US Open | Seven victories in history

In New York, Novak Djokovic will try to grab all the major titles this season. As for Quebecers Félix Auger-Aliassime and Leylah Fernandez, who made interesting strides at Flushing Meadows last year, the learning continues.


Frederic Duchesneau

Frederic Duchesneau
Journalism

Novak Djokovic had an eclipse last week. At least a partial eclipse.

Serena Williams’ withdrawal announcement, along with that of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, has shaken the tennis world. Undoubtedly, he delivered a cold response to the US Open organizers.

Since 1997, these three periods have not missed a major tournament at the same time. The phrase “End of an Era” was written and repeated. ad nauseam.

Meanwhile – perhaps a small victim of the fact that he stirs up mixed feelings – little has been said about Novak Djokovic, who could irrevocably go down in history on Sunday, September 12. For those who haven’t already taken this for granted.

By winning at Flushing Meadows, the Serbian will take the lead in men’s tennis single-handedly with a score of 21NS headline. Some would say this position will not be fixed, as Nadal and Federer have yet to retire. This is it.

So, let’s add that it will be the first since Rod Laver, in 1969, to achieve a “Grand Slam”, that is, remove the Grand Slam in the same year. Among the women, Stevie Graf was the last to accomplish this feat, in 1988.

In recent years, the Joker has dominated men’s tennis. Point.

In his last two US matches, he was kicked out of the round of 16, retired from injury in 2019, and was disqualified last year after accidentally hitting an assistant in the face with a fluff ball.

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With the exception of these two “defeats” – given their nature – Novak Djokovic has participated in the finals of 9 of the last 10 major tournaments. He won eight. Amazing.

“I expect he will win the championship,” John McEnroe was injured last Tuesday in a video conference for the media before the tournament. Before Wimbledon, I felt he would win the Grand Slam. I felt he would lose in the Olympics. Two out of three, excessive travel, no fans, etc., I think, helped. ”

The world number one has not played since the Olympics. It doesn’t matter, in New York, all that can stop him isn’t one player in particular, according to McEnroe. But the heat is intense.

In the first round, Djokovic will face Danish qualifier Holger Vitus Nodskov Ron, 145NS worldwide.

Will Auger-Aliassime skate at Wimbledon?

Felix Auger-Aliassime reached the last 16 at Flushing Meadows last year, in front of the deserted stands. It was his best performance in a major tournament.

PHOTO AARON DOSTER, Associated Press Archives

Felix Auger-Aliassime

Since then, he made it this far at the Australian Open earlier this year before reaching the quarter-finals at Wimbledon two months ago.

But then, he stormed the Tokyo Games and made two rounds in Washington (the 500 class), before his disappointingly fast trip to Toronto. However, he did appear in Queens after the quarterfinals of the Masters 1000 in Cincinnati.

Quebec is currently at 15NS World rank, his career is high.

“I think Felix is ​​fine. He may not be at the level we thought he would be, given his general abilities. But McEnroe analyzes that he could become a good thing in the long run, not being overshadowed by many, very soon. The key is how you learn.” of your losses, and how you recover.”

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The American analyst then repeated his prediction every time he was called to comment on the Canadian’s progress: the 21-year-old would win the majors.

But he added, “He still has things he needs to work on.”

In the first round, Auger Eliassim, 12NS Favorite, he will rub shoulders with Russian qualifier Evgeny Donskoy, 152NS worldwide.

Fernandez in search of results

Layla Fernandez offers 15 ranks since the beginning of the year – currently at 73NS Class -, in addition to receiving his first title, in March, in Mexico.

Photo of Hugo Sebastian Hubert, press archives

Laila Fernandez

But since then, wins have become rare (9-11, including various playoffs and the Billie Jean King Cup). Achieving consistency during an 11-month season remains very challenging.

Former player Pam Shriver, also an ESPN Network Analyst, winner of 21 major doubles titles, sees a bright future for Laval. It sheds an interesting light. She says national success can help on an individual basis.

“What I’ve read and what I’ve seen of his development is great,” says Shriver, and also notes that left-handedness is always an advantage.

“I think it really helps to be from a country that we’ve seen before – whether it’s Sweden in the ’80s, whether it’s Serbia or Spain – where you really gain strength. By having citizens leading the way.”

In this case, Eugenie Bouchard and Milos Raonic, and then today, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov, and Bianca Andreescu.

Last year in New York, Fernandez reached the second round of a major for the first time in his young career. She was going to take an additional tour at Roland Garros the following month.

This year, at Flushing Meadows, she will face Croatian qualifier Anna Kongo, 88.NS worldwide.

Other Canadians in Singles

Denis Shapovalov

Photo by JOHN E. SOKOLOWSKI, USA Today Sports Archives

Denis Shapovalov

The 22-year-old Canadian is back at Top 10, with all that it means. In the semi-finals at Wimbledon, he fought a heated battle against Novak Djokovic. But since then, she has seen three defeats in the same number of matches. So he hasn’t won for nearly two months. He is the seventh candidate on the table.

First-round opponent: Federico Delbonis, 47NS worldwide
Best New York Performance: 2020 Quarter-finals (defeated Pablo Carreno Busta)

Bianca Andreescu

Photo of Oliver Jane, press archive

Bianca Andreescu

Seventh in the world, Antaria ranks sixth in the tournament due to the absence of Sofia Kenin. After a promising comeback at the start of the year, due to his long absence, Andreescu has struggled to get his rhythm back ever since. It must be said that new infections, albeit less serious, and infection with COVID-19 have not helped.

First round opponent: Victoria Golubek 45NS worldwide
Best New York Performance: Champion of 2019

Vasek Pospisil

PHOTO NICK WASS, linked archival journalism

Vasek Pospisil

The ATP gave Pospisil its best comeback of 2020, having climbed from 148NS up to 61NS global ranking. Although he has won only 5 of his 15 duels this season, he has not held back, currently 58NS. He scored two wins in a row just once in 2021, on English lawn at Eastbourne.

First-round opponent: Fabio Fognini, 31NS worldwide
Best New York Performance: Round of 16, 2020 (defeated by Alex de Minaur)

Rebecca Marino

Photo of Oliver Jane, press archive

Rebecca Marino

Marino continued the momentum of her time in Montreal, when she was surprised to reach the third round of the National Bank Open. Al-Kindi, 175NS world, defeated 19NS and 6NS seeded in the qualifiers, en route to his second major draw at a major this year (second round in Australia) and his first in ten years at the US Open.

Opponent in the first round: Elina Svitolina – 5NS worldwide
Best New York Performance: 2010 Second Round (defeated by Venus Williams)

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