By Editorial Team
Gael Monfils has not dropped a set en route to the round of 16 of this year’s French Open Championships – easily disposing of Taro Daniel, Adrian Mannarino and Antonie Hoang all in three sets. The 14th seed must now take on a proven clay court specialist, Dominic Thiem.
The win/loss odds do not favor Gael, but he is playing such inspired tennis anything is possible in his home country of France. The crowd will definitely be edging him on every step of the way.
A history of withdraws has run its course as these two were scheduled to play each other seven times since 2015, but only four of these matches were actually played. The most recent withdrawal by Gael was this year in the BNP Open quarterfinals.
Since the onslaught of injuries, Gael has recovered nicely with fantastic results, a title win in Rotterdam and a nice boost back into the top-20 this season.
Gael appears to be healthy so it would be very disappointing for fans to see him pull out of this match with some crazy off-court injury.
Now its go-time after rolling through his section of the draw; Gael now must face his biggest challenge of the season – playing Dominic in a best of 5 set match on red clay.
Facing a similar test this season, Gael was able to defeat his long-time rival David Goffin 7-6, 7-5 in the Netherlands where he later went on to win the title. David was such a tough opponent for Gael that in the past he would pull out of matches in advance knowing that he wasn’t willing or able to play at the level needed to be competitive.
With a fresh perspective on the sport he loves and a new coaching team, Gael now has extra courage and belief in himself that he didn’t before. This fight and determination to play to win must be front and center on Monday against Thiem.
Gael stated yesterday in the post-match interview,
“I feel good, I’m not tired, Let’s not forget that my coach helps me a lot too. I have big ambitions at the Grand Slams.”ATP Tour
The key to the match for Gael is maintaining his mental toughness and concentration throughout the entire match. If Gael is able to win early games or sets with ease he must have the focus to finish the match and take advantage of opportunities.
Gael’s serve has been such a huge weapon for him over the last six months. A controlling service game can get him some much needed free points while also bailing him out of tight situations late in the match.
This will be a great contest assuming both players come ready to play their best tennis. Look for Gael to entertain the crowd with some amazing shots. Gael is feeling great and hopefully will have a “play-to-win” approach to this match as he attempts to get his first win against Dominic.
Serena in question heading into US Open
By Editorial Team
Serena Williams has made a good case for herself as eventual grand slam title holder this year with only one remaining hurdle.
In the past is was almost automatic to assume Serena would win every final match she appeared in. Tomorrow will definitely not be a routine win for her as she now must face the red-hot Canadian Bianca Andreescu.
Bianca was able to win straight sets for the first time in the Rogers Cup this week as she dismantled Sofia Kenin 6-4, 7-6 in a tight competitive match that could have gone either way. Serena was able to overcome a first set glitch to later win the final two sets 6-3, 6-3.
This is the first time these two have gone up against each other, but it would appear that Serena has the upper hand given her experience and title record.
However, she can not take her opponent lightly in the first set as she has a 25-1 record of winning matches after taking the first set. Serena must get off to a good start and play her attacking style of play. Big serves and cross court forehands must be the theme of the day.
After defeating an embattled Osaka straight sets, Serena should have the confidence to finish the job tomorrow and head into the US Open with much needed momentum.
Update: Serena falls 1-3 to Andreescu due to back spasms and can not finish the final. Serena will most likely rest up and hope can fully recover for the US Open which begins in 2 weeks.
Young talent makes US Open swing
With Cori Gauff setting the standard for junior tennis, several other rising stars were given opportunities to shine in this year’s US Open Series events.
Many fans are feeling the rush and excitement with the new crop of young talented teenage juniors looking to transition into the WTA Tour.
Cori Gauff, Hailey Baptiste, Robin Montgomery and Katrina Scott are the American hopefuls placed in position with the USTA’s support to soon dominate women’s tennis. This group is very determined and definitely talented enough to make it happen.
