US Open Champ Raducanu Defeated In Opening Match At Indian Wells

Emma Raducanu of Great Britain grabs her racket bag ready to walk off the court after her straight-sets defeat against Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus in their second-round match on Day 5 of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 08, 2021, in Indian Wells, California. Clive Brunskill/Getty Images/AFP

 

Emma Raducanu crashed out of the WTA Indian Wells tournament in the second round on Friday, losing 6-2, 6-4 to Aliaksandra Sasnovich in her first match since her stunning US Open triumph in September.

On September 11, the British 18-year-old shocked the tennis world at Flushing Meadows by becoming the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title.

But on Friday, she looked rusty in her first match since that win.

Raducanu won the first game of the opening set, but it was all Sasnovich after that in the first career meeting between the two.

“There is going to be disappointment after any loss,” Raducanu said.

“Going into the match I didn’t put any pressure on myself because in my mind I am so inexperienced. I am 18 years old. I need to cut myself some slack.

READ ALSO: 51 Dead, Scores Missing As Makeshift Vessel Sinks In DR Congo

“You could tell she was more experienced than me and she went out there and executed her game plan better than I did.”

The unseeded Sasnovich won three straight points to reach 40-0 in the final game, then clinched the match when Raducanu hit a backhand long.

The Belarusian blasted one ace and won 67 percent of her first-serve points, taking advantage of Raducanu’s soft second serve and inability to hit winners on easy shots.

“I really enjoy playing here,” said Sasnovich. “Emma just won the US Open and I lost there in the first round. So it was a little bit different.”

Sasnovich moves on to the third round where she will face 11th seeded Simona Halep.

‘Take It As A Lesson’

Sasnovich won the first set easily, accomplishing something that no one at the US Open had been able to do — Raducanu claimed the title without dropping a set, having won 10 straight matches in Queens.

Sasnovich clinched the first set with a high lob from the baseline after Raducanu botched on an easy volley at the net that she hit directly back to her opponent.

Serving in the set’s final game, Sasnovich took a 40-30 lead with an ace down the middle.

Raducanu hit a backhand winner to level it 40-40 but another unforced forehand error by Raducanu made it advantage Sasnovich.

“I am glad what happened today happened so I can learn and take it as a lesson,” Raducanu said. “She’s got more experience than me. She has been 4-2 down hundreds of times.

“It is my third WTA tournament this year. Just got to not rush it and get my head back to the drawing board.”

The Brit had four double faults and won just five points on her second serve.

Before Raducanu’s unexpected elimination, the rest of the title contenders in the deserted Indian Wells gained wins without much trouble.

Young Canadian Leylah Fernandez, a surprise runner-up at the last US Open, beat France’s Alize Cornet 6-2, 6-3.

Fernandez, who has an Ecuadorian father and is ranked 28th in the WTA, will play the next round against Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, ranked 13th.

In other women’s matches, Halep routed Marta Kostyuk 7-6 (7/2), 6-1 and second-seeded Iga Swiatek, of Poland, crushed Petra Martic 6-1, 6-3.

In the men’s draw, Andy Murray breezed past France’s Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-2.

The 34-year-old Scot will now meet 18-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who also shone at the last US Open.

UPDATED: Medvedev Defeats Djokovic To Win US Open Men’s Final

Medvedev Defeats Djokovic To Win US Open Men’s Final
Daniil Medvedev celebrates with the championship trophy after defeating Novak Djokovic to win the US Open Men’s Singles final match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center In New York on September 12, 2021.  Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

 


Daniil Medvedev shattered Novak Djokovic’s Grand Slam dream with a straight-sets victory in the US Open final on Sunday, denying the world number one a record-breaking 21st major men’s singles title.

Russia’s second-ranked Medvedev dominated Djokovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to prevent the first calendar-year Grand Slam since 1969 and keep Djokovic level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal atop the career Slam title list.

“Sorry for you fans and Novak because we all know what he was going for,” Medvedev said.

“What you have accomplished in your career… for me, you are the greatest tennis player in history.”

Medvedev, the 2019 US Open runner-up, captured his first Grand Slam title in his third Slam final, a rematch of February’s Australian Open final, won in straight sets by the 34-year-old Serbian to launch his Slam quest.

“Congratulations to Daniil. Amazing match,” Djokovic said. “If there’s anyone that deserves a Grand Slam title right now, it’s you.”

Djokovic’s bid to sweep the US, French and Australian Opens, and Wimbledon in the same year for the first time since Rod Laver did it 52 years ago collapsed at the last hurdle, with 83-year-old Aussie legend Laver among 23,700 watching at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

READ ALSO: 18-Year-Old Raducanu Wins Women’s US Open Final

Medvedev Defeats Djokovic To Win US Open Men’s Final
Novak Djokovic (L) holds the runner-up trophy alongside Daniil Medvedev who celebrates with the championship trophy after winning the match. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

 

 

Djokovic missed out on his fourth US Open title and will enter 2022 tied with “Big Three” rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, both absent with injuries, on an all-time record 20 men’s Slam titles.

A tearful Djokovic paid tribute to the crowd that roared support for him even when all seemed lost down two sets and two breaks.

“Even though I have not won the match, my heart is filled with joy and I’m the happiest man alive because you guys have made me feel special on the court,” Djokovic said.

