US Open Daily Preview: Four Major Champions Play Their Quarterfinals - UBITENNIS
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US Open Daily Preview: Four Major Champions Play Their Quarterfinals



Carlos Alcaraz on Monday (

The singles quarterfinals conclude on Wednesday, with hot and humid conditions continuing in New York.


Wednesday’s singles quarterfinals each feature a Major champion against a player striving to achieve that feat for the first time.  Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz looks to avenge a painful loss from last year’s Roland Garros quarterfinals at the hands of Sascha Zverev.  2021 champion Daniil Medvedev plays close friend Andrey Rublev, who will fight to overcome an 0-8 record in Slam quarterfinals.

On the women’s side, we have two first-time meetings.  Reigning Australian Open champ Aryna Sabalenka faces 20-year-old Qinwen Zheng, who upset three-time Major runner-up Ons Jabeur in the last round.  And reigning Wimbledon champ Marketa Vondrousova takes on Madison Keys, a runner-up here in 2017.

Plus, Day 10 provides two extremely appetizing women’s doubles quarterfinals, featuring some of the WTA’s best singles and doubles players.

Qinwen Zheng (23) vs. Aryna Sabalenka (2) – 12:00pm on Arthur Ashe Stadium

Sabalenka has been completely dominant this fortnight, dropping just 16 games through eight sets.  She is now 48-10 on the year, and 28-5 on hard courts.  She will be the new World No.1 on Monday regardless of her results the rest of this week.  And Aryna is a perfect 6-0 in Major quarterfinals, as she vies for her seventh semifinal out of her last nine Slams.

This is a first Major quarterfinal for Qinwen.  After first reaching the second week of a Slam last year in Paris, her results had tapered off a bit.  But Zheng made a coaching switch this summer, hiring one of the WTA’s most successful and prolific coaches of the past 15 years, Wim Fissette.  And results have come rather immediately, with Zheng winning a WTA title on clay in Palermo before this impressive run in New York.

In a recent feature on, Fissette describes Qinwen as “a raw talent,” and talks about helping her learn how to make better choices on court with her power.  That’s something Sabalenka has vastly improved on in recent years.  So while I’m quite curious to see how Zheng performs on this stage, and Aryna can become error-prone when tested, Sabalenka remains a significant favorite to advance.

Daniil Medvedev (3) vs. Andrey Rublev (8) – Second on Arthur Ashe Stadium

Is Rublev ready to conquer his quarterfinal scare tissue?  Throughout all eight of his previous matches at this stage of Majors, he’s only 3-24 in sets, dating back to his first quarterfinal six years ago at this event, when he lost to Rafael Nadal.  And further complicating matters for Andrey is playing such a close friend in his ninth quarterfinal.  He describes Medvedev as “family,” and Andrey is even the godfather to Daniil’s child.

By contrast to Rublev, Medvedev is a strong 6-1 in Major quarterfinals, with his only loss coming in his only one on clay.  On hard courts, he’s 5-0.  And Daniil has been the considerably better player in 2023, with a record of 53-11 and five titles, compared to Andrey’s record of 44-17 and only two titles.

Medvedev leads their head-to-head 5-2 at tour level, with all seven matches taking place on this surface.  Daniil claimed their first four, with Andrey taking the next two.  And most recently, six months ago in the final of Dubai, Medvedev thumped Rublev 6-2, 6-2.  Andrey can draw some confidence from how Daniil’s five titles all came within the first five months of the year, and his form his dipped this summer.  But Rublev himself arrived in New York on a three-match losing streak, and did not have to face a player ranked inside the top 70 to advance to this quarterfinal.  Medvedev should be strongly favored to reach his fourth semifinal out of the last five US Opens.

Marketa Vondrousova (9) vs. Madison Keys (17) – 7:00pm on Arthur Ashe Stadium

After easily winning her first three matches in straight sets, Vondrousova was forced to come back from a set down on Monday against another American, Peyton Stearns.  She’s now on an 11-match win streak at Majors, and is into her third Major quarterfinal.  However, Marketa has been nursing an elbow injury, and even pulled out of the women’s doubles event this week because of it.

Keys just crushed third-seeded Jessica Pegula on Monday, by a score of 6-1, 6-3.  She completely overpowered Pegula with both her serve and her return, winning 77% of first serve points, and breaking her in five out of Jess’ eight service games.  This is a 10th career Slam quarterfinal for Madison, and she is 5-4 previously in this round.

Based on Vondrousova’s injury, I lean towards Keys to be the victor on Wednesday evening.  Madison’s improved return will clobber Marketa’s serve if her arm cannot generate her usual speed and spin on her serve.  And as a Florida resident, the American won’t mind the warm conditions.

Carlos Alcaraz (1) vs. Sascha Zverev (12) – Last on Arthur Ashe Stadium

What will Zverev have left after his remarkably draining fourth round contest against Jannik Sinner?  They played for nearly five hours in excruciating humidity, and in a five-setter that went well beyond 1:00am local time on Tuesday morning.  It was a huge victory for Sascha in his comeback from a season-ending ankle injury from a year ago, but will it prevent him from having a chance in this quarterfinal?

