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19-Year-Old Nakashima: 'I Always Wanted To Be No. 1'

  • Posted: Sep 02, 2020

19-Year-Old Nakashima: ‘I Always Wanted To Be No. 1’

#NextGenATP star will play Zverev in the second round of the US Open

Brandon Nakashima won his first Grand Slam match on Monday at the US Open, defeating 38-year-old Paolo Lorenzi. The #NextGenATP American is only 19, but he is certainly dreaming big.

“I’ve always wanted to be No. 1 in the world and win a Grand Slam,” Nakashima said. “It’s just a matter of developing my game during this time and just trying to get more experiences like this under my belt and we’ll see how it goes from here.”

The No. 223 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings has been up close and personal with greatness. One of Nakashima’s coaches is 1987 Wimbledon champion Pat Cash. His other coach is Serbian Dusan Vemic, a longtime friend of World No. 1 Novak Djokovic. Nakashima warmed up Djokovic last week throughout his run to the Western & Southern Open title.

“He’s a good guy. He’s definitely funny at times, especially on the court when he’s not hitting. He’s always laughing, having a good time,” Nakashima said. “But when it comes to practising and hitting on the court, he’s definitely locked in, all down to business, so it’s great to see that.”

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The teen says that after hitting with Djokovic for a couple of days he got comfortable enough to start asking questions. But his biggest takeaway from the sessions was simply rallying with the Serbian.

“I think it was just a matter of seeing how he hits the ball so effortlessly, how he gets such easy power,” Nakashima said. “[He’s] really smooth with all his strokes.”

The American’s Grand Slam debut came just one year after he competed in the boys’ singles event at Flushing Meadows, making the semi-finals.

“It definitely was a great feeling to get that win out there, even though it was on one of the outside courts with no fans there watching,” Nakashima said. “Nevertheless, it definitely was special. Getting that first win here was just great for my game.”

Cash On Nakashima: ‘I’m Very Impressed’

The straight-sets victory came against an opponent who entered the FedEx ATP Rankings more than two years before Nakashima was born. The Italian reached the fourth round of the 2017 US Open.

“I think he was serving really good. The return is pretty impressive. The backhand, too,” Lorenzi said. “I think he has a strong game and I think he can play really good in the future.”

Just more than six months ago, Nakashima made his ATP Tour debut at the Delray Beach Open by He wasted no time acclimating to the level, advancing to the quarter-finals with two Top 100 wins. Now he’ll face an even bigger test in the second round of the US Open, as the #NextGenATP star will play 2018 Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev.

“I always thought that I had the right game to compete with all these top guys. It was just a matter of having the opportunities like in Delray Beach at the beginning of this year and eventually getting the wild card here,” Nakashima said. “I knew it was going to be tough no matter who I played here, but I always knew I had a good game to compete with these guys.”

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Medvedev Quietly Marches On At US Open

  • Posted: Sep 02, 2020

Medvedev Quietly Marches On At US Open

Dimitrov advances on Tuesday

Playing the villain at last year’s US Open, Daniil Medvedev channeled the ire of New York fans to fuel his remarkable run to within one set of the title. This year, he’ll have to do it all by himself.

Early indications are that the Russian is adapting well to the closed door US Open. On Tuesday night, he required just one hour and 46 minutes to dismiss Federico Delbonis 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.

“I’m most pleased today with the score, three sets. I’m happy that I finished before midnight,” Medvedev said on court to ESPN’s Brad Gilbert after the match. “I was playing consistent and wasn’t going for crazy shots… I managed to keep my distance and always kept pressure on his serve. That was the key.”

Medvedev was hardly a crowd favourite midway through last year’s event. But by the end of his run and heroic comeback against Rafael Nadal to force a fifth set in their championship match, the Russian had come full circle and had fans cheering for him. The packed stadium gave him a long standing ovation as he accepted his runner-up trophy.

But if there were a crowd for Medvedev’s match against Delbonis, they wouldn’t have had a chance to get involved. The third seed quickly grabbed the first five games against Delbonis, pushing him around the baseline and frequently making timely trips to the net for winning volleys. Although the Argentine got more involved as the match wore on, Medvedev never relinquished control.

The Russian didn’t drop serve and converted five of nine break point chances, comfortably closing out proceedings on his first try and improving his record at this event to 9-3. Medvedev will next face Christopher O’Connell, who recorded his first Grand Slam match win with a 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(2), 6-4 victory against Laslo Djere.

“I know that he can play really good tennis. When Andrey Rublev was at the top of his [game] in Australia, he took a set off him,” Medvedev said, referring to O’Connell’s four-set defeat to Rublev at this year’s Australian Open. “I’m going to see some matches of his and prepare.”

