Raducanu defeats Fernandez, Djokovic faces Medvedev in men’s final on Sunday – nonenglishfeed

September 11, 2021 at 9:54 PM EDT

Raducanu postmatch press conference

Tennis Now’s Chris Oddo did the hard work for us at the much-delayed Raducanu title-winning press conference. 9:47pm in New York. I don’t know how you do it, East Coasters.

My thoughts:

  • I would love to have 6 hours without my phone!
  • No surprise that the match officials wouldn’t let her play with blood running down her leg. Gotta chop that up to good luck for her and bad luck for Leylah. As we discussed at the very beginning of the match, tennis is ALL about momentum. Why else would Andy Murray (and everyone else on Planet Tennis sans Novak Djokovic) blast Tsitsipas for taking a self-induced break in the middle of a match?
  • It’s pretty weird to see Raducanu in street clothes. Looks like a normal high school student to me. Maybe a high school student with $2.5M burning a hole in the back of her pocket? Yeah that’s it.

September 11, 2021 at 9:04 PM EDT

Andy Roddick: greatest Twitter personality on the planet right now?

The Djokovic ‘first he takes your legs then he takes your soul’ tweet really sent us all for a loop and now we have some joyous support for our runner-up. Dude is very genuine.

A few other great tributes from the tennis / UK world to EmRad:

  • US Open account, who loves the 250K-plus-in-a-day IG flex
  • The Queen. Yup, it’s that Queen. Also The Royal Family of the same … family.
  • Martina Navratilova, noted fan of Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga
  • Gary Lineker, former England footballer and on-air Tweeter
  • British footballer, recent Man City transfer and excellent hair-haver Jack Grealish
  • England football, who shared a photo of her at a Wembley match from who knows when
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who I will not comment on
  • NY Times’ Ben Rothenberg, dropping deep knowledge about Raducanu’s run

Eric Drobny

September 11, 2021 at 8:02 PM EDT

What to expect from Djokovic-Medvedev

After the high of today’s women’s final, we move on to tomorrow’s men’s clash at 4ET on ESPN. What to look out for:

  • Novak Djokovic is going for history and if history is any teacher, he won’t falter. Djokovic simply does not blow it in big moments. He has won 85 career titles, 20 majors and the last three grand slams. He did lose in the Olympics gold medal match to Alexander Zverev, a semifinalist this year. The kicker? 5 sets vs. 3 sets. Djokovic has lost the first set in three matches during this tournament but he always hangs around and punishes opponents for not stepping on his neck when they had the chance.
  • Medvedev plays very much like Djoker: extremely consistent, whack-a-mole tennis. He doesn’t try to get cute with drop shots, backhand spinners or even baseline winners. He has yet to win a major title but if he’s ever going to do it, it’s now. He’ll have to pull a Djokovic and return at a Hall of Fame level if he’s going to get there. They’re both in remarkably good shape (despite being a decade apart in age). I expect this one to go to at least a fourth set and maybe a fifth.
  • The crowd: there is no clear winner here. A lot of folks are meh on Djokovic as a personality / alpha dog in the sport but they’re pulling for him simply because winning all four majors in a calendar year is so rare. Medvedev has matured, his game has evolved and he’s becoming more likable by the tournament. I’ll give Djokovic the slight edge here crowd-wise, which is hilarious to think about given how reluctant they’ve been to cheer him on this year (remember the match against 18-year-old Rune? It was almost embarrassing how much the crowd was cheering on Djoker’s demise). He’s had his fair share of controversy but nothing gigantic or career-defining. Aside from a few emotional outbursts, both men have little reason to be loved or hated.
Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 11, 2021 at 7:07 PM EDT

The transition from tonight into tomorrow’s men’s final

Medvedev is young and different but still ranked no. 2 in the world. Djokovic is 34, going for the calendar slam and isn’t exactly hated but to imagine him getting this kind of reception if he does in fact win?

More proof that aside from equal pay (which, YEEEEEESSSSSS!!!!), there isn’t much similar on the two sides right now.

I have Djokovic beating Medvedev in four sets. Djokovic is -250 and Medvedev is +210, according to BetMGM. You can expect a very close match.

Speaking of close matchups, do we have a future rivalry-stirring moment there with the medical timeout?

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 11, 2021 at 7:01 PM EDT

Hard to take in the full historical context here

It feels like we all collectively blinked and tennis has changed overnight. Perhaps by the time we get to the Australian Open in February of next year what we just witnessed will not feel quite so impactful. I doubt it.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 11, 2021 at 6:49 PM EDT

Goodnight from the UK

Where to even start with that? Completely in awe of Emma Raducanu. The US Open champion! As a qualifier. Drink it in everyone in Britain, because it doesn’t get much better than this.

