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US Open 2019: Serena Williams beats Petra Martic despite medical timeout

  • Posted: Sep 01, 2019
US Open 2019
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 26 Aug – 8 Sep
Coverage: Live text and BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra commentary on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app. Click here for Live Guide.

Serena Williams remains on course for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title despite needing medical attention in a win over Petra Martic at the US Open.

The American, 37, reached the quarter-finals in New York with a 6-3 6-4 victory against the 22nd seed.

The six-time champion needed her ankle restrapping in a medical timeout after turning awkwardly during the final set.

Williams was able to return to the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium to see off the Croat in dominant fashion.

Speaking about the injury, Williams said: “I just rolled it, I don’t know why. I was volleying and it just went over – that was frustrating but I wanted to get it compressed really fast.

“It affected me a little mentally because I’ve had a rough year with injuries.”

Williams faces China’s Wang Qiang next after the 18th seed beat world number two Ashleigh Barty in the last 16.

She will move level with Margaret Court on the most Open era Grand Slam titles if she wins at Flushing Meadows.

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Grigor's Breakthrough: Dimitrov Reaches First US Open QF

  • Posted: Sep 01, 2019

Grigor’s Breakthrough: Dimitrov Reaches First US Open QF

Dimitrov defeats De Minaur on Sunday

Grigor Dimitrov isn’t shy to admit that his 2019 hasn’t gone as planned, but he was rewarded for his persistence on Sunday at the US Open. The Bulgarian reached his first quarter-final in New York by producing one of his best performances of the season, scoring the lone break in each set to defeat #NextGenATP Aussie Alex de Minaur 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.

“There’s not much to say other than that I’m pleased to be back on a court, pain-free and feeling really good,” Dimitrov said in his on-court interview. “I’ve put a lot miles in my legs [and] a lot of practice.”

After a solid start to the year in Australia, Dimitrov missed two months with a right shoulder injury and struggled when he returned. He arrived in New York with a 7-13 record since the Australian Open and hadn’t reached a tour-level quarter-final since January. His performance against De Minaur appears to be a sign that the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion has turned a corner and is moving back to the form that saw him peak at No. 3 in the ATP Rankings. 

The Bulgarian won’t be savouring his breakthrough moment as he turns his attention to a quarter-final showdown with third seed and five-time champion Roger Federer. Dimitrov is winless (0-7) in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, but the two sets he’s taken off Federer came on hard courts.

“I’m already thinking about it,” Dimitrov said. It’s my first time in the quarter-finals here of the US Open, so I’m going to make the most of it. This is what I practice for, to play these matches.”

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Dimitrov never looked back after grabbing the first break of the match at 5-6 in the opening set. The 28-year-old didn’t drop serve against De Minaur and only faced one break point, but also made life difficult for the Aussie in his return games, striking his one-handed backhand to perfection and ripping forehand winners from all parts of the court. He raised his arms in triumph when De Minaur sent a forehand long after two hours and five minutes. 

De Minaur showed his trademark fighting spirit throughout the match, but wasn’t able to bring his best tennis and finished the day with 43 unforced errors. However, the 20-year-old can be pleased with his efforts in New York. He beat sixth seed Kei Nishikori on Friday for his first Top 10 win and maiden appearance in the fourth round of a Grand Slam.

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Sunday Preview: Djokovic & Wawrinka Renew Their Rivalry

  • Posted: Sep 01, 2019

Sunday Preview: Djokovic & Wawrinka Renew Their Rivalry

Federer faces Goffin in Day 7 action

It’s been three years since Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka faced off in the 2016 US Open final, which saw Wawrinka prevail for his third Grand Slam crown. The top-seeded Serbian and No. 23 seed from Switzerland take to Arthur Ashe Stadium once again for an epic fourth-round showdown on Sunday.

Defending champion Djokovic leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 19-5, but Wawrinka’s three most recent victories against him have come in Grand Slams. The Swiss also defeated Djokovic in the 2015 Australian Open quarter-finals and 2015 Roland Garros final, consistently finding a way to raise his level against the World No. 1 in major matches.

“I was full of confidence. I was playing well, moving well, at the top of my game. For sure I could only play the best tennis when it’s the final,” Wawrinka recalled of his US Open triumph. “There’s something with him that when I get into my best game, I know that it’s going to have some big rally. I’m going to play good tennis.”