“You guys touch my soul. I’ve never felt like this in New York.”

Instead of joining immortals Laver and Don Budge, who completed the first men’s Slam in 1938, Djokovic became the third man to fall at the final match attempting to complete the Slam after Australians Jack Crawford in 1933 and Lew Hoad in 1956.

Djokovic saw his 27-match Slam win streak halted three victories shy of the record he set in 2015 and 2016 when he won four consecutive Slams, ending with the 2016 French Open.

Medvedev, 25, became the third Russian man to win a Grand Slam title after Yevgeny Kafelnikov at the 1996 French Open and 1999 Australian Open and Marat Safin at the 2000 US Open and 2005 Australian Open.

Struggle from the start

In the biggest of Djokovic’s 1,176 career matches, he made two unforced forehand errors to surrender a break in the first game to Medvedev, who held through to take the first set in 36 minutes, never facing a break point.

It was the fifth consecutive match in which Djokovic dropped the first set.

Medvedev dropped only three points on his serve in the first set but lost that many to open his first service game in the second.

Djokovic, however, squandered his break chances and Medvedev held to 1-1.

Medvedev hit a backhand wide to give Djokovic a break chance in the fourth game but he netted a forehand volley.

After botching a forehand on the following point, Djokovic shattered his racquet and on the next sent a backhand long as Medvedev held to 2-2.

In the fifth game, Djokovic mis-hit a backhand volley to hand Medvedev a break and a 3-2 lead, and the Russian held three times to claim the set.

Medvedev broke to begin the third set and again in the third game when a botched volley seemed to signal the end of the Slam chase.

Djokovic held at love in the fifth game but Medvedev held again to 5-1 and served for the match in the eighth game.

Medvedev double-faulted on championship point and again, then netted a forehand to surrender a break that kept Djokovic in the match.

“It was not easy,” Medvedev said.

Serving again for the match at 5-4, Medvedev double-faulted on his second match point but finally got over the line on his third chance with a service winner after two hours and 16 minutes.

AFP

The Queen, Johnson Lead Celebrations As Britain’s Raducanu Win’s 2021 US Open

Emma Raducanu of Great Britain celebrates with the championship trophy after defeating Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada during their Women’s Singles final match on Day Thirteen of the 2021 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 11, 2021 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Al Bello/Getty Images/AFP
AL BELLO / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

 

Emma Raducanu’s extraordinary US Open triumph on Saturday led to an explosion of joy in Britain, with Queen Elizabeth II leading the celebrations as the 18-year-old qualifier made tennis history in New York.

Raducanu beat 19-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez 6-4 6-3 to become Britain’s first women’s Grand Slam singles champion since Virginia Wade at Wimbledon in 1977, and the first player to win a major after coming through a qualifying tournament.

“I send my congratulations to you on your success,” the Queen said. “It is a remarkable achievement at such a young age, and is testament to your hard work and dedication.”

Raducanu’s win even managed to knock football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo’s two-goal return to Manchester United off Sunday morning’s UK newspaper front pages.

The Express called it “Absolutely Emm-ense!” while the Telegraph proclaimed: “She did it!”

Social media caught fire after Raducanu sealed the win with an ace.

Former England footballer Gary Lineker broke off from presenting the English Premier League highlights programme “Match of the Day” on BBC TV to post:

“First time in my life I’ve ever tweeted whilst on air but my goodness what a performance, what a triumph, what an amazing young woman.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “What a sensational match! Huge congratulations to Emma Raducanu. You showed extraordinary skill, poise and guts and we are all hugely proud of you.”

Raducanu’s only previous Slam appearance, at Wimbledon in July, ended when she pulled out of her fourth-round match after an anxiety attack.

“Look at that bounce back @EmmaRaducanu US Open champion, amazing. Congratulations,” tweeted England and Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford, who had offered support to Raducanu after her Wimbledon exit.

Raducanu was born in Canada to a Chinese mother and Romanian father, but grew up in Bromley in suburban south London after moving to England at the age of two.

READ ALSO: 18-Year-Old Raducanu Wins Women’s 2021 US Open

 ‘It’s Mind Boggling’ 

Winner Britain’s Emma Raducanu (L) receives her trophy from Billie Jean King after the 2021 US Open Tennis tournament women’s singles final match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 11, 2021. Kena Betancur / AFP

 

At her former tennis club, Parklangley, members gathered in front of TVs Saturday night to roar her to victory.

“I’m speechless. I’m sore and hoarse from screaming,” said her former coach Suzanne Williams.

Former British number one Tim Henman, who was courtside, said: “She will win more of these, she is that good. This is not some flash in the pan or fairytale. She is playing top-five tennis.”

Australian Grand Slam winner Pat Cash told BBC radio that a qualifier winning a major is “something I never could have believed would happen. It’s mind boggling.”

And tennis great Martina Navratilova tweeted: “A star is born — Emma Raducanu makes history… and she is just getting started. And will never have to qualify again:)”

In China, where the match took place in the early hours of Sunday, Tencent published an article with pictures of Raducanu visiting China as a child.

“An ethnic Chinese won the US Open” it trumpeted. “She claimed that her motivation (or power) comes from her Chinese mother!”

AFP

18-Year-Old Raducanu Wins Women’s 2021 US Open

Emma Raducanu of Great Britain celebrates with the championship trophy after defeating Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada during their Women’s Singles final match on Day Thirteen of the 2021 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 11, 2021 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Al Bello/Getty Images/AFP

 

British teenager Emma Raducanu completed the greatest underdog title run in tennis history on Saturday, becoming the first qualifier to capture a Grand Slam crown by defeating Canada’s Leylah Fernandez in the US Open women’s final.

The 18-year-old was the first British woman in 44 years to win a Slam crown after beating 19-year-old left-hander Fernandez 6-4, 6-3 to take the $2.5 million (2.1 million euro) top prize.

“I knew I would have to dig deep,” Raducanu said. “It was an incredibly difficult match but I thought the level was really high. I had to play some of my best tennis.”

It was a stunning achievement for the unheralded 150th-ranked teen, who didn’t drop a set in three qualifying matches and seven main-draw matches over two weeks in producing a stunner for the ages.

Raducanu is the youngest Slam champion since Maria Sharapova at 17 in 2004 at Wimbledon.

Not since Virginia Wade in 1977 at Wimbledon had a British woman taken a Slam singles title, with Raducanu the first Briton to claim the US Open crown since Wade in 1968.

‘Testament To Hard Work’


Winner Britain’s Emma Raducanu (L) receives her trophy from Billie Jean King after the 2021 US Open Tennis tournament women’s singles final match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 11, 2021. Kena Betancur / AFP

 

Queen Elizabeth II was among the first to pay tribute to Raducanu’s incredible triumph.

“It is a remarkable achievement at such a young age, and is testament to your hard work and dedication,” the British monarch said in a statement.

Wade and British men’s tennis legend Tim Henman were among a sellout crowd of 23,700 that created an electric atmosphere at Arthur Ashe Stadium in the first-ever women’s Slam final between unseeded players.

“It means so much to have Virginia here and also Tim and to have such British legends and icons, to follow in their footsteps and it gave me the belief I could actually do it.”

Raducanu has had the fewest Slam starts of any women’s Slam winner, reaching the fourth round in July at Wimbledon in her only prior Slam appearance.

Fernandez, ranked 73rd, had ousted defending champion Naomi Osaka, second-ranked Aryna Sabalenka and fifth seed Elina Svitolina in her epic run to the final.

“I’m very proud of myself the way I played the last two weeks,” Fernandez said.

“I hope to be back here in the finals and having the right trophy,” added a tearful Fernandez, who paid tribute to New York as the city marked the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

“I know it’s especially hard on this day for New York,” she said. “I just want to say I hope I can be as strong and resilient as New York has been the past 20 years.”

Raducanu is the youngest US Open champion since 17-year-old Serena Williams in 1999 and the first US Open women’s champion not to drop a set since Williams in 2014.

The prodigy showdown was the first all-teen Slam final since Williams beat 18-year-old Martina Hingis for the 1999 US Open title.

“Both of us were playing fearless tennis for two weeks,” Raducanu said. “I hope we play each other in many more tournaments and hopefully finals.”

 Blood, Sweat and Tears

Britain’s Emma Raducanu celebrates with the trophy after winning the 2021 US Open Tennis tournament women’s final match against Canada’s Leylah Fernandez at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 11, 2021. Kena Betancur / AFP

 

After an early exchange of hard-fought breaks, Raducanu broke in the 10th game to take the first set, blasting a forehand winner after 58 minutes.

In the second set, Fernandez broke to 2-1 but Raducanu blasted a backhand cross-court service return winner to equalize 2-2 and later whipped a forehand passing winner by the Canadian to break for 4-2.

Fernandez saved two match points in the eighth game and held to 5-3, then earned a break chance at 30-40 in the ninth.

But on the point, Raducanu skidded on her left knee and opened a bleeding cut. The match was halted while a trainer bandaged the wound as Fernandez spoke with the referee.

“I didn’t know how serious her fall was, so that’s why I went to see the official,” Fernandez said. “It was just too bad it happened in that specific moment with me, with the momentum. But it’s sports, it’s tennis. Just got to move on.”

When play resumed, Fernandez sent a forehand long to squander the break chance and Raducanu won after an hour and 51 minutes on her third ace, leaving Fernandez in tears.

“I was going for that serve the whole match. I can’t believe I finally hit it,” Raducanu said. “I was just praying not to double fault.”

AFP

Djokovic Aims For First Calendar Slam For 52 Years In US Open Final

File photo: Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning his 2021 US Open Tennis tournament men’s semifinal match against Germany’s Alexander Zverev at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 10, 2021. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP)

 

Novak Djokovic will attempt to win the first calendar-year men’s singles Grand Slam since 1969 in Sunday’s US Open final and make his case to be considered the greatest player in tennis history.

The 34-year-old Serbian world number one faces Russia’s second-ranked Daniil Medvedev at Arthur Ashe Stadium in the biggest match of a career that has brought him 20 Slam trophies.

“I’m going to treat this match as it’s my last one because it’s arguably the most important one of my career,” Djokovic said.

Djokovic will try to complete the first sweep of US, Australian and French Open and Wimbledon titles in the same year since Australian legend Rod Laver managed the feat 52 years ago.