Charlie Eccleshare

Charlie Eccleshare·Tottenham Hotspur Correspondent

September 11, 2021 at 6:42 PM EDT

We’ll cap it off with the most impactful athlete ever

Billie Jean King, thank you very much for everything you’ve done for girls and women in sport. Thank you for still being around and supporting the game after all these years. Unbelievable win here for Emma Raducanu. Thanks for joining us!

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 11, 2021 at 6:36 PM EDT

Raducanu was graceful in her win

Tennis is brutal. You lose a final and you have to go out there and stand next to the person you just lost to — imagine that in golf. Or lord forbid any team sport. It requires a level of emotional maturity that very few adults have, let alone teenagers. This is pretty inspiring to watch.

On a different level we’ve got check / cheque jokes for days on Twitter right now. And a VERY lame Katy Perry Teenage Dream playing in the background. It’s okay tennis you can have this one.

Also Channel 4 in the UK captured Larry David on the broadcast and I don’t think they got him on ESPN anywhere. Problem?

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 11, 2021 at 6:29 PM EDT

I’m not tearing up, YOU’RE tearing up

“I know on this day it was especially hard for New York. I just want to say that I hope I can be as strong and resilient as New York has been the past twenty years. Thank you for always having my back, thank you for cheering for me. I love you New York and hope to see you next year.” — Leylah Fernandez

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 11, 2021 at 6:24 PM EDT

Unbelievable. Can’t imagine her losing to anyone right now.

Emma Raducanu the qualifier went all the way and completed a wonderful run to become the US Open Champion. She’s the first qualifier in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam. And yet, she’ll be ranked behind many of the players that she (and Leylah Fernandez) beat on their way to the final.

Before we began, we really had no idea who was going to win — one of the consistent players in Osaka or Barty? A former Grand Slam champion? Instead we got two teenagers from two non-dominant nations traditionally.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 11, 2021 at 6:18 PM EDT

An absolutely heartbreaking (and inspiring) run from Leylah Fernandez

It just wasn’t to be for Fernandez today. But, Fernandez impressed by showing fight with her back against the wall as she stared down championship point.

Fernandez can always say that in the best year of her young career that she has a WTA title victory to her name and a U.S. Open final appearance. She put the tennis world on notice this week, if they aren’t already aware. And Canada has another tennis phenom to believe in, not just Bianca Andreescu.

Julian McKenzie

Julian McKenzie

September 11, 2021 at 6:15 PM EDT

It’s all over

SHE HAS DONE IT!

Raducanu is the US Open women’s champion.

She has become the second British female to win a Grand Slam without dropping a single set. Angela Mortimer Barrett was the first to do so at the 1958 Australian Championships.S

Holly Percival

Holly Percival·Junior Editor, News

September 11, 2021 at 6:14 PM EDT

Raducanu’s your winner in straight sets!

She started this tournament ranked 150th in the world. Now she’s the US Open champion.

Huge congratulations to Leylah Fernandez who went on her own sensational run.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 11, 2021 at 6:08 PM EDT

Medical timeout at a very critical time

This short medical break is going to feel like a lifetime for both Raducanu and Fernandez.

It’s understandable that Fernandez is frustrated the game has stopped with the momentum on her side.

This could make or break the match for either of them…

Holly Percival

Holly Percival·Junior Editor, News

September 11, 2021 at 6:00 PM EDT

Leylah just stared down several match points

And she’s out there with a smirk on her face. 5-3 and break point.

Raducanu took a break after sliding a bit on the court and took a medical timeout (three minutes). Blood on the court is not allowed, of course.

This crowd is very, very fired up right now. 6pm on Saturday night in New York City. You surprised?

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 11, 2021 at 5:56 PM EDT

Attention Robert Redford

There’s a “The Natural” feel to Raducanu. Obviously Roy Hobbs was older, but the coming from the proverbial nowhere in a flash to be the best resonates. Fernandez was a known quantity within tennis, but Raducanu shocked the world at Wimbledon on her way to the fourth round as a wildcard. And then this. There is a reason a qualifier has never been to a Slam final well enough be on the precipice of winning. It’s like a low minor leaguer turning into Babe Ruth.

Daniel Kaplan

Daniel Kaplan·Staff Writer, Sports Business

September 11, 2021 at 5:49 PM EDT

Getting late overseas…

It’s nearly 11pm here in the UK and there is no way I am turning my TV off.