However, their careers have taken markedly different turns since their most recent clash in New York. Although they each missed the last four months of the 2017 season due to injury, Djokovic would go on to add another four Grand Slam titles to his tally, while Wawrinka’s comeback has yielded just one tour-level final this February in Rotterdam (l. to Monfils). But despite being the on-paper favourite, Djokovic’s past history with Wawrinka in Grand Slams means he won’t be taking the battle lightly.

”We had some great battles over the years everywhere, but particularly here. I lost to him the last time we played on this court,” Djokovic said. “He’s someone that possesses a game with a lot of power and quality. He’s a great guy. We practice together a lot, so may the best man win.”

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Third-seeded Swiss Roger Federer kicks off the day session against No. 15 seed David Goffin of Belgium. The five-time US Open champion leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 8-1, including a win this June in the championship match in Halle. Federer is rounding into top form this week, dropping just five games in a dominant third-round victory over Brit Daniel Evans. The World No. 3 in the ATP Rankings looks to shed the demons of his fourth-round exit last year to Aussie John Millman and inch closer to his first title in New York since 2008.

Meanwhile, Goffin is enjoying a career resurgence over the past two months, reaching the Wimbledon quarter-finals and his first ATP Masters 1000 final last month in Cincinnati (l. to Medvedev). His tenacious and reliable brand of tennis has yielded plenty of wins over top players, particularly when they’re not at their best. If Federer gets off to the slow starts that he displayed in his first two rounds this week, the Belgian will be sure to take advantage.

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Fifth-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev meets German qualifier Dominik Koepfer, who had just two tour-level wins to his name prior to this week. Medvedev is arguably the most in-form player on tour at the moment, fresh off his first Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati (d. Goffin) and holding a 17-2 record since the end of the grass-court season. But the 23-year-old will have added pressure against Koepfer as he looks to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final.

“As everybody says, before the tournament I was one of the favourites. Probably unconsciously I was looking in the second week, at the draw,” he said. “I’m trying to convince myself to look at match by match.”

Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov and #NextGenATP Aussie Alex de Minaur face off for a pivotal moment in both of their careers. Dimitrov seeks his first quarter-final in New York, while De Minaur looks to build on what is already his best Grand Slam result. The 20-year-old Aussie has excelled on hard courts this season, lifting his first two ATP Tour titles in Sydney (d. Seppi) and Winston-Salem (d. Fritz). Dimitrov has endured a difficult season by his lofty standards, but the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion is capable of beating anyone when he’s at his best.

ORDER OF PLAY – SUNDAY, 1 September 2019

Arthur Ashe Stadium start 12:00
[3] Roger Federer vs [15] David Goffin
WTA match

NB 7:00 pm
WTA match
[1] Novak Djokovic vs [23] Stan Wawrinka

Louis Armstrong Stadium start 11:00
Three WTA matches

NB 5:00 pm
[5] Daniil Medvedev vs [Q] Dominik Koepfer

Grandstand start 11:00
WTA match
Grigor Dimitrov vs Alex de Minaur
WTA match
[8] Marcel Granollers/Horacio Zeballos vs [10] Rajeev Ram/Joe Salisbury

Court No. 17 start 11:00
[12] Kevin Krawietz/Andreas Mies vs Marcelo Arevalo/Jonny O’Mara
WTA match
[16] Oliver Marach/Jurgen Melzer vs Marius Copil/Nick Kyrgios
[2] Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo vs Leonardo Mayer/Joao Sousa
WTA match

Court No. 17 NB 1:00pm
Two WTA matches
[13] Robin Haase/Wesley Koolhof vs Pablo Carreno Busta/Feliciano Lopez
Mixed doubles match

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US Open 2019: Rafael Nadal through to fourth round, Nick Kyrgios out

  • Posted: Sep 01, 2019
US Open 2019
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 26 Aug – 8 Sep
Coverage: Live text and BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra commentary on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app. Click here for Live Guide.

Rafael Nadal powered past Chung Hyeon into the US Open fourth round, capitalising on the extra rest he enjoyed before facing the South Korean.

The Spanish second seed, who had a walkover in the previous round, had not played since Tuesday and it showed in a dominant 6-3 6-4 6-2 win.

By contrast, Chung had come through three rounds of qualifying and spent nine hours more on court.

Nadal faces Marin Cilic next, while sixth seed Alexander Zverev also won.

Australian 28th seed Nick Kyrgios failed in his bid to progress past the third round at Flushing Meadows for the first time after losing 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 to Russian Andrey Rublev.

