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Stefanos Tsitsipas and Naomi Osaka Bowed Out of U.S. Open

Stefanos Tsitsipas
Stefanos Tsitsipas

Two title contenders have been bowed out of the last slam of the year. Tsitsipas’ frustrating run since the French Open final continues as the teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz’s forehand found no answers from the Greek. He already played one five-setters match before in the tournament and was clearly looking low on energy right from the word go. The scoreline was 6-3, 4-6, 7-6, 0-6, 7-6. “It’s one of these matches and one of these feelings where … you feel like you’re in control, and it doesn’t really go your way at the end,” Tsitsipas said at the news conference following the match.

Tsitsipas had a fairytale French Open run this year, becoming the first Greek player in history to reach a Grand Slam final, beating Alexander Zverev in five sets to get there. Then, in the final against world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, after leading two sets to love, he plundered, losing the next three sets. He has not recovered. He went into Wimbledon as one of the favorites, but made a shocking first-round exit, losing to American Frances Tiafoe. Then, at the Olympics, he lost to France’s Ugo Humbert in three sets. Friday’s match against Alcaraz was a repeat of similar mistakes throughout the year in not capitalizing on big breaks.

In women’s defending champion Naomi Osaka lost to Canadian Leylah Fernandez 5-7 7-6(2) 6-4, ending her title defense inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. Playing in her first Grand Slam since pulling out of the French Open earlier this year, Osaka’s return to Flushing Meadows did not go to plan, as she wordlessly left the court after uncharacteristically losing her cool in the second set tiebreak. The third seed whacked her racquet and then flung it onto the court twice in frustration as Fernandez scored five straight points in the tiebreak, in a series of superb plays.

An 18-year-old Canadian was just too good for Osaka in the 3rd round clash. A fan favorite in virtually any tennis venue, Osaka has struggled with the uneven play since she withdrew from Roland Garros earlier this year amid a public row with tournament officials over media obligations, which she said had a negative impact on her mental health. In the 3rd round, two title contenders have lost to two teenage sensations and it seems like there are few more upsets around the corner. The way some of the young players are playing, they are destined to give some tough time to the favorites they will be playing against. Daniil Medvedev is playing the best tennis of this year and he will be a player to watch out for.

In another event, India’s Sania Mirza has lost both women’s doubles and mixed doubles encounter in the first round. Rohan Bopanna on the other hand has won the first-round match with Ivan Dodig and will be playing their second-round match this weekend. He is the only Indian left at the U.S. Open and fans would love to see him go deep.

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Navneet S Karnani

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