Mondays with Bob Greene
Daniil Medvedev beat David Goffin 7-6 (3) 6-4 to win the Western & Southern Open men’s singles in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Madison Keys beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5 7-6 (5) to win the Western & Southern Open women’s singles in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Ricardas Berankis beat Jason Jung 6-3 5-7 6-4 to win the Odlum Brown Van Open men’s singles in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Heather Watson beat Sara Sorribes Tormo 7-5 6-4 to win the Odlum Brown Van Open women’s singles in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
“These have been the best three weeks of my life.” – Daniil Medvedev, after winning the Western & Southern Open in his third straight final.
“I think you are ready for New York.” – David Goffin, talking to Daniil Medvedev after losing to the Russian in the Cincinnati Masters final.
“I don’t even really think about winning the tournament. I just want to have the chance to play it.” – Naomi Osaka, who hurt her knee in Cincinnati and is questioning whether she will be able to defend her US Open title.
“He’s definitely one of the best players in the world at this moment.” – Novak Djokovic, talking about Daniil Medvedev after losing to the Russian in Cincinnati.
“It is such an amazing feeling when you’re playing a legend like Roger and all these people supporting him until the end. One day I hope I’m going to feel the same.” – Andrey Rublev, after beating Roger Federer in the third round in Cincinnati.
“He was super clean. Defense, offense, serving well. Didn’t give me anything. He was everywhere. So, it was tough for me, but excellent match by him. I was impressed.” – Roger Federer, talking about Andrey Rublev.
“I’m pretty pumped. When you’re winning, it’s fun. When you’re losing, it sucks. I’m happy to be winning, trying to prevent losses.” – Venus Williams, after beating Donna Vekic and reaching the Western & Southern quarterfinals.
“It means that we’ve done really well and that shows all the work we’ve put in. It’s a very good feeling.” – Robert Farah, after he and partner Juan Sebastian Cabal qualified for the year-ending Nitto ATP Finals.
“You have to mature, you have to take this responsibility. Other players, and maybe me, would pay anything for someone to come over and do it. But I believe tennis makes me mature and makes me do different things and makes me better. It’s not just about the result, it’s how I am and how I start to take responsibility. I feel it on the court as well.” – Svetlana Kuznetsova.
STOP AT THE TOP
For the third straight tournament, Daniil Medvedev has played on the final day. For the first time, he came away the champion. “My mentality was the best, my serve was the best, my tennis has been really consistent,” the Russian said after winning the Western & Southern Open. “I didn’t have one bad match. I hope to continue this way for next few weeks.” The “next few weeks,” of course, includes the US Open, which begins its two-week run next Monday. At the ATP Cincinnati Masters event, Medvedev fought off David Goffin in straight sets. The title comes after he lost in the finals to Nick Kyrgios in Washington and Rafael Nadal in Montreal. “I think my Montreal final against Rafa was important,” Medvedev said of hanging on. “I was maybe able to use that experience that I had and David did not.” Medvedev got to the final by upsetting defending champion Novak Djokovic in the semis. Now he has the most match wins on any surface this year with 43, two more than Nadal. Medvedev jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the opening set, but Goffin fought back, forcing a tiebreak. After taking the set, the Russian broke Goffin in the opening game of the second set, which was all he needed. The three-week surge has raised Medvedev’s ranking to fifth in the world. “I don’t check the rankings every two minutes, but I do look after I do well at a tournament,” he said. “If I had lost, I’d be seventh. Now I’m fifth.”
SURGES TO VICTORY
Madison Keys rallied in both sets to overcome Svetlana Kuznetsova and capture the Western & Southern Open women’s singles title. With the victory, her second title of the year, Keys will rise to 10th in the WTA world rankings. “If you told me a week ago this is where I would be, I would have laughed in your face,” Keys said in accepting the trophy. Until Cincinnati, Keys had not won a match since Wimbledon and began the Western & Southern Open on a two-match losing streak. Kuznetsova, a two-time Grand Slam tournament champion, led 5-3 in both sets before Keys rallied, repeatedly slamming winners down the line. The 2017 US Open finalist won the final four games of the first set, then captured the tiebreak 7-5 to hoist the trophy. The 24-year-old Keys fired 13 aces and 45 winners against 29 unforced errors. Kuznetsova, who entered the tournament for the second straight year with a wild card, finished with two aces and 15 winners.
A left knee injury forced top-ranked Naomi Osaka to retire from her Western & Southern Open quarterfinal match and placed in doubt her US Open title defense. “It sucks, especially since I didn’t want to get injured this close to the Open,” Osaka said. And now I’m kind of worried a little bit.” Osaka had crushed American Sofia Kenin 6-1 to level their match at a set apiece before losing the first game of the third set. With the second game knotted at deuce, Osaka stopped play and called for a trainer. After being worked on for 10 minutes, she returned to the court with her knee heavily taped and promptly lost that game before retiring. “I really don’t know what’s going on with my leg right now,” Osaka said. “I was asking the trainer if it was safe to play, because I really hate withdrawing. I went out there, I wanted to finish the set. But I felt this, like it wasn’t safe.” The Japanese star won the US Open last year, beating Serena Williams in a controversial finish. She then captured the Australian Open to take over the number one ranking for the first time. “Last year I won the US Open and this year I’m trying to play the US Open,” Osaka said of her mindset. The US Open begins August 26.
Serena Williams also withdrew from Cincinnati with an injury, the second straight tournament in which she has pulled out with back spasms. In Toronto, she retired early in the first set of the final against Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu. In Cincinnati, she withdrew before her second-round match. “I came to Mason on Sunday and have tried everything to be ready to play tonight, and was still hopeful after my practice this morning, but unfortunately, my back is still not right and I know I should not take to the court,” Williams said. There has been no discussion on her participating in the US Open, where she will be seeking a record-tying 24th Grand Slam tournament title.
Coco Gauff, the 15-year-old who reached the fourth round at Wimbledon, will try for an encore at the US Open. The Florida resident received a wild card entry into the women’s singles main draw. Gauff is currently ranked 140th in the world. At age 13, she became the youngest US Open junior finalist in history. At age 14, she won the French Open junior girls title. After being the youngest player to go through qualifying for Wimbledon, she upset five-time champion Venus Williams in the first round. Gauff lost her fourth-round match to eventual winner Simona Halep.
Among other players receiving wild card entries into the women’s main draw were 2011 US Open champion Samantha Stosur of Australia, 17-year-old American Catherine McNally, Francesca Di Lorenzo, Whitney Osuigwe, Kristie Ahn, Katie Volynets and Dianne Parry of France.
Gauff an McNally, who won the Citi Open doubles earlier this month, have said they plan to play doubles together at Flushing Meadows, where they won the US Open junior girls doubles a year ago.
Nine wild cards for women’s qualifying have also been awarded, including to five-time Grand Slam doubles champion Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 14-year-old Reese Brantmeier of Wisconsin, Vicky Duval, Shelby Rogers and Pan Am Games medalist Caroline Dolehide.
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) said wild cards into the men’s singles draw will go to Americans Jack Sock, Bjorn Fratangelo, Marcos Giron, Ernesto Escobedo, Chris Eubanks and 18s national champion Zachary Svajda, along with Antoine Hoang of France and Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia.
Wild cards into the men’s qualifying were awarded to Sebastian Korda, son of 1998 Australian Open winner Petr Korda, as well as last year’s 18s national champion Jenson Brooksby.
STOPPED BY SURGERY
Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro, who underwent surgery in June to repair a broken right kneecap, won’t be playing the US Open this year. He underwent surgery after breaking the patella in his right knee for the second time in nine months. Del Potro won the US Open in 2009 and was runner-up in 2018.
Top-ranked Novak Djokovic couldn’t get out of the way of Daniil Medvedev’s rush to the Cincinnati Masters final. Djokovic appeared to be on his way to victory, but was unable to answer when Medvedev stepped up the pressure in the second set of their semifinal battle, He did it by hitting his second serves almost as hard as his first serves. “I don’t know how I turned it around,” Medvedev said after the 3-6 6-3 6-3 victory. “I was so tired after the first set and I thought I might not be able to keep up the intensity. But I had a momentum chance in the second set and the crowd gave me energy.” Djokovic, the defending champion, was playing his first tournament since winning Wimbledon in July.
Losing to Russian qualifier Andrey Rublev 6-3 6-4 didn’t seem to alarm Roger Federer. “I played 45 matches this year, so I think I should be fine,” said Federer, who has won the Western & Southern Open seven times. This time, though, the veteran looked out of sorts from the start, missing shots that would normally be clean winners, and winning just seven of his 19 trips to the net. Federer chalked it up to it being the first time he has played Rublev. “If I play Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic, I know more or less what they are going to do or can do. That’s different with a player you play for the first time,” Federer said. “It’s maybe a small advantage to have over us, but regardless you’ve still got to hit the corners, hit the lines, keep it going. He did exactly that. He was really perfect today. It was a great performance.”
It was a dream result for Yoshihito Nishioka. Not only did he play his idol, he upset fellow Japanese Kei Nishikori 7-6 (2) 6-4 in Cincinnati. “I was so excited to play with him because he’s the hero of the Japanese tennis, Asian tennis,” Nishioka said. “I couldn’t sleep yesterday. I know him very well. I was watching him when I was a junior. I was learning many things from him. … I just wanted to be my best against my hero.”
Nick Kyrgios’ meltdown at the Cincinnati Masters resulted in his being fined USD $113,000. The Australian smashed two racquets, launched an abusive tirade at the chair umpire and appeared to spit at an official during his second-round 6-7 (3) 7-6 (4) 6-2 loss to Russia’s Karen Khachanov. The 24-year-old Kyrgios also was warned he could face another suspension once a full investigation has been completed. The ATP said the fines were for ball abuse, leaving the court without permission, an audible obscenity and unsportsmanlike conduct. After the match, Kyrgios used an obscenity at umpire Fergus Murphy and refused to shake the umpire’s hand while spitting in the direction of the chair. He had earlier been handed a time violation, docked a point and was warned again after leaving the court without permission at the end of the second set after which he was seen demolishing two racquets in the corridor. The ATP issued a statement saying Kyrgios faces an additional fine and/or suspension.
Andy Murray won’t play doubles at the US Open this year. In fact, he won’t play at all at this year’s final Grand Slam tournament. The British star is instead playing singles at the Winston-Salem Open in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA, this week. “My goal is to get back playing at the level that I want to on the singles court, and I’ve decided that I need to focus all my energies on that right now,” the 32-year-old Scotsman told BBC Sport. Murray said he might compete at a Challenger tournament in New Haven, Connecticut, USA, during the second week of the US Open. “I’ve hardly played the last couple of years and, having discussed with my team, after this week I think doubles is done for me for the time being.”
SET FOR LONDON
Although they lost the final in Cincinnati, Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah have clinched a spot in the year-ending Nitto ATP Finals, which will be held in London in November. The Columbians became the first pair to qualify for the eight-team field when they reached the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open. “It’s a goal we have in the beginning of the year,” Cabal said. “It’s amazing. It’s great news for Columbia, for us.” The pair made history at Wimbledon this year when they became the first Colombians to win a Grand Slam tournament men’s doubles title. This will be their third trip to the season-ending event. They were non-playing alternates in 2016 and reached the semifinals last year.
The Czech Republic has been given a wild card for the 2020 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals, which will be played April 14-19, 2020, in Budapest, Hungary. Eleven-time Fed Cup champions, the Czech will join 2019 finalists Australia and France as well as host Hungary at the all-new Finals event. The remaining eight teams in the 2020 Finals will be the winners of the Fed Cup Qualifiers, eight events held in eight different locations next February. “The Czechs have been the team to beat in Fed Cup over the last decade, with Petr Pala having led the team through a remarkable period of dominance,” said David Haggerty, president of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). “We look forward to an exciting competition in Budapest next year.” The Czech Republic has won six of the last nine Fed Cup titles.
The 16 teams playing in the Qualifiers are the United States, Belarus, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Great Britain, Latvia, Canada, Japan, Slovakia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Brazil and Netherlands.
Cincinnati (men): Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek beat Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 4-6 6-4 10-6 (match tiebreak)
Cincinnati (women): Lucie Hradecka and Andreja Klepac beat Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Demi Schuurs 6-4 6-1
Vancouver (men): Robert Lindstedt and Jonny O’Mara beat Trent Huey and Adil Shamasdin 6-2 7-5
Vancouver (women): Nao Hibino and Miyu Kato beat Naomi Broady and Erin Routliffe 6-2 6-2
New York: https://www.usopen.org/index.htm
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
$807,210 Winston-Salem Open, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA, hard
$250,000 NYJTL Bronx Open, New York, New York, USA
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
MEN and WOMEN
US Open, New York, New York, USA, hard