US Open Daily Preview: Italy’s Jannik Sinner Faces Stan Wawrinka in the Third Round - UBITENNIS
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US Open Daily Preview: Italy’s Jannik Sinner Faces Stan Wawrinka in the Third Round

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Jannik Sinner on Thursday in New York (Brad Penner/USTA)

Third round singles action concludes on Saturday in New York City.

On Day 6, Toronto champion Jannik Sinner collides with 2016 US Open champion Stan Wawrinka.  Plus, in another blockbuster third round matchup, Sascha Zverev plays Grigor Dimitrov.  And Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev will also be in action on Saturday.

On the women’s side, American No.1 Jessica Pegula faces a tough third round draw in Elina Svitolina.  In addition, American No.3 Madison Keys plays recent Montreal finalist Liudmila Samsonova.  And Aryna Sabalenka, Ons Jabeur, and Marketa Vondrousova will all play their third round matches.

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


Liudmila Samsonova (14) vs. Madison Keys (17) – Second on Louis Armstrong Stadium

Keys is 30-11 this season, with one WTA title, which came on grass in Eastbourne.  She was the runner-up here in 2017, and a semifinalist the year after, yet has failed to advance beyond the fourth round in any other appearance.  Madison easily won her first two matches this week, dropping only nine games in total.

Samsonova is 26-19 on the year, and has reached two hard court finals (Abu Dhabi, Montreal).  She is 2-0 in her previous third round matches at Majors, which took place two years ago at Wimbledon, and a year ago in New York.  Like Madison, Liudmila is yet to drop a set.

They have split two prior encounters, both of which went this distance.  Samsonova prevailed in a third-set tiebreak two years ago on grass in Berlin, while Keys won 6-3 in the third a year ago on a hard court in Adelaide.  In the rubber match on Saturday afternoon, I pick the American.  While both players possess significant weapons, Madison’s are a bit bigger.  And she’ll surely benefit from playing on her home country’s second biggest court.


Elina Svitolina (26) vs. Jessica Pegula (3) – Second on Arthur Ashe Stadium

Pegula keeps steadily improving season-by-season.  The 29-year-old has already accumulated 45 match wins this year, the most of her career, and recently collected her second WTA 1000 title in Montreal.  Jess has lost just eight games through two matches, as she looks to change two disappointing patterns she has established.  In 11 of the last 12 Majors, she’s either lost in the third round (five times) or the quarterfinals (six times).

Svitolina is 21-11 at tour level since returning from giving birth to her first child.  And she’s now 11-2 at Slams, having reached the quarters at Roland Garros, and the semis at Wimbledon.  Elina came back from a set down on Thursday afternoon to take out Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and she has advanced to the fourth round or better in her last four appearances at the US Open.

Pegula leads their head-to-head 3-1, with all four matches occurring on hard courts.  They played just a month ago in Washington, where Jess won 6-4 in the third.  And with her summer hard court form considerably better than Svitolina’s, I like Pegula’s chances of advancing.


Stan Wawrinka vs. Jannik Sinner (6) – Third on Louis Armstrong Stadium

Wawrinka is looking to reach the second round of a Major for the first time in nearly four years.  And he’s been playing some good tennis, as he was the runner-up a month ago on clay in Umag, and then upset Frances Tiafoe in Cincinnati.  On Thursday, Stan eliminated the 30th seed, Tomas Martin Etcheverry, in four sets.

Sinner currently sits at a career-high ranking of No.6 in the world, and is No.4 in the year-to-date rankings.  That’s thanks to a 43-12 record this season, achieving his first Slam semifinal at Wimbledon, and claiming his first Masters 1000 title in Toronto.  Jannik won his first two matches in straight sets, and is vying to reach the round of 16 in New York for the third consecutive year.

