The women’s singles semifinals will be played on Thursday night, with the men’s doubles semifinals scheduled during the day.
In a rematch of the championship match in Cincinnati from a few weeks ago, Coco Gauff faces Karolina Muchova in the first semifinal. Gauff won 6-3, 6-4 on that day to claim the biggest title of her career. Which of these two players will advance to their second Major final in singles?
And could we have an all-American final? In the second semifinal of the evening, Australian Open champ Aryna Sabalenka faces the runner-up from the last time there were two Americans in the US Open women’s singles final, Madison Keys.
Coco Gauff (6) vs. Karolina Muchova (10) – 7:00pm on Arthur Ashe Stadium
Since losing in the first round of Wimbledon, which resulted in changes to her coaching team, Gauff is now 16-1, and is currently on a 12-match winning streak. After dropping sets in three of her first four matches in New York, she authoritatively dispatched of Jelena Ostapenko in the last round by a score of 6-0, 6-2. This is Coco’s second Major semifinal, after first achieving this feat a year ago in Paris, where she defeated Martina Trevisan In the semis before losing to Iga Swiatek in the final.
Muchova is also having a great summer, prevailing in 10 of her last 11 matches, and 11 of her last 13 at Slams. She’s lost only one set to this stage, to Xinyu Wang in the fourth round, and allowed her quarterfinal opponent Sorana Cirstea just one more game than Gauff allowed Ostapenko. Karolina is 1-1 in Major semifinals, after pulling off a monumental comeback three months ago at Roland Garros against Sabalenka, saving match point and winning 20 of the last 24 points.
Their recent meeting in the Cincinnati final is their only one to date. Based on that meeting, and considering Gauff has the huge advantage of playing on her home country’s biggest court, she’s the favorite to reach her second Major final in singles. However, Muchova will undoubtedly make this a tight affair, and her various weapons and all-court game make her a dangerous threat to upset the American teenager.
Madison Keys (17) vs. Aryna Sabalenka (2) – Second on Arthur Ashe Stadium
This matchup is a classic example of what Mary Carillo long-ago coined as “big babe tennis,” between two of the WTA’s most explosive ball strikers. And it’s a rematch from the last Major, which saw Sabalenka prevail 6-2, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon. They split two other previous encounters, with Aryna taking the one on a hard court back in 2018.
Sabalenka is 49-10 this season, and is the only female player to advance to the semifinals at all four Slams this year. However, this round of Majors is where Aryna has suffered the most painful losses of her career. After losing her first three Major semis in three sets, she finally broke through this past January against Magda Linette in Melbourne , where she of course went on to win the title. But at the last two Slams, she’s again stalled in this round, which includes the aforementioned disaster she made of the third set against Muchova in Paris, and another three-set loss to Ons Jabeur in London. Sabalenka is just 1-5 in Major semifinals.
This is a sixth Major semifinal for Keys, and she’s only 1-4 herself. And while all four of those losses were in straight sets, it’s worth noting three of them were at the hands of multi-time Slam champs (Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Ash Barty). But Sabalenka can find solace in knowing Keys’ Major semifinal history is no more successful than hers.
Keys has dropped only one set through five rounds, and has beaten three consecutive top 15 seeds (Samsonova, Pegula, Vondrousova). But Sabalenka has absolutely steamrolled the competition this fortnight, taking all 10 sets she’s played, and permitting her opposition an average of only two games per set. She’s been the best WTA player of the year, and despite her troubling history in Slam semis, Aryna should be favored to advance to Saturday’s championship match.
Other Notable Matches on Thursday:
Rohan Bopanna and Matthew Ebden (6) vs. Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert – Bopanna and Ebden claimed two hard court titles earlier this season. Mahut and Herbert have won five Majors as a team, including this event back in 2015.
Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury (3) vs. Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek (2) – Ram and Salisbury are the two-time defending champions of this tournament, while Dodig and Krajicek won this year’s Roland Garros.
Thursday’s full Order of Play is here.
Roger Federer Targets Djokovic And Alcaraz For Laver Cup 2024 After Team World Thrashes Europe
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.
India’s Sumit Nagal Receives Sponsorship Boost After Revelling Financial Struggles
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.
(VIDEO): Malaga Line-Up Set As Davis Cup Most Unpredictable Tournament In History
UbiTennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta explains why any of the eight teams in Malaga could win November’s Davis Cup Finals
The Davis Cup quarter-final line-up is set after an incredible Group Stage over Bologna, Split, Manchester and Valencia.
Now eight teams remain including Novak Djokovic’s Serbia, Great Britain and Australia.
However surprise teams such as the Netherlands, Finland and the Czech Republic will also appear in the quarter-finals.
Ten-time champions Great Britain will face Serbia with the winners taking on the winner of the quarter-final between Italy and the Netherlands.
In the other half of the draw Canada will be heavy favourites against Finland while the Czech Republic face Australia.
The final eight tournament will take place in Malaga and will take place between the 21st and the 26th of November.
However this year’s Davis Cup could be the most unpredictable version in the tournament’s history with there being no Spain or USA.
It really could be anyone’ tournament with Tennis’ most prestigious team competition up for grabs in November.
In this video UbiTennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta explains why this year’s Davis Cup finals could be the most unpredictable edition of all-time and why any of the teams could win the title.
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(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Steve Flink, Ubaldo Scanagatta Review The 2023 Wimbledon Men’s Final
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Steve Flink, Ubaldo Scanagatta Review The 2023 Wimbledon Women’s Final
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