Tennis fans and other tour players are witnessing the next generation of women’s tennis in America as they take advantage of wildcard opportunities.
Transitioning to pro tennis is not an easy task, however Katrina and Robin gave it a solid fight to the end in tough 3 set battles (7-5 & 6-2 respectively) against top seeds in the qualifying rounds of Silicon Valley Classic and the Citi Open today.
Cori Gauff, the #1 seed, cruised through both of her qualifying rounds in straight sets at the Citi Open and is expected to advance against Diyas in her main draw match on Monday. Cori seems to have made the transition to pro tennis with easy at an early age. After her match today she stated,
“I’m happy that I was able to get into the main draw. These two matches, I feel like, will prep me for my first round, especially because I’ve never been to this tournament before; I was glad that I was able to get a feel of how it is, the site, playing those two qualifying matches. The weather is similar to home, so I felt like I’ve been practicing at home. I’ll be happy playing on any court.”
Her success is a direct reflection of her determination and hard work. It was noted that Cori went right back to work in Florida after Wimbledon and seems to have gained further ground in her game. In addition, her coaching has been very consistent over a long period of time. That’s something that most seasoned pros don’t have or can’t seem to keep over time.
Hailey Baptiste also hopes to make the most of her main draw wild card as she’ll be coming in against Madison Keys as the underdog favorite. Madison’s power style could be a good match-up for Hailey of the unforced errors fly frequently enough from Madison’s racket.
Katrina and Robin will circle the wagons after their early qualifying round losses in effort to go deep in the upcoming US Open juniors championships later next month. These two have the potential and current momentum to be the next superstars on line to follow Gauff’s trailblazing effort not seen since the Williams sisters.
Gauff transcends WTA
By Editiorial Team
Cori “CoCo” Gauff is becoming a torchbearing world tennis superstar in a short stint after ascending to R16 in the Wimbledon Championships. She represents talented teenagers with big ambition who may not fit the mold.
The stardom hasn’t completely gone to her head, but rather she has used it to boost her confidence in being able to withstand the heat from some of the WTA Tour’s most talented players.
Simona Halep deflated an eager CoCo and ultimately went on to win the title in a commanding fashion over Serena in the final. Cori had her chances in the match, but the shear power and point duration could not be matched, at least not last week.
Every week Cori seems to be able to “next level” her game and rise above the competition. With a current top 175 WTA ranking, Cori is now able to qualify for larger events that her own team may not have anticipated earlier this month.
Her next challenge is the Citi Open where she is projected to earn a qualifying spot. She’ll definitely need the matchplay as she is preparing for an inevitable appearance in New York later next month at the US Open.
Uncertainty continues to plague the Gauff camp as current WTA rules may not allow her to play in her 7th WTA event (after she was granted 2 additional events). The US Open officials have already bumped the rulebook in effort to bring her aboard the main draw in August.
Due to the crazy frenzy over the 15 year old phenom the US Open has declared it impractical for such a rising star to be limited to play only qualifying rounds or exhibitions. From a business perspective the USTA wants paying fans and TV coverage that preliminary/exhibition matches can’t accommodate.
Pushing the limits of a teanage pro schedule, Cori can only do her best to compete against the world’s best. At this time, only the the WTA can keep Gauff away from fulfilling her full potential.
Granting additional matches and bending existing rules may not sit well with others who have suffered greatly. Whitney Osuigwe is one example of a teenage professional who struggles with scheduling tournaments.
Whitney (age 17) has limited access to WTA events as she is now seems restricted to only playing ITF events where she usually reaches the semifinals and has won three ITF titles since turning pro just last year. It seems as if she’s bored with playing these smaller low-ranked events. It is also evident that she has suffered going into grand slam events without WTA Tour match play throughout the season.
For now, rising teenage stars on tour may grapple over tournament starts, but if Cori can prove that she can handle the workload and become successful on a consistent basis, the WTA Tour may relax the rules to accommodate overly ambitious teens looking to make a pro transition.