By Editorial Team
Frances Tiafoe has overcome obstacles his entire life, but his 2019 Australian Open run has been a classic for the ages. As the only US men’s player remaining in the AO, Frances has carried the American flag without hesitation and edged out each of his top seeded opponents round after round.
No one imaged Frances being able to defeat Kevin Anderson and Grigor Dimitrov consecutively in a major. What are the odds of that? Playing flawless tennis with little errors or weaknesses under the new coaching direction of Zack Evenden has lifted his confidence to another level.
In a tight match that could have gone either way, Frances was very well composed. Lightening fast in running down wide balls, terrific transitioning to the net, good serving and a much improved backhand were all clicking today for Frances as he defeated Grigor 7-5, 7-6, 6-7, 7-5.
Frances must now face Rafael Nadal tomorrow in the quarter finals and he will need everything and more to defeat the 17 time grand slam champion. The odds are heavily against Frances again in this match as a big underdog; 10/1.04 for a Tiafoe victory over Nadal. If fans continue betting on Frances they could stand to 10X their money, but the well may have run dry for him down the stretch as he must now overcome a well rested Rafa who seems to be at the top of his game.
Although these two have never played before, Frances believes that he can pull off another major upset and advance to his first grand slam semifinal. There is no fear, but excitement coming from Frances as he spoke on his pending Rafa match, “I’m so excited to play Rafa. We’re going to have some fun, going to have some long rallies. I hope I can play on Laver. That would be cool. I guess all the matches are on Laver now, right? Yes. Yeah, that’s just an honor playing on that court. Obviously playing Laver Cup a couple times. Getting to know Rod a little. Obviously he’ll be there. Playing arguably one of the greatest tennis players of all time, yeah. Just have some fun out there.”
Also during the recent post match interview Frances explained his current motivation, “I mean, yeah, it’s crazy, man. Obviously if you guys know anything about me, the story in tennis, I obviously wasn’t a normal tennis story. The beginning of my career, I was playing for them, trying to do everything for my family. Obviously now I put them in a great place. Now I’m trying to do it for me.”
Osaka and Keys in QF at Japan Women’s Open
Naomi Osaka is on pace for a much needed title after an early R16 loss in the US Open. Her quest for the first title of the year began with a win over Viktoriya Tomova 7-5, 6-3 today. With a inconsistent ground game, Naomi is looking to iron out weaknesses with new coach Wim Fissette who is a proven WTA professional with Azarenka, Kerber and Clijsters as former students of his. Recent news broke five days ago on Twitter announcing the split with Jermaine Jenkins after a slew of poor results in major grand slam events this season.
Sloane Stephens is also on the coaching change wave after accepting Kamau Murray back into her team. The two have earned multiple titles in 2017/2018 so it can only be upside from here as she now faces Camila Giorgi in the R16 of the Japan Women’s Open. This will be a tough test for Sloane as the aggressive Italian has been on a roll with her most recent final run (losing to Magda Linette in 3 sets) at the New York Open that lead into the US Open late last month.
Update: Sloane fell 6-0, 6-3 to Camila in the R16 match which did not live up to the hype. Sloane will look to recover quickly as she prepares for the WTA Finals later this year.
Madison Keys is a favorite to win here in Osaka Japan, but she has to get past the high ranking vet, Angelique Kerber. Madison has a 8:2 win/loss record against Kerber and is healthy enough to get her third win against such a quality opponent. Madison most recently defeated Kerber in the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati last month 6-4 in the third set.
For more scores click here…
Gauff becomes fan favorite
Cori “CoCo” Gauff played some inspired tennis today in her US Open main draw debut as she was able to hold off the young Russian star Anastasia Potapova 6-4 in the final 3rd set.
In somewhat of a roller coaster match, CoCo regained her composure and played great tennis down the stretch when it counted. Going back to the basics she would eventually dominate points which proves that she is capable to making adjustments during big matches.
Her next round match is against Timea Babos – a tour veteran – who is sure to give her a tough match. However, Coco should be able to use her momentum and confidence to carry her into the next round. Timea has a few matches under her belt as a qualifier, but the more steady play and mix of power should allow CoCo to come through victoriously.
Coco’s side of the draw also includes Naomi Osaka who was able to narrowly escape her first round match today. These two would face each other in the 3rd round if both are successful on Thursday. As former practice partners, Naomi sees the future of women’s tennis in Coco as she recently stated,
“I have actually been trying to talk to her recently, because I feel she’s a little bit like me,” said the 21-year-old Osaka, who last year became the youngest U.S. Open champion since Maria Sharapova in 2006. “This is such a good experience for her. She obviously deserves to play here.”
With a growing fan base, Coco should be able to stand a chance against the current world number one.
In regards to the fans Coco mentioned after the match, “At Wimbledon, my first match, I mean, people were still rooting for me, but obviously there was, like, a lot of people rooting for Venus, where this match it was entirely for me,” said Gauff, the youngest singles player to win a U.S. Open match since countrywoman CiCi Bellis in 2014. “This is my first match where people actually had a chant for me.”
“It’s mostly upside,” Gauff said of the fame. “The amount of people and kids especially that come up to me saying I inspire them is honestly, I guess, better than any match I could win, just to know that I inspire another kid maybe to pick up a racket or go through something they’re facing at school.”
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.