US Open Daily Preview: Daniil Medvedev Faces Nick Kyrgios in the Fourth Round - UBITENNIS
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US Open Daily Preview: Daniil Medvedev Faces Nick Kyrgios in the Fourth Round

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Daniil Medvedev this week in New York (twitter.com/usopen)

Two of tennis’ resident bad boys will collide in a blockbuster fourth round matchup on Sunday.  In a rematch from a few weeks ago in Montreal, defending champion Daniil Medvedev will take on Wimbledon runner-up Nick Kyrgios.  Medvedev infamously turned the New York crowd against him three years ago, before quickly winning them back with his tremendous play in the 2019 final.  Kyrgios’ behavior on court is frequently immature, yet he is one of the sport’s most popular players.  Who will prevail on Sunday night?

 

Sunday’s other round of 16 action includes three other recent Major finalists: Ons Jabeur, Coco Gauff, and Matteo Berrettini.  And the player who ended the storied career of Serena Williams on Friday, Ajla Tomjanovic, faces one of the WTA’s best players of the summer, Liudmila Samsonova.

Throughout the tournament, this preview will analyze the day’s four most prominent matches, while highlighting the other notable matches on the schedule.  Sunday’s play begins at 11:00am local time.


Pablo Carreno Busta (12) vs. Karen Khachanov (27) – Third on Louis Armstrong Stadium

This is a rematch from one of the most important matches in both of these players’ careers.  In the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics, Khachanov defeated Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-3.  Karen would earn the silver medal, while Pablo would take the bronze.  Overall Khachanov leads their head-to-head 5-3, and 4-1 on hard courts.  In fact, Karen has claimed their last four meetings on this surface.  However, Carreno Busta is the much more in-form player, coming off his first Masters 1000 title in Montreal.  And he’s a two-time semifinalist in New York, while this is Khachanov’s first time reaching the fourth round.  And notably, Khachanov was trailing Jack Draper in the last round before the young Brit was injured and eventually retired.  With that in mind, I like Carreno Busta’s chances of achieving his third quarterfinal at the Open.


Liudmila Samsonova vs. Ajla Tomljanovic – Fourth on Louis Armstrong Stadium

The way Tomljanovic handled the pressure of facing Serena on Friday, as well as the 23,000 people in attendance who were rooting against her, was extremely impressive, especially for a player who has been known to struggle to close out matches in the past.  But that was a physically and emotionally draining evening, so how will Ajla recover for this round of 16 matchup?  Samsonova is on a 13-match win streak, coming off consecutive titles in Washington and Cleveland.  As per the WTA, she started working with a mental coach this summer, which she attributes her recent results to.  Liudmila has a big game, and has been dominant, claiming her last 18 sets dating back to last week in Cleveland.  They have split two previous meetings, with Samsonova prevailing in three sets most recently just a few weeks ago in Washington.  Liudmila should be favored to win again on Sunday and advance to her first Major quarterfinal.


Daniil Medvedev (1) vs. Nick Kyrgios (23) – 7:00pm on Arthur Ashe Stadium

In Montreal, Kyrgios defeated Medvedev in three sets, and leads their rivalry 3-1.  Their other recent encounter was at this past January’s Australian Open, where Daniil was victorious in four sets.  And the best-of-five format would seem to favor Medvedev, as Kyrgios often struggles to maintain a high level for sustained periods.  But Nick is in the midst of the best stretch of his career, as he’s taken 25 of his last 30 matches.  Both men should be fully fresh for this match: Medvedev has not dropped a set, while Kyrgios has dropped only one.  Also, both players are good at getting under their opponent’s skin, yet they can also both be quite irritable themselves.  However, Nick’s on-court temperament is much more of a liability than Daniil’s.  If this match goes into a fourth or fifth set, which it likely will, Medvedev becomes a considerable favorite to reach his fourth consecutive quarterfinal in New York.