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‘Merciless’ Nadal marches on

With defending champion Novak Djokovic and 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer in the opposite side of the draw, Nadal has – on paper at least – a more favourable route to a potential fifth US Open final.

Any concerns over the Spaniard’s fitness after he withdrew from the recent Cincinnati Masters because of fatigue have been dispelled here with two ruthless displays in his two matches.

The 18-time Grand Slam champion did not face a single break point against Chung, who was a top-20 player and Australian Open semi-finalist last year.

He sealed the first set with an ace, the second when he forced the South Korean to hit long and then took victory on his first match point with a rasping forehand winner.

“Nadal is merciless,” former player Jeff Tarango said in BBC Radio 5 Live commentary. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a human being, animal, or any kind of species, more competitive than Rafa Nadal. Ever. The dude is always competing. He always has to be playing something or winning at something. He never stops.”

Last year Nadal reached the semi-finals here but was forced retire at the end of the second set against Juan Martin del Potro because of a knee injury.

On his way there he had come through two four-setters and a five-setter, which he says took their toll, and so the fact he has reached the second week at Flushing Meadows by spending little more than four hours on court could help him.

Against Chung, he had dispensed with the tape he usually has strapped around his knees.

“The tape is not working any more,” he told the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd with a smile. “But I’m happy to be playing on the hard court. I’m trying to play a bit more aggressive. I’m happy to be in the fourth round one more time.”

Kyrgios gets his wish to ‘go home’

Kyrgios, 24, led 4-0 in the second set tie-break before 43rd-ranked Rublev fought back to take a two-set lead which he never looked like relinquishing.

Rublev, 21, will meet Italian 24th seed Matteo Berrettini in the last 16 as he looks to further continue a fine North American hard-court swing in which he also beat Roger Federer in Cincinnati.

Kyrgios, who described a line judge as a “whistleblower” for reporting an obscenity the Australian made in the first set, began to lose focus and muttered he wanted “to go home”.

“I guess I’ve been on the road five and a half months now. It’s not easy,” he said afterwards in his post-match news conference.

Kyrgios may get an enforced break as a possible suspension looms following his claims the ATP was “corrupt”.

He later claimed they were not the “correct choice of words” but maintained the governing body was guilty of “double standards”.

The initial comments will be “assessed under the player major offence provision under ATP rules”, with the governing body likely to make a decision after the US Open.

Zverev clocks up the hours to advance

While Nadal is keeping time on court to a minimum, German world number sixth Zverev is racking up the hours.

The 22-year-old, who was taken to five sets in his first two matches, came from behind to beat Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 7-6 (7-3) to reach the last 16.

Zverev, who has now played more than 10 hours of tennis and 14 sets over three matches, will face Argentine 20th seed Diego Schwartzman or American Tennys Sandgren next.

“Finally I got some court time,” he laughed after reaching the fourth round at Flushing Meadows for the first time. “I didn’t play that many matches in the summer. Hopefully I can play many more matches here.”

He is joined in the next round by Croatia’s 2014 champion Cilic, who ousted American 14th seed John Isner 7-5 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 to set up a meeting with Nadal.

Meanwhile France’s 13th seed Gael Monfils is into the last 16 after he beat Canada’s Denis Shapovalov 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 and will play Spaniard Pablo Andujar next.

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US Open 2019: Johanna Konta 'grown as a player' since losing to Karolina Pliskova

  • Posted: Sep 01, 2019
US Open 2019
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 26 Aug – 8 Sep
Coverage: Live text and BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra commentary on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app. Click here for Live Guide.

British number one Johanna Konta says she has “grown as a player” since losing to Karolina Pliskova in May, as she prepares to face the Czech third seed in the US Open last 16 on Sunday.

The 27-year-old beat Konta in straight sets in the Italian Open final.

Konta, 28, has since reached the French Open semi-finals and made the last eight at Wimbledon, and has looked in good form so far at Flushing Meadows.

“I am looking forward to seeing how I can do a bit better,” Konta said.

The world number 16, who beat Chinese 33rd seed Zhang Shuai 6-2 6-3 in the last round, says she hopes to “ask some better questions this time around” against Pliskova.

They are second on Louis Armstrong Stadium with the match not expected to start before 17:30 BST.

“I like to think that I’ve grown as a player since Rome,” said Konta, who has dropped one set so far at this tournament.

“More than anything, it’s decision making and also probably in terms of when I play certain things or how I play certain things.

“I think just general awareness of being on court, just being aware of what my opponents are doing.”

