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

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Coco Gauff on Tuesday during her quarterfinal (twitter.com/usopen)

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.

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Juan Carlos Ferrero Remaining Positive Despite Carlos Alcaraz’s Poor Form

Juan Carlos Ferrero remains confident of Carlos Alcaraz’s abilities despite his poor form.

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Juan Carlos Ferrero is looking on the positive side despite Carlos Alcaraz’s poor form.

After winning Wimbledon last year, many people thought that Carlos Alcaraz would dominate the ATP tour over the next year.

However since then, Alcaraz has lost his world number one ranking with the Spaniard not winning a trophy since capturing his second Grand Slam title at SW19.

There are concerns that Alcaraz’s form is dipping with Jannik Sinner potentially overtaking him in potential to challenge Novak Djokovic at the big events.

Despite the lack of titles to Alcaraz’s name, there is no reason to worry for coach Juan Carlos Ferrero as he is confident that the Spaniard’s lack of form is normal, “He has been achieving good results,” Ferrero claimed in an interview with Marca.

“The Cincinnati tournament was a shame because we were one point away. At the US Open, he made the semi-finals. When you play with such good people, it is difficult to win every tournament.

“For any player, not winning tournaments can affect your confidence level. For very good players, it is important to achieve the results that one sets in their path. Of course Carlos wants to win, but I see him well, I don’t see him with any type of desire, and that is very important.

“He doesn’t have the stress of I want to win, I want to win. He wants to do things well and wants to improve in every aspect that he can, and at 20 years of age there are many. The objectives are there. Every tournament that goes, the objective is to achieve a good result.

“And if he is physically well, a great result for him is to win. When you have that level and that potential, it is not bad to think that. Then, when you don’t get it, you have to know how to manage it and come out just as motivated.”

Ferrero brings a great level of experience and composure to the Alcaraz team having been in the Spaniard’s position many times when he was a player.

The Spaniard’s experience is evident as he claimed that failure isn’t a bad thing for Alcaraz to go through, “Not every year you can win six or seven tournaments and that doesn’t mean it will be a failure,” Ferrero was quoted by tennis 365 as saying.

“[Michael] Jordan and Tiger [Woods] didn’t win every Grand Slam and every ring every year. We cannot call that a failure. There are many positive things in a year even if you have earned less.

“You may have evolved in aspects that can be useful for the future. That’s where we are. The most important thing is that he is happy, that he trains well, that traveling makes him happy and from there he generates good tennis, which is what he loves. We all agree on that.”

Alcaraz will look to return to his best when he looks to defend his title in Indian Wells which starts on the sixth of March.

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Daria Kasatkina And Alejandro Davidovich Fokina Lead Calls For VAR In Tennis

There have been calls for VAR to be introduced into the sport.

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Daria Kasatkina and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina have called for VAR to be implemented in tennis.

The calls have came after Andrey Rublev was disqualified from his semi-final with Alexander Bublik in Dubai.

As Bublik lead 6-5 in the final set, Rublev shouted in the face of an umpire allegedly swearing in Russian which was picked up by one of the officials.

This saw Rublev be disqualified from the event with Bublik reaching the final in Dubai.

However as a result of the incident players have called for a VAR review system with the video showing inconclusive proof of whether Rublev did swear in Russian.

Leading the calls for such innovation are Daria Kasatkina and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina as the duo called for VAR to be introduced on twitter, “So you can just disqualify a player, take away all his points and money, without even checking the video? What a joke, yet another confirmation that we need VAR in tennis and an electronic appeal system in all tournaments,” Kasatkina said on social media.

VAR has been implemented in football and also a similar system in rugby with mixed results.

It’s clear though that more technology would help umpires identify whether a grounds for disqualification would be necessary.

So far VAR has been trialled at the Next Gen Finals and the Nitto ATP Finals.

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Casper Ruud Overcomes ‘Tough Start’ To Set De Minaur Final In Acapulco

Casper Ruud is into his first ATP 500 final after defeating Holger Rune in three sets.

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Casper Ruud is into his second consecutive final in Mexico after defeating Holger Rune 3-6 6-3 6-4 in Acapulco.

The Norwegian had to overcome an electric start from Rune to prevail in 2 hours and 24 minutes.

It was a clinical performance from Ruud who is now into his second consecutive final in Mexico after reaching the final in Los Cabos last week.

Speaking after the match Ruud admitted it was a tough start but he’s pleased to be in another final, “It was a tough start,” Ruud told the ATP website.

“Holger just came out firing bullets from the forehand, from the backhand and I had not too much time to play my game. I was frustrated at times, especially at the end of the first set, beginning of the second.

“I didn’t really feel like I got to play any points how I wanted to, so there was some frustration towards myself, towards my box, because I didn’t feel like we were doing the right thing.

“But luckily with one break in the second, it turned around a bit and in the third set it got a little physical. I think maybe Holger seemed like he was struggling a little bit and started firing even more and a couple of games it went in and he broke me, which is frustrating.

“Some unforced errors crept up on him and I served really well in the last game to close it out.”

Ruud is now into his first ATP 500 final in Acapulco where he will face defending champion Alex De Minaur.

De Minaur overcame Jack Draper after the Brit retired at 4-0 down in the deciding set.

Heading into Saturday’s final, De Minaur leads the head-to-head 1-0 although that was in a completely different scoring format in the Next Gen Finals.

Whatever happens on Saturday, Ruud will return to the world’s top ten.

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