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

Focus

US Open Daily Preview: Four Major Champions Play Their Quarterfinals

Published

on

Carlos Alcaraz on Monday (twitter.com/usopen)

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 usopen.org, 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.

Focus

Rafael Nadal Takes Positives From Barcelona Exit Against Alex De Minaur

Rafael Nadal exited the tournament in Barcelona in the second round to Alex De Minaur.

Published

on

(@bcnopenbs - Twitter)

Rafael Nadal believes that he can be competitive for Roland Garros despite his 7-5 6-1 defeat to Alex De Minaur in Barcelona.

The 12-time champion suffered a straight sets defeat to the in-form Australian in the second round.

There was a valiant comeback from Nadal in the opening set as he recovered from a break down to get back onto level terms.

However De Minaur was too strong for Nadal as the world number eleven won nine of the last ten games to set up a third round meeting with Daniel Altmaier or Arthur Fils.

After the match Nadal congratulated De Minaur on the victory and analysed his own performance, “I mean Alex is a great player but honestly no, in terms of tennis today he’s in better shape than me so he is playing at a really high level since the beginning of the season, I think he made a really important step forward in his level of tennis,” Nadal told reporters in Barcelona.

“So just happy for him and congratulate him for the level he played today. And I think I was able to show myself most important to show the world and show myself when I was really trying and showed a high percentage of intensity, my level was there to compete.

“And I didn’t practice a lot so that encourages me to keep going and tells me that if I spend the day on the tour and keep practicing with the players on this surface, I really hope and really believe that I can keep being competitive and my body will allow me to push the way that I know.”

The defeat to De Minaur was Nadal’s third match all season having struggled with injury with the Spaniard hinting this could be his last time playing in Barcelona.

Despite the loss Nadal admits he feels happier and more comfortable than he did a couple of weeks ago, “I feel much more comfortable and much more happier today than one week and a half ago,” Nadal explained.

“I managed to play two matches, playing against great players and I mean when I was able to play I was not very far without a doubt. And I feel myself that if I’m able to keep practicing days on the tour and if my body allows me to spend hours on court and have the practices the way that I need.”

Now the next goal for Nadal is to try to reclaim his Roland Garros title, a tournament he has won on 14 different occasions.

As for Roland Garros Nadal just hopes he can be competitive for the second Grand Slam of the season as he intensifies his preparations over the next few weeks, “I hope to be competitive, that’s the truth and I hope and believe that I can be competitive in a few weeks,” Nadal stated.

“That’s the way I need to perceive today and my final goal is to give myself a chance to be realistically competing at Roland Garros. In my tennis career I was able to compete at the highest level at every single tournament, trying to win tournaments and I was not able to do it today.

“But I hope to be ready in a few weeks.”

Before Roland Garros, Nadal will hope to play in Madrid which starts on the 25th of April.

Continue Reading

Focus

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

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

Published

on

(@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

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.

Continue Reading

Focus

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.

Published

on

(@rolandgarros - Twitter)

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.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending