US Open – Notebook 4: Bencic’s miracle, Rafa’s little worries, Paul’s success and Azarenka’s development – rts.ch
Disappointing for almost 2 rounds against Sorana Cirstea, Belinda Bencic still found the key to reach the 3rd round and save the Swiss honor again. Rafael Nadal gave him small scares in front of Fabio Fognini. While Tommy Paul and Jil Teichmann animated the tournament in their own way, Victoria Azarenka put some things back in place.
NADAL WAS TAKEABLE… Fabio Fognini led 6-4 4-2 and landed every shot possible, pushing Rafael Nadal to the edge of the precipice. Then crash, blackout in the game of the Italian, who no longer put a ball in the court, also because the Spaniard set the sights. With “vamos”, the bull from Mallorca put the pressureand this although he took his own racket in the face, to end up looking like, with his bandage on his nose, Michael Jackson. Too bad for the handsome Fabio, because for 1h20, Rafa was catchable. And if the toughest was already behind the Iberian?
THE BENCIC MIRACLE... A miracle happened Thursday night with the qualification of Belinda Bencic for the 3rd round. Before picking it upthe Saint-Galloise had indeed exposed what she has shown far too often for a year: her big tactical shortcomings, her swings in concentration and her inconstancy. Fortunately for the Olympic champion, the Romanian has completely unpinned when driving the point home. Result: “BB” is in the 16th finals and, ultimately, that’s what matters. Because it is better to play badly and win than to shine and lose. Maybe she actually has it all figured out.
TEICHMANN ILLUMINATES FLUSHING… Still in the running on Thursday in doubles (where she was finally eliminated), Jil Teichmann generally missed her fortnight in New York. She can just congratulate herself on having scored one of the best points of the tournament.
PAULA NO MORE! Paula Badosa can’t do it in Grand Slam either! Even climbed to 2nd place in the world in the spring, the Spaniard, who is a very beautiful player, does not manage to assume in the major tournaments, Petra Martic having again confused her Thursday (6-7 6-1 6- 2). His best result therefore remains a quarter-final at Roland-Garros 16 months ago.
CORIC, NO SURPRISE… We repeat ourselves throughout the notebooks, but digesting a title a few days before a major tournament, even more when it is unexpected, is always complicated. Adrian Mannarino had demonstrated it in the 1st round, Beatriz Haddad Maia had seen it on Wednesday and now Borna Coric was also shattered in the 32nd finals. Hero of Cincinnati, the Croatian was stifled by a cheeky Jenson Brooksby (6-4 7-6 6-1). Only his start in the second round, where he had several set points, saves appearances.
THE HIT OF THE DAY… Finally, it was that of Thursday and which was not carried out with a racket. We owe this gesture to Tommy Paul, who seems to be dreaming in these images that someone saw him…
RICH SOLID! The young guard is still stuck in the face of cunning and experience. The proof with the defeat of the ex-no 1 world junior Miomir Kecmanovic (23 years old) in front of Richard Gasquet, 36 spring. Solid and able to maintain a high intensity, the Biterrois put down the rebellion of the Serb in 4 rounds and above all pushed back his own limits after a few hours of trouble. “After my 1st round, I had sunstroke, I was dead and I didn’t eat anything for almost 2 dayshe pointed out. Coming onto the court, I told myself that I had to attack” Well done! Place for Nadal in the 3rd round, for an 18th confrontation (17-0)! Comment from “Richie”: “Monfils lost 18-0 against Djoko, so I hoped never to play Rafa again until the end of my career… More seriously, it’s a reward for me to play him there, probably on the Central. It’s unexpected.”
A CERTAIN MURRAY-BERRETTINI… This Friday should be animated by a nice 3rd round between Andy Murray and Matteo Berrettini. The poster promises. On the one hand because the Scot claims to be getting closer to where he wants to be and, on the other hand, because the Italian has a desire for revenge after being deprived of Wimbledon for a Covid test. Although he appears a bit more sluggish, “Berrett” still has his huge forehand strikes in store. It smells good!
SYMPA, KOSTYUK! We had mentioned an electric match between Marta Kostyuk and Victoria Azarenka. Swept 6-2 6-3, the Ukrainian especially offered all her hostility to the Belarusian at the time of the handshake. Which was not a kiss, but a wind. Azarenka’s subtle response: “I know that Marta is going through very difficult situations. It’s not easy to manage. But I wish she had someone to guide her a little better through this complicated time..” And pan, as Jean-Paul Loth would say.
CILIC ATTEND EVANS! A nice 3rd round will oppose Marin Cilic to Dan Evans. The Croatian, who appeared reinvigorated at Roland-Garros (semi-final), passed the first 2 rounds with disconcerting ease, notably dominating Albert Ramos-Vinolas. No doubt the air of Flushing, where he took everyone by surprise in 2014 by playing the tennis of his life, still does something to him. To see what he can still give in front of the Briton.
Arnaud Cerutti – @arnaud_cerutti
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