US Open Daily Preview: Will Two Teenagers Advance to the Women’s Championship Match? - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

Focus

US Open Daily Preview: Will Two Teenagers Advance to the Women’s Championship Match?

Published

on

Emma Raducanu on Wednesday afternoon in Flushing Meadows (twitter.com/usopen)

The biggest stories of this women’s tournament have been the shocking runs of 18-year-old Emma Raducanu and 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez.  Raducanu is the first qualifier to ever reach the semifinals of the US Open, and has not dropped a set through three matches in qualifying and five matches in the main draw.  Fernandez has won back-to-back-to-back three-setters against three of the sport’s top players: Naomi Osaka, Angelique Kerber, and Elina Svitolina. 

On Thursday evening in New York, these new stars will face two recent Major semifinalists.  Aryna Sabalenka was two games from advancing to the final at Wimbledon, while Maria Sakkari was one point from advancing to the final of Roland Garros.  Are these more-established players ready to take that next step, or will they tighten up as others have against these phenomenal teenagers?

Aryna Sabalenka (2) vs. Leylah Fernandez – 7:00pm on Arthur Ashe Stadium

Since dropping a set in her opening round match, Sabalenka has simply cruised to this semifinal, averaging only five games lost per match in her last four wins.  Normally, drawing an inexperienced semifinal opponent who had never been beyond the third round of a Slam would feel like a blessing.  But Fernandez has become the giant killer in this event, defeating two former champions and the reigning Olympic bronze medalist.  How will her aggressive style, where she hugs the baseline and uses her lefty-ness to create dynamic angles, match up against the ferocious power of Sabalenka?  I’ve been doubting Leylah’s ability to maintain her incredible level for several rounds now, and she has continually proven me wrong.  The New York crowd has fallen in love with her, and their energy has inspired her play.  And Sabalenka will feel plenty of pressure as the favorite, and as a player who is yet to reach a Major final.  However, Aryna’s pace of shot won’t allow Leylah as much time to be aggressive while standing inside the baseline.  That should enable Sabalenka to dictate play, and to become a 2021 US Open finalist.

Maria Sakkari (17) vs. Emma Raducanu (Q) – Last on Arthur Ashe Stadium

If a teenager is going to become a finalist, Emma may be the more likely candidate.  Despite a few nervy starts this past week, she has quickly rebounded to scorch the competition.  And she has participated in significantly less-taxing matches than Fernandez, allowing her opponents less than five games per match, going all the way back to qualifying.  As Ben Rothenberg highlighted on Twitter, Raducanu and Sakkari hit exactly the same amount of winners (23) and unforced errors (12) in their quarterfinals on Wednesday.  However, Sakkari has been simply clobbering her groundstrokes, and serving excellently.  In her matches against big-serving Czechs Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova, she won a combined 49 of 54 first serve points (91%).  However, against a much better returner in Bianca Andreescu, that dramatically decreased to 52 of 81 first serve points (64%).  Sakkari’s serving prowess should be similarly challenged by Raducanu, who will get a lot more serves back than Kvitova or Pliskova.  And the biggest factor in this match will be who better handles the moment.  Like Aryna, Maria will know she’s expected to win, and she’ll also remember how she blinked at the finish line in Paris.  Away from all the scrutiny of the British press which she had to endure at Wimbledon, Emma has been thriving in New York, playing freely and with the composure of a player beyond her years.  If Raducanu can continue to do that on Thursday night, she could become the most improbable US Open finalist of all-time.

Other Notable Matches on Thursday:

Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury (4) vs. Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey – Ram and Salisbury saved four match points in the quarterfinals, eventually defeating Australia’s Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell 7-6(7), 6-7(6), 7-6(10).  Prior to this event, Johnson and Querrey hadn’t won a match as a team since the 2020 Australian Open.

Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares (7) vs. John Peers and Filip Polasek (8) – Murray and Soares took out Cincinnati champions Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos in the last round, while Peers and Polasek eliminated French Open champs Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

Thursday’s full Order of Play is here.

Focus

Juan Carlos Ferrero Remaining Positive Despite Carlos Alcaraz’s Poor Form

Juan Carlos Ferrero remains confident of Carlos Alcaraz’s abilities despite his poor form.

Published

on

@tennisnewsbrazil - Twitter)

Juan Carlos Ferrero is looking on the positive side despite Carlos Alcaraz’s poor form.

After winning Wimbledon last year, many people thought that Carlos Alcaraz would dominate the ATP tour over the next year.

However since then, Alcaraz has lost his world number one ranking with the Spaniard not winning a trophy since capturing his second Grand Slam title at SW19.

There are concerns that Alcaraz’s form is dipping with Jannik Sinner potentially overtaking him in potential to challenge Novak Djokovic at the big events.