They have played five times within the last four years, with their rivalry beginning with a four-set Wawrinka victory during Sinner’s US Open debut in 2019.  Stan also took their other 2019 meeting, but Jannik has won their last three, which includes two straight-set wins earlier this season on hard courts.  The 22-year-old Italian has elevated himself to be one of the sport’s elite, and he should be favored to beat the three-time Major champ on Saturday.


Sascha Zverev (12) vs. Grigor Dimitrov (19) – 7:00pm on Louis Armstrong Stadium

This is a rematch from just two weeks ago in Cincinnati, where Zverev easily prevailed 6-2, 6-2.  Overall he is 5-1 against Dimitrov, with Grigor’s only victory coming in their first meeting back in 2014, when Sascha was only 16-years-old and still ranked outside the world’s top 100.  Two Slams ago at the French Open, Zverev also defeated Dimitrov in straight sets.

Both men come into this matchup playing their highest level in some time.  Zverev has spent much of the year rebuilding his confidence after the ankle injury he suffered at last year’s Roland Garros ended his 2022 season.  Yet he picked up his 40th win of the year on Thursday, and is coming off a semifinal run in Cincinnati.  Dimitrov struggled with his fitness as he battled long COVID, but has had a good summer.  Grigor upset Frances Tiafoe at Wimbledon, and comfortably defeated Andy Murray on Thursday.

However, based on their history, Zverev is a clear favorite to be victorious, especially on a hard court.  Sascha was the runner-up and a semifinalist in his last two US Open appearances, and 13 of his 20 career titles have come on this surface. 


Other Notable Matches on Saturday:

Clara Burel vs. Aryna Sabalenka (2) – Sabalenka comfortably claimed both of her first two matches by the same score line of 6-3, 6-2.  Burel is a 22-year-old Frenchwoman who eliminated another big hitter, Karolina Pliskova, on Thursday.  In this same round of last year’s US Open, Aryna beat Clara 6-2, 6-0.

Carlos Alcaraz (1) vs. Dan Evans (26) – Alcaraz is on a nine-match winning streak in New York, where he is now 13-1 lifetime.  Evans came back from a set down in the last round to defeat Botic van de Zandschulp.  Carlitos has twice before been victorious over Dan in straight sets.

Ons Jabeur (5) vs. Marie Bouzkova (31) – Jabeur has been battling an illness for the past week, yet overcame impressive teenager Linda Noskova on Thursday evening.  On the same day, Bozukova easily dispatched of Petra Martic, dropping only three games.  Last year in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon, Marie’s best result at a Major to date, Ons defeated her in three sets.

Daniil Medvedev (3) vs. Sebastian Baez – Medvedev is now 25-5 at the US Open, and is vying to reach the second week for the fifth straight year.  Baez is red-hot, as he’s currently on a 12-match win streak, coming off two title runs in August (Kitzbuhel, Winston-Salem). 

Ekaterina Alexandrova (22) vs. Marketa Vondrousova (9) – The Wimbledon champ has lost just seven games across her first four sets.  Alexandrova already notched two solid wins, over Leylah Fernandez and Lesia Tsurenko.  Earlier this season on a hard court in Adelaide, Marketa defeated Ekaterina in three.


Saturday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Andy Murray Makes Retirement Hint After 500th Hard Court Win In Dubai

Andy Murray won his 500th hard court match in Dubai, placing him fifth on the all-time list.

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Andy Murray further hinted at retirement after securing a 500th hard court win of his career in Dubai.

The former world number one picked up his second win of the year with a 4-6 7-6(5) 6-3 victory over Denis Shapovalov.

In typical Andy Murray fashion, the Brit came back from a set down to defeat the out-of-sorts Canadian as he progressed to the second round.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUVj537F-wQ

The win means Murray now has 500 career wins on a hard court and that is an achievement the world number 67 is proud of, “It’s not bad,” Murray told the ATP website as he sits fifth on the all-time list of hard court wins.

“Obviously hard court has been a great surface for me over the years and 500 is a lot of matches so I’m very proud of that. There are not many players that have done that, so great to get to 500 before I’m done.”

However those post-match comments weren’t the most shocking ones as Murray once again hinted at retirement this season.

The Brit has made subtle remarks that this year may be his last one but Murray’s comments today suggests that he may have already made his decision, “I probably don’t have too long left but I’ll do as best as I can these last few months,” Murray was quoted by ESPN as saying.

“I still love competing and still love the game but it gets harder and harder to compete the older you get, to keep your body fit and fresh.”

If the end is near for Murray than the Brit will look to end his career on a high for the next few months.

Before thinking about retirement Murray will look to go further in Dubai when he takes on either Ugo Humbert or Gael Monfils in the second round.

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Perspective And Fatigue: The Two Sides Of Iga Swiatek’s Dubai Defeat

Iga Swiatek spoke about perspective and fatigue after her semi-final exit in Dubai.

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Iga Swiatek showed two sides to her defeat in Dubai as the world number one surprisingly failed to win the title despite being the favourite in the semi-finals.

Heading into her semi-final in Dubai, Swiatek was heavy favourite to win her second consecutive WTA title after claiming the title in Doha the week before.

However Swiatek was unsuccessful in her bid to reach the final as she lost to Anna Kalinskaya 6-4 6-4.

It was a bitterly disappointing defeat for Swiatek who missed a golden opportunity to establish even more dominance ahead of Indian Wells.

As all champions do Swiatek offered perspective to her defeat as she looks ahead to the rest of the season, “I mean, I’m angry but on the other hand, there aren’t many players that actually survive these kinds of tournaments so I just kind of have to let it go and accept it,” Swiatek was quoted by Tennis Majors.

There was not only perspective offered but also fatigue as expectations and pressure can force simple mistakes from the best players in the world.

The world number one acknowledged Kalinskaya’s performance but did admit her own performance contributed to the defeat, “Today I would say, I mean she [Kalinskaya] played well and for sure she deserves to be in the final, but I feel like it was more about me and my level,” Swiatek told Tennis Majors.

“I wanted to be focused on myself and I wasn’t really able to implement any tactics that I had. Usually, when I tell myself what to do, I can improve my game but today I was so out of power and tired that I just couldn’t. Day by day, it was a little bit worse.”

Swiatek will hope to re-energize herself ahead of the sunshine double in America.

Last year Swiatek lost to eventual champion Elena Rybakina in the semi-finals at Indian Wells before withdrawing from Miami.

The Pole will look to improve last year’s performance when she plays Indian Wells, which starts on the 6th of March.

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‘Speechless’ Mensik Reaches Maiden ATP Final In Doha

Jakub Mensik is into his first ATP final in Doha.

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Jakub Mensik admitted he was left speechless after reaching his first ATP final in Doha.

The 18 year-old continued his remarkable week with a 6-4 1-6 6-3 semi-final victory over Gael Monfils.

The Czech Republican produced clinical tennis as he beat the 2018 champion to reach his maiden ATP final.

After the match Mensik admitted he was left ‘speechless’ and spoke about the influence Monfils had on his career, “It is amazing. Hopefully not the last one [final]. Incredible week so far,” Mensik told the ATP website.

“Today again with Gael, he played unbelievable. I know it is tough to play against him, especially with his good movement. For me every point I have to play my best game.

“I have to say this performance was one of the best in my entire life. I am so glad I reached this level in the semis, so hopefully tomorrow I play like this. An amazing feeling with my first ATP final. I am speechless.

“I told him when I was young I watched him a lot on the TV. One of the biggest showman on court. He is a great guy, so hopefully in the future we will meet once again. The rallies were so fun with him.”

Mensik has so far beaten three former champions this week as he also defeated Andy Murray and Andrey Rublev this week.

Now Mensik will aim to win his first ATP title as he takes on Karen Khachanov in Saturday’s final.

Should Mensik win the title he could climb to 75 in the world as he started the week at 116 in the world.

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