“Excitement is there,” Djokovic said. “Motivation is there, without a doubt. Probably more than ever. But I have one more to go.”

Laver, 83, will be in the stands to see if Djokovic can finish the fourth Slam in men’s history after American Don Budge in 1938 and Laver in 1962 and 1969.

“For sure he’s going to feel the pressure a little bit about it,” said Medvedev. “From the other side, that’s what going to make him be even better in tough moments.”

The last singles Slam overall was by Steffi Graf in 1988.

Djokovic also will be chasing his fourth US Open title after 2011, 2015 and 2018.

A victory would give him 21 major titles and for the first time put him atop the all-time Slams chase, moving one ahead of the record mark he shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic, 20-10 in Slam finals, leads Medvedev 5-3 in their career rivalry. Medvedev, 25, seeks his first Slam title.

“I’m sure he’s going to give it all to win his first Slam,” Djokovic said. “On the other side, I’ll be giving it all I possibly got in the tank to win this match.”

READ ALSO: 18-Year-Old Raducanu Wins Women’s 2021 US Open

‘Turn up the Heat’ 

File photo: Russia’s Daniil Medvedev hits a return to Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime during their 2021 US Open Tennis tournament men’s semifinal match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 10, 2021. TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP

 

Medvedev, the 2019 US Open runner-up, lost his only other Slam final to Djokovic at the Australian Open in February.

“I always give my best, but I feel like I didn’t leave my heart on the court in Melbourne.

“That’s what I’m going to try to do on Arthur Ashe. No matter the score, I’m just going to turn up the heat and try to do my best.”

Djokovic, the oldest US Open finalist since Andre Agassi at 35 in 2005, would also be the oldest US Open champion since Ken Rosewall at 35 in 1970.

Djokovic has won 27 consecutive Slam matches, three shy of his all-time record streak from 2015 and 2016, when he won all four major titles in a row.

“Probably all these big matches I won, big titles over the years, have built that aura around me that players know there’s a never-die spirit with me, especially when I play Grand Slams,” Djokovic said. “They know that until the last shot, things can turn around.”

Olympic champion Alexander Zverev, who beat Djokovic in the Tokyo semi-finals but lost to him in the US Open semis, sees Djokovic completing the Slam.

“It’s great for the sport,” Zverev said. “Nobody thought anybody will do it again, what Rod Laver did. To see him have the chance on Sunday — I do believe that he will do it — is great.”

‘Greatest of all time’ 

The German fourth seed sides with Djokovic in the greatest of all time question.

“If you look at the stats, if you look the pure game of tennis action, he’s the greatest of all time. Nobody is there with him,” Zverev said.

And Zverev sees Djokovic doing whatever it takes to add to that history on Sunday.

“He plays the best tennis when he needs to, which a lot of players don’t,” he said.

“Mentally he’s the best player to ever play the game. Mentally, in the most important moments, I would rather play against anybody else but him.”

AFP

Raducanu To Face Fernandez In Historic All-Teen US Open Final

Britain’s Emma Raducanu and Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada to face each other in the US Open Final.

 

 

British 18-year-old Emma Raducanu on Thursday became the first qualifier in history to make a Grand Slam final when she reached a fairytale US Open decider against another teenager, 19-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez.

Raducanu, who was virtually unknown even in Britain at the start of the year, will become the youngest Slam finalist in 17 years after beating Greek 17th seed Maria Sakkari 6-1, 6-4 in a nerveless display.

“I’m in the final and I can’t actually believe it,” Raducanu said.

 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 09: Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada points to her box in celebration of defeating Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus during her Women’s Singles semifinals match on Day Eleven of the 2021 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 09, 2021 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Elsa/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by ELSA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

 

Fernandez, a 73rd-ranked left-hander, beat second seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 6-4, for her third Open win over a top-five rival, a feat not seen at a Slam since Serena Williams at Wimbledon in 2012.

“Now I can say I’ve done a pretty good job of achieving my dreams,” Fernandez said.

The teen prodigies will meet Saturday at Arthur Ashe Stadium, where one of them will claim her first Grand Slam title.

“Is there any expectation?” Raducanu said. “I’m a qualifier so technically on paper there’s no pressure on me.”

It’s the first Slam final between teens since 17-year-old Williams beat 18-year-old Martina Hingis at the 1999 US Open, and just the eighth all-teen Slam final in the Open era (since 1968).

“I just want to play a final,” Fernandez said. “I’m going to enjoy my victory and worry about it tomorrow.”

 

Britain’s Emma Raducanu speaks after winning her 2021 US Open Tennis tournament women’s semifinal match against Greece’s Maria Sakkari at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 9, 2021. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP)

 

Raducanu is the youngest Slam finalist since 17-year-old Maria Sharapova won at Wimbledon in 2004.

She became only the second woman ranked outside the top 100 to reach a US Open final after unranked Kim Clijsters came out of retirement and won the 2009 US Open.

“Today I wasn’t thinking about anyone else except for myself,” Raducanu said.

Raducanu is trying to become the first British woman to win a Grand Slam title since Virginia Wade at Wimbledon in 1977 and the first British woman to win the US Open since Wade in 1968.

Wade and British legend Tim Henman were watching.

“Tim is such a big inspiration,” said Raducanu. “He has been helping me, telling me take one point at a time. You have to stay in the moment and can’t get ahead of yourself.”

Fernandez, who turned 19 on Monday, had earlier ousted defending champion Naomi Osaka and fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina before Sabalenka, 23, become her third top-five victim.

“I had opportunities but I didn’t use them in the key moments,” Sabalenka said. “I didn’t play well. She deserved this win.”

Raducanu could become the first US Open champion not to lose a set since Serena Williams in 2014.

 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 09: Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada celebrates against Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus during her Women’s Singles semifinals match on Day Eleven of the 2021 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 09, 2021 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Sarah Stier/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Sarah Stier / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

 

Raducanu saved three break points in her opening service game then broke to lead 2-0. Sakkari double faulted to hand the teen a 4-0 edge and she took the first set in 36 minutes, aided by Sakkari’s 17 unforced errors.

An errant Sakkari forehand in the third game of the second set handed Raducanu the only break she needed as she advanced after 84 minutes on an overhead smash.

“I played some of my best tennis to date,” Raducanu said. “I knew I’d have to be super aggressive and execute and I’m just really happy with today’s performance.”

 

Britain’s Emma Raducanu celebrates a point against Greece’s Maria Sakkari during their 2021 US Open Tennis tournament women’s semifinal match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 9, 2021. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP)

 

– ‘Years of work’ –
Fernandez, never deeper than the third round in six prior Slam starts, showed the mental toughness preached by her father-coach Jorge in the tie-breaker.

Sabalenka netted a forehand with a wide-open court to hand Fernandez a 3-2 edge. The teen never trailed after that, winning the last four points to claim the first set in 53 minutes.

“That’s years and years of work and tears and blood and sacrifice,” said Fernandez of her mental fortitude.

The Ashe stadium music director played the Eric Clapton song “Layla” as the crowd roared when she took the set.

“I have no idea (how I won),” said Fernandez. “I’d say it’s thanks to the New York crowd. They helped me. They cheered for me. They never gave up.”

Fernandez sent a forehand long to surrender a break in the ninth game and Sabalenka held at love to take the second set.

In the third, Fernandez held to 5-4 and Sabalenka crumbled with the match on the line, issuing back-to-back double faults to 0-40 and sending a forehand long — her 52nd unforced error — to fall after two hours and 21 minutes.

“I don’t know how I got that last point in but I’m glad it was and I’m glad I’m in the finals,” Fernandez said.

US Open Tennis: Women’s Semi-Final Head-To-Heads

Greece’s Maria Sakkari celebrates getting to match point against Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova during their 2021 US Open Tennis tournament women’s quarter-finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 8, 2021. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP)

 

 

Head-to-head prior results for the US Open women’s semi-finals (x denotes seed):

Leylah Fernandez (CAN) v. Aryna Sabalenka (BLR x2)

First meeting

Emma Raducanu (GBR) v. Maria Sakkari (GRE x17)

First meeting

 

Canada’s Leylah Fernandez reacts after winning her 2021 US Open Tennis tournament women’s quarter-finals match against Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 7, 2021. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP)

 

Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina reacts during her 2021 US Open Tennis tournament women’s quarter-finals match Canada’s Leylah Fernandez against at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 7, 2021. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP)

Medvedev, Fernandez Advance To US Open Semi-Finals

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 07: Daniil Medvedev of Russia serves against Botic van de Zandschulp of Netherlands during his Men’s Singles quarterfinals match on Day Nine of the 2021 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 07, 2021 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Elsa/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by ELSA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

 

 

 

Daniil Medvedev advanced to his third straight US Open semi-final on Tuesday while Canadian 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez delivered another stunner to reach the last four of a Grand Slam for the first time.

Russian second seed Medvedev, chasing his first Slam title, eliminated 117th-ranked Dutch qualifier Botic Van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-0, 4-6, 7-5 at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“I just want to do a little bit better than the last two times and get this extra step, which is the toughest one, actually,” Medvedev said.

Medvedev moved one victory from a possible championship match against history-chasing Novak Djokovic.

The 25-year-old from Moscow was a 2019 US Open runner-up and lost this year’s Australian Open final to top-ranked Djokovic, who seeks his fourth US Open title to complete the first men’s singles calendar-year Grand Slam since Rod Laver in 1969.

“I don’t think about him, because as we saw, anybody can beat anybody,” Medvedev said. “If he’s in the final, and if I’m there, I’m happy. He’s also happy, I guess.”

Fernandez, who had already ousted defending champion Naomi Osaka and three-time Slam winner Angelique Kerber, defeated Ukraine’s fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5).

“I told myself to trust my shots,” Fernandez said. “Even if I lose, I’ve got to go for it. And I’m glad I did.”

Fernandez, ranked 73rd, was inspired by pre-match strategy from her father/coach Jorge, a former Ecuadoran football player.

“He told me to go out and have fun, fight for every point,” she said. “It’s your first Grand Slam quarter-final. Don’t make it your last. Don’t make it your last match over here. Fight for your dream.”

Medvedev will next face Canadian 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, 21, who reached his first Slam semi-final when 55th-ranked Spanish 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz retired trailing 6-3, 3-1 with a leg injury.

“It’s an amazing milestone,” said Auger-Aliassime. “It’s a weird way to end but I’ll have a chance to play one of the best players in the world.

“I’m happy I’m through and I’ll try to win the next one.”

Medvedev won his only meeting with Auger-Aliassime in Canada in 2018.

 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 07: Daniil Medvedev of Russia serves against Botic van de Zandschulp of Netherlands during his Men’s Singles quarterfinals match on Day Nine of the 2021 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 07, 2021 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Elsa/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by ELSA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

 

Nadal’s uncle and former coach, Toni Nadal, guides Auger-Aliassime.

“The communication has been great, the work is good and the results are coming,” Auger-Aliassime said.

Van de Zandschulp hoped to become the first qualifier to reach the US Open semi-finals and only the sixth to do so at any Grand Slam event.

But the Russian dominated the first two sets before the Dutchman fought back to take the third, Medvedev’s first lost set of the Open.

“First two sets he was missing. I was controling the game,” Medvedev said. “Third set he started missing less.”

Medvedev took the only break of the final set on match point when the Dutchman netted a forehand drop volley to end matters after two hours and 23 minutes.

“In the fourth, he served amazing,” Van de Zandschulp said. “He’s the guy who deserved to win.”

– Fernandez shocks again –
Left-hander Fernandez, who turned 19 on Monday, snapped the Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist’s nine-match win streak with clutch shotmaking, firing 42 winners, as spectators roared their delight.

“Throughout the whole match, I was so nervous,” Fernandez told the crowd. “Thanks to you, I was able to push through.”

Fernandez broke for a 4-2 lead and captured the first set in 38 minutes, the first Svitolina surrendered at the Open.

In the second set, Svitolina broke twice to lead 5-1 but Fernandez broke in the seventh game and forced three break points in the last game before a Svitolina ace mandated a third set.

Fernandez and Svitolina exchanged four breaks on the way to the tie-breaker, in which the teenager never trailed, advancing after two hours and 24 minutes with a service winner.

Fernandez booked a semi-final matchup against second seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, who defeated Czech eighth seed and reigning French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova 6-1, 6-4.

“She’s playing well,” Sabalenka said of Fernandez. “She’s moving well and the crowd cheers for her. I’d say nothing to lose for this one.”

Sabalenka matched her deepest Slam run from July at Wimbledon with a WTA-best 43rd match win of 2021.

Djokovic Moves On At US Open As Top-Ranked Barty Ousted

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic prepares to throw tennis balls to fans after winning his 2021 US Open Tennis tournament men’s singles first round match against Denmark’s Holger Rune during their at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on August 31, 2021. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP)

 

Novak Djokovic moved within four matches of completing the first men’s singles calendar-year Grand Slam in 52 years on Saturday while top-ranked Ashleigh Barty was eliminated from the US Open by a stunning fightback from American Shelby Rogers.

World number one Djokovic defeated Kei Nishikori 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 6-3, 6-2, taking his 17th consecutive victory over the Japanese star and improving to 18-2 in their overall rivalry.

“I was very pleased with the focus,” Djokovic said. “Maybe at some points I wasn’t my best, but I was determined and focused and that made the difference.”

With a fourth career US Open trophy, Djokovic would complete the first men’s singles sweep of major titles in the same year since Rod Laver in 1969.

Reigning Wimbledon champion Barty won 11 of 14 games after dropping the first set, only for Rogers to capture five of the last six games for a shocking 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (7/5) triumph.

“I didn’t want to leave,” Rogers said. “I just said make balls, try to stay in this match, it can’t get any worse, you’ve lost to her every time.”

Rogers had dropped all five prior meetings with Barty but would not be denied, breaking the Aussie as she served for the match in the eighth and 10th games as the crowd went wild at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“I was just trying to stay in the point longer than Ash,” Rogers said. “I was happy with myself for sort of problem solving. I’m just so excited to be moving on to the next round.”

Rogers will next face 150th-ranked British qualifier Emma Raducanu, an 18-year-old who routed Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-0, 6-1 in 70 minutes.

Djokovic, meanwhile, marched toward a 21st career Grand Slam title, which would break the deadlock for the men’s record he shares with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, both absent with injuries.

The 34-year-old Serbian star advanced to a fourth-round matchup on Monday against 99th-ranked US wildcard Jenson Brooksby.

“He was playing pretty solid,” Nishikori said. “I couldn’t break the wall. Very unfortunate I lost.”

Djokovic, who had 52 unforced errors and 45 winners, dropped the last three points of the first-set tie-breaker, the last on a Nishikori service winner.

“I don’t think I started off very well,” Djokovic said. “I was too passive. He was dictating the play. I was still trying to find the tempo. It took me a little bit of time to adjust to his game.”

But Djokovic broke early in each set from there to seize command. In the fourth he grabbed a 3-2 lead and never dropped another game.

“Big credit to Kei, who played on a very high level,” Djokovic said. “He was quick. It was tough. Great fight from him.”

Tokyo Olympic champion Alexander Zverev defeated 184th-ranked Jack Sock 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 2-1 when the American retired with a right thigh injury.

“I know I’m playing OK but a lot of other guys are playing well, too,” Zverev said. “I’m hoping to keep my form and give myself my best chance.”