The last two games have been jaw dropping. I really don’t know what to tell you anymore. If you don’t have this match on, PUT IT ON.

Holly Percival

Holly Percival·Junior Editor, News

September 11, 2021 at 5:49 PM EDT

5-2 after TWO BREAKS

Raducanu just hit three of the craziest shots you’ll ever see from a tennis player let alone an 18-year-old let alone a qualifier let alone in a Slam final. What’s the word for ultra unicorn?

She’s one hold away.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 11, 2021 at 5:38 PM EDT

A couple of excellent takes here

Presented without comment

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 11, 2021 at 5:36 PM EDT

Fernandez breaks and if you’re not pulling for a third set, GTFO

At 40-15, it looked as though it would be a very easy game for Leylah. Raducanu stormed back and nearly took the game before Fernandez put it back to deuce by inducing a huge error from Raducanu. She put her away to go back up advantage and finally finished her off.

You know how when Kendrick Lamar dropped Good Kidd, m.A.A.d. City and we all knew it would be a classic right out the gate? Yeah, this is like that.

2-1 Leylah in the second set; Raducanu has the one-set lead.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 11, 2021 at 5:29 PM EDT

Leylah holds after going down 0-40

The composure from Fernandez in the second game deserves a standing ovation!

Three points down only to win five straight shows how much resilience she has. I can’t take my eyes off the TV!

Holly Percival

Holly Percival·Junior Editor, News

September 11, 2021 at 5:28 PM EDT

C.R.E.A.M.

Emma Raducanu still has yet to lose a set. That’s 19 in a row.

If Raducanu triumphs her winner’s check will be slightly larger than the $2.5 million allotted to the victor, she also gets tens of thousands for winning three rounds of qualifying.

Daniel Kaplan

Daniel Kaplan·Staff Writer, Sports Business

September 11, 2021 at 5:25 PM EDT

Emma surging for the finish line?

Wow, wow, wow. Phenomenal level from both players, but Raducanu again surging for the finish line as we reached the set’s conclusion. Can she keep it up? It’s certainly not going to be easy but that’s some start for Raducanu. And by breaking to clinch the opener she gets to serve first in the second.

Charlie Eccleshare

Charlie Eccleshare·Tottenham Hotspur Correspondent

September 11, 2021 at 5:21 PM EDT

It’s the Brit’s match to lose

Deservedly, Raducanu takes the first set in what has been an exhilarating match so far.

Fernandez has shown signs of adapting and making Raducanu work harder for each point and that will continue to be key for the second set.

If Raducanu can keep up with the intensity of her own gameplay then it’s hers to lose.

Holly Percival

Holly Percival·Junior Editor, News

September 11, 2021 at 5:20 PM EDT

Can both of them win the title please and thank you?

Raducanu remains VERY serious out there and as much as she can be the heel in this match, she’s embracing it. Leylah’s holding all the crowd energy and Raducanu is up a set. Emma let out a gigantic wail after winning the final point.

Leylah fended off three set points and is hanging on admirably. It feels like this thing would maybe almost be over already if it wasn’t a final. She’s channeling so much and living up to the moment. Super inspiring even in loss.

This is an extremely close match. They just mentioned it on the broadcast — it’s been nearly an hour for just one set.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 11, 2021 at 5:12 PM EDT

When we say nobody predicted this we … mean it

We’ve got two extremely likable athletes here and if nothing else they very much deserve this huge crowd and all this excitement.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 11, 2021 at 5:06 PM EDT

It’s already a classic…

Things I have loved in this match so far from Fernandez:

  • Her ability to change the pace of the ball
  • Her down-the-line backhands and forehands
  • Her strong serves

Things I have loved so far from Raducanu:

  • Hearing almost all of her footsteps squeak on the court
  • Her volleys
  • Her willingness to control each point
Holly Percival

Holly Percival·Junior Editor, News

September 11, 2021 at 5:04 PM EDT

Raducanu is POWERFUL, and Leylah keeps double-faulting

This was one of the most fun points of the match and it says a lot about how both women are playing. Leylah’s using her drop shot, implementing deception and trying to wizard her way around Raducanu’s power.

It’s 4-4, with Raducanu about to serve. If Leylah can break her, that would be massive.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 11, 2021 at 5:02 PM EDT

Marines should sit in first class, no?

Marines should sit in first class, no?

It’s nice the USTA honored the Marines before the match, but couldn’t they get better seats? When they ascended the steps nearby fans applauded.

[Image taken live at the event].

Daniel Kaplan

Daniel Kaplan·Staff Writer, Sports Business

September 11, 2021 at 4:56 PM EDT

The power of two newcomers and two countries thirsty for tennis superstars…

…Carl / Beyonce is all of us.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 11, 2021 at 4:55 PM EDT

Pausing to remember

There are two anniversaries being noted here. One is somber, the 9/11 20 year anniversary. The Open had just ended 20 years ago when the attack occurred. Men’s champion Leyton Hewitt had just landed back in Australia when the terrorists attacked.

The second is the 50 year anniversary of the creation of the WTA, a seminal moment in women’s sports. The nine original members are known as the Original 9, and several of them, including Billie Jean King took part in the coin toss. In the history of sports labor movements the story of the Original 9, which took on not just management but society, should be told.

Daniel Kaplan

Daniel Kaplan·Staff Writer, Sports Business

September 11, 2021 at 4:52 PM EDT

3-2 Raducanu

And just like that Raducanu has the lead again! I am astonished at how hard both players are still hitting the ball!

Both Fernandez and Raducanu have used a lob to change the pace of the rallies and it has been effective in helping them win key points.

The Canadian is looking a lot more settled and is putting Raducanu on the back foot more after she had an impressive opening two games. Get your popcorn because this is going to be a long match.

Holly Percival

Holly Percival·Junior Editor, News

September 11, 2021 at 4:43 PM EDT

Fernandez gets a couple and it’s ON

I’m already getting the chills watching this thing. In recent memory, grand slam finals have just not been this exciting or closely matched.

More than team sports, individual sports thrive on unpredictability, human interest stories and underdogs. Novak Djokovic will try to do something no man has done since the 1960s and somehow these two young women are overshadowing that accomplishment. Let’s just say likability matters.

It’s 2-2 in the first set. LFG? LFG indeed.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 11, 2021 at 4:39 PM EDT

Djokovic-Murray vibes

As crazy as it is to say, this reminds me so far of the Djokovic Murray 2012 final. Both pushing each other to more and more ludicrous feats of defence. If they can keep this up, we’re in for a classic final.

Charlie Eccleshare

Charlie Eccleshare·Tottenham Hotspur Correspondent

September 11, 2021 at 4:37 PM EDT

Dan checks in from Arthur Ashe

The crowd inside Ashe is definitely more pro Fernandez (I am in the nosebleeds), which given the North of the border flavor here this fortnight is not a shock. Factor in difficulty of traveling from overseas is another reason Ashe is Fernandez territory.

Daniel Kaplan

Daniel Kaplan·Staff Writer, Sports Business

September 11, 2021 at 4:36 PM EDT

Raducanu is firing

Raducanu gets the early break! The Brit has shown she means business. Cross court returns, hard, deep hits to the back of the court and the willingness to take control of each point has helped her go 2-0 up.

Fernandez has started to look more settled but needs to stay focused. Less double faults and less unforced errors will be key to her getting back into the match.

Holly Percival

Holly Percival·Junior Editor, News

September 11, 2021 at 4:35 PM EDT

We’ve already got a barn burner here in New York

Down 40-15 to hold her serve, Leylah is already showing unbelievable poise about 10 points into the match. Fernandez has an extremely diverse game: forehand winners, a very solid serve, speed, precision and a nice drop shot. She got it back to deuce, went down, brought it back to deuce, double faulted, brought it back to deuce, went up, brought it down to deuce, went back up, went back down to deuce, over-hit a backhand on a 12-shot rally to go down, and finally lost the game. It’s 2-0 in the first set and I’m TIRED, PEOPLE. 15 minutes in.

For what it’s worth, it’s VERY obvious that the crowd is much louder (and dressed to the nines for) Leylah. Canada has far fewer COVID-related travel restrictions than the UK right now, as mentioned on ESPN.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 11, 2021 at 4:23 PM EDT

Meanwhile at 9pm on Saturday night in London…

The atmosphere in New York is really coming through the TV. Millions of new Raducanu fans will be staying up late to watch this.

It’s amazing that the match is accessible for free in England — many young girls are about to watch history be made.

Good luck to both Fernandez and Raducanu!

Holly Percival

Holly Percival·Junior Editor, News

September 11, 2021 at 4:16 PM EDT

We’re about to get going here

The crowd is on fire. Both women looked extremely focused. We have two champions here today no matter what happens. Sure nobody saw this coming but now we’re here.