Despite the lack of titles to Alcaraz’s name, there is no reason to worry for coach Juan Carlos Ferrero as he is confident that the Spaniard’s lack of form is normal, “He has been achieving good results,” Ferrero claimed in an interview with Marca.

“The Cincinnati tournament was a shame because we were one point away. At the US Open, he made the semi-finals. When you play with such good people, it is difficult to win every tournament.

“For any player, not winning tournaments can affect your confidence level. For very good players, it is important to achieve the results that one sets in their path. Of course Carlos wants to win, but I see him well, I don’t see him with any type of desire, and that is very important.

“He doesn’t have the stress of I want to win, I want to win. He wants to do things well and wants to improve in every aspect that he can, and at 20 years of age there are many. The objectives are there. Every tournament that goes, the objective is to achieve a good result.

“And if he is physically well, a great result for him is to win. When you have that level and that potential, it is not bad to think that. Then, when you don’t get it, you have to know how to manage it and come out just as motivated.”

Ferrero brings a great level of experience and composure to the Alcaraz team having been in the Spaniard’s position many times when he was a player.

The Spaniard’s experience is evident as he claimed that failure isn’t a bad thing for Alcaraz to go through, “Not every year you can win six or seven tournaments and that doesn’t mean it will be a failure,” Ferrero was quoted by tennis 365 as saying.

“[Michael] Jordan and Tiger [Woods] didn’t win every Grand Slam and every ring every year. We cannot call that a failure. There are many positive things in a year even if you have earned less.

“You may have evolved in aspects that can be useful for the future. That’s where we are. The most important thing is that he is happy, that he trains well, that traveling makes him happy and from there he generates good tennis, which is what he loves. We all agree on that.”

Alcaraz will look to return to his best when he looks to defend his title in Indian Wells which starts on the sixth of March.

Continue Reading

Focus

Daria Kasatkina And Alejandro Davidovich Fokina Lead Calls For VAR In Tennis

There have been calls for VAR to be introduced into the sport.

Published

on

(@LadiesOpenPA - Twitter)

Daria Kasatkina and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina have called for VAR to be implemented in tennis.

The calls have came after Andrey Rublev was disqualified from his semi-final with Alexander Bublik in Dubai.

As Bublik lead 6-5 in the final set, Rublev shouted in the face of an umpire allegedly swearing in Russian which was picked up by one of the officials.

This saw Rublev be disqualified from the event with Bublik reaching the final in Dubai.

However as a result of the incident players have called for a VAR review system with the video showing inconclusive proof of whether Rublev did swear in Russian.

Leading the calls for such innovation are Daria Kasatkina and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina as the duo called for VAR to be introduced on twitter, “So you can just disqualify a player, take away all his points and money, without even checking the video? What a joke, yet another confirmation that we need VAR in tennis and an electronic appeal system in all tournaments,” Kasatkina said on social media.

VAR has been implemented in football and also a similar system in rugby with mixed results.

It’s clear though that more technology would help umpires identify whether a grounds for disqualification would be necessary.

So far VAR has been trialled at the Next Gen Finals and the Nitto ATP Finals.

Continue Reading

Focus

Casper Ruud Overcomes ‘Tough Start’ To Set De Minaur Final In Acapulco

Casper Ruud is into his first ATP 500 final after defeating Holger Rune in three sets.

Published

on

(@atptour - Twitter)

Casper Ruud is into his second consecutive final in Mexico after defeating Holger Rune 3-6 6-3 6-4 in Acapulco.

The Norwegian had to overcome an electric start from Rune to prevail in 2 hours and 24 minutes.

It was a clinical performance from Ruud who is now into his second consecutive final in Mexico after reaching the final in Los Cabos last week.

Speaking after the match Ruud admitted it was a tough start but he’s pleased to be in another final, “It was a tough start,” Ruud told the ATP website.

“Holger just came out firing bullets from the forehand, from the backhand and I had not too much time to play my game. I was frustrated at times, especially at the end of the first set, beginning of the second.

“I didn’t really feel like I got to play any points how I wanted to, so there was some frustration towards myself, towards my box, because I didn’t feel like we were doing the right thing.

“But luckily with one break in the second, it turned around a bit and in the third set it got a little physical. I think maybe Holger seemed like he was struggling a little bit and started firing even more and a couple of games it went in and he broke me, which is frustrating.

“Some unforced errors crept up on him and I served really well in the last game to close it out.”

Ruud is now into his first ATP 500 final in Acapulco where he will face defending champion Alex De Minaur.

De Minaur overcame Jack Draper after the Brit retired at 4-0 down in the deciding set.

Heading into Saturday’s final, De Minaur leads the head-to-head 1-0 although that was in a completely different scoring format in the Next Gen Finals.

Whatever happens on Saturday, Ruud will return to the world’s top ten.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending