Two months ago in New York, Novak Djokovic was one win away from becoming the first man to win the Grand Slam since Rod Laver in 1969, and at the same time surpass both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the most Major singles titles ever won by a man. But in the championship match of the US Open, Djokovic appeared nervous and exhausted, against an opponent who allowed him no time to settle into the situation. In his third Slam final, Daniil Medvedev took the early lead in each set, and never let it go. On Sunday, Novak gets the chance to avenge perhaps the most painful loss of his career, while Medvedev vies to reinforce it was far from a fluke.
Sunday’s play gets underway at 12:15pm local time with the men’s doubles final, featuring Frenchmen and reigning Roland Garros champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut (3) vs. Tim Puetz and Michael Venus, who are looking for their second title this season.
Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Daniil Medvedev (2) – Not Before 3:00pm on Court Central
Their US Open championship match was a complete reversal from the hard court Major final they played seven months prior. In Melbourne, Djokovic dominated Medvedev, forfeiting only nine games across three sets. Overall Novak is 5-4 against Daniil, and 4-3 on hard courts. Yet the Russian claimed their only tour meeting at an indoor event, during last November’s ATP Finals, by a score of 6-3, 6-3. Saturday’s semifinals were much more draining for Djokovic, as he required a third set tiebreak to overcome Hubi Hurkacz. Medvedev spent nearly an hour less on court, easily dispatching of Sascha Zverev. With his record-breaking seventh year-end No.1 ranking clinched by defeating Hurkacz, an emotional letdown on Sunday would be natural, despite how eager Novak may be to gain some revenge against Daniil. And considering this will only be the Serbian’s fourth match in two months, I like Medvedev to even this rivalry, and become the first player to defend this title since Djokovic did so in 2015.
Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.
Jack Draper Considered Skipping Montreal Masters Before Getting Biggest Win Of Career
The rising star completes a trio of British players who have booked their places in the third round of the Masters 1000 event.
British qualifier Jack Draper says his decision to play in Montreal this week has paid off after he scored his first-ever win over a top 10 player on Wednesday.
The 20-year-old stunned world No.5 and third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-5, 7-6(4), in what is only his fourth appearance in the main draw of a Masters 1000 event. Draper, who is currently ranked 82nd in the world, won 74% of his first service points and blasted 21 winners past his Greek rival. Recovering from a 1-3 deficit in the second set en route to a straight sets victory.
Leading up to this week, Draper and his team considered not playing in Montreal following his 6-4, 6-2, loss to Andrey Rublev in Washington. However, their decision to do so was the right one. After coming through two rounds of qualifying, he beat France’s Hugo Gaston in the first round before knocking out Tsitsipas.
“This is why I put in all the hard work, for nights like this on stages like this,” Draper said in an on-court interview. “Last week [after] Washington, me and my coach probably were thinking we weren’t even going to come here. We were going to maybe train a week, get a bit of confidence. But it paid off coming.”
“I didn’t really have much of a game plan. I just thought I needed to play good tennis to beat Stefanos. He’s at the top of the game for a reason. [He’s] someone I’ve looked up to the last few years. It’s just good to be out here and try to express myself on this stage.” He added.
Draper’s win comes during what has been a solid season for the Brit who has won four Challenger titles. A former top 10 junior player, he won his first main draw Grand Slam match in June at Wimbledon and reached the semi-finals of the Eastbourne International.
Awaiting the youngster in the third round will be French veteran Gael Monfils who is playing in his first tournament since May. Monfils defeated Maxime Cressy 7-6(10), 7-6(8).
Draper is one of three British players to have reached the last 16 in Montreal. Ninth seed Cameron Norrie will next play home favourite Felix Auger-Aliassime and Dan Evans faces Taylor Fritz.
According to the Pepperstone live ATP rankings, Draper will break into the world’s top 70 for the first time next week.
Canada Daily Preview: Two Clashes Between Top 10 Seeds in the Third Round
On Thursday, all third round matches will take place in both Montreal and Toronto, making for another extremely busy day of tennis. And two of those third round encounters see top 10 seeds collide. In Montreal, Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime faces Cam Norrie in a rematch from last Friday’s Los Cabos semifinals. In Toronto, Aryna Sabalenka plays Coco Gauff, who survived an extended battle on Wednesday against Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina.
Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule. Thursday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time in Toronto and 12:00pm local time in Montreal.
Aryna Sabalenka (6) vs. Coco Gauff (10) – 11:00am on Grandstand in Toronto
Gauff’s second-round victory on Wednesday was a grueling affair. After failing to convert four match points in the second-set tiebreak, Coco finally prevailed in a third-set tiebreak. And she did so despite striking 13 double faults, a part of her game that continues to trouble her. Sabalenka spent over an hour less time on court, defeating Sara Sorribes Tormo in straight sets. Gauff leads their head-to-head 2-1, though all three meetings have been rather tight. And of late, Coco has been the much stronger performer. Going back to her run to the French Open final, Gauff has claimed 15 of her last 19 matches. By contrast, Sabalenka arrived in Toronto having lost three of her last four. While Coco will surely feel a bit tired on Thursday, she’ll also feel relieved having escaped what would have been a heartbreaking loss a day earlier, and should play a bit more freely. And most importantly, she’s currently feeling much more confident than Sabalenka.
Cameron Norrie (9) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (6) – Not Before 4:00pm on Court Central in Montreal
Last week in Los Cabos, Norrie took out Auger-Aliassime in straight sets. However, that was Cam’s first victory over Felix in five tries. The previous four had all gone the way of the Canadian, including another hard court matchup earlier this year in Rotterdam. Auger-Aliassime pulled out a dramatic first-set tiebreak on Wednesday night over Washington runner-up Yoshihito Nishioka in thrilling fashion, eventually prevailing in straights. Earlier in the day, Norrie advanced comfortably, allowing Botic van de Zandschulp only three games. Just six days removed from their last encounter, Felix will be eager for revenge, especially at his home country’s biggest event. But playing at home comes with a lot of pressure, and Auger-Aliassime is only 3-4 in his last seven matches. Cam is the more in-form player, and should be favored to earn his second win over Felix in less than a week.
Other Notable Matches on Thursday:
Jessica Pegula (7) vs. Camila Giorgi – Giorgi is the defending champion, and is yet to drop a set through two matches. Last year in the semifinals of this same event, she defeated Pegula in three. But overall the American leads their head-to-head 5-2 at all levels, and has twice defeated Camila since that semifinal.
Nick Kyrgios vs. Alex de Minaur – It’s Australian versus Australian, and the Washington champ against the Atlanta champ. Kyrgios upset world No.1 and defending champion Daniil Medvedev on Wednesday, and has now won 13 of his last 14 matches. De Minaur has already defeated Denis Shapovalov and Grigor Dimitrov this week.
Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Beatriz Haddad Maia – In typical Swiatek fashion, she required just over an hour to prevail over Ajla Tomljanovic in her opening match. Haddad Maia eliminated Canada’s Leylah Fernandez on Wednesday, and won 13 straight matches on grass in June.
Bianca Andreescu vs. Qinwen Zheng – Andreescu outlasted Alize Cornet on Wednesday night in a tight three-setter. Qinwen benefitted from Ons Jabeur’s retirement due to abdominal pain during their second round matchup.
Thursday’s full Order of Play is here.
Canada Daily Preview: A Huge Day of Action Headlined by Serena/Bencic and Medvedev/Kyrgios
On Tuesday, Serena Williams announced her retirement from the sport in a poignant essay. With only a month left before one of the greatest players of all-time retires, Serena will play only her third match in the past 14 months on Wednesday, as she faces fellow Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic.
In Montreal, the two ATP singles champions from last week will collide, as Los Cabos champ and world No.1 Daniil Medvedev takes on Washington champ and Wimbledon finalist Nick Kyrgios.
Those are just two of a plethora of high-profile second round matches on Wednesday. Overall seven of the WTA top 10 and six of the ATP top 10 will be in action in a jam-packed day of tennis.
Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule. Wednesday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time in both Toronto and Montreal.