Fourth seed Zverev, the 2020 US Open runner-up, joined qualifiers Oscar Otte and Peter Gojowczyk as the first German trio in the US Open fourth round since 1994 and any Slam last 16 since Wimbledon in 1997.

Wimbledon runner-up Matteo Barrettini, the Italian sixth seed, eliminated Ilya Ivashka of Belarus 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3. Next up is 144th-ranked Otte, who beat Italy’s Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 7-5.

– Sakkari beats Kvitova –

Greek 17th seed Maria Sakkari, a French Open semi-finalist, ousted two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-4, 6-3, booking a fourth-round match against 2019 US Open winner Bianca Andreescu.

Czech 10th seed Kvitova double faulted on the final point to hand Sakkari the victory after 81 minutes.

Canadian sixth seed Andreescu improved to 10-0 at the US Open, advancing over 104th-ranked Belgian lucky loser Greet Minnen 6-1, 6-2.

Tokyo Olympic champion Belinda Bencic, a 2019 US Open semi-finalist, defeated US 23rd seed Jessica Pegula 6-2, 6-4.

The Swiss 11th seed will next face Polish seventh seed Iga Swiatek, last year’s French Open champion, who beat Estonian Anett Kontveit 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

Czech fourth seed Karolina Pliskova, this year’s Wimbledon runner-up and a 2016 US Open finalist, beat Australian Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3, 6-2.

AFP

Djokovic Launches Slam Quest With US Open Win

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic prepares to throw tennis balls to fans after winning his 2021 US Open Tennis tournament men’s singles first round match against Denmark’s Holger Rune during their at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on August 31, 2021. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP)

 

World number one Novak Djokovic won without playing his best to reach the second round of the US Open on Tuesday in his quest for a calendar-year Grand Slam and record 21st major title.

The 34-year-old Serbian star dominated much of the way in beating 18-year-old Danish qualifier Holger Rune 6-1, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-1 after two hours and 15 minutes in the night feature at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“It wasn’t the best of my performances,” Djokovic said. “At the same time, he played well in the second set when it mattered and I didn’t serve well in the second set.”

History-chasing Djokovic, who has won eight of the past 12 Grand Slam events, will next face 121st-ranked Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor, a rival the top seed admitted he didn’t know much about.

“I know this court well,” Djokovic said. “Hopefully that’s going to help.”

Djokovic would complete the first men’s singles calendar-year Slam since Rod Laver in 1969 by winning the crown on the New York hardcourts.

READ ALSO: Climate Disasters Surge Fivefold In 50 Years, Says UN

He would also break the deadlock for all-time men’s Slam titles at 20 which he shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, both absent due to injuries, as is defending champion Dominic Thiem.

Rune, ranked 145th, began cramping in the third set and struggled to finish.

“From the third or fourth game in the third set, he couldn’t move much,” Djokovic said. “You could see he struggled a lot. I feel for him.”

Djokovic won the first set in 26 minutes without facing a break point, fell behind 3-0 to start the second before battling into the tie-breaker, where Rune grabbed leads of 4-0 and 6-3. After two Djokovic service winners, he sent a backhand service return long to drop the set.

In the third set, Djokovic broke to lead 3-1 and Rune began getting treatments between games, grimacing at times and struggling to run for shots to the end.

– Zverev stretches streak –

Earlier Tuesday, Tokyo Olympic champion Alexander Zverev stretched his win streak to 12 matches and warned he has his eyes on denying Djokovic the Slam.

Fourth seed Zverev, who beat Djokovic in an Olympic semi-final, dispatched American Sam Querrey 6-4, 7-5, 6-2.

“I hope in two weeks’ time I’ll be on an 18-match winning streak,” said Zverev, who would claim his first Grand Slam title if he creates such a run.

The 24-year-old German, last year’s US Open runner-up, hit 18 aces and 40 winners while never facing a break point in advancing after an hour and 40 minutes.

“Novak is chasing history,” Zverev said. “But the young guys are going to try and get in the way of that. I’m going to try to give him a challenge as well.”

Zverev, who next faces Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas, could face Djokovic in the semi-finals.

“I hope I can keep the level up,” Zverev said. “To beat Novak here is going to be an extremely difficult task.”

– Qualifier pulls shocker –

French-born US qualifier Maxime Cressy fired 44 aces and saved four match points to upset Spanish ninth seed Pablo Carreno Busta 5-7, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (9/7).

After beating Djokovic for a Tokyo Olympic bronze medal, the Spaniard’s US Open ended slamming down his racquet in frustration.

“I’m really happy things are starting to pay off,” Cressy said.

World number one Ashleigh Barty, coming off wins at Wimbledon and Cincinnati, began her chase for back-to-back Slam titles by defeating Russian Vera Zvonareva 6-1, 7-6 (9/7).

“When my back was against the wall late in that buster, I came up with some really good stuff,” Barty said.

The 25-year-old Australian next faces Denmark’s Clara Tauson as she goes for her sixth title of the year.

Japan’s Kei Nishikori, the 2014 US Open runner-up, eliminated Italy’s 113th-ranked Salvatore Caruso 6-1, 6-1, 5-7, 6-3. He next plays American Mackenzie McDonald with Djokovic a possible third-round opponent.

