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Serving With Sizzle, Zverev Races Into US Open R3

  • Posted: Sep 02, 2021

Alexander Zverev continues to shape up as the man most likely to disrupt Novak Djokovic’s quest for the Grand Slam at the US Open after powering into the third round Thursday with a crushing 6-1, 6-0 6-3 win over Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

The World No. 4 has been dominant on serve this week, not offering a single break point opportunity to Sam Querrey in the first round nor left-handed Ramos-Vinolas in today’s rout, which lasted just 74 minutes. He has dropped just eight points on his first serve through six sets.

The Monte-Carlo resident earned his 40th match win of the season and extended his winning streak to 13 matches, a run that includes clinching gold at the Tokyo Olympics and his fifth ATP Masters 1000 title at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. The German, who came within two points of seizing his first major in last year’s US Open championship match against Dominic Thiem, will next play the winner of No. 31 seed Alexander Bublik, of Kazakhstan, or American Jack Sock.

If seedings hold, Zverev will meet Djokovic in the semi-finals, where he would look to repeat his victory over the World No. 1 at the Olympics.

He has now reached the third round at Flushing Meadows for four consecutive years. Today, Zverev won 40 of 43 first-serve points and fired 11 aces against three double faults. Against Querrey in the first round, the German won 46 of 51 first-serve points and hit 18 aces to one double fault.

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Djokovic, Zverev Lead Thursday's Action At US Open; 10 Americans Compete In 2R

  • Posted: Sep 02, 2021

After Hurricane Ida, the National Weather Service of New York issuing a flash flood emergency for the city, three inches of rain in Central Park in Manhattan, and the suspension of flights at Newark Liberty International Airport, US Open organisers will certainly hope that Thursday brings better weather conditions.

Three-time former champion Novak Djokovic, last year’s runner-up Alexander Zverev, Matteo Berrettini, Denis Shapovalov and #NextGenATP stars – including Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Musetti – all play on day four at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for a place in the third round.

World No. 1 Djokovic aims for his 40th win in 46 matches this year, as he continues his quest to complete the historic Grand Slam against Tallon Griekspoor, a player who was training in the Netherlands on clay courts last week and was uncertain that he’d secure a travel visa to make his US Open main draw debut.

With the help of the USTA, Griekspoor arrived in New York on Friday and rallied to beat Jan-Lennard Struff on Tuesday in five sets. Ahead of his first meeting with Djokovic inside Arthur Ashe Stadium at 7pm local time, the 25-year-old told, “It’s going to be really, really tough. That is probably the biggest challenge in tennis at the moment, playing Novak on a hard court… This is what you dream of. It’s going to be really tough, but I’m going to enjoy it a lot.”

Djokovic will be attempting to extend his 52-1 record at major championships (12-0 at the US Open) against players outside of the Top 100. Over the next fortnight, Djokovic is not only bidding to follow in the footsteps of Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962 and 1969) and complete the Grand Slam, but he is also hoping to win six more matches and break a tie with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer for a record-breaking 21st major singles trophies.

Fourth seed Alexander Zverev, aiming to go one better than last year’s US Open final run (l. to Thiem), also seeks his 40th match win of 2021 and comes up against Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas second on the main show court. Seven years ago Ramos-Vinolas beat Zverev 6-1, 6-0 in an ATP Challenger Tour event in Barranquilla, Colombia, but this time around Zverev is riding a 12-match tour-level winning streak.

Victory over Djokovic en route to the Tokyo Olympics gold medal and a fifth ATP Masters 1000 title two weeks ago at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, has given 24-year-old Zverev a tremendous amount of confidence for a breakthrough run at Flushing Meadows. Should Zverev overcome Ramos-Vinolas, then Kazakhstani 31st seed Alexander Bublik or home favourite Jack Sock (third on Court 5) will be next.

View Thursday’s Schedule | Singles & Doubles Draws

Last year, Denis Shapovalov became the first Canadian male to reach the US Open quarter-finals, but three weeks later the 22-year-old fell to his Thursday opponent, Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain, 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-3, 3-6, 8-6 in the Roland Garros second round. Having snapped a four-match losing streak to record his first win as a Top 10 player by beating Federico Delbonis on Tuesday, Shapovalov will now seek to avenge the Paris loss in October 2020 that lasted five hours and five minutes. The match is scheduled last on Louis Armstrong Stadium, which also plays host to French 17th seed Gael Monfils, who is looking to extend his perfect 3-0 ATP Head2Head record against American Steve Johnson.

Sixth seed Matteo Berrettini, who reached the Wimbledon final (l. to Djokovic) in July to become the first Italian man to reach a major final since Adriano Panatta at 1976 Roland Garros, hit 17 aces past Jeremy Chardy on Tuesday and the 2019 semi-finalist faces another Frenchman, Corentin Moutet, for the first time in the second match on Grandstand. Elsewhere, Polish 10th seed Hubert Hurkacz is bidding to reach the US Open third round for the first time when he plays on Court 5 against Italy’s Andreas Seppi, who dug deep to overcome Marton Fucsovics in five sets.


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Ten American men are in action at Flushing Meadows on day four, including wild card Jenson Brooksby and Taylor Fritz, who play not before 5pm on Grandstand for a chance to challenge Russian 21st seed Aslan Karatsev or Jordan Thompson of Australia. Sinner, the Italian 13th seed, continues his push for a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals in November, when he comes up against 18-year-old wild card Zachary Svajda third on Court 10, while 22nd seed Reilly Opelka, full of confidence after he reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Toronto, aims to record his second win over Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals hopeful Musetti on Court 17.

Mackenzie McDonald beat former World No. 4 and 2014 US Open finalist Kei Nishikori 7-5 in the third set in the Citi Open semi-finals and the pair face each other again today, also on Court 17. Second on Court 12, Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili takes on serve-and-volleyer Maxime Cressy, who saved four match points and rallied from two sets down to upset World No. 12 Pablo Carreno Busta on Tuesday. Not bad for a player who didn’t make UCLA’s singles line-up as a freshman in 2015-16.

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Inside Maxime Cressy's Unique Game & Relentless Determination

  • Posted: Sep 02, 2021

Maxime Cressy was playing a match at the age of 14 when his elbow began to bother him. That proved pivotal in his career.

“I chose to serve and volley rather than giving up on the match,” Cressy told “It was the first time I experienced [the feeling of] putting volleys away and I loved it, so I decided that was the game plan I wanted to use for the rest of my life.”

On Tuesday, a decade later, Cressy was down two sets in his first-round US Open match against two-time semi-finalist Pablo Carreno Busta. But instead of panicking, the American continued attacking the Spaniard with his high-flying serve-and-volley game on Court 4. After saving four match points and winning in five sets, Cressy had the crowd on its feet roaring.

The 24-year-old’s former college coach at UCLA, Billy Martin, was watching from afar with plenty of joy.

“It just showed me how much he has matured mentally since he left here at UCLA. He’s always been a very physical player, in great shape, and strong. It wasn’t surprising to see him be able to go five sets with a great player like that,” Martin told “But the mental strength and concentration and being able to do it at a venue like the US Open was very, very impressive. I’m really proud of him.”

Maxime Cressy

It was an incredible win for a player who did not crack UCLA’s singles lineup his freshman year. During the 2015-16 season, Cressy only played singles once in a dual match — a match against another school — for the Bruins.

“I know it irritated him to no end. But I thought I was being fair to the other players and unfortunately that meant Max wasn’t playing in our singles lineup,” Martin said. “That didn’t deter him from working hard and making his mind up that he was going to make our lineup the next year and eventually play No. 1 for us. He always told me that.”

If Cressy is one thing, it is determined. That has been the case from a young age. Born in Paris, he trained under the guidance of the French Tennis Federation. But he did his senior year of high school in California at the Weil Academy before enrolling in UCLA.

“He left the French Federation because of their determination to try to make him a groundstroker and not play the serve-and-volley tennis that he enjoyed playing, which he does quite well,” Martin recalled.

Cressy was going to make his style work. But he was not only focussed with his serve-and-volley game. That relentless attitude has shown itself throughout the American’s life, even in academics according to Martin.

“It wasn’t just in his tennis. Max was probably one of the top five best students I’ve ever had at UCLA. If he wasn’t training, he was studying in the library. He would be doing his schoolwork,” Martin said. “When I was recruiting him, the French have a Baccalaureat, the tests they have to take to officially graduate high school. He didn’t have to take the hardest, most difficult level to be eligible to come to UCLA. But his brother had taken it, and he was determined to pass it as his brother did and get better scores. He is that much of a competitor in anything he does.”

Cressy is fearless on and off the court. He says that stems from his childhood, when he often competed with older brothers Jonathan and Mathieu.

“It came from growing up and being the last one in the family, having two big brothers and being competitive with them,” Cressy said. “I can’t lose against my much older brothers.”

The 6’6” right-hander’s hunger made being left out of the singles lineup at UCLA his freshman year that much more painful. During practice, he would get upset and down on himself, something he “certainly was not trying to hide from us coaches or his teammates”, Martin remembered.

“I don’t think he ever totally accepted it. I think he always felt that way, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think he was just a good enough teammate and player and respected my choice enough not to make too big of a deal about it.

“But I think it fueled the fire for him and made him that much more determined to keep improving and working hard to somewhat prove me wrong, show Mackie [Mackenzie McDonald], whoever it might have been, that he was actually as good, if not a better player than them, at least potentially.”


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Cressy was roommates for a year with teammate Mackenzie McDonald, who like him remains alive in this US Open. Their volunteer assistant coach that year, Marcos Giron, also reached the second round at Flushing Meadows.

But as Martin said, Cressy had to harness his determination. Today he does that by reading notes in a journal during changeovers.

“These notes are a way for me to stay in the present moment and focus on myself,” Cressy said. “It is a way for me to calm myself down in these exciting and emotional times during the match.”

When Cressy is in full flight, his game is something the sport has not often seen since the days of Pete Sampras. Behind a booming serve and confidence at the net — even under duress — Cressy can take the racquet out of his opponent’s hands.

“I still think if Max ever decided to play doubles on the pro tour, there’s no doubt in my mind he would be Top 10 in the world in doubles,” Martin said. “In my almost 40 years here at UCLA, I have not had a better doubles player than Max. “

That is a bold statement considering Martin has been at the university when the likes of Mark Knowles and Jean-Julien Rojer have played at UCLA.

It has been a long journey with plenty of bumps along the road. But even though Cressy has not yet cracked the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings — reaching a career-high World No. 149 in July — the American has proven he can compete with the world’s best. Cressy will play Nikoloz Basilashvili on Thursday to reach the third round at a major for the first time.

Not bad for someone who once didn’t crack his college singles lineup.

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Schwartzman Survives Anderson, Ida & A Court Change

  • Posted: Sep 02, 2021

Cheered on by a small contingent of Argentinean fans at the US Open, Diego Schwartzman completed a remarkable victory over Kevin Anderson at 1:02am local time Thursday morning.

In a match that began on Louis Armstrong Stadium six hours earlier and finished on Arthur Ashe Stadium due to extreme weather conditions, 11th seed Schwartzman came through multiple delays to beat 2017 finalist Anderson 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-4 for a place in the third round.

Speaking to Brad Gilbert in a post-match interview, Schwartzman started by saying, “First of all thank you everyone for staying tonight, it’s been crazy weather. It was very difficult before the match.

“I am very happy and I was able to play my best tennis in the last two sets. He served better on Arthur Ashe [Anderson hit 24 aces in total], but I was able to take my opportunities and my second serve held up. I wanted to finish today, not tomorrow.”

Schwartzman’s reward in a third-round meeting against Alex Molcan, this year’s Belgrade Open finalist from the Slovak Republic. “I haven’t seen the draw, so I didn’t know who I would play,” Schwartzman told Gilbert. “But I know Molcan played well in Belgrade and reached the final.”

Former Hurricane Ida caused havoc at Flushing Meadows on Wednesday night, flooding the grounds, toppling furniture and forced the Schwartzman-Anderson encounter to be suspended on two occasions in the first set under a closed roof on Louis Armstrong Stadium.

The second-round clash was suspended for 30 minutes at 5-5 in the first set, then again at 4/4 in the tie-break when both players complained about the slippery surface. Outside, the storm forced New York’s subway service to be suspended, fans returned to cars wading through knee-deep water at times and past trees outside the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center that had been uprooted.

Schwartzman and Anderson returned once more to Louis Armstrong Stadium, completing the first set – extended across one hour and 48 minutes – and the first game of the second set, before play was suspended for a third time with Anderson serving at 30/15 in the second game.

But following the conclusion of third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas’ victory over Adrian Mannarino inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, Schwartzman and Anderson moved to the main show court. Cheered on by actor Ben Stiller and fans from Argentina, Schwartzman won three straight games from 3-3 in the second set and raised his level once more with a series of powerful winners to break to love at 3-3 in the third set.

Covering the court well, Schwartzman pushed his South African opponent outside of the tramlines and wrapped up his second straight win over the South African after three hours and 13 minutes of playing time to end an eventful day at the US Open. It was Schwartzman’s 25th match win of the year.

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Why Griekspoor Prepared For US Open (And Djokovic) On Clay

  • Posted: Sep 02, 2021

This time last week, Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor was resigned to missing this year’s US Open because he had been unable to secure a travel visa. On Thursday, he will play World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the second round.

“That’s really crazy. It’s going to be really, really tough. That is probably the biggest challenge in tennis at the moment, playing Novak on a hard court,” Griekspoor told “But on the other hand, it’s probably going to be on Ashe, which is the biggest tennis stadium in the world. This is why you practise as a kid. This is what you dream of. It’s going to be really tough, but I’m going to enjoy it a lot.”

The 25-year-old said he had been struggling for a visa for nine months in what he called a “terrible” dilemma. This was the first time he earned direct entry into the main draw of a major, and he was not going to be able to play.

“The answer was just, ‘No, it’s not possible.’ There were problems with the embassy in Holland [because of] Covid. There was just no time,” Griekspoor said. “Last Monday I decided, ‘Let’s go, we’re going to practise on clay.’ Tuesday and Wednesday I was practising on clay. Thursday I got an email from the USTA and they worked it out so I was good to go.”

That day, the World No. 121 rushed onto a flight and arrived in New York at 11 p.m. “It was already a win for me to be here,” he admitted. Despite the surprise trip and quick surface change, Griekspoor battled past big-hitting German Jan-Lennard Struff in five sets on Tuesday for his first main draw win at a major.

As he did this interview, the Dutchman watched his next opponent, Djokovic, play Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune on a nearby screen.

“[I respect] the way he’s been at the top for so long. Rafa and Roger were there and he just came and basically destroyed every record in the book,” Griekspoor said. “The guy has been so solid through the years, he has been so good for so long. He’s just a legend of the game. It’s going to be very tough, but very exciting as well.”

Tallon Griekspoor
Photo Credit: Andrew Ong/USTA
Griekspoor has been working for this moment since he began playing tennis at six years old. His twin brothers Scott and Kevin, who were 12 at the time, took lessons, and Tallon would go with them.

“I was just walking around, a little kid with a racquet. That’s how it started for me. From that time I don’t remember much,” Griekspoor said. “But I remember a lot when I was starting to play in the Futures after the juniors. My brothers were also playing around in the Futures, so it was really nice to travel with them and spend time with them.”

Scott climbed to a career-high FedEx ATP Ranking of No. 205 and Kevin reached World No. 655. Both are now retired.

“They sometimes come and still follow it a lot and I actually miss them on Tour, because it was pretty cool to have them around. It’s cool to have friends around, but it’s even cooler to have your family around, especially brothers who were playing,” Griekspoor said. “I always had two guys to look up to, six years older. They were much better and stronger than me at that time, so I really enjoyed that.”

Griekspoor’s family was not just into tennis, though. Although his mother Monique is a tennis instructor, his father Ron was a motocross driver.

“I didn’t do [motocross] that much myself. I did it for fun. The other side of my family, my nephews, they’re doing it professionally. In the family it’s tennis and motocross,” Griekspoor said. “Almost every weekend when it’s on, I’m watching it. It’s just part of my youth. I grew up with it and I really, really like it.”

The 25-year-old is also a big Formula One fan, and one of his heroes is Max Verstappen. Both Formula One and motocross are exhilarating, just the way Griekspoor likes it.

“I’m looking for the edge a lot. I really like those kinds of sports,” Griekspoor said. “But on the other end, I really like tennis as well.”

Griekspoor has surpassed both of his brothers’ accomplishments, and this season has been his best yet. The Dutchman is in a six-way tie for the most ATP Challenger Tour titles on the circuit with three, and he climbed to a career-high World No. 105 in July.

At Wimbledon, Griekspoor qualified for the main draw for the first time, and then played Alexander Zverev in the first round on Court 1. That was a special experience for the Dutchman, who in 2018 beat former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka in front of his home fans in Rotterdam. But he has never competed in a setting like Arthur Ashe Stadium, where he will play Djokovic on Thursday evening.

“This one is a lot bigger, so it is what it is,” Griekspoor said. “You just have to take time to get used to it and hopefully don’t be impressed too much and be ready to play my game as soon as possible.”

One week ago, Griekspoor was disappointed at home thinking he would not make the trip to Flushing Meadows. He wasn’t even practising on the same surface the season’s final major is played on. Now, he is ready for the biggest match of his life.

“I really enjoy playing the big guys on the big courts. It’s such an honour to play those guys. They’re not going to be around for so long,” Griekspoor said. “This is why you practise. This is why you play tennis. This is why I play tennis: to play on the big courts against the legends of the game. I’m really looking forward to that.”

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Tsitsipas Stays Focussed Among Weather Chaos At US Open

  • Posted: Sep 02, 2021

Stefanos Tsitsipas needed five sets to battle past former World No. 1 and 2012 champion Andy Murray on Monday at the US Open. The Greek had less difficulty on Wednesday evening, but he still had to work hard to beat Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-0 to reach the third round at Flushing Meadows.

The third seed’s victory took him two hours and 41 minutes, just more than half of the four hours and 49 minutes he needed against Murray.

Outside Arthur Ashe Stadium, a severe storm flooded the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The wind and rain were so significant that it penetrated Louis Armstrong Stadium, where Diego Schwartzman and Kevin Anderson were playing.

Tsitsipas did not have to deal with such issues, but he did have to overcome hurdles on court. The Greek pulled through, however, hitting 53 winners (double Mannarino’s 26) to claim his tour-leading 50th win of the season. He will next play #NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who defeated Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech in four sets earlier in the day.

World No. 3 Tsitsipas is into the third round at the US Open for the second consecutive year, but he has never advanced farther in New York. The Greek enjoyed the best major run of his career this year at Roland Garros, where he made the final and lost in five sets against Novak Djokovic.

Tsitsipas broke in his first return game against Mannarino, and seized control from there. The Greek struck a forehand return winner on the full stretch to go up 2-0 in the opener, and that set the tone.

Although Mannarino’s flat groundstrokes and ability to take the ball early trouble many players, Tsitsipas never gave him a chance to control the action. The Greek used his booming serve to stay on top of points during his service games, hitting a career-best 27 aces and winning 85 per cent of his first-serve points and keeping Mannarino from finding a rhythm.

The Frenchman’s level improved as the match wore on, though. Mannarino cut down his unforced errors and took the third-set tie-break when Tsitsipas missed a wide forehand into the net. But Tsitsipas returned resurgent after a change of clothes to take the fourth set without conceding a game.

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