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

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Carlos Alcaraz after winning his quarterfinal on Wednesday night (twitter.com/usopen)

The men’s singles semifinals are set for Friday, as is the men’s doubles championship match.

The men’s semifinals feature three US Open champions, and a 20-year-old American making his Major semifinal debut.  The last two winners of this event will face off, as 2022 champ Carlos Alcaraz plays 2021 champ Daniil Medvedev.  And three-time champion Novak Djokovic takes on assertive newcomer Ben Shelton.

And in the men’s doubles championship match, it’s Rohan Bopanna and Matthew Ebden (6) vs. Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury (3).  This is a second Major final in men’s doubles for 43-year-old Bopanna, who was a runner-up at this same event 13 years ago.  Ebden teamed with Max Purcell to win the gentlemen’s doubles title last year at Wimbledon.  Ram and Salisbury are two-time defending champions, and if they win, they would become the first men’s doubles team to three-peat at this tournament in 109 years.


Ben Shelton vs. Novak Djokovic (2) – Not Before 3:00pm on Arthur Ashe Stadium

“I know that they want to get a scalp, they want to win… but it ain’t happening, still.”

That’s what Djokovic said two months ago on Centre Court after his quarterfinal victory at Wimbledon, regarding the younger generation of players trying to take his spot atop the sport.  Novak thrives on fighting them off, and has made a career out of beating the belief out of them.  But will the powerful and confident Shelton benefit from never having played Djokovic, and never having lost to him?

On Tuesday night, Ben displayed just how strong his self-belief is, and just how uncompromising he’s willing be in the critical moments of big matches.  After splitting the first two sets with fellow American Frances Tiafoe, Shelton grabbed the lead in the third-set tiebreak, before double faulting his lead away, going for two overly-aggressive second serves.  Yet when facing set point, he still pummeled a forehand return right into the corner of the court at 105 mph.  Ben claimed that tiebreak, seemingly breaking Frances’s spirit, and easily took the fourth set and the match.  That’s the kind of power and mentality can threaten Djokovic, and Shelton’s lack of scare tissue from previous losses to the all-time great is an advantage he has over many other of Novak’s recent victims in the latter stages of Majors. 

Novak is the only male player to reach every Slam semifinal this season, and he’s 3-0 thus far, with victories over Tommy Paul, Alcaraz, and Jannik Sinner.  He’s is 35-11 lifetime in Major semis, and astoundingly has claimed 21 of his last 22, and his last 11 in a row dating back to the 2019 French Open. 

Within the past decade, Djokovic has only lost two Major semifinals, and those two losses came under extreme weather conditions: an incredibly hot and humid day nine years ago in New York when he lost to Kei Nishikori, and an extremely windy day four years ago in Paris when he lost to Dominic Thiem.  And with the recent heat in New York forecasted to subside on Friday, Novak is a considerable favorite to achieve his 36th Major final, extending his Open Era record in men’s singles.  It wlll be incredibly difficult for Shelton to maintain a high-enough level to oust Djokovic and his exhausting all-court abilities.


Carlos Alcaraz (1) vs. Daniil Medvedev (3) – Not Before 7:00pm on Arthur Ashe Stadium

This should be an incredibly compelling contest between the two winningest ATP players of 2023.  Alcaraz is 58-6, with six titles, including his second Major at Wimbledon.  Medvedev is 54-11, with five titles. 

For Daniil, this is a second Major semifinal of the year, and his seventh overall.  He is 4-2 in this round, though is his last Slam semi two months ago at Wimbledon, he lost to Alcaraz in straight sets.  All of Medvedev’s previous wins at this stage of a Slam have occurred on hard courts.

Alcaraz has now advanced to the semifinals in his last four Major appearances, and he is 2-1 in this round.  He’s dropped only one set so far this fortnight, to Dan Evans in the third round.  Medvedev has dropped two sets, both to Australians (O’Connell, de Minaur).

Carlitos leads their head-to-head 2-1, and has taken their last two encounters.  That includes the aforementioned Wimbledon semifinal from this past July, as well as the final of Indian Wells six months ago, though it’s worth noting Daniil was completely drained for that contest after winning 19 consecutive matches in the span of five weeks.  Medvedev’s victory came two years ago at Wimbledon, but that was before Alcaraz rose to the top of the sport.

Medvedev definitely peaked between February and May of this season, and hasn’t won a title or reached a final since.  He arrived in New York with little form, going just 3-2 on North American hard courts.  However, he has steadily increased his level at this tournament has progressed, and has spoken openly regarding how pleased he is with the way the US Open courts are playing this year.  And he’ll be relieved to find cooler temperatures for this semifinal than his sweltering quarterfinal on Wednesday.

It’s important to remember this is the first time Carlitos has defended a Major title in his young career.  And no man has defended this title in 15 years, when Roger Federer won his fifth in a row back in 2008.  Plus, Alcaraz has been sporting tape on his upper left leg this week, so he is nursing an injury to at least some degree.

After the epic Wimbledon final in July, and the equally-epic Cincinnati final in August, the tennis world has been hyper-focused on the potential of a Djokovic/Alcaraz rubber match in New York.  But I don’t see that happening.  As dynamic as Carlitos’ game is, Daniil defends on this surface better than anyone not named Djokovic, and can draw more errors out of Alcaraz than any player the Spaniard has faced to this stage.  And in a match that will likely extend to four or five grueling sets, the extent of Carlitos’ injury will be revealed.


Friday’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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