Italian sixth seed and Wimbledon runner-up Matteo Berrettini, a 2019 US Open semi-finalist, defeated France’s Jeremy Chardy 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (9/7), 6-3.

Canadian sixth seed Bianca Andreescu, the 2019 US Open winner who skipped last year’s event, struggled but outlasted Swiss Viktorija Golubic 7-5, 4-6, 7-5.

AFP

Osaka Advances As Tsitsipas Escapes Murray At US Open

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 30: Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates against Marie Bouzkova (not pictured) of the Czech Republic during their Women’s Singles first round match on Day One of the 2021 US Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 30, 2021 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

 

Defending champion Naomi Osaka stretched her Grand Slam win streak to 16 matches on Monday at the US Open while Greek third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas struggled past Andy Murray in five sets.

Osaka, seeking her third US Open crown in four years, defeated 87th-ranked Czech Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-1 at a packed Arthur Ashe Stadium to book a second-round matchup with Serbian qualifier Olga Danilovic.

“It feels kind of crazy to play in front of everyone again,” Osaka said. “I feel really comfortable here. I’m just glad I won.”

Osaka beat Bouzkova in their only prior meeting in the first round of this year’s Australian Open on the way to her fourth Grand Slam title.

The 23-year-old Japanese star could become the first back-to-back US Open women’s champion since Serena Williams, out this year with a torn hamstring, won her third in a row in 2014.

Osaka’s major win streak includes her most recent US and Australian Open wins and a first-round win at this year’s French Open before withdrawing over mental health issues.

Osaka, who lit the cauldron at the Tokyo Olympics, gave an Olympic pin to a young girl in the same venue where she won last year’s title when fans were banned due to Covid-19.

“It felt quite lonely for me,” she said. “So I’m quite glad to see little kids in the audience and grown ups too. The energy here is unmatched.”

Osaka broke Bouzkova in the 10th game of the first set when the Czech netted a backhand, the broke for a 2-0 lead in the second set on the way to victory in 93 minutes.

Tsitsipas outlasted Britain’s Murray, a three-time Grand Slam champion, by 2-6, 7-6 (9/7), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 after four hours and 49 minutes in surroundings more like an intense second-week showdown than a curtain-raiser for the fortnight.

“To have an electric atmosphere out here is something we’ve been waiting for,” Tsitsipas said.

Two-time Olympic champion Murray, ranked 112th lost for the first time in 15 first-round US Open matches.

“It didn’t come easy,” Tsitsipas said.

Tsitsipas, this year’s French Open runner-up, took a long break before the final set, frustrating Murray, who surrendered a break in the opening game. Delay tactics brought a frosty reception at the net after the match.

“I have zero time for that stuff at all and I lost respect for him,” Murray said. “It’s nonsense. And he knows it, as well.”

Tsitsipas, who plays Frenchman Adrian Mannarino next, said he followed ATP rules on breaks and medical timeouts, even as Murray questioned the length and timing.

“I’m playing by the rules and sticking to what the ATP says is fair,” said Tsitsipas. “Then the rest is fine.”

In the second-set tie-breaker, Murray slipped at the net and fell because his sweat-soaked shoes were wet and he didn’t have another pair. Murray missed out on two set points and the 23-year-old Greek star won five of the next six points to grab the set and level the match.

“The shoes got so wet that at the end of the set, I was slipping basically and was losing balance,” Murray said. “That was my bad. It was an important moment in the match.”

Murray broke in the second game of the third set and held out from there, but Tsitsipas took the last two sets to advance.

– Crowd energy returns –

Spectators had to show proof of vaccination to attend but they brouht energy back to Ashe.

“Playing without fans here was brutal,” 2017 US Open winner Sloane Stephens said. “Having these fans out and the energy, the atmosphere, it brings a lot back to tennis.”

Two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep and Stephens each won to reach the second round.

“You feel the energy. You feel alive on court,” Halep said. “Hopefully it will stay like that forever.”

Russian second seed Daniil Medvedev defeated Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 for his 200th career match win and 160th win on hardcourts.

Women’s second seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus outlasted Serbia’s Nina Stojanovic 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 6-0 while Russian men’s fifth seed Andrey Rublev ousted 221st-ranked Ivo Karlovic 6-3, 7-6 (7/3), 6-3.

AFP

Serena Williams Pulls Out Of US Open

US player Serena Williams reacts as she withdraws from her women’s singles first round match against Belarus’s Aliaksandra Sasnovich on the second day of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on June 29, 2021. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Serena Williams has pulled out of the US Open, after failing to recover from a hamstring injury sustained during the Wimbledon tournament.

The 23-time Grand Slam singles winner disclosed via a post on Instagram that her body needed time to “heal completely” from a torn hamstring.

 

“After careful consideration and following the advice of my doctors and medical team, I have decided to withdraw from the US Open to allow my body to heal completely from a torn hamstring,” the post read. “Thank you for your continued love and support. I’ll see you soon.”

The four-time Olympic gold medalist had suffered a hamstring injury during Wimbledon earlier in the year that forced her to pull out of the tournament.

Her exit from the competition is the second time she is retiring from a major tournament.

Williams joins defending men’s champion Dominic Thiem, Roger Federer and world number five Rafael Nadal in withdrawing from this year’s Grand Slam