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Ruthless Alcaraz Soars Through In New York

  • Posted: Sep 01, 2022

Ruthless Alcaraz Soars Through In New York

Spaniard seeking maiden major title

Carlos Alcaraz demonstrated his US Open title credentials Thursday when he cruised past Argentine Federico Coria 6-2, 6-1, 7-5 to reach the third round in New York.

The Spaniard produced a dynamic and ruthless display as he entertained the crowd on Arthur Ashe Stadium. The third seed blasted 42 winners. He also moved forward effectively throughout, winning 78 per cent (36/46) of points at the net to level their ATP Head2Head series at 1-1.

“It is never easy to close [out] a match. Federico started to play very well. I had to stay calm to think [about] what I had to do at that moment. I stayed calm and focused in the tough moments,” Alcaraz said in his on-court interview.

The 19-year-old now holds an 8-1 record against Argentines, having moved past Sebastian Baez in the first round. Alcaraz enjoyed an impressive run to the quarter-finals on debut in Flushing Meadows last year and will be aiming to better that this fortnight to strengthen his chances of becoming the youngest player to rise to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in history (since 1973).

He is one of four players – Rafael Nadal, Daniil Medvedev and Casper Ruud – who have the opportunity to finish the US Open as the World No. 1. All but Nadal must reach the championship match to have a chance of leaving New York in top spot. More On Key Matches In Battle For No. 1.

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In a match full of stunning shotmaking, it was Alcaraz who produced the heavier blows. He showcased great footwork to dictate with his forehand, while he scampered around the baseline to hang in points, surviving a Coria revival in the third set to triumph after two hours and 11 minutes.

With his victory, Alcaraz has improved to 46-9 on the season, having lifted four tour-level trophies, including ATP Masters 1000 crowns in Miami and Madrid. He has moved level with Stefanos Tsitsipas (also 46) for the most tour-level wins in 2022.

“It has been a great year for me. I think I am playing very well. I am so happy to be the player who now has the most victories in the year,” Alcaraz said. “But I have to look forward and stay the same player and go for it.”

The 2021 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals champion, who is currently third in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, will next face American Jenson Brooksby.

The 21-year-old downed Cincinnati champion Borna Coric 6-4, 7-6(10), 6-1 in three hours and eight minutes to reach the third round for the second time.

The home favourite saved seven set points in the second set, before he raced through the third set in front of a lively crowd. Brooksby, who reached his third tour-level final in Atlanta in July, has never played Alcaraz.

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Medvedev Marches On At The US Open

  • Posted: Sep 01, 2022

Medvedev Marches On At The US Open

Wu makes history for China

Daniil Medvedev is the defending US Open champion and the World No. 1. Yet quietly, the 26-year-old is marching through the draw.

The top seed ousted Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech 6-2, 7-5, 6-3 to reach the third round at Flushing Meadows for the fifth consecutive year. He has now won 20 of his past 22 matches at the year’s final major.

“In general I’m happy with my level in the third set, so that’s great. At the end of the match it was getting better and better,” Medvedev said. “At the same time a win is the most important, three sets. Try to get out as early as possible even if it is pretty late. Looking forward for [the] next round.”

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Medvedev will next play China’s Wu Yibing, with the prospect of a fourth-round blockbuster against Australian Nick Kyrgios if they both win their next match.

The World No. 1 consistently threatened Rinderknech’s serve, converting five of the 17 break points he earned. Medvedev also saved all three break points he faced to advance after two hours and 11 minutes.

“The most important is to win, to stay in the tournament, to try to get as far as possible, for sure try to raise your level when the opponents go stronger and stronger,” Medvedev said. “Finally you’re going to play somebody who has a Grand Slam or something like this.”

Medvedev’s next opponent, Wu, defeated Portugal’s Nuno Borges 6-7(3), 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 after three hours and 46 minutes. The 22-year-old became the first male singles player from China to reach the third round of the US Open in tournament history (since 1881) and the first male singles player from China to advance to the third round at a major since Kho Sin-Khie at Wimbledon in 1946.

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Draper Downs Felix At Flushing Meadows

  • Posted: Sep 01, 2022

Draper Downs Felix At Flushing Meadows

#NextGenATP lefty cruises past Canadian

Fast-rising Briton Jack Draper has stunned US Open sixth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime in a result that has implications for their respective Milan and Turin qualification hopes.

Draper’s 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win over the Canadian Wednesday night further strengthens his commanding lead in fifth spot in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan as he closes in on a debut appearance at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals from 8-12 November.

The result also deals a blow to 2021 US Open semi-finalist Auger-Aliassime’s quest to make his debut at the Nitto ATP Finals. The 22-year-old is sixth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin and had the opportunity to put distance between himself and rivals, including Andrey Rublev and Hubert Hurkacz, with a deep run at Flushing Meadows. Now he is at risk of seeing last year’s Turin qualifiers pass him in the Race this fortnight.

“Obviously Felix is an incredibly tough opponent, that’s why he’s at the top of the game,” Draper said. “I played a really good match today, a special occasion out here.”

Making his US Open debut, Draper claimed his second win over a Top-10 player Wednesday, backing up his victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas in Montreal earlier this month.

Despite making less than half of his first serves, the Briton’s heavy delivery troubled Felix when put in play; the Brit won 36/43 first-serve points. The 20-year-old displayed wide variety from the baseline, including two backhand passing shots to break Felix’s serve in the second and third sets. The Canadian No. 1 only saw three break points – all while Draper was serving for the opening set – but failed to convert. Felix also struggled to find consistency during extended rallies, finishing with 41 unforced errors.

The left-handed Draper, 9-2 in his past 11 matches, rises to No. 46 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, a vast improvement from 12 months ago, when the youngster was No. 272.

“I’ve put in a lot of hard work the last few years. I’ve been unfortunate with injuries at a young age, I grew very quickly. I always had the tennis abilities, it’s been about staying fit and staying on court.”

Draper joins countrymen Cameron Norrie and Andy Murray in the third round at Flushing Meadows. Daniel Evans will attempt to become the fourth Briton in the third round when he meets Australian James Duckworth Thursday.

The #NextGenATP star Draper will face 27th seed Karen Khachanov, who defeated Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro in four sets, in the third round Friday.

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Reinventing Kyrgios: 'I Almost Don't Know Who I Am Anymore'

  • Posted: Sep 01, 2022

Reinventing Kyrgios: ‘I Almost Don’t Know Who I Am Anymore’

Aussie in a reflective mood after second-round win in New York

Nick Kyrgios battled through a tough four-setter against Benjamin Bonzi on Wednesday at the US Open to reach the third round. Kyrgios and “scratching and clawing” for a win have not always gone hand in hand, but that is exactly what he did inside Louis Armstrong Stadium.

The 27-year-old is as motivated as ever.

“I feel like in this part of my career, I just don’t want to let people down. I feel like I’m representing so many people. I know how much work goes into it with my team, there’s a lot of people supporting me,” Kyrgios said. “I just remember doing a press conference here like maybe three or four years ago, I lost in the third round, I just felt horrible because I kept not exceeding expectations, winning.”

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Kyrgios has done a lot of winning over the past two months. After advancing to his first major final at Wimbledon, he won the Citi Open for the second time and ousted World No. 1 Daniil Medvedev in Montreal.

But with that success has come a realisation — Kyrgios has proven to himself he can make deep runs at the highest levels in the sport. That has led him to put more pressure on himself.

“I feel like this is probably the most pressure I’ve had on myself. I know that I’m capable of going to a Slam final now and I really want to achieve. I want to bring my team with me. I want to do it together,” Kyrgios said. “I’m definitely a perfectionist on the court. I feel like I can play like four or five great points, then I play one point and I’m going nuts. It’s okay, I don’t know. It’s hard.”

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Kyrgios will be the first to admit he did not always do everything within his power to succeed on Tour. But that has changed this season, when Kyrgios has shown greater focus.

“This year’s been amazing in so many different ways. For my tennis, I kind of wanted to almost reinvent myself, get back to the top of the game where I know I belong,” Kyrgios said. “The Wimbledon final was a turning point I think for me mentally. If I won that match, I don’t know where my motivation would have been at. Losing it and being so close, it was really tough for me to kind of swallow that.”

Kyrgios was concerned that if he won Wimbledon, the pressure would be off. But if anything, falling short against Novak Djokovic in his first Grand Slam final has added fuel to the fire.

“I didn’t think I’d be putting this amount of pressure on myself. Every day I come in, I watch what I eat, I try and get sleep. Like every practice session I try and have good intent,” Kyrgios said. “I almost don’t know who I am anymore, to be honest, because that’s not me. Trying to balance so many different things out. It’s hard as well. The media, the fans are crazy everywhere I go. I’m trying to balance my personal life as well as my tennis. It’s just a lot.

“I feel like I’m really professional right now. I never thought that the Wimbledon final would make me that way. I thought it would be the other way, the reverse, almost a bit lax and a bit chilled with it.”

The Australian will play American J.J. Wolf on Friday for a place in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows. If Kyrgios wins, he could play Medvedev in a fourth-round blockbuster.

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