Three to See, US Open Day 7: Medvedev seeks revenge vs. Kyrgios, Tomljanovic aims to back up Serena winSep 04, 2022
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Three to See, US Open Day 7: Medvedev seeks revenge vs. Kyrgios, Tomljanovic aims to back up Serena win
Also on tap in the fourth round, former semifinalist Matteo Berrettini hopes to hit through Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina Sunday.
Published Sep 04, 2022
Daniil Medvedev vs. Nick Kyrgios
Like the rest of us, Medvedev has had his eye on this match for a while now.
“He’s playing good so far,” he said of Kyrgios on Friday night. “I watched his matches. [He] concentrated. First one was not easy. Won in three sets.
“Definitely looking forward. Hopefully can play my best game.”
Medvedev played something less than his best game when he faced Kyrgios last month in Montreal. After squeaking through in the first set, he was outplayed, by increasingly large margins, the rest of the way. By the end, Kyrgios seemed to be in cruise control, even as he was beating the No. 1 player in the world.
That’s the way it has gone between these two in non-Slam matches; Kyrgios has won all three. But the Russian won their only meeting at a major, in four competitive sets, at the Australian Open this year. (Was that really this year?) Eight months later, Kyrgios is a different player. Fitter, more focused, and with a Wimbledon final under his belt; like Medvedev, he believes he can win this thing.
What will Medvedev need to do to improve on his performance in Canada?
“I kind of know what I have to do,” he says. “Serve well, try to get to the tiebreak, try to get opportunities on his serve.”
Can Medvedev play better? Can Kyrgios win a match like this at an event of this magnitude? All we can say right now is that it will likely come down to a few crucial break points, and a few even more crucial tiebreak points. Each of them will have opportunities. Winner: Medvedev
Ajla Tomljanovic vs. Liudmila Samsonova
On Friday night, Tomljanovic destroyed the hopes of U.S. tennis fans by defeating Serena Williams with her racquet, then turned around and charmed them with her kind and wise words about the retiring legend. In the process, Tomljanovic became famous in her own right, as the woman who beat Serena in her final match. She also showed that she can handle the most pressurized atmosphere imaginable in tennis. Now we’ll see how she does when she leaves that rarefied air and gets back to the daily WTA grind against Liudmila Samsonova.
Samsonova and Tomljanovic have split two previous meetings. Samsonova won in straight sets indoors in Russia last year; Tomljanovic won in three sets on outdoor hard courts in D.C. last month. Samsonova is six years younger (23 to 29) ranked 11 spots higher (35 to 46), and she’s a player to watch in the coming years. Her game can hot and cold, but she hits with power and stays calm when things don’t go well. As for Tomljanovic, it looks like she’s just coming into her own and beginning to believe in herself at 29. In the past, finding a way to win the close ones wasn’t her forte, but it has been of late. In Cincinnati and New York, she has won six matches, five of them in three sets.
Even more important, Tomljanovic has been hitting with more pace and conviction than ever before, especially with her crosscourt forehand. If she avoid, or minimize, the inevitable letdown after last night—a big if—she can win another three-setter on Sunday. Winner: Tomljanovic
Matteo Berrettini vs. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina
Fans in Louis Armstrong Stadium will get an eye-opener at 11 A.M on Labor Day morning. Berrettini and Davidovich Fokina both bring a lot of energy and firepower to the court, a lot of fizzing spins and blazing pace. Both will drive or slice their backhands, both will look to attack when they can, both will fling themselves all of over the court.
Who will win? Davidovich Fokina was the victor in their only meeting, on clay in Monte Carlo this spring. But Berrettini has the edge in all other ways. He’s been to the semis here, he has a game that’s better built for hard courts, he’s hard to break, and he has a knack for keeping his cool and finding ways to win tight sets and long matches. In his four-set win over Andy Murray, he looked ready for this stage, and to hog it for a while. Winner: Berrettini