Three to See, US Open Day 8: Nadal vs. Cilic; Osaka vs. Bencic

Three to See, US Open Day 8: Nadal vs. Cilic; Osaka vs. Bencic

Plus: Bianca Andreescu and Taylor Townsend will play a night match in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Before each day's play at the 2019 US Open, we'll preview three must-see matches.


Naomi Osaka vs. Belinda Bencic

It’s out of the frying pan on Arthur Ashe Stadium and into the fire for Osaka.

If her fourth-round match with Coco Gauff was difficult because of its setting, her quarterfinal against Bencic will be difficult because of the opponent. Bencic is 2-0 against Osaka in WTA matches, both of which took place in 2019; she won in straight sets in Indian Wells, and 7-5 in the third set in Madrid. Instead of a buzzing night session, Osaka will play this one first in Ashe, in a much more diffuse mid-day atmosphere. Can the top seed find the same energy and focus that she found under the bright lights against Gauff? I’m going to go out on a limb and say yes. Winner: Osaka


Rafael Nadal vs. Marin Cilic

Roger Federer has had his slow starts. Novak Djokovic has had his shoulder tensions. Nadal, by contrast, has cruised through two straight-setters and been handed a walkover. If anything, that’s probably a lighter workload than he would like at this stage of the tournament. Can Cilic help him make up for it? Rafa is 6-2 against him, though his most recent defeat came in a match in which he injured his hip and couldn’t finish. But other recent encounters between these two have been close: 6-4 in the third in Toronto last summer, two close sets in Shanghai the year before. With his height and two-handed backhand, Cilic possesses some of the attributes of the typical Nadal nemesis. Which means he might win a set. Winner: Nadal


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Bianca Andreescu vs. Taylor Townsend

If you had asked either of these two women a year ago if they could foresee themselves playing a night match in Ashe during the second week of the Open, they probably would have laughed in your face. Andreescu, a 19-year-old rookie, and Townsend, a 23-year-old who has had a bumpy path to this place in her career. But here they are, and deservedly so. Andreescu has won Indian Wells and the Rogers Cup this year, and hasn’t dropped a set in New York. Townsend has revived an entire style of play, serve and volley, in reaching the fourth round at a Slam for the first time. This will be their first meeting, and Andreescu will, most likely, have more ways to win it. Winner: Andreescu


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.