sunday’s championship match, he must first overcome Sascha Zverev, who defeated Djokovic at the Tokyo Olympics.  The other semifinal features three-time US Open semifinalist Daniil Medvedev against first-time Major semifinalist Felix Auger-Aliassime.


Also on Friday, the men’s doubles championship match, as well as the women’s doubles semifinals.

Daniil Medvedev (2) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (12) – 3:00pm on Arthur Ashe Stadium

Their only previous meeting occurred three years ago at the Masters 1000 event in Auger-Aliassime’s home country, where the Russian prevailed in a third set tiebreak.  Three years later, both are much more accomplished, developed players.  A 68th-ranked Daniil had to qualify for that tournament, but since that time, he has achieved two Major finals and won four Masters 1000 tournaments, all on this surface.  At that time, a 133rd-ranked Felix received a wild card into his country’s biggest event.  While he is still yet to win a tour final (0-8, with no sets won in any of those finals), he has consistently improved his results.  A win on Friday would catapult him into the top 10 for the first time.  But Medvedev has become something of a hard court specialist.  In 2021 he is 33-5 on this surface, and 4-1 in hard court semifinals, with his only loss coming last month to fellow Russian Andrey Rublev.  Aside from one set allocated to Botic van de Zandschulp in the quarterfinals, he has thoroughly thumped all comers this fortnight.  Felix’s serve can be quite formidable, but Daniil’s deep return position will prevent him from striking many aces.  It would be pretty surprising if Medvedev failed to reach his third Major final.

Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Sascha Zverev (4) – 7:00pm on Arthur Ashe Stadium

When Serena Williams was going for the Grand Slam at the 2015 US Open, this is the round where she stumbled.  Will the same happen to Novak Djokovic?  In Tokyo, Djokovic was up a set and a break when Zverev upped his level, eventually prevailing 6-1 in the third to prevent any chance of Novak achieving the Golden Slam.  Can the German now prevent Djokovic from achieving the Grand Slam?  Overall Djokovic leads Zverev 6-3, and 5-2 on hard courts.  At Majors, it’s 2-0 Novak, which includes a four-set victory in this year’s Australian Open quarterfinals.  Prior to the Olympics, Djokovic had claimed their last four meetings.  Sascha is now on a 16-match win streak, having prevailed in both Tokyo as well as Cincinnati.  He’s only dropped one set this week (three less than Novak), with no match lasting more than two-and-a-half hours.  For a player who previously suffered from prolonged early-round matches at Slams, that is a critical improvement.  A fully-fresh Zverev, who has seemingly overcome the second-serve issues of his recent past, could be the biggest challenge Djokovic has faced on his Grand Slam quest since Stefanos Tsitsipas won the first two sets of the French Open final.  But as we saw on Wednesday night, no one has mastered the best-of-five format like Novak.  He has full confidence in his ability to wear down and outlast all opposition, even after falling behind, as he has in his last three matches at this tournament.  I fully expect Djokovic to compete in his ninth US Open final on Sunday, and play one match for history.

Other Notable Matches on Friday:

Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury (4) vs. Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares (7) – Ram and Salisbury are looking for their second Major title, as they also won last year’s Australian Open.  Murray and Soares won two Majors together in 2016, including this event, and Soares also won last year’s US Open alongside Mate Pavic.

Alexa Guarachi and Desirae Krawczyk (7) vs. Sam Stosur and Shuai Zhang (14) – Krawczyk was a mixed doubles champion at this year’s Roland Garros and Wimbledon with two different partners, and was a finalist at last year’s French Open with Guarachi.  Stosur and Shuai won the 2019 Australian Open, and were champions just a few weeks ago in Cincinnati.

Garbiela Dabrowski and Luisa Stefani (5) vs. Coco Gauff and Katy McNally (11) – Stefani won a bronze medal in Tokyo with Laura Pigossi, and then partnered with Dabrowski to win in Montreal.  Gauff and McNally have won three tour titles, but are looking to reach their first Major final.  They upset the top seeds, Elise Mertens and Su-Wei Hsieh, in the last round.