Daniil Medvedev (1) vs. Nick Kyrgios – Not Before 1:00pm on Court Central in Montreal
Medvedev did not drop a set during his title run last week in Mexico, and is the defending champion of this event. But Kyrgios is having the best summer of his career. He’s now claimed 12 of his last 13 matches, which of course includes his first Major singles final at Wimbledon. And Nick is 2-1 against Daniil, though they’ve split two hard court meetings. Three years ago in the final of Washington, Kyrgios prevailed thanks to two tiebreaks. But at this year’s Australian Open, Medvedev was victorious in four. Last year at this tournament, Daniil defeated a few other big servers such as Hubi Hurkacz, John Isner, and Reilly Opelka. On Wednesday, his defensive skills may again prove to diffuse Nick’s serving prowess. And as seen in the Wimbledon final, Kyrgios can get easily frustrated by opponents who can play elite-level defense.
Belinda Bencic (12) vs. Serena Williams – Not Before 7:00pm on Centre Court on Toronto
These next few weeks will be the last in perhaps the most remarkable career in tennis history. Serena has said she does not want a lot of fanfare surrounding her last tournaments, but fans will surely be clamoring to see the all-time great one last time. In just her third match this year, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist in women’s singles faces the most recent gold medalist. Bencic is now 28-13 this season, and two of her best results this season have come in the US. She was a semifinalist in Miami, and the champion in Charleston. Serena is 2-1 against Belinda, though Bencic’s only victory occurred in this same city seven years ago, when the Swiss star won this title as an 18-year-old. Williams played some good tennis during her straight-set victory on Monday, and both players will assumedly be quite nervous knowing this is one of Serena’s final matches. But considering Williams has not defeated a top 20 player since the 2021 Australian Open, Bencic should be favored on this day. Regardless, this opportunity to watch Serena compete will be cherished by her millions of fans.
Other Notable Matches on Wednesday:
Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Ajla Tomljanovic – Swiatek is now 48-5 on the year, and has won her last three hard court tournaments dating back to February (Doha, Indian Wells, Miami). Tomljanovic reached her second consecutive Wimbledon quarterfinal last month. Their only previous meeting also occurred in Toronto, when three years ago the Australian retired after only five games.
Elena Rybakina vs. Coco Gauff (10) – The new Wimbledon champion played for a full three hours on Tuesday, eventually defeating Marie Bouzkova 6-1 in the third. On the same day, Gauff dropped only four games to fellow American Madison Brengle.
Tommy Paul vs. Carlos Alcaraz – Alcaraz is now 42-7 in 2022, and is coming off back-to-back finals at clay events in Europe. Paul has accumulated 25 wins of his own this season, 16 of which have come on hard courts.
Beatriz Haddad Maia vs. Leylah Fernandez (13) – Fernandez gritted her way to a three-set victory on Monday night in her first match since injuring her foot at Roland Garros. Haddad Maia has 34 wins on the year, and won back-to-back grass court tournaments in June. Earlier this season in the semifinals of Monterrey, Leylah prevailed over Beatriz in straight sets.
Qinwen Zheng vs. Ons Jabeur (5) – Jabeur went 1-1 last week in her first two matches since her losing effort in the Wimbledon final. Qinwen also lost to Elena Rybakina at Wimbledon, after two tight sets in the third round of that event.
Bianca Andreescu vs. Alize Cornet – Andreescu overcame injury to defeat San Jose champion Daria Kasatkina on Tuesday evening, requiring multiple medical timeouts in the first set alone. Earlier in the day, Cornet took out Caroline Garcia in three sets. Alize is 2-0 against Bianca.
Yoshihito Nishioka (SE) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (6) – Nishioka was a surprise finalist last week in Washington, where he earned impressive victories over five top 40 players, including Andrey Rublev. Auger-Aliassime has now lost four of his last six matches. Yoshi leads their tour-level head-to-head 2-1, which includes a dramatic three-set win three years ago at Indian Wells in a third-set tiebreak.
Jack Draper (Q) vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas (3) – Tsitsipas has not played since his embarrassing behavior in a third-round defeat at the hands of Kyrgios at Wimbledon. 20-year-old Draper has earned 35 match wins at all levels this season.
Wednesday’s full Order of Play is here.
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