She added: “I’m putting a lot of time and effort into being very open to the game when I’m out on court. I think that’s something that has been getting better for me.

“I feel like it’s enabled me to just play more relevant to the opponent that I have.”

Pliskova’s 6-3 6-4 victory in Rome was her sixth win in seven matches against Konta and earned her a 14th WTA singles title, compared with the Briton’s three.

However, the 2016 US Open champion was taken to three sets by Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in the last round before coming through 6-1 4-6 6-4.

“She [Konta] has had a great year, as she did in 2017, although she had a tough one last year,” Pliskova said in her BBC Sport column.

“She can be a little bit up and down but of course she is a dangerous player.

“Johanna has a lot of weapons – a good serve, good groundstrokes – and is playing with more variety here. So it will be very difficult.”

The winner will face Ukraine’s fifth seed Elina Svitolina or American 2017 runner-up Madison Keys in the quarter-finals.

Federer, Djokovic and Williams in action

Also on Sunday, five-time champion Roger Federer and world number one Novak Djokovic are in action in the men’s draw, while Serena Williams continues to chase a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title in the women’s singles.

Swiss third seed Federer, 38, faces Belgian David Goffin after seeing off Britain’s Dan Evans in the third round and insisting he does not “call the shots” when it comes to scheduling.

That match will take place first on Arthur Ashe and will be followed by Williams against Croatia’s Petra Martic.

American eighth seed Williams, a six-time champion in New York, said she had “a lot of intensity” in her win over Czech Karolina Muchova in the third round.

Top seed Djokovic takes on Stan Wawrinka in a repeat of the 2016 final, when the Swiss beat Djokovic to claim the most recent of his three Grand Slams.

Meanwhile, Australia’s world number two Ashleigh Barty will play first on Louis Armstrong when she takes on Chinese 18th seed Wang Qiang.

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Monfils Outlasts Shapovalov In Epic Five-Set Thriller

  • Posted: Sep 01, 2019

Monfils Outlasts Shapovalov In Epic Five-Set Thriller

Frenchman prevails under the lights on Saturday

Experience prevailed over youth in an epic third-round battle on Saturday between No. 13 seed Gael Monfils and Denis Shapovalov. The Frenchman weathered numerous inspired comebacks from the #NextGenATP Canadian to advance 6-7(5), 7-6(4), 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3, with a visibly emotional Monfils accepting the roars of the crowd after three hours and 35 minutes of play.

“I think people love me because I play with my heart. I fight. It’s always something special with me,” Monfils said. “You never know how and what I can do on the court. I think that’s why the people like that, a little bit [of] mystery part of me.

“I like the way I am now. I like the way the crowd is behind me. I love the energy here. I’m happy.”

Monfils and Shapovalov arrived in top form for their showdown in Louis Armstrong Stadium, having not dropped a set in their first two rounds. They both came out swinging and produced more winners than errors in the opening set, but it was Shapovalov who dictated most of the exchanges with aggressive all-court flair. In what would become a trend throughout the night, the 20-year-old twice fought back from down a break before storming through the first-set tie-break.

The Frenchman produced his own Houdini act in the second set, though. Shapovalov served for a two-set lead at 5-4, but Monfils crawled back by mixing up electric winners with off-pace shots. The No. 13 seed held the lead throughout the tie-break and levelled the match.

Monfils continued to ride his momentum, grabbing the third set with a single break of serve at 2-2 and sprinting out to a two-break, 4-1 advantage in the third set. But with his new coach, former Top 10 player Mikhail Youzhny, urging him on, the Canadian began to resurface. Sensing he had no choice but to gamble, Shapovalov went for broke from the baseline and continued to find the corners. When Monfils failed to serve out the match at 5-4 and sent a forehand wide, the 20-year-old threw his arms up and motioned for the crowd to get out of their seats.

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But his biggest comeback was still to come. Monfils rallied from 2/5 in the fourth-set tie-break and earned a match point at 6/5, but Shapovalov bravely erased with it a huge forehand. Two points later, the crowd gasped as Monfils double faulted to send the match to a decider.

The Frenchman showed incredible mental toughness and rebounded immediately, pushing Shapovalov around the baseline to break at 2-1 in the fifth set. Shapovalov saved another match point on his serve at 2-5 with a blistering backhand, but Monfils made good on his third chance and both men embraced at the net after their hard-fought battle.

Next up for Monfils is Spaniard Pablo Andujar, a winner earlier in the day over Kazakh Alexander Bublik. Andujar is through to the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time at age 33.

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