Friday’s full Order of Play is here.


Home hope Ash Barty stays on course to win the Australian Open

Ash Barty has cruised into the second week at the Australian Open without dropping a set.




Ash Barty (@TennisAustralia - Twitter)

World number one Ash Barty comfortably confirmed her place in week two of the Australian Open beating Camila Giorgi 6-2, 6-3.


In recent seasons, Barty had been weighted down by expectations on her home territory.

This was far from the case against Giorgi as Barty snuffed out any chance of an upset with a near fault-less performance.

Both players came out striking the ball well, but it was the top seed that broke first racing into a 2-0 lead.

Giorgi was landing some stunning groundstrokes, but this was not enough to stop Barty, who broke again at the end of the first set to clinch it 6-2.

The Australian held to love at the beginning of the second set as the Italian looked to find a way back into the match.

Barty began to find her groove and moved her opponent around the court with some sublime shot making.

The Italian kept things interesting but was eventually broken as the top seed took a 4-2 lead.

With the crowd behind her, Barty continued to hold serve, engineering three match points, but she only needed one.

After the match, Barty chatted to former champion Jim Courier and had this to say.

“Yeah, I thought tonight was really clean. I thought I looked after my service games really well. I did well to come out of a really tricky one at love-40 down. Overall, a pretty good performance I think,” she said.

The home favourite also praised Giorgi’s performance.

“Yeah, I thought I was out of my weight class, that’s for sure. The way she hits the ball and can control the centre of the court is incredible.

“It was my job to get her off that baseline, whether it was short, or it was deep, or it was out of her strike zone.

“It’s tough when you’re up against the wind but I think I was able to use my slice effectively,” she said.

A much tougher test awaits the Aussie in American star Amanda Anisimova, as the 20-year-old stunned four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka in three sets.

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Amanda Anisimova Knocks Out Naomi Osaka In Australian Open Thriller To Reach Last 16

Amanda Anisimova is into the last 16 of the Australian Open with a thrilling win over defending champion Naomi Osaka.




Amanda Anisimova (@Tennis - Twitter)

Amanda Anisimova continues her unbeaten start to the season by knocking out defending champion Naomi Osaka 4-6 6-3 7-6(10-5) in a classic match at the Australian Open.


The American hit brutal shots and powered past the Osaka defence to knock out the defending champion in a classic match.

Osaka had two match points but ultimately couldn’t be aggressive enough in the big points to outmanoeuvre Anisimova.

Next for Anisimova is world number one Ash Barty in the fourth round on Sunday.

It was a tentative start from Anisimova as the American hit a couple of double faults and failed to establish early control.

The defending champion took advantage to break in the opening game and her defensive game was causing trouble to Anisimova’s power game.

Osaka threatened with the double break but Anisimova found her stride in the crucial moments to fend off break points.

In the middle of the opening set, Anisimova started to anticipate Osaka’s serve better and created her first break point of the match.

However Osaka remained firm and with good angles and devastating power managed to hold serve to take the opening set 6-4.

In the second set both players had to produce their bold patterns of play on big points to resist opposition pressure.

Despite Osaka’s great returning ability, Anisimova managed to fend off the Osaka power and turn defence into attack.

For all of the American’s attack it was her variety that earned her the break as a drop shot slice sealed the break for 3-1.

From then on Anisimova controlled the tempo of the second set and produced big serving as the American took the second set 6-3 to level the match at one set all.

The final set saw both players bring their best tennis at the same time as both players had early opportunities to break.

Neither converted although it was Osaka who always looked the more dangerous with her angles and different heights causing Anisimova problems.

Towards the tail end of the set, Osaka had two match points to seal the victory but Anisimova’s brutal power saw her hold for 5-5.

In the end a tiebreak would settle this thrilling contest and it was Anisimova who raced to an early lead and never looked back as she clinched one of the best wins of her career.

After the match Anisimova admitted she was speechless, “I’m speechless. I can’t stop smiling. I’m just laughing. I absolutely love this,” the American said in her on-court interview.