Dimitrov <a href=US Open 2020 Day 2″ />

Grigor Dimitrov avenged his five-set defeat to Tommy Paul at this year’s Australian Open by scoring a convincing 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 win over the American inside Louis Armstrong Stadium. The No. 14 seed saved all seven break points and broke Paul five times. 

Dimitrov, a semi-finalist at last year’s US Open, remains on track for a fourth-round clash against Medvedev. He’ll first need to get through Marton Fucsovics, who cruised past Hugo Dellien 6-3, 6-3, 6-1. The Hungarian beat Dimitrov in three sets last week at the Western & Southern Open.

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American J.J. Wolf scored one of the biggest upsets on Day 2 by ousting No. 29 seed Guido Pella 6-2, 0-6, 6-3, 6-3 for his first tour-level win. The 21-year-old, No. 138 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, opened this year with a pair of ATP Challenger Tour titles and qualified for his first ATP Masters 1000 event last week in New York. Awaiting him in the next round is Roberto Carballes Baena, who prevailed in an all-Spanish battle with Feliciano Lopez 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-3.

John Millman continued his success in New York with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 win against No. 22 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili. The 31-year-old Aussie stunned Roger Federer in 2018 to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final. He’ll face Frances Tiafoe in the next round after the American defeated Andreas Seppi 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5. Millman leads their ATP Head2Head series 2-0, with both wins coming on hard courts.

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Berrettini Brings The Heat In First-Round US Open Win

  • Posted: Sep 02, 2020

Berrettini Brings The Heat In First-Round US Open Win

Raonic defeats Mayer on Tuesday

Is Matteo Berrettini ready to capture his first major championship at this year’s US Open? The sixth seed returned to the scene of his maiden Grand Slam semi-final at last year’s event and powered past Go Soeda 7-6(5), 6-1, 6-4.

”I was able to win the most important points in the tie-break. I got a lot of confidence after winning the first set and felt I could change gears,” Berrettini said on court after the match. “I got a little bit tight in the third set. I haven’t played a lot of matches this year. It wasn’t easy at the end, but mentally I was there and I’m happy with my performance.”

Soeda held a 5/3 lead in the first-set tie-break, but gifted the first set to Berrettini after nerves sparked a double fault and pair of routine baseline errors. The Italian capitalised on the opportunity and raised his level significantly.

Berrettini hit 18 unforced errors in the opening set, but cut down to 12 unforced errors across the next two sets while hitting a staggering 48 winners on the night. He was particularly potent on serve, firing 18 aces and dropping only three first-serve points (47/50) en route to prevailing just one minute over the two-hour mark.

Awaiting Berrettini in the second round is Ugo Humbert, who quickly moved past Yuichi Sugita 6-3, 6-4, 6-3. The 22-year-old Frenchman captured his first ATP Tour title this January in Auckland (d. Paire) and seeks his first win against a player inside the Top 10 of the FedEx ATP Rankings.

Raonic 2020 <a href=US Open Day 2″ />

Milos Raonic carried over the impressive form from his runner-up finish last week at the Western & Southern Open. The No. 25 seed remained in firm control throughout a dominant 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 win against Leonardo Mayer.

”I had a great week last week. A lot of good things, especially after such a long layoff, but I knew it was going to be very important for me to separate the two,” Raonic said on court after his win. ”I’m happy with how quickly everything has come along. I know that I can play well, especially having the ability to train [while] healthy and prepare the right way. I’m glad the pieces are coming together.”

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Raonic didn’t face a break point and only lost four first-serve points (34/38) against Mayer, firing 42 winners to advance in one hour and 48 minutes. He improved to 13-5 this season and will now have an all-Canadian second-round clash with Vasek Pospisil, who defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6(4), 7-5, 7-6(3). Raonic leads their ATP HeadHead series 2-1, but Pospisil won their most recent clash at 2018 Antwerp.

Casper Ruud scored the first victory from two sets down of his career, battling back to defeat Mackenzie McDonald 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-2. Next up for the Norwegian, seeded No. 30, is an all-Scandinavian battle with #NextGenATP Finn Emil Ruusuvuori. The 19-year-old clinched his maiden Grand Slam match win by outlasting Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 4-6, 6-1.

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A Front-Row Seat For Players: Watching Murray's Epic US Open Comeback

  • Posted: Sep 02, 2020

A Front-Row Seat For Players: Watching Murray’s Epic US Open Comeback

Players have enjoyed watching live tennis in the bubble

There are no fans at this year’s US Open. But the players have friends, and that could make all the difference.

