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Alcaraz Sets Potential Tsitsipas Showdown

  • Posted: Sep 01, 2021

#NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz battled into the third round on his US Open debut as he backed up his impressive opening-round victory against 26th seed Cameron Norrie by downing Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech 7-6(6), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 on Wednesday.

The 18-year-old hit 40 winners and secured his victory in two hours and 57 minutes in a rain-disrupted match. He saved three set points from 3/6 in the first-set tie-break. Alcaraz, who was facing Rinderknech for the first time, will next play third-seeded Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas or Adrian Mannarino.

The Spaniard, currently No. 55 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, was ranked outside the Top 200 this time last year. However, Alcaraz has risen quickly, in June becoming the youngest man to reach the third round at Roland Garros since 17-year-old Andrei Medvedev in 1992, before capturing his maiden ATP Tour title in Umag in July.

It is the third tournament Alcaraz has competed in during the North American hard-court swing, having come through qualifying in Cincinnati reached the semi-finals in Winston-Salem.

Alcaraz began the US Open in fourth in the ATP Race To Milan and will be targeting a strong end to the season as he tries to qualify for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals, which will be held in Milan from 9-13 November.

Fellow #NextGenATP star Brandon Nakashima was unable to follow in Alcaraz’s footsteps on Wednesday, with Slovakian qualifier Alex Molcan battling past the 20-year-old 6-3, 3-6, 1-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Molcan is making his debut at Flushing Meadows this year, having edged through qualifying. The 23-year-old, who enjoyed a breakthrough run to his first ATP Tour final in Belgrade (l. to Djokovic) in May, broke Nakashima five times and struck 53 winners to secure his victory after three hours and 19 minutes.

The World No. 138 will next face 11th seed Diego Schwartzman or former World No. 5 Kevin Anderson.

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Tennis United: Felix, Brady Put Faith In Coaches

  • Posted: Sep 01, 2021

Fundamental to a player’s success is choosing the right coach. And as Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jen Brady discovered, the dynamic of a winning partnership is remarkably similar between the ATP and WTA Tours.

“It’s an investment in yourself, to go out and pay for somebody to tell you what to do,” Brady tells Felix as they sit down for episode two of the new season of Tennis United: CrossCourt. “You have to have that trust in them that they will give you the best advice to better yourself.”

“What’s interesting in tennis is that you’re your own boss,” Felix says. “You hire a coach to then tell you what to do, which is the opposite in other jobs. I always thought it was an interesting dynamic. Even though you pay a coach you want honesty and transparency.”

Brady, who told Felix that she’d like to see him come to net more, helped the Canadian open up about his decision to add Toni Nadal to his team this season.

“It’s never easy to separate from a coach you really like, but I felt it was time for me to move on to something new and add someone who had a lot of experience from a high level, who has won the biggest events in the sport before. So that’s why we decided to add Toni Nadal to the team. It’s been going really well and I’ve been learning a lot from him.”

The ATP and WTA are teaming again in 2021 for Tennis United: CrossCourt, a continuation of the award-winning digital content series originally released during the 2020 suspended season. The reimagined project marks the first major co-branded initiative to debut since the two Tours integrated marketing operations earlier this year.

Tennis United: CrossCourt goes behind the scenes of life on Tour through a series of intimate one-on-one conversations between ATP and WTA stars. Spanning eight short-format episodes, players explore a range of largely untouched subjects from within and beyond sport, offering fans a raw perspective on the experiences, pressures and privileges that make up life in professional tennis.

The complete episode list:
Episode 1: Relationships (Gael Monfils & Elina Svitolina)
• Episode 2: Coaching (Felix Auger-Aliassime & Jennifer Brady)
• Episode 3: Mental Health (Madison Keys & Dominic Thiem)
• Episode 4: Doubles (Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Jamie Murray)
• Episode 5: Parenthood (Fabio Fognini & Elena Vesnina)
• Episode 6: Travel (Belinda Bencic & Grigor Dimitrov)
• Episode 7: Discipline (Hubert Hurkacz & Iga Swiatek)
• Episode 8: Locker Room (Andrey Rublev & Aryna Sabalenka)

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Medvedev, Tsitsipas Headline US Open Play Wednesday

  • Posted: Sep 01, 2021

Former finalist Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas headline US Open action on Wednesday, which also features fellow Nitto ATP Finals hopefuls Andrey Rublev and Casper Ruud. #NextGenATP stars Felix Auger-Aliassime and Carlos Alcaraz bid to reach the third round, while 2017 finalist Kevin Anderson challenges Diego Schwartzman.

Second seed Medvedev may once again need to draw upon the energy of the New York crowd, who he credited for his run to the 2019 final, in the second match within Arthur Ashe stadium. Two years ago, Medvedev fought back after an excellent start from Dominik Koepfer to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(2) in the US Open fourth round. Afterwards, at the net, Medvedev praised the German, saying: “If you continue like this, you’re going to be a very good player.”

Koepfer was then No. 118 in the FedEx ATP Rankings and four months ago cracked the Top 50 for the first time, but even with one Top 10 win coming against then World No. 9 Gael Monfils in Rome last year, he will play with a great deal of confidence. This is the fourth straight major championship that the 27-year-old, a two-time All-American at Tulane University, has faced a Top 10 opponent.

Medvedev has won 12 of his past 14 matches during the US summer swing, including a fourth ATP Masters 1000 trophy at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers (d. Opelka) and the 200th match win of his career over Richard Gasquet in the US Open first round. Koepfer fought to improve to 2-0 in fifth sets with a gutsy victory over another Frenchman, qualifier Quentin Halys.

Read Koepfer Feature: The Nomadic Life…



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The last match inside Arthur Ashe stadium on Wednesday pits two players who both came through in five sets on Monday. Tsitsipas, the third-seeded Greek, needed four hours and 49 minutes to overcome 2012 champion Andy Murray, while Adrian Mannarino — in his first match since suffering a knee injury on Centre Court at Wimbledon — edged past fellow Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert. The pair is tied at 1-1 in their ATP Head2Head series.

Tsitsipas, who came into the US Open on the back of semi-finals appearances in Toronto (l. to Opelka) and at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati (l. to Zverev), is bidding to record his 50th match win of the season (50-14) and advance to the third round for the second year in a row. Mannarino has won six of his 10 tour-level matches on hard courts this year and will be attempting to record his first Top 10 win at a major (0-17).

View Wednesday’s Schedule

Fifth seed Rublev mastered big-serving ATP Tour veteran Ivo Karlovic in the first round on Monday, following on from his recent run to the Cincinnati final (l. to Zverev). If the Russian is to advance to the third round for the fourth time in five years he’ll need to beat Spain’s Pedro Martinez, who will be attempting to record his first Top 10 win in the first match on Grandstand Wednesday. Two-time US Open quarter-finalist Rublev has recorded 26 of his 42 match wins on hard courts this year.

Just like Medvedev, Tsitsipas and Rublev, eighth-seeded Norwegian Ruud, currently in eighth position in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin, is hoping to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held for the first time in Turin from 14-21 November.

Ruud squares off against Dutch qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp for the first time on Court 13. Ruud has clinched 28 of his 40 wins on clay in 2021, including three consecutive ATP Tour titles in as many weeks at the Nordea Open in Bastad (d. Coria), the Swiss Open Gstaad (d. Gaston) and at the Generali Open in Kitzbühel (d. Martinez). His confidence continues to grow too on hard courts with back-to-back ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final runs in Toronto (l. to Tsitsipas) and Cincinnati (l. to Zverev).



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Expect a tough battle when 2017 US Open finalist Anderson and Schwartzman, the 11th seed from Argentina, meet during the night session on Louis Armstrong stadium at 7pm. Former World No. 5 Anderson has a 2-1 ATP Head2Head lead over Schwartzman, with their two previous Grand Slam clashes resulting in lengthy exchanges. Anderson won in four sets at the 2015 Australian Open and Schwartzman recovered from two-sets-to-love down to win in five at 2020 Roland Garros.

Two #NextGenATP stars, who are in contention for a spot at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, Canadian Auger-Aliassime, the 12th seed, and 19-year-old Alcaraz, also feature on day three. Auger-Aliassime, who lost to eventual champion Dominic Thiem in the US Open fourth round last year, plays Spanish lucky loser Bernabe Zapata Miralles second on Court 5, Alcaraz, who picked up his first ATP Tour title in July at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open in Umag (d. Gasquet), will be attempting to reach the third round of a major championship for the second time (2021 Roland Garros) when he faces Arthur Rinderknech of France in the first match on Court 6.

Photo: Manuela Davies/USTA

Frances Tiafoe, Marcos Giron and Brandon Nakashima, three of 13 Americans to advance to the US Open second round — the most since 15 in 1994 — are also in action.

The 23-year-old Tiafoe, who reached the 2020 fourth round (l. to Medvedev), meets Argentina’s Guido Pella for the first time third match on Louis Armstrong Stadium, while John Isner’s conqueror, 20-year-old Nakashima, plays Belgrade Open runner-up Alex Molcan of the Slovak Republic on Court 12. Daniel Evans, the 22nd seed from Great Britain, will hope to replicate the kind of form that helped him beat 28-year-old Giron 6-4, 7-6(4) en route to his first ATP Tour title at the Murray River Open in February.

Doubles action also gets underway on Wednesday with top-seeded Croatians Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, winners of nine tour-level titles this season, facing Americans Nathanial Lammons and Jackson Withrow. Fourth seeds Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram, and fifth-seeded Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah also compete.

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Brooksby Wins Marathon Over Ymer To Reach Round 2

  • Posted: Sep 01, 2021

Fast-rising American Jenson Brooksby is set to move to a new career-high FedEx ATP Ranking after surviving a draining four-set battle with Swede Mikael Ymer Tuesday night to reach the second round of the US Open. The 20-year-old fought off bouts of cramps before channelling the energy of American fans to tough out a 7-5, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 win in a match featuring 19 breaks of serve and lasting three hours and 59 minutes.

Both players littered the stats sheet, with Brooksby hitting 37 winners to 59 unforced errors and Ymer, last week’s Winston-Salem finalist, hitting 33 winners to 63 unforced errors. Brooksby will next play the winner of Taylor Fritz and 14th seed Alex de Minaur.

Brooksby made a fast start to the US Open Series, reaching the Newport final on grass and the Washington D.C. semi-finals on hard court. But he had not won a match since, falling in the first round in Toronto and not playing in Cincinnati.

Fellow American Zachary Svajda, 18, claimed his first tour-level win when he upset Italy’s former Roland Garros semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato 7-6(6), 5-7, 6-4, 6-4. The World No. 716 and 2019 USTA boys’ national champion had played just two ATP Challengers and two ITF Men’s World Tour events this year before arriving at Flushing Meadows.

Countryman Ernesto Escobedo advanced to the second round for the third time in his career with a 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 win over Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas. It was just the fourth win of the year for the 25-year-old Californian.

Steve Johnson clawed past German qualifier Maximilian Marterer 5-7, 7-6(8), 7-6(8), 6-3 after three hours and five minutes. The American saved two set points in the second-set tie-break and four set points in the third-set tie-break to seize control and earn a second-round clash against 17th seed Gael Monfils, who eliminated Federico Coria 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

“I felt good today. I felt great,” Monfils said. “I had a good match, good performance. Quick. 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. Good start, so I feel good.”

Like Johnson, countryman Jack Sock also advanced in four sets. The wild card claimed his third win of the year against Japanese lefty Yoshihito Nishioka 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.

Next up for the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals singles qualifier will be shotmaking Kazakhstani Alexander Bublik, the 31st seed, who eliminated German Yannick Hanfmann 6-0, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2. Other Americans who advanced were Mackenzie McDonald, who upset 27th seed David Goffin 6-2, 7-5, 6-3, and Denis Kudla, who rallied past Laslo Djere 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, 7-6(4).

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Djokovic Overcomes Hiccup To Beat Rune At US Open

  • Posted: Sep 01, 2021

It was not a perfect start to his chase for the Grand Slam, but Novak Djokovic escaped unscathed on Tuesday evening and reached the second round of the US Open.

After a second-set hiccup, the World No. 1 beat #NextGenATP star Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-1 in two hours and 15 minutes in front of a raucous Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd. The Danish teen suffered from cramps in the final two sets.

“It’s tough to talk about [the] third and fourth sets because he barely moved. [From] my side, I started great. Played a really, really good first set. After that, I don’t know, I was 4-3 serving in the second set. Everything was working well, but then I just lost the first serve,” Djokovic said. “Credit to him for fighting. He had the crowd behind him. It was tough to play in my first match, even though I had tonnes of experience playing on this court, for him it was the first one.

“Still, you get nerves. You still are feeling a little bit rusty at the beginning. Obviously I’m pleased with the way I finished the match. Again, it was not a fair battle on the court with his unfortunate injury and cramping.”

Djokovic is now six match wins from becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to claim all four major titles in one season. The three-time US Open champion will next face Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor.

Entering the match, 18-year-old Rune told that, “I have a lot of belief in myself even though I’m up against the World No. 1.” The Danish teen showed it by playing courageously in the second set and taking a tense tie-break, during which he rallied the New York fans on his side.

But ultimately, he was unable to sustain his aggressive play long enough to trouble the top seed further. Rune was visited by the trainer on multiple occasions in the final two sets to receive treatment on his upper legs for apparent cramping. Djokovic took advantage by hitting 55 winners to just 30 unforced errors.

“Unfortunately, my fitness let me down. I started cramping already in the beginning of the third set. From there on, it was tough,” Rune said. “I knew if I [wanted] to win, I really had to fight for every point. With my body at this point, it was impossible.”

After match point the 20-time major winner, who can pass Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for most Slam titles with a trophy at the end of this fortnight, had a lengthy exchange with Rune at the net to give him encouragement.

“I just told him that he handled himself extremely well. He didn’t want to stop,” Djokovic said. “I thought he was going to stop [at] the end of the third. He just kept going with dignity, finished off the match. He deserved definitely my respect, the respect of a lot of people. He’s still very, very young, 18 years old. He’s got plenty of time ahead of him. I’m sure we’re going to see a lot of him in the future.”

Despite the defeat, Rune will never forget the match. The crowd even chanted “Rune!” in support of the teen.

“I never felt anything like this. It was [an] unbelievable feeling staying there. I tried to give the crowd something, fight for every point, be pumped and everything,” Rune said. “The crowd was unbelievable. I couldn’t have asked for more. I never tried anything like this. It was a pretty sick feeling.”

Djokovic’s next opponent, Griekspoor, battled past big-hitting German Jan-Lennard Struff 2-6, 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 after three hours and 38 minutes.

Did You Know?
Djokovic is now 16-0 in first-round matches at the US Open. The Serbian has not lost in the opening round at a major since the 2006 Australian Open, when he was No. 76 in the FedEx ATP Rankings.

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