“Going into this match I knew I had to be playing sharp if I wanted to give myself a chance. She is an absolute champion so I knew I would have to step up my game and be aggressive.

“I’m honestly so grateful that I was able to play so well today and get this win. It means a lot. Every single day here is an amazing opportunity. I’m just thinking about having fun and I’m looking forward to my next round.”

A history-making win for Anisimova who will play world number one Ash Barty for a spot in the quarter-finals.

As for Naomi Osaka she will look to recover in time for March when she plays Indian Wells and Miami.

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Italian Journalist rates Camila Giorgi, Matteo Berrettini, Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Sonego’s Australian Open hopes

The Italians are making big strides in Melbourne as they search for a place in the second week.




Matteo Berrettini (@Tennis - Twitter)

The Australian Open continues on Friday with day five of the action.


In the women’s draw, world number one and home favourite Ash Barty takes on Italy’s Camila Giorgi on Rod Laver Arena.

But before that, top ranked Italian and last year’s Wimbledon finalist, Matteo Berrettini, continues his campaign against rising star Carlos Alcaraz of Spain.

On 1573 Arena, 25th seed Lorenzo Sonego goes in search of his first fourth-round appearance in Australia, as he entertains Miomir Kecmanovic.

Saturday will see 2019 Next Gen Finals winner, Jannik Sinner, play Andy Murray’s conqueror, Taro Daniel, for a place in round four.

I managed to catch up with our very own Vanni Gibertini, and ask for his thoughts on Italian tennis’ hopes for this tournament.

Question 1: On Friday, can Camilla Giorgi cause Ash Barty any problems, if any? What is the strongest part of the Italian’s game?

Answer: Camila has only one way to try to win this match; just prevent Barty from playing tennis, going all-out on any chance she gets.

Barty has too much tennis for her. Actually, Barty has too much tennis for just about anyone on the WTA Tour, so she could be overpowered.

Luckily for Camila, that’s the game she’s been playing all her life, but she will need to be at the top of her game, and her serve needs to help her in a big way.

Question 2: Is this the Slam that we will see Jannik Sinner make a real statement of intent, in your opinion?

Answer: Sinner has not been very lucky with draws at Slams, except for Roland Garros 2020 when he faced a very subdued David Goffin in the first round (the Belgian had just had his wedding postponed by the pandemic).

He then went on to reach the quarter-finals where he lost to Rafa Nadal.

In this tournament, he finds himself with a viable path to the quarter-finals, and needs to prove to the world, and, himself, he belongs in the top 10 club he entered in, at the end of 2021.

I see him getting to the quarters where he will face Stefanos Tsitsipas for a place in the semis.

Question 3: Is the draw opening up for Lorenzo Sonego to get past Miomir Kecmanovic and go further on in this tournament?

Answer: This is a chance of a lifetime for Sonego.

Kecmanovic in the 3rd round of a Major, with the prospect of Gaël Monfils or Cristian Garin to reach the quarter finals, is a draw that would raise a lot of money, if it was auctioned off.

But the same goes for Kecmanovic, so it will be a fight.

Sonego worked on his shots during the off-season: the motion of his serve has been tweaked, as well as his backhand grip.

That may take time to digest, so it’s a question mark whether this Sonego 1.2 will pass the stress test.

But he’s in good shape, eager to play and has a great heart, and he won’t give up until he hasn’t a drop of energy left in his body.

Question 4: With Novak Djokovic‘s absence, could Matteo Berrettini win the Australian Open, or will the powerhouse of Carlos Alcaraz provide a potential stumbling block to his tournament hopes?

Answer: Matteo is an example of self-belief, so he definitely believes he’s in the mix to raise the trophy a week on Sunday.

Physically he’s probably still around 60%, and he’s going into a match with Alcaraz where he has everything to lose.

Bookmakers have him as the underdog, but he has the weapons to make his own fortune.

If he can get past the young Spaniard, it could be the win he needs to go very deep into this tournament.

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