US Open Daily Preview: Four Quarterfinals Featuring Eight Potential New Champions - UBITENNIS
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US Open Daily Preview: Four Quarterfinals Featuring Eight Potential New Champions

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Nick Kyrgios on Sunday night in New York (twitter.com/usopen)

The quarterfinals begin on Tuesday in New York, with eight players who have never won a Major in singles.  Five of them of recent Slam finalists (Matteo Berrettini, Casper Ruud, Ons Jabeur, Coco Gauff, Nick Kyrgios) while the other three have never advanced beyond this stage of a Major (Ajla Tomljanovic, Caroline Garcia, Karen Khachanov). 

 

Matteo Berrettini (13) vs. Casper Ruud (5) – 12:00pm on Arthur Ashe Stadium

Both players already survived five-setters to reach this quarterfinal.  Two rounds ago, Ruud took out Tommy Paul 6-0 in the fifth, in what was Paul’s third consecutive five-setter.  And in the last round, Berrettini outlasted Alejandro Davidovich Fokina after the Spaniard injured himself in the fifth set.  This is a fifth straight Major quarterfinal for Matteo, and he is 2-2 in those quarters.  This is a second quarterfinal for Casper, after defeating Holger Rune three months ago in the quarters of Roland Garros.  Ruud leads their head-to-head 3-2, with four of those matches occurring on clay courts.  Berrettini comfortably claimed their only hard court meeting in straight sets, which took place two years ago at this same event.  While Matteo’s backhand remains a liability which Ruud take advantage on, Berrettini should be favored on this surface.


Ons Jabeur (5) vs. Ajla Tomljanovic – Second on Arthur Ashe Stadium

Tomjanovic has been most impressive this fortnight, not only by defeating Serena Williams, but by following it up with a gritty victory over one of the WTA’ most in-form players, Liudmila Samsonova.  And she faces another tall task on Tuesday as she tries to achieve her first Major semifinal against the WTA’s second best player of 2022.  Jabeur is 42-13 on the year, and is vying for her second consecutive Slam semi.  Ons is 1-0 against Ajla at tour level, having defeated the Australian in straight sets this past May on clay in Rome.  After earning her first win in four tries over a red-hot Veronika Kudermetova in the last round, Jabeur should feel uber-confident.  Her more offensive, diverse style makes her the favorite on Tuesday.  However, Tomljanovic has proven doubters like myself wrong two matches in a row, and is playing with plenty of confidence herself.  Ajla’s improved movement and defensive skills could prove frustrating for Ons on Tuesday.


Coco Gauff (12) vs. Caroline Garcia (17) – 7:00pm on Arthur Ashe Stadium

Gauff was a finalist three months ago in Paris, but this is her first deep run at her home Slam.  Prior to this year, she was just 3-3 in New York.  But Coco has played excellently through four rounds, advancing without the loss of a set.  Garcia was a quarterfinalist five years ago in Paris, and endured several years of results that were well below the level of her talent.  Yet no WTA player is hotter than Caroline, who is on a 12-match winning streak since the qualifying rounds of Cincinnati last month.  She has accumulated 11 sets in a row, and seems unburdened by the years of her unrealized potential since claiming her second Roland Garros doubles title with Kiki Mladenovic.  However, she is 0-2 against Gauff, with both matches taking place within the last 18 months on hard courts.  But this is a new version of the Frenchwoman that Coco has not yet faced.  The night session crowd will be heavily behind the young American, but her second serve and forehand can still at times be unreliable.  I like Garcia’s chances of achieving her first Major semifinal.


Nick Kyrgios (23) vs. Karen Khachanov (27) – Last on Arthur Ashe Stadium

The last time these two men faced off, it was an epic encounter.  At the 2020 Australian Open, Kyrgios prevailed in a fifth-set tiebreak after four-and-a-half hours.  Their only other previous match also went the distance.  Three years ago in Cincinnati, Khachanov was victorious 6-2 in the third.  After eliminating world No.1 and defending champion Daniil Medvedev in the last round, and with Nadal knocked out of this tournament on Monday by Frances Tiafoe, many consider Kyrgios the favorite to win this event.  It will be quite interesting to see how Nick deals with the pressure that comes with that expectation, which is completely new territory for him.  Khachanov is a bit of a surprise in making it to this stage, as he’s had an unremarkable year.  Karen was 26-20 coming into this event, and is yet to reach a tournament final this season.  He served excellently in a five-set win over Pablo Carreno Busta on Sunday, but his serve is not quite as elite as Nick’s.  And the improved return game of Kyrgios was on full display during his four-set victory on Sunday over Medvedev.  The Australian is the favorite to reach his second straight Slam semifinal.


Tuesday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Novak Djokovic Storms Past Van De Zandschulp To Reach Astana Quarters

Novak Djokovic is into his eighth ATP quarter-final of the season.

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Novak Djokovic (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic stormed past Botic Van De Zandschulp 6-3 6-1 to reach the Astana quarter-finals.

 

The Serb cruised past a valiant Van De Zandschulp to reach the last eight in Astana.

Djokovic is looking to make up significant ground as he looks to climb up the ATP rankings having missed a flurry of tournaments this year.

Next for Djokovic is Karen Khachanov in the quarter-finals on Friday.

Despite the win, the world number seven had to overcome a clean first set from his Dutch opponent, with Van De Zandschulp returning effectively.

The world number 34’s efficient baseline play saw him test Djokovic in the early stages as he forced the 21-time Grand Slam champion to Deuce in the fifth game.

However the Wimbledon champion survived the early pressure from Van De Zandschulp and went on the attack in the next game, breaking with ease for a 4-2 lead.

The Dutchman continued to apply the pressure on return but to no success as Djokovic saved a break point with bold play as he took a 5-2 lead.

That would be Van De Zandschulp’s only sign of returning threat as Djokovic served out the opening set to love in 39 minutes.

Although the Serb’s return made the headlines like always, it was his returning that was the dominant force in the second set as Van De Zandschulp found no way through Djokovic’s precise baseline game.

The former world number broke on three consecutive occasions as he claimed victory and a place in the quarter-finals of an ATP event for the eighth time this season.

After the match Djokovic praised his serve which was the key to success in Astana, “I think my serve worked very well when I needed to get out of the trouble in the first set particularly,” Djokovic told the ATP website.

“There were some 30/30 games, and when I broke his serve for 4-2, I faced a break point and I came in, and he had a look at that passing shot and he missed it. The match is decided in these moments. [Between] 5-2 or 4-3 up there is a big difference, and I served well to end the first set.

“[In the] second set I think I started to read his serve better and just started swinging through the court more. Botic is a quality tennis player. When he has time, he can hurt you, so I tried to take away that time from him and I’m very pleased with the way I played, particularly in the second.”

Djokovic will now play against Karen Khachanov who defeated Marin Cilic in three sets earlier on in the day.

There was also a 6-4 6-4 victory for Hubert Hurkacz over Alexander Bublik, who is searching for a late spot at the Nitto ATP Finals.

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Iga Swiatek Demands Talks With ITF And WTA After Withdrawing From Billie Jean King Cup

Iga Swiatek is not happy with the ITF and WTA after withdrawing from the Billie Jean King Cup Finals.

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Iga Swiatek (@IgaSwi_France - Twitter)

The world number one has announced that she will not compete at the Billie Jean King Cup Finals in November after criticising tennis’ governing bodies for not looking after player welfare.

 

The event is set to take place the week after the WTA Finals in Glasgow which causes a huge problem and obstacle for many players.

This is definitely the case for Swiatek who has qualified for the WTA Finals which takes place in Texas on the 31st of October.

A huge dilemma which now means Swiatek will not compete for her country at the Billie Jean King Cup.

Speaking on Instagram the Pole criticised the decision from the ITF and WTA and wants to speak to them about player welfare to prevent future decisions from happening, “I was thinking it through a lot and discussing it with my team all over again, but I will not be able to play at the Billie Jean King Cup in Glasgow,” Swiatek said in her Instagram story.

“And it makes me sad. I’m very sorry because I play for Poland whenever it’s possible and I always give it my best. Playing in Poland this year was an honour and I hoped to do this again at the end of the season.

“I’m disappointed that tennis governing bodies didn’t come to an agreement on something as basic as the calendar of tournaments, giving us only one day to travel through the globe and changing the time zone. This situation is not safe for our health and could cause injury.

“I’m going to talk to the WTA and ITF in order to change something. This situation is difficult not only for the players like me, but mainly for the tennis fans that support our fans.”

It’s clear Swiatek wants change in terms of player welfare and communication between governing bodies on how to facilitate the schedule.

However Swiatek now turns her attention to preparing for the WTA Finals and first up for the Pole is Ostrava this week.

In her opening match Swiatek will face either Ajla Tomljanovic or Shuai Zhang.

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Cameron Norrie Withdraws From Tokyo After COVID Positive Test

Cameron Norrie will miss the rest of the Asian swing due to COVID.

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Cameron Norrie (@the_LTA - Twitter)

After withdrawing from his quarter-final in Seoul, Cameron Norrie has now withdrawn from the ATP 500 event in Tokyo.

 

The Brit’s absence from the latter stages of the ATP 250 event in South Korea, raised eyebrows with Norrie suffering from illness.

However Norrie then withdraw from the ATP 500 event in Tokyo where he was due to play Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Now his absence has been explained as Norrie confirmed on social media that he tested positive for COVID-19.

In a statement originally posted on Instagram, Norrie explained he had no symptoms but has to quarantine in his hotel room in Seoul, “Unfortunately I had a positive COVID test in Korea and wasn’t able to compete in the rest of my matches,” Norrie said.

“I have no symptoms and I am feeling 100%. It’s been a complicated situation and I appreciate the Republic of Korea trying their best to be amicable in a very tough situation.

“I was really hoping to go to Tokyo but because of the quarantine period I will not be able to play there. Looking forward to getting back to Europe for the indoors. See you guys soon!”

This is the second time Norrie has tested positive for COVID with the first time being before the start of the season.

Norrie’s scheduled next tournament will be in Stockholm which will take place on the 17th of October.

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