On the broadcast they just said that it’s “twice as loud” for Fernandez as it is for Raducanu. Expecting that to be a factor but pay attention to that first break. Whoever gets it (and however fast it comes), that will be the true difference maker.

What’s been supremely remarkable here in the last 48 hours is just how fired up the crowd and all three countries have been for these two young women. In both Canada and the UK, these ladies are true sources of inspiration and national pride. The novelty of their age and rankings is the cherry on top.

Sprinkle in 18+ months of a terrifying global pandemic, the 20-year anniversary of 9/11 and a packed house and you’ve got a cocktail of emotion here at Flushing Meadows.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 11, 2021 at 4:04 PM EDT

Odds for Raducanu-Fernandez

Emma Raducanu has gone from qualifier to favorite in the final of the US Open. Raducanu is -175 against Leylah Fernandez, who is at +150 on BetMGM.

Both teenagers were incredible long shots going into the tournament. Raducanu was 250-1 while Fernandez was 150-1. Not many people will be able to cash in those tickets though Neither player had even 1% of the tickets at BetMGM before the tournament.

Contrast that to the men’s side, where three of the biggest favorites, Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev, all made it to the semifinals.

Dan Santaromita

Dan Santaromita·Associate Editor, Sports Betting

September 11, 2021 at 3:58 PM EDT

Analyzing their games

Around 10 minutes to go until the women’s final is underway and I am thoroughly excited!

Will Raducanu’s top spin and quick feet help her win her first Gram Slam? She did beat Fernandez the last time they played each other.

Raducanu won in straight sets in the second round of the girl’s singles at Wimbledon three years ago.

Holly Percival

Holly Percival·Junior Editor, News

September 11, 2021 at 3:18 PM EDT

All bow down to your wheelchair finals winners

Talk about athleticism — my hat is way off.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 11, 2021 at 3:04 PM EDT

A few thoughts on the women’s final

A few things I’ll be watching:

On the tennis side:

  • Emma hasn’t lost a single set on her way to the final. If you’ve ever played tennis before you know how mental this game is and not just because you’re all alone out there. It’s also a game of momentum and when you have it, your entire game comes together. You start hitting shots you didn’t know you could hit. Like you drank Space Jam secret stuff. They’re both on a high coming into this match but Raducanu simply hasn’t been down since before she started her run from qualifying.
  • Leylah Fernandez is left-handed, which doesn’t give her an advantage in its own right but could shake Raducanu’s comfort and confidence. With only three sets on the women’s side, you theoretically only have three break games in the first set to figure it out. That alone could give her an advantage.
  • In the semifinal, those Raducanu backhand winners were beyond fierce. Fun to watch. It’s feeling more and more like the fewer big matches you play, the less likely you are to understand the big stage (and thus falter on it). In this case, they’re both newcomers.
  • Leylah’s protection of the baseline was just ridiculous in that semi-final. Sabalenka has so much power and Leylah just ate her up by playing Canadian Night’s Watch. Fun to watch, especially for such a youngster. 4 deciding sets in a row now won for Leylah.

On the narrative side:

  • Raducanu’s rise has been remarkable and not just by tennis standards. We’re watching a David vs. Goliath surge here. This is a super, duper star. And if nobody had told you yet, she’s 18. I did not think she was going to be consistent enough to go this far this early in her career and it still worries me slightly that she hasn’t faced any of the big hitters with regularity. Fernandez won’t be that test for her but it very much feels like she’s here to stay.
  • The story of Leylah Fernandez’s family is wild. Her superstitious father will not be there but simply because he doesn’t want to jinx it. Look for ESPN to lean into Canada, her ranking, her family and more.
  • The attention on both players’ age and their high rankings has dominated the coverage here in the US. With Novak Djokovic going for the calendar slam and the relative lack of competition on the men’s side, it’s refreshing as always to see some variety on the women’s side. We wrote that the women’s side was a ‘complete tossup’ ahead of the tournament, a similar sentiment across the media for the entire 2021 season. Ash Barty and Naomi Osaka are the WTA’s two most consistent players but both lost prior to the Quarterfinals this season.

Lastly, the prize money for today’s winner? $2.5M.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 11, 2021 at 2:24 PM EDT

Krawczyk and Salisbury take the mixed doubles title

WHAT A PERFORMANCE!

Krawczyk and Salisbury fought hard and they deserve the title. A nail-biting first set followed by a more convincing second set has allowed them to show their composure and chemistry. 7-5, 6-2. Congrats to both!

Salisbury won the men’s double this year and Krawczyk won three of four Grand Slams at mixed doubles during the calendar year. A really special moment for these players.

Now it’s over to you Raducanu…

Holly Percival

Holly Percival·Junior Editor, News

September 11, 2021 at 2:22 PM EDT

The future of the women’s game!

Robin Montgomery takes the girls singles title. Don’t you dare forget that name.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 11, 2021 at 1:56 PM EDT

Former player Alexandra Stevenson shares touching tribute

ESPN with an emotional story in between sets of the mixed doubles final. Alexandra Stevenson is courtside for ESPN at the mixed doubles final.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 11, 2021 at 1:49 PM EDT

Mixed doubles final

Raducanu might not be the only British player to win a US Open title!

Britain’s Joe Salisbury is currently playing in the mixed doubles final with America’s Desirae Krawczyk. They won they first set 7-5 in what has been a thrilling match to watch so far.

Holly Percival

Holly Percival·Junior Editor, News

September 11, 2021 at 1:11 PM EDT

No villains. Just two likable heroines.

I’m a huge fan of both players. I’ve seen a lot more of Fernandez and LOVE her game. I remember being eager to watch her play during the Canadian Open — because they televised a ton of the tournament – but she lost in the first round in Montreal to a qualifier. An amazing story no matter who wins.

Lisa Dillman

Lisa Dillman·Senior Writer, Kings

September 11, 2021 at 12:55 PM EDT

Britain is mad for EMRAD

Raducanu will have millions of unexpected fans behind her tonight. Fans are eager to see another British tennis player succeed after Andy Murray won the last Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2016.

You have the country behind you Emma!

Holly Percival

Holly Percival·Junior Editor, News

September 11, 2021 at 12:31 PM EDT

US Open social redeems itself!

I know it’s sort of lame and a little presumptuous as far as global TV audiences go but I’m a sucker for these graphics. Tennis has had its issues with diversity and inclusion for many many years and there’s a huge mountain to climb still. The last decade or so has seen a great evolution though and I’m feeling optimistic about the future.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 11, 2021 at 12:10 PM EDT

Trivia!

Let’s just say the women’s final portion of the question is a lot more challenging.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 11, 2021 at 12:00 PM EDT

September 11 tribute

Women cadets from West Point will unfurl the flag today at Flushing Meadows.

No matter who you are, where you were born, where you’re from or how you identify — take care of yourselves today.

By The Athletic Staff

By The Athletic Staff

September 11, 2021 at 10:26 AM EDT

Three years ago.

A 15-year-old vs. a 16-year-old. ‘A modest Court 17 crowd’ feels like the understatement of the century.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 11, 2021 at 10:14 AM EDT

We’re going three sets, folks

Ok be honest, who had this final in their pre-tournament predictions? If you did… what on earth were you thinking?

This final just should not be happening. The two finalists’ combined age of 37 is three years younger than Roger Federer! There is just no logic to any of this, none. Ok Leylah Fernandez has at least generated a bit of a buzz over the last few years but Emma Raducanu… sure she did brilliantly to reach the Wimbledon fourth round earlier this summer, but the US Open final! At her first attempt! As a qualifier! Aged 18! This just doesn’t happen. Honestly, it really doesn’t. No qualifier has ever reached the final of a major, so what Raducanu has done is genuinely historic. Tennis is meant to be a sport of incremental gains, and here she is leaping straight from Go to Mayfair (Boardwalk if you live in the US) and making it look like it’s the easiest thing in the world.

Fernandez too has been a delight this tournament, swatting aside four-time major champion Naomi Osaka, and then players of the calibre of Angelique Kerber (three majors to her name), fifth seed Elina Svitolina and No 2 seed Arnya Sabalenka. Like Raducanu, she is completely fearless – and has lit up New York with her thrilling tennis and charm.

How she will fare going in as probably the marginal favourite after all those giant-killings will be fascinating. Ditto Raducanu – how will she cope with the raised pressure of a match against one of her contemporaries? Like you, I really really can’t wait to find out.

My prediction? Fernandez in three sets.

Charlie Eccleshare

Charlie Eccleshare·Tottenham Hotspur Correspondent

September 10, 2021 at 11:10 PM EDT

That’s it!

Novak Djokovic is three sets away from winning the calendar Slam. You really feel for Zverev, who put up a massive, massive fight against a machine that is just so insanely difficult to break down.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 11:02 PM EDT

Triple break point and he couldn’t finish the game. Until he did.

In an epic game that lasted nearly 10 minutes, Zverev had an opportunity to keep Djokovic at bay, went up advantage, went back down, went back up, went back down, went back up (this is gonna end soon I swear), and finally won.

5-2 in the final set. Looking like it’s going to end 6-3. Book it?

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 10:49 PM EDT

Can’t stop thinking about Djokovic’s return game

Objectively the best returner ever on the men’s side? I would say fight me or I’m willing to die on this hill but there’s too much to celebrate for this guy. The forever king of five sets.

5-0 in the fifth.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 10:47 PM EDT

History — and it’s quite a story

Interesting thing about Laver’s Slam in 1969. It followed six years in which he and other players were shut out from the Slams for going professional. Incredibly he won the Slam in 1962, was banned from 1963-1968, then won it again in 1969. I am sure he would say his hard work turning tennis professional was more important than winning the Slam. It’s hard to believe, but until the late 1960s, prize money at the Slams was banned. Players of that era tell stories of begging tournament directors for plane fare home. Djokovic won’t have that problem.

Daniel Kaplan

Daniel Kaplan·Staff Writer, Sports Business

September 10, 2021 at 10:45 PM EDT

Djokovic up 4-0 and a break

Zverev and Djoker have both played a number of cheeky drop shots here in the fifth and who can blame them — we’re at three hours and ten minutes and I’ve taken approximately 25 steps since the match started. How many do you think they have between the two of them today? 50,000?

That final shot that Zverev over-hit was very, very difficult to watch. These robots are jaw-dropping.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 10:36 PM EDT

Australians forever

The camera settled on Rod Laver at the end of that 4th set. The suggestion is what is the last man–in 1969–to win all 4 Slams in a calendar year thinking. Anyone who knows Laver knows he would graciously cede the honor. But how cool is it that Laver is there (remember how hard it is for Aussies to travel, facing lengthy quarantines on return).

Daniel Kaplan

Daniel Kaplan·Staff Writer, Sports Business

September 10, 2021 at 10:34 PM EDT

Where’s Jayson Stark when you need him?

See tennis has unbelievable stats too!

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 10:31 PM EDT

So Medvedev is at a gigantic advantage here, right?

He put FAA away in three quick sets. He played the earlier match. And now these two dragons are breathing fire all over each other and they’re going to make it to 3 hours in our fifth set. Djokovic holds in the first game.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 10:28 PM EDT

There’s a Cake (the band) reference in that tweet somewhere

Rod Laver, the last man to complete the calendar Slam, is in attendance. He stood up there as Zverev finished off the fourth set.

They just played a Kaley Cuoco Smirnoff ad and I just have one question — how do all these spectators keep silent on a Friday night? Daft Punk playing in between games, too. Hope you’re having as much fun as we are.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 10:22 PM EDT

“A couple of swings away from a 5th set”

Unless you really, really, really, really love Djokovic that’s commentary from the broadcast booth that screams “you’re gonna blow it, Zverev!”

He did. 5-4 Zverev as Djokovic manages to hold his serve and he put some mustard on the final shot. I think he’s getting upset that he hasn’t vanquished Zverev. I for one am thrilled we might be heading to a fifth. This is getting really spicy.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 10:15 PM EDT

Zverev takes a 4-3 lead after another break

Djokovic is not in trouble of losing this match but he’s certainly looking like he might go down in this fourth set. This of course is exactly what we were hoping for — Sascha serves to go up 5-3. They’re both hitting ‘placement’ shots which is code for ‘I’M VERY TIRED I WOULD LIKE TO SIT DOWN NOW PLEASE’.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 10:00 PM EDT

Here’s that 53-shot rally.

Dare you to count and not lose track. Un freaking believable.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 9:56 PM EDT

It is Friday night in New York City, I guess

Meanwhile Zverev breaks Djokovic to go up 2-1 in the fourth set. That winner he beat him on might’ve ended MY soul. Djokovic has the 2-1 set lead.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 9:50 PM EDT

Zack from the ropes!

Dan called this out earlier in our preview and it seems even more wildly evident with every five-setter that Djokovic plays. I would say we are not worthy but this pandemic has given me a sense of sports entitlement. We deserve it.

On the broadcast: “It’s almost as if each shot they’re hitting is the best shot you can hit from that spot.”

Amen.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 9:46 PM EDT

You can’t watch the whole thing but you should find it on YouTube later

FIFTY THREE SHOTS BETWEEN TWO GIANTS

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 9:39 PM EDT

Two epic rallies in one game. I’m exhausted.

Remember how we reminded you that Novak Djokovic would take your legs and then your soul? These two monsters just had a 53-shot rally that ended with Djokovic letting a B- shot go by. It was set point #2 in an eventual 6-4 win for Djoker. Previous longest shot rally of the entire tournament? 30.

