US Open Daily Preview: Aryna Sabalenka Plays Coco Gauff for the Women’s Singles Championship - UBITENNIS
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US Open Daily Preview: Aryna Sabalenka Plays Coco Gauff for the Women’s Singles Championship

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Coco Gauff after winning her semifinal on Thursday night (twitter.com/usopen)

The championship match in women’s singles, as well as in mixed doubles, will be played on Saturday.

Aryna Sabalenka will become the new World No.1 on Monday, and on Saturday she plays for her second hard court Major title of 2023.  But standing in her way is the WTA’s hottest player of the summer, Coco Gauff, who is playing for her first Major title at the age of 19.  Who will win this blockbuster final: the best player of the year, or the best player of the summer?

And in the mixed doubles championship match, it will be Jessica Pegula and Austin Krajicek (1) vs. Anna Danilina and Harri Hellovaara.  This is a first Major final in this discipline for all four players, though Pegula, Krajicek, and Danilina have all been in men’s or women’s doubles finals at Slams, with Krajicek winning this year’s Roland Garros alongside Ivan Dodig. 


Coco Gauff (6) vs. Aryna Sabalenka (2) – 4:00pm on Arthur Ashe Stadium

Sabalenka picked up her 50th victory of the season in her semifinal comeback against Madison Keys.  Aryna got blitzed in the first set by a score of 6-0, and Madison even served for the match in the second set.  But Keys blinked in that moment, and Sabalenka took full advantage, finding her game and claiming the last two sets in tiebreaks.

Aryna conquered plenty of demons in that semifinal, as she was 1-5 in Major semis, with all five losses coming in three sets.  She’s been the WTA’s most consistent performer this season at big events, and the last time she won a Slam semifinal, she went on to defeat Elena Rybakina in the Australian Open final.  The first set against Keys is the only set she’s dropped this fortnight, as Aryna dominated her first five rounds in New York.

Gauff overcame a much more challenging path to this championship match, losing a set in three of her first four matches.  Yet Coco has tightened up her game as the tournament has progressed, losing just two games to Roland Garros champ Jelena Ostapenko in the quarters, and taking two tight sets against Roland Garros runner-up Karolina Muchova in the semis.

Just like Sabalenka, this is her second Major final in singles, but Gauff did not play well in hers.  Last year in Paris, she managed just four games against Iga Swiatek.  But 15 months later, the 19-year-old American is a different player.  She 17-1 the past six weeks on hard courts, with titles in both Washington and Cincinnati.  Adding Pere Riba and Brad Gilbert to her coaching team this summer has paid immediate dividends.

Coco leads their head-to-head 3-2, and they are tied 2-2 on hard courts.  Their first three matches on this surface all went three sets, though most recently at Indian Wells this past March, Aryna comfortably prevailed 6-4, 6-0.

Sabalenka will look to dictate play from the baseline and with her serve, and take advantage of Gauff’s weaker wing, her forehand.  Coco also has a good serve, and will look to utilize her speed advantage, and that dangerous backhand of hers.  Yet the biggest difference between the two may be their temperament.  While it’s something Aryna has vastly improved, she can still become extremely cranky on court when things aren’t going her way, as she did in her semifinal against Keys.  Coco is much better at staying positive on court amidst adversity.

This feels like Coco’s moment.  Four years after she broke onto the scene as an impressive 15-year-old, and just two months after the wake-up call that was her first round loss at Wimbledon, it’s all come together for Gauff, who has developed into a top tier player.  And in recent years, we’ve seen how vociferously influential the crowd on Arthur Ashe Stadium can be in big US Open matches.  At her home Slam, Coco Gauff is the favorite to win her first Major title.


Saturday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas downs Sinner; now aims for Third Title in Monte Carlo

Stylish Greek completes comeback win and re-enters the top ten.

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After winning two in a row in 2021-2022, Stefanos Tsitsipas is now in reach of a third title at the prestigious Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, after beating World number two Jannik Sinner in three gruelling sets.

The 25-year-old had to battle hard and come from a break down in the third to win 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 and now plays Casper Ruud in tomorrow’s final. The Greek has had an indifferent start to the year with a 11-6 win-loss record, but today was his first top three victory since the 2022 Cincinatti Masters – where he beat Daniil Medvedev – and ensures a return back into the top ten of the men’s rankings.

Tsitsipas recognised how hard he had to fight and revealed after the match just how satisfied he was of his performance:

“It was tennis at its highest level that I have been able to play. Jannik was an extremely difficult opponent and it can be seen throughout the year so far. He has been very consistent and I could see that throughout today with his game. He is one of the toughest opponents I have faced so far and to find ways when there weren’t that many, I am proud of that. He gave me a very difficult game and the way I overcame it is true excellence.”

Sinner double faulted at 30-40 to gift the break early with the score at one game all. From there, Tsistipas rallied with poise and confidence in a brilliant opening set lasting 44 minutes including a stunning backhand down-the-line winner to open the game when serving at 4-3. He took the first set 6-4 after a tiring 18-shot rally – where both players hit all angles of the court – before Sinner hit a forehand wide.

However, 22-year-old Sinner struck back immediately on his first breakpoint at the start of the second set when he won a close exchange at the net and then took a 3-0 lead.  He later survived a breakback point when 4-2 up and crucially held on for 5-2. He faced more pressure when serving for the set at 5-3 and was taken to deuce but levelled the match at one-set-all on his second set point to give the crowd exactly what they were asking f

Sinner was now in full flow hitting powerfully from the baseline and once again broke early at the start of the final set to take a 3-1 lead. But with the match now entering the third hour he began to tire physically and called for the trainer during the changeover with the score at 4-3.  When the match resumed, he lost the next three games and the Greek had completed a remarkable turnaround, handing his opponent just his second defeat of the season in two hours and forty minutes.

“It helps a lot knowing I have a win like this under my belt. Having a win like this and getting to the levels of tennis again brings a lot of satisfaction to me,” Tsitsipas said. “When there is a lot of work put in each day, these are the type of matches you are aiming for.”

Sinner’s only loss prior to today was against Carlos Alcaraz in Indian Wells semi-finals. He has been the stand out player this year after already winning titles in Rotterdam, the Miami Open, and his maiden Grand Slam in Australia. Despite having won 25 matches overall though, he now trails Tsitsipas 3-6 in their head-to-head rivalry.

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Casper Ruud Reveals Shock After Knocking Out Novak Djokovic In Monte-Carlo

Casper Ruud is into his second career Masters 1000 final after beating Novak Djokovic for the first time.

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Casper Ruud is into his second Masters 1000 final of his career after recording his best ever win by beating Novak Djokovic 6-4 1-6 6-4.

The Norwegian defeated the world number one for the first time in his career as he overcame a mini-comeback from Djokovic to seal his place in the Monte-Carlo final.

Having lost his five previous meetings to Djokovic, Ruud played some fearless tennis under pressure as the eighth seed broke to close out a career-best win.

Speaking after the win Ruud admitted he was in a state of shock and was pleased with the victory, “I am super happy,” Ruud told the ATP website.

“This is a day I will remember for a long time. Beating a World No. 1 is something I have never done and beating Novak is something I have never done. I am very, very happy. I am a little bit in a state of shock right now.”

After achieving the seemingly improbable, Ruud will now look to win his first ever ATP title that’s above a Masters 1000 event when he takes on Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Monte-Carlo final.

That’s a prospect Ruud is looking forward to as he prepares for one final challenge, “There is always one more match in tennis,” the Norwegian explained.

“Tomorrow is going to be a special day, playing a final here in Monte-Carlo. It is a great result but I have been chasing a big title for a few years now and tomorrow I will have another shot at it. I am going to give it my all. Stef is playing well. He is a great player on clay and on other surfaces as well, but I guess clay is maybe where he has had the most success and especially this tournament.

“So it is going to be another tough task, but I am up for it.”

The final will take place at 14:00 BST.

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Rafael Nadal Set For Opening Round Test Against Cobolli In Barcelona

Rafael Nadal will look to make his ATP tour return in Barcelona this week.

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Rafael Nadal is set for his return to tennis in Barcelona as he has been drawn against Flavio Cobolli in the opening round.

Nadal has been struggling with injury after being injured again in Brisbane this year.

The tournament in Brisbane was his first tournament back for a year as he suffered a hip injury at the Australian Open last year.

Now Nadal aims to return to competitive action in Barcelona as he has been drawn against Flavio Cobolli in the opening round.

Speaking earlier in the week Nadal was hopeful of a return to the tour in Barcelona, “Excited to be here for a few days before the start of the tournament,” Nadal told the ATP website.

“I’m here to see how it goes… can’t wait to try and play. I’ll let you know. Important to say that I don’t want to confirm I’ll be playing, but I hope so. We’ll see.”

Should Nadal play and win his opening round match then the Spaniard will play fourth seed Alex De Minaur in the second round.

The former world number one has won the title on 12 different occasions but hasn’t won the title since 2021.

Elsewhere in the draw defending champion Carlos Alcaraz will begin against Luca Van Assche or Zhizhen Zhang with the Spaniard projected to meet Borna Coric in the third round.

Alcaraz suffered an injury in Monte-Carlo and will be beginning his clay court campaign in Barcelona.

Also in action in Barcelona are Andrey Rublev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Casper Ruud.

Main draw action will begin on Monday.

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