US Open Daily Preview: The Women’s Semifinals - UBITENNIS
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US Open Daily Preview: The Women’s Semifinals

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Caroline Garcia on Tuesday in New York (twitter.com/usopen)

The women’s semifinals will take place on Thursday night in New York, headlined by the WTA’s two best players of 2022: Iga Swiatek and Ons Jabeur.  They will respectively face two resurgent players in Aryna Sabalenka and Caroline Garcia.  Which of these four women will advance to Saturday’s final, with one becoming a first-time US Open champion?

 

Also on Thursday, the men’s doubles semifinals will be decided, as well as the first women’s doubles semifinal.


Caroline Garcia (17) vs. Ons Jabeur (5) – 7:00pm on Arthur Ashe Stadium

What a roll Garcia has been on these last few months.  After winning her second women’s doubles title at Roland Garros, she won a title on grass on Bad Homburg, a title on clay in Warsaw, and a title on hard in Cincinnati.  And in Cincy, she came through qualifying to win the event.  Caroline is on 13-match win streak, and has also taken her last 13 sets.  In this tournament, no player has earned more than four games against her in a set, so she has completely dominated proceedings. 

Jabeur has contested many tight sets, yet only lost one of them.  She is vying for her second consecutive Major final after her disappointing loss in the championship match at Wimbledon, where she let a one-set-lead slip.  She is 43-13 on the year, yet hard courts have easily been her weakest surface, where eight of her losses have occurred.

Ons leads their head-to-head 2-0, with both matches occurring at hard court Majors: the 2019 US Open and the 2020 Australian Open.  And while Jabeur’s game has advanced since those victories, Garcia is a completely different player than she was a few years ago, and is brimming with confidence.  She has been stepping well into the court and blistering the ball, taking valuable time away from her opponents.  But can Garcia maintain that level in the biggest match of her career, her first Slam semifinal?  Based on the poise and determination she has displayed this fortnight, I like her chances.


Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Aryna Sabalenka (6) – Last on Arthur Ashe Stadium

Swiatek has not played her best tennis this summer, nor during this event.  After going on a 37-match win streak earlier in the season, which included her second Major title at Roland Garros, she went just 2-2 on hard courts in August prior to this tournament.  However, as champions do, she has persevered and advanced to this semifinal without her top level, still managing to only drop one set.

Even though Sabalenka was a semifinalist here a year ago, as well as at last year’s Wimbledon, it’s quite surprising to see her back at this stage at this time.  Aryna endured some terrible double fault issues this season, and in the second round last week, was down a set and 5-1 to Kaia Kanepi.  But after escaping that near-defeat, she’s played a lot more like the 2021 version of herself, defeating two of the WTA’s biggest hitters in Danielle Collins and Karolina Pliskova.

Swiatek is 3-1 against Sabalenka, with all four matches taking place within the past year.  Aryna prevailed 7-5 in the third at last November’s WTA Finals, but since then, it’s been all Iga.  The set scores in their three matches this year have been 6-2, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, 6-2, and 6-1.  And Sabalenka has some serious scar tissue to overcome, as she’s 0-2 in Slam semis.  Last year in the same round of this event, she lost a heartbreaker to Leylah Fernandez 6-4 in the third, and Aryna had a bit of a meltdown at the end of that match.  All that makes Swiatek the favorite to reach her third Major final.


Other Notable Matches on Thursday:

Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury (1) vs. Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah (13) – The top seeds and defending champions are on an eight-match winning streak, coming off a title run in Cincinnati.  Cabal and Farah won this event in 2019, yet arrived in New York on a three-match losing streak.  When these teams met this season in Monte Carlo, Ram and Salisbury won in a third-set 10-point tiebreak.

Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer (3) vs. Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski (2) – Arevalo and Rojer won this year’s French Open.  Koolhof and Skupski have easily been 2022’s best men’s doubles team, claiming six titles, but none of those have been Majors.  These teams have played three times this year, with Koolhof and Skupski winning each time.

Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Ellen Perez (10) vs. Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova (3) – Krejcikova and Siniakova are two wins away from their third Major of the year, and their sixth overall, which would complete their career Grand Slam.  Melichar-Martinez and Perez are the WTA’s hottest team, reaching three consecutive finals in August, and winning the title in Cleveland.  They defeated Krejcikova and Siniakova in Cincinnati, but lost to them in the Wimbledon quarterfinals.


Thursday’s full Order of Play is here.

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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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Carlos Alcaraz Faces Rune Test In Astana

Carlos Alcaraz leads a stacked field in Astana next week.

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Carlos Alcaraz (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Carlos Alcaraz returns to the ATP tour next week in Astana next week where he faces Danish talent Holger Rune.

 

The world number one plays his first ATP tournament since winning his first Grand Slam title at the US Open and becoming the youngest world number one in history.

Having qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals, Alcaraz will now look to build momentum over the coming weeks for the event in Turin.

First up for Alcaraz is the ATP 500 event in Astana next week where the Spaniard faces a tough opening round in the form of Danish talent Holger Rune.

The Dane reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final at Roland Garros earlier this year but had struggled for form since then.

However Rune has reached the semi-finals in Sofia this week and is hitting form at the right time so this will be a big test for Alcaraz.

Should Alcaraz get through that test than a potential second round meeting with Stan Wawrinka could be on the cards with the Swiss wildcard facing Adrian Mannarino in his opening match.

Andrey Rublev is the player that could face Alcaraz in the last eight with the eighth seed facing a qualifier in his opening round match.

Rublev is one of a number of players who are chasing the remaining spots at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Also in the top half of the draw is Stefanos Tsitsipas and Hubert Hurkacz with Tsitsipas facing Mikhail Kukushkin.

While Hurkacz faces Francisco Cerundolo and a potential second round match against home favourite Alexander Bublik could await in round two.

In the bottom half of the draw, Novak Djokovic will continue his search for a surge up the rankings against Cristian Garin.

Djokovic’s potential quarter-final is Jannik Sinner who begins against tricky serve and volleyer Oscar Otte.

Daniil Medvedev is also taking part in a stacked field in Astana as he faces Albert Ramos-Vinolas in his opening round match.

In the bottom quarter there is also an intriguing opening round match between Felix Auger-Aliassime and Roberto Bautista Agut.

Here is the full draw with play starting on Monday:

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