We’re two hours in and he’s up 2-1. You’re watching a 34-year-old GOAT stick with a guy that has 10 fewer years on his legs. He might be the most consistent villain in the sport but what he’s doing continues to be jaw-dropping.

Side note: a fellow Athletic colleague saw Tiafoe and Osaka play last week and said he tad to take a 330am bus back home to Jersey. Grand Slam tennis is so great.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 9:25 PM EDT

We’re back at 5-4 in the third set.

Expecting some fireworks here. Neither player has shown signs of fatigue but all it takes is one break to end someone mentally.

Is it even a tennis match if someone doesn’t smash a racket or yell at an umpire?

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 8:55 PM EDT

Stick sports: mind or body?

In golf, there are feel players and technical players. Baseball has the same. I imagine lacrosse is similar. (Sorry hockey, you are far too physical to fall into this category).

At 1-0 in the third set, this game will be all about feel for Zverev. He seems to be playing a little safer than usual, perhaps because Djokovic is the best whack-a-mole returner on the tour. How many times do you have to see that 130+ mph serve before you get used to it?

Medvedev bodied FAA earlier today by grinding him down, “taking his legs” and then “taking his soul”. Looking like a very similar dismantling here even though Djokovic came slow out the gate.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 8:50 PM EDT

Djokovic levels it up at 1 with a 6-2 win

He changed his shirt. He changed his approach. He did not change that whole ‘lose the first set and come roaring back because he’s the goat of consistency’ thing.

It’s 1-1. Not the overwhelming momentum change I was expecting but we’ve been here before.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 8:23 PM EDT

Jimmy Butler’s in the players box…

…speaking of cross-court, both players are looking very powerful on the forehands. They both look like they’re basically taking a crow hop in the batter’s box. Pretty fun to watch all this strength. Zverev seems to be favoring going backhand crosscourt to Djokovic’s backhand, just to keep him honest. Raise your hand if you would too.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 8:21 PM EDT

We miss last night…

The crowd loves and respects the women’s side so much more at Flushing Meadows. They’re getting more and more into it as Zverev challenges Djokovic but it’s been fairly quiet. Neither of them seems impacted by the crowd but we certainly haven’t seen any Aryna Sabalenka moves (pumping up the crowd to get herself pumped up).

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 8:15 PM EDT

Zverev pulls it out in the first!

It only took one break and now he’s in a position that Nishikori, Brooksby and Berrettini were all in: up the first set against arguably the greatest men’s tennis player of all time. Djokovic is chasing history though and Zverev is a gigantic test for the Serbian. A 6-4 win for German.

Don’t forget — Djokovic is absolutely deadly in five sets. Zverev beat him in the Olympics a few months ago in three.

Pins in needles over here.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 8:02 PM EDT

ESPN waits until halfway through the first set…

…and they do finally address the Zverev domestic violence allegations. Hard to see how that wasn’t a reaction to someone mentioning the lack of conversation around it. Always want to give folks the benefit of the doubt but the way it was brought up made it sound like a throwaway note (even though the sentiment was authentic).

In the meantime, we still don’t have a break and it’s 4-4 in the first set. At 3-3 30-30, this was the point of the match. So much strength from both players.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 7:49 PM EDT

ESPN mum on Zverev’s abuse allegations

Earlier, our Daniel Kaplan posed the question of whether or not ESPN would discuss or mention Alexander Zverev’s domestic violence allegations. We have our answer, and it is no. No mention in the pre-match commentary or introductions.

Dan Santaromita

Dan Santaromita·Associate Editor, Sports Betting

September 10, 2021 at 7:03 PM EDT

Do the odds give Zverev a chance?

Obviously, Novak Djokovic is the favorite for the second semifinal. He is -250 and Zverev is +210 on BetMGM. However, a deeper look at the odds show that a tight match is expected.

The set spread is Djokovic -1.5 with -145 odds, meaning he would have to win in three or four sets for that to cash. With that line, the oddsmakers are in between this match going four or five sets.

Dan Santaromita

Dan Santaromita·Associate Editor, Sports Betting

September 10, 2021 at 5:56 PM EDT

Will Zverev’s domestic abuse allegations be discussed on the broadcast?

When Zverev takes the court, it will be interesting to see if the commentators make mention of the domestic violations against him. This is his most high-profile moment since the latest volley of negative headlines. Rolex hasn’t shied away, running an ad during the Open featuring greats, including