Three to See, US Open Day 6: Federer v. Kyrgios; Sabalenka v. Kvitova

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Roger Federer and Nick Kyrgios have already played some exciting matches against one another. (Getty Images)

WATCH—TC Live discusses the Kyrgios-Lahyani controversy:

[2] Roger Federer vs [30] Nick Kyrgios

Far too often, Kyrgios can’t be bothered to give his best effort. Fortunately for us, he always brings his A-game against Federer. Perhaps he is making sure the people know that if he wants to, he can compete with the best of the best. Of the nine total sets played between the two, eight have gone to a tiebreaker. The service-precision level in this match is off the charts. Paul Annacone says that Kyrgios is the best “spot server” he has seen since his former pupil, Pete Sampras. The average point in this match will not last long, but the ones that do will be worth the wait.

After speaking with several players who have played Federer, they all say the same thing—he never gives you the same ball twice; you are never on balance against him; you can’t get in a rhythm. This doesn’t affect Kyrgios as much as other players, though—not only because his talent is so great, but because he also doesn't allow his opponents to get in a rhythm. The mental game will be as intriguing as the actual shots struck. In this matchup, only one thing is certain: anything can happen.

The pick: Federer

[22] Maria Sharapova vs [10] Jelena Ostapenko

The last meeting between these two players, a three-hour battle on the red clay in Rome, was one of the best matches of the year. Don’t let her baby-face fool you: Ostapenko moves exceptionally well and can hit the ball harder than just about anyone. Few players strike the ball as purely as the young Latvian.

Sharapova will look to intimidate her younger and smaller opponent. Sharapova is listed at 6'2''; on a basketball roster she’d probably be listed at 6'4''. At this point in their careers, the only clear advantage for Sharapova is her serve and her experience. Don’t expect Ostapenko to shy away from the moment, she believes she should win this match. But Sharapova exudes belief herself.

The pick: Sharapova

[26] Aryna Sabalenka vs [5] Petra Kvitova

What a year it has been for Sabalenka. The Belarusian began the season ranked No. 73 in the world, but after a blisteringly hot summer hard-court swing has risen all the way to No. 20. She has won nine of her last 10 matches. If you haven’t seen her play, she already has some of the biggest groundstrokes in the game. She brings maximum intensity for every point she plays and has never met a groundstroke she didn’t like. Just 20 years old, her net game still needs some fine-tuning; she prefers to finish points by blasting groundstrokes. Great players always finish points at the net.

Sabalenka’s opponent, Kvitova, will need to use her championship poise and experience in this matchup. If she tries to blast groundstrokes with the confident Sabalenka, she could lose. She will need to use her beautiful all-court game and big lefty serve to frustrate the Belarusian. Look for experience to prevail in this awesome third-round matchup.

The Pick: Kvitova


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