And on Wednesday night, he faces a man who is 57-6 on the year, and has won his last three Major quarterfinals since losing to Zverev last season in Paris.  Alcaraz has also won his last 11 matches at Majors, as well as in New York.  However, while Carlitos has dropped only one set to this stage, and easily won his fourth round contest against Matteo Arnaldi, his left hamstring was taped up during that match, leading to questions regarding how that may impact his play as this tournament progresses.

Plus, Zverev is 3-2 against Alcaraz, and 2-0 on hard courts, though it’s worth noting both of those matches took place in 2021.  In 2023, Carlitos has evolved into one of the sport’s elite.  And considering what Zverev endured in the last round, Alcaraz should be favored to even their head-to-head and return to the semifinals.

Other Notable Matches on Wednesday:

Laura Siegemund and Vera Zvonareva (12) vs. Victoria Azarenka and Beatriz Haddad Maia – Siegemund and Zvonareva won this tournament three years ago, defeating Azarenka and then-partner Sofia Kenin in the championship match.  Azarenka and Haddad Maia won the Madrid Open earlier this year, in the first event of their partnership.

Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula (3) vs. Su-wei Hsieh and Xinyu Wang (8) – Gauff and Pegula have won four titles together since last August, and were finalists a year ago at Roland Garros.  Su-wei has won the women’s doubles title at both of the last two Majors, with Xinyu as her partner this past June at Roland Garros.

Wednesday’s full Order of Play is here.


‘Super happy’ Holger Rune Reacts To Winning First Match Since Wimbledon In Beijing



Holger Rune says he is pain-free and has gained confidence since reuniting with his former coach after ending his seven-match losing streak at the China Open. 


Rune, who is the third seed in Beijing this week, beat former top 10 player Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 6-4, in his opening match on Friday. The Dane fired 15 winners compared to only three unforced errors during the 85-minute encounter. It is the first time he has won a match on the Tour since Wimbledon in July.

“It feels very good. I had a tough period both with my body and with matches,” said Rune. “I’m happy to be back feeling good and feeling mentally well off the court. I’m super happy with my level today.”

The 20-year-old is experiencing a roller-coaster season where he reached the final of two Masters 1000 events and won a title in Germany during the first six months. However, recently he has struggled for wins on the Tour and ended his collaboration with Patrick Mouratoglou. 

On top of that, Rune has also been hampered by a back injury which he recently underwent treatment on before coming to China. He previously told Danish TV that he had a pinched nerve in the fifth lumbar vertebra in his spine since the clay-court season. As a result, he has had to make adjustments to his service motion to overcome this problem. 

“I didn’t feel any pain in my body,” he stated following his latest match. 
“I’m feeling healthy and taking care of my body. Mostly I’m happy to play without pain and enjoy myself.”

Guiding the world No.4 now is Lars Christensen who he has previously worked with since childhood. 

“It has helped my confidence. After some tough periods, he knows me so well,” Rune commented. “He knows when I’m back at my best level so it is easy for us to communicate and find the best version of Holger. That we did today.”

Rune will next play Grigor Dimitrov who staged an epic comeback to defeat Mackenzie McDonald. The Bulgarian was a set and 5-2 down before fighting back to prevail 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-1, over the American who was experiencing problems with his shoulder. 

Medvedev, Sinner though in contrasting matches

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In other matches at the tournament, second seed Daniil Medvedev stormed to a 6-2, 6-1, win over Tommy Paul. He has now recorded 39 hardcourt wins on the Tour so far this season which is more than any other player. 

“It’s not easy for both of us. Both of us a little jet lagged. Him maybe more, coming from Vancouver,” Medvedev said afterward. “Maybe that made the difference, but if I think only about myself, I’m happy with my level. 
“I played great. The start of the match was not easy, but it’s never easy first round, especially in another part of the world. Then I was playing better and better during the match, so I’m happy about my level.”

This week is the first time Medvedev has played since losing to Novak Djokovic in the US Open final. He is seeking to win his fifth title of 2023. 

Also through to the next round is Italy’s Jannik Sinner who struggled at times with his fitness during his troublesome 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-3, win over Dan Evans. The world No.7 served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but failed to capitalize on the opportunity, lost a 3-0 lead in the decider and then started limping on the court. During the closing stages, he also fell when trying to return a ball and appeared to hurt himself. Despite all the drama, Sinner still managed to seal the win. 

Sinner is now 16-1 in opening matches this season. He is bidding to reach his 12th tournament quarter-final in Beijing. 

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Roger Federer Targets Djokovic And Alcaraz For Laver Cup 2024 After Team World Thrashes Europe



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Roger Federer says he would love to see the two highest-ranked players on the men’s Tour play in the next Laver Cup after this year’s tie ended in a crushing defeat for Europe. 


Team World, which is captained by John McEnroe, dominated the clash in Vancouver after surging to a 10-2 lead heading into the final day of competition. On Sunday they were required to win only one match to claim the overall title which they did in the opening doubles match. Ben Shelton and Frances Tiafoe ousted the European duo of Andrey Rublev and Hubert hurkacz 7-6(4), 7-6(5). 

