Five things to watch, US Open Day 5: Djokovic's health; Keys vs. Kenin

Five things to watch, US Open Day 5: Djokovic's health; Keys vs. Kenin

For the first time in a while, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic looks vulnerable thanks to a nagging left shoulder injury.

The third round of singles action kicks off Friday at the US Open. These are five storylines to look out for on Day 5 in New York.


It's been a long time since 16-time major champion Novak Djokovic has looked vulnerable. American Denis Kudla will have his best chance to take down the world No. 1, who is admittedly struggling with a left shoulder injury. In addition to his health concerns, Djokovic has the toughest draw of the Big 3 members. If he wins on Friday, Djokovic will likely meet Stan Wawrinka, who defeated the Serb in their most recent meeting, the 2016 US Open final. 

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Unfortunately for American tennis, a legitimate title contender will be eliminated Friday night when Madison Keys and Sofia Kenin face off under the bright lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium.  Both players are in fantastic form: Kenin is 9-1 in her last ten matches, while Keys is 8-2. Just two weeks ago, Keys topped her countrywoman in the Cincinnati semifinals before raising the trophy.

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Will a week off in between his Cincinnati triumph and the final major of the year be enough to replenish Daniil Medevedev’s tank? The Russian, who is now No. 5 in the world after contesting three finals in three weeks—finishing runner-up in Washington D.C. and Montreal before winning in Cincinnati—has only advanced to the round of 16 once at a major: this year’s Australian Open. After struggling with cramps in his second-round win over Hugo Dellien, he now faces 37-year-old Feliciano Lopez, who is playing some of his best tennis in recent years this season. The Queen’s Club champion defeated 26th seed Taylor Fritz in the first round.

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Speed demons Kei Nishikori and Alex de Minaur will face off for the first time in their careers on Friday. De Minaur has yet to make it past the third round of a major, while Nishikori has made the semifinals in three of his last four New York appearances. They say speed kills, but what happens when both players can zoom around the court at a near supersonic pace? Blink and you might miss it. 

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Elina Svitolina has long been the flag bearer for Ukrainian tennis, but Dayana Yastremska is closing in fast on that honor. The 19-year-old has already won two titles in 2019, while Svitolina, the 2018 WTA Finals champion, has yet to lift a trophy this year. Both play a fearless brand of tennis, and their first career meeting should be filled with intensity and emotion. 

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Wake up every morning with Tennis Channel Live at the US Open, starting at 8 a.m. ET. For three hours leading up to the start of play, Tennis Channel's team will break down upcoming matches, review tournament storylines and focus on everything Flushing Meadows.

Tennis Channel's encore, all-night match coverage will begin every evening at 11 p.m. ET, with the exception of earlier starts on Saturday and Sunday of championship weekend.