Ons Jabeur (5) vs. Veronika Kudermetova (18) – Last on Arthur Ashe Stadium

No one has been more impressive through the first three rounds of this tournament than Kudermetova.  She is the only player to advance this far without losing serve, and has only faced two break points to this stage.  And Veronika has lost just 15 games through six sets.  However, she’s yet to face a player of Jabeur’s prowess.  Ons is the best WTA player of 2022 not named Iga Swiatek, with a record of 41-13.  But she is 0-3 against Kudermetova, which includes a hard court match in San Jose just a few weeks ago.  While you cannot discount Jabeur’s fighting spirit, and she is more experienced in big matches, Kudermetova is the favorite to achieve her second straight Major quarterfinal.


Other Notable Matches on Sunday:

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina vs. Matteo Berrettini (13) – Berrettini ousted Andy Murray on Friday in four sets to reach his fourth consecutive round of 16 in New York.  Davidovich Fokina owned a losing record on the year coming into this event, and has taken advantage of a kind draw, as he’s yet to face a top 50 player.  Last year in Monte Carlo on clay, Alejandro defeated Matteo in straight sets.

Corentin Moutet (LL) vs. Casper Ruud (5) – Moutet is the first men’s lucky loser to reach the fourth round of the US Open.  Ruud outlasted Tommy Paul in five sets on Friday.  This is their first career meeting.

Caroline Garcia (17) vs. Alison Riske-Amritraj (29) – Cincinnati champ Garcia is on an 11-match win streak, and has won 29 of her last 33.  Riske-Amritraj was a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon in 2019.  And she is 3-0 against Garcia at all levels, having claimed all three of those contests in straight sets.

Coco Gauff (12) vs. Shuai Zhang – Gauff played excellently in the last round, eliminating an in-form Madison Keys in straight sets.  Like Coco, Shuai is yet to drop a set this fortnight.  Six months ago in Miami, Coco defeated Zhang after two tight sets.


Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Emma Raducanu Draws Inspiration From Andy Murray Ahead Of 2023

Emma Raducanu spoke about Andy Murray’s influence on her career.

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(@HeartThamesNews - Twitter)

Emma Raducanu has spoke about Andy Murray’s influence on her career and is optimistic about turning her form in 2023.

 

The former US Open hasn’t had too bad of an off-season after receiving her MBE for her services to sport.

Raducanu made history in 2021 as she won the US Open as a qualifier at 18 years of age.

However the Brit has yet to back that up with Raducanu changing coach on a number of occasions as she looks for some stability in 2023.

Speaking in a recent interview with Grazia Raducanu said that she believes that momentum can change quickly in tennis and that confidence is the key to success, “[In tennis] it could look like it’s all going down, down, down and just not getting any better,” Raducanu was quoted by tennishead as saying.

“Just one match can have a big influence on your confidence and once you have confidence and the momentum comes, you feel like you can’t lose. It’s a very individual sport – people are friendly but it’s difficult to be really close with those you’re competing with.”

One player that can relate to what Raducanu is saying is Andy Murray with confidence being a key theme of the highs and lows of Murray’s career.

Raducanu said that she talks to Murray regularly about the highs and lows of tennis, “Andy Murray is so good to talk to because he’s been through pretty much what I’ve been going through,” Raducanu said.

“I have always looked up to him and watched him winning his first Wimbledon and the Olympics.”

Raducanu will hope that she can use Murray’s words as inspiration for next season as she currently sits at 75 in the world.

The Brit will start her season in 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand on the 2nd of January.

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Fernando Verdasco Given Two Month Doping Ban

Fernando Verdasco has been banned from tennis until the 8th of January.

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Fernando Verdasco (@UniversTennis - Twitter)

Fernando Verdasco will miss the first week of the 2023 season after being provisionally suspended for two months after testing positive for the drug methylphenidate.