“I am proud of these guys. We brought together a great group of some youth and experience, guys that have been here before. Everybody played well,” McEnroe said of his team’s 13-2 victory.
“It was an awesome week. We kicked some ass.”
“Winning is a whole lot better than losing. We struggled the first couple of years, and now we have tasted winning and it feels good.”

In contrast, Europe didn’t have much joy at the event with their only victory being from Casper Ruud who defeated Tommy Paul on the second day of the tie. Since the start of the competition in 2017, Europe won four consecutive titles but 2023 is the second year in a row that they have been defeated. 

Hoping that this losing streak will come to an end next year when the event is held in Berlin, Federer says he wishes Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz will play. Djokovic has played in the Laver Cup twice before but Alcaraz is yet to make his debut.

“They destroyed Team Europe. Team World played fantastic, they really brought the energy. Everybody brought a point, they were stronger in the doubles. In the singles too, they were moving fast, they were ready to go. They thoroughly deserved victory,” said Federer.
“I would like to see Novak again, Alcaraz and Novak on the same team. Sascha Zverev would be great for the German market. Someone like [Holger] Rune, that really hurt Team Europe. Rune and [Stefanos] Tsitsipas pulling out. [Daniil] Medvedev would be great. I like watching [Andrey] Rublev, and maybe someone will come through,” he added.

Federer is a co-founder of the Laver Cup with his management company Team 8 partnering up with Tennis Australia and Jorge Paulo Lemann to create the event. In 2019 the team competition was awarded ATP Tour status with a spot on the official calendar and access to marketing facilities under an agreement. However, ranking points are not awarded to players. 

Due to the nature of the format, only one match was played on Sunday with fans not getting the chance of watching any singles. Something two-time French Open champion Ruud admits is a problem. 

“Two of the times that I have played was maybe in a way a little bit unfortunate with only one deciding doubles (match) on Sunday,” Ruud commented.
“The crowd didn’t get to see a singles (match) after or whatever. That’s not in my hands to decide what the format looks like.’
“But last year in London was great in many ways because you had so many great players and it came down to almost the last match. When I watched on TV the first series, it was so exciting because Roger played a couple of times, the final match of the Sunday and clutched it for Team Europe. It’s been a couple of years without playing that last singles match. But it’s a great initiative. Me, as a golf fan, watching the Ryder Cup all my life in my childhood, it’s great for tennis to have this event.”

The 2024 Laver Cup will be held at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin between September 20-22. 

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India’s Sumit Nagal Receives Sponsorship Boost After Revelling Financial Struggles



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A leading food and drink company has pledged to support India’s highest-ranked men’s player who was unable to train at his usual facility in Germany earlier this year due to a lack of money. 


Earlier this week world No.159 Sumit Nagal made a public plea for financial support to help him continue his career as a tennis player. In recent years he has been based at the Nansel Tennis Academy in Germany but was unable to train there during the first three months of the 2023 season due to a lack of funds. During this period he relied on his friends, including former player Somdev Devvarman, to help maintain his fitness. 

“If I look at my bank balance, I have what I had at the beginning of the year. It is 900 euros. I did get a bit of help. Mr Prashant Sutar is helping me with MAHA Tennis Foundation and I also get monthly (salary) from IOCL but I don’t have any big sponsor,” Nagal told the Press Trust of India.
“I am investing whatever I am making. The yearly cost where I travel with one coach is costing me around Rs 8 million to Rs 10 million (90,000-113,000 euros) and that is just with one travelling coach (no physio). Whatever I have made I have already invested,” he added.

Nagal, who is 26 years old, has reached the semi-finals of better at five tournaments on the lower-level Challenger Tour so far this season. His only Grand Slam result was at the US Open where he lost in the first round of qualifying to Taro Daniel. It was at the US Open where he took a set off Roger Federer before losing in 2019. 

Despite being the only player from his country to be ranked in the top 400, Nagal is currently not part of the Target Olympics Podium Scheme. An initiative set up by the Indian government to provide support to their top athletes.

After learning about Nagal’s ongoing struggles on the Tour, a leading company has decided to support the tennis player by signing a three-year deal with him. Gatorade specializes in sports drinks and is manufactured by PepsiCo. Under the deal, Nagal will receive support with his recovery and nutrition from experts at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI).  

“I am deeply moved and grateful to join hands with Gatorade. This association comes to me at a pivotal time, and I am thankful my hard work and passion is getting recognized and appreciated. With Gatorade by my side, I am sure I will reach new heights and give it my all both on and off the court,” the Indo-Asian News Service quoted Nagal as saying on Thursday. 

Speaking about the new partnership, Ankit Agarwal from PepsiCo India has hailed the collaboration. Agarwal is the company’s Associate Director of Energy & Hydration. 

“Sumit is a role model for the new-gen athletes of India with his career being a true example of hard work and sweat that makes talent shine,” he said.
“As a brand that is dedicated to supporting athletes in removing barriers to sporting success, we are delighted to welcome Sumit to the Gatorade squad.”

Nagal has been ranked as high as No.122 in the world. So far in his career, he has won four Challenger titles with two of those occurring this year in Italy and Finland. 

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