Former World No. 1 Andy Murray battled from two sets down on Tuesday to beat Yoshihito Nishioka in four hours and 39 minutes inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. Although there weren’t 23,000 screaming fans, several ATP Tour stars were spread throughout the stadium watching the Brit’s epic comeback.

“That for me was one of the things that helped. It’s rare that you have lots of players watching your match. In some ways that can be a little bit distracting if you look up and you’ve got guys that are in the Top 5, Top 10 in the world watching you,” Murray said. “But for me, I had my father-in-law there. He was up in the suite watching me. I had my brother there with his coach watching. There were a few of the British players that came out to watch and support, as well.

“Although the atmosphere was very flat overall, at the end of the match and as I was starting to turn it around, I could at least look up and see some faces in different points of the court to give me a little bit of encouragement, which definitely, definitely helped.”


Two players who were in the front row were Brits Neal Skupski and Ken Skupski. Neal was there for the first set, went to practise, then returned at the end of the first set, staying through the end of the match.

“It was a very cool experience to be on Ashe. A little strange that there were no fans, but nice to be front row to watch Andy,” Neal Skupski said. “Really cool that I was able to do that. It was good to see Andy pull through. He’s done that many times in the past but the first time I think he’s played a five-setter since doing it against Roberto Bautista Agut in Australia last year. It was his first five-setter since hip surgery, so that was also nice for him to get through and probably give him a lot more confidence.”

At the beginning of the match, Murray’s next opponent, Felix Auger-Aliassime, was watching from his private suite. The Canadian left to earn his first-round win against Thiago Monteiro, but he enjoyed being able to watch at least a portion of the match.

“I was in my suite waiting for my match. I just ate a little bit. It was pretty natural to watch the match. It happened that it was my next opponent,” Auger-Aliassime said. “I wasn’t really thinking about looking at anything that potentially I could use for my next match. I was just really focussed on my match today. But it’s good, the setup that they have. It gives us a chance for players to watch whoever’s playing on centre court.”

Other players who spent some time watching the match live included Andy’s brother Jamie Murray, Daniel Evans, Kyle Edmund and Bruno Soares, who used to play doubles with Jamie. Like the Skupski brothers, Soares spent some time in the first row.

“Having the bubble here, of course we don’t have much entertainment time. There’s not much to do on our day off or afternoon off. We can’t go to the city and enjoy coffee or a good restaurant there. We have to stay inside the bubble, so it’s a good way to kill some time and watch some tennis,” Soares said. “Of course it’s an amazing experience. How many times do we get to sit front row on Ashe and watch some good tennis?”

<a href=Lloyd Harris” />
South African Lloyd Harris watched Roberto Bautista Agut play Karen Khachanov during last week’s Western & Southern Open.
In some cases, it almost creates a team atmosphere at the US Open. Brits Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot watched countryman Cameron Norrie rally from two sets down to beat Diego Schwarzman on Monday.

“I think Jamie was there from the second set, he watched the rest of the match. It was good to have a couple guys there and feed off a little bit of energy. It was great for me,” Norrie said. “It’s just nice to have that dynamic having the Brits supporting me.”

Neal Skupski added that being there for each other might seem like a small thing, but it could actually pay dividends for the player competing.

“It’s quite nice that a lot of the Brits have been going to each other’s matches to give everyone a bit of support because obviously there’s no fans in the crowd and it’s tough to get pumped,” Skupski said. “To see a friendly face in the crowd to give you a bit of inspiration to pull you through the matches, it’s a real help. That’s what all the British guys have been doing.”

For other players, it’s simply been nice to have an opportunity to enjoy live tennis. Normally, crowds make it tough to do so.

“During a normal US Open there would be 20 to 30 thousand people walking around and the stands are full. You can’t get a seat,” Soares said. “We didn’t normally have a chance to watch a bunch of the guys, watch my fellow Brazilians… I did that a lot last week. I watched a lot of doubles, entertained myself. It’s something positive about the bubble, that we can watch a bit more tennis.”

Kim Clijsters

Belgian David Goffin noted that last week, Kim Clijsters came out to watch him compete during the Western & Southern Open. He has enjoyed walking the grounds himself when he has free time to watch the tennis.

“It’s so nice to have the opportunity to see all the matches, to walk between the courts and watch when it’s an important moment in a match or when it’s an opponent that you want to see live,” Goffin said. “It’s very good. Most of the time you cannot go out, otherwise you are [among] the fans and you cannot walk between the matches. It’s tough.”

Murray was certainly happy that the largest tennis-only stadium in the world wasn’t literally empty.

“It’s better than no one, that’s for sure,” Murray said. “[It] helped me a little bit today.”

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