 

The former world number seven tested positive for the drug at the Challenger event in Rio De Janeiro and has accepted a voluntary ban until the 8th of January.

As well as testing positive for the drug methylphenidate, Verdasco had also forgot to renew his Therapeutic Use Exemption despite the Spaniard admitting that he was diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

In a statement published today the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA), explained why his ban has been shortened from two years to two months, “The ITIA accepts that the player did not intend to cheat, that his violation was inadvertent and unintentional, and that he bears no significant fault or negligence for it,” they said in a statement on his website.

“In the specific circumstances of this case, based on the player’s degree of fault the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme allows for the applicable period of ineligibility to be reduced from two years to two months.”

The 39 year-old will as a result miss the first week of the new season with the Spaniard being currently ranked at world number 125.

In 2022, Verdasco’s best results on the ATP tour were quarter-final performances in Buenos Aires and Estoril while he also won a challenger title in Monterrey in March.

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Canada Thumps Australia To Win Historic Davis Cup Title 

The dream of the North American team has finally become a reality.

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MALAGA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 27: Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals 2022 at Palacio de Deportes Jose Maria Martin Carpena on November 27, 2022 in Malaga, Spain. (Photo by Silvestre Szpylma / Quality Sport Images / Kosmos Tennis)

109 years after making their Davis Cup debut, Canada has finally claimed the trophy after producing two clinical wins over Australia in the final on Sunday. 

 

The duo of Denis Shapovalov and Felix-Auger Aliassime both shined in their matches to give the North American nation an unassible 2-0 lead in the three-match tie. It is the first time Canada has won the title with 2022 being only the second time they have reached the final. Three years ago they missed out on the title to Spain. 

“The emotions are tough to describe,” said Auger-Aliassime. “All of us here, we’ve dreamt of this. All of these guys grew up together dreaming of this moment, dreaming of winning the Davis Cup. It’s a great moment for me and my country…. I am happy we were able to get our first Davis Cup with this group.”

Shapovalov kicked-off the final with a 90-minute 6-2, 6-4, win over Thanasi Kokkinakis who also lost his semi-final match against Borna Coric. The world No.18 blasted 28 winners past his opponent and broke him four times in the match. Besides handing Canada the crucial lead, it was a much-needed confidence boost for Shapovalov who earlier in the week lost to Lorenzo Sonego and Jan-Lennard Struff. 

“I’m very happy with my performance today,” said Shapovalov. “I had a long one against Sonego yesterday and was struggling with my back a little bit. So huge credit to the medical staff for putting me back in shape. There were a lot of doubts if I’d be ready to play today. It was amazing to play pain-free today.”

Closing in on the title, Felix Auger-Aliassime secured victory for his country with a 6-3, 6-4, triumph over world No.24 Alex de Minaur. Producing a total of six aces and saving all eight break points he faced. 

https://twitter.com/DavisCup/status/1596895388077674497

Canada’s run to their first title occurred with a bit of luck on their side. Originally they were eliminated from the finals after losing to the Netherlands at the start of this year. However, they received a wildcard to play in the group stages following the removal of Russia from the competition. Russia and Belarus are currently suspended from team events due to the war in Ukraine. 

In Group B they scored wins over South Korea and Spain to secure a place in the finale this week. Before dismissing Australia, they beat Italy 2-1 in the semi-finals and Germany 2-1 in the quarter-finals. 

“From juniors it was our dream, growing up watching Vasek (Pospisil), Milos (Raonic), and [Daniel Nestor] taking Canada to new [heights],” Shapovalov said. “We wanted to grow up and help the country win the first title. It’s so surreal right now. After we lost in the final in 2019, we really wanted this bad. It’s such a team effort; everyone was putting in 120 percent every day.”

Canada’s team captain is former player Frank Dancevic who has held the role since 2017. 

 “This is a historic moment,” Dancevic commented on the achievement. “We’ve never won this title in the past. It’s the first time for us. It’s an incredible feeling.”

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