US Open Daily Preview: Serena Williams’ Last US Open Run Continues on Friday - UBITENNIS
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US Open Daily Preview: Serena Williams’ Last US Open Run Continues on Friday

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Serena Williams after her second round win on Wednesday (twitter.com/usopen)

On Wednesday night, Serena Williams played a level of tennis we have not seen from her in well over a year.  She looked like the Serena of old during her three-set victory over second-seeded Anett Kontaveit.  On Friday night, can she maintain that level against Ajla Tomljanovic?

 

Friday’s schedule boasts several blockbuster third round encounters.  Three-time Major champion Andy Murray will take on Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini.  And two American Slam finalists will collide when Coco Gauff faces Madison Keys.

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


Andy Murray vs. Matteo Berrettini (13) – 12:00pm on Arthur Ashe Stadium

They have met three times within the past three years.  In 2019 in Beijing, Murray was victorious after two tiebreaks.  Last year at Queen’s Club, Berrettini prevailed in straight sets.  And this past June in the final of Stuttgart, Matteo won again, this time in three sets.  So the Italian’s wins have come on grass, while the Brit’s win came on a hard court.  Murray is 22-14 in 2022 at tour level, but only twice has he taken more than two matches in a row, which he’s looking to do on Friday.  Berrettini’s year has been interrupted by injuries as well as COVID, and he went 0-2 this summer on hard courts before this event.  Yet his serve and forehand combo will be tough for Murray to overcome on these fast courts.  And Andy has been struggling with his conditioning in warmer conditions.  In the best-of-five format, Matteo should be favored to reach the fourth round of the US Open for the fourth consecutive year.


Madison Keys (20) vs. Coco Gauff (12) – Second on Arthur Ashe Stadium

Their only previous meeting occurred at the beginning of this year in the semifinals of Adelaide, a match which Keys claimed 7-5 in the third.  On a similarly fast court in New York, Madison is again the favorite.  And she’s coming off a run to the semifinals two weeks ago in Cincinnati.  Gauff made two quarterfinals this summer on hard courts, but as many have pointed out, her extreme-grip forehand is not ideal for quick courts.  Accordingly, Coco has never advanced beyond the third round of the US Open.  That is unlikely to change against a confident Keys.


Ajla Tomljanovic vs. Serena Williams – 7:00pm on Arthur Ashe Stadium

Tomjlanovic has achieved the quarterfinals of Wimbledon in both of the last two years.  And she comes into this tournament in good form, having won nine matches on hard courts this summer.  But she does not possess any weapons that should be able to threaten Serena.  The big question in this match is if Serena can replicate her form from Wednesday.  If her serve is still clicking, and she’s still moving well around the court, she should be able to extend her presumed last tournament by one more match.  And if Serena is struggling, the New York crowd will again do everything in their power to lift her.


Bianca Andreescu vs. Caroline Garcia (17) – 7:00pm on Louis Armstrong Stadium

Andreescu overcame one of the WTA’s hottest players in the last round, Beatriz Haddad Maia.  And that was an impressive win considering Bianca’s continued injury struggles ahead of this event.  But now she faces another of the WTA’s most in-form players.  Garcia is currently on a 10-match win streak, as she came through qualifying to win Cincinnati two weeks ago.  And a few weeks before that, she was the champion on clay on Warsaw.  They met a few months ago in the final of Bad Homburg on grass, with Caroline winning 6-4 in the third.  Considering her current form, Garcia is the favorite to prevail again on Friday night.


Other Notable Matches on Friday:

Ons Jabeur (5) vs. Shelby Rogers (31) – Jabeur is now 40-13 on the year, but has lost in this round of the US Open in each of the last three years.  Rogers upset top-seeded Ash Barty a year ago in a third-set tiebreak, and has reached the second week of this event two years in a row.  They last met three years ago in Cincinnati qualifying, where Ons prevailed in a third-set tiebreak.

Tommy Paul (29) vs. Casper Ruud (5) – Paul has already survived two five-setters.  Ruud has only dropped one set through two rounds.  Casper leads their head-to-head 2-1, though all three of their encounters have been extended battles.

Karen Khachanov (27) vs. Jack Draper – Khachanov is only 28-20 this season, and has never advanced beyond this round at the US Open.  Draper upset Felix Auger-Aliassime on Wednesday night in straight sets, and the 20-year-old has seen his ranking improve this year by over 200 spots. 

Pablo Carreno Busta (12) vs. Alex de Minaur (18) – Carreno Busta is a two-time semifinalist in New York, and earned his first Masters 1000 title last month in Montreal.  De Minaur has a strong record of 36-19 in 2022, and has achieved the fourth round at two Majors this year.  When they played three years ago at Roland Garros, Pablo comfortably prevailed in straight sets.

Daniil Medvedev (1) vs. Yibing Wu (Q) – The defending champion is yet to drop a set.  Yibing is the first Chinese man to win a match at a Major in 63 years, and the 22-year-old is 32-4 at all levels this season.

Nick Kyrgios (23) vs. J.J. Wolf (WC) – Kyrgios is 0-4 in the third round of the US Open.  Wolf is a 23-year-old American who also reached the third round in New York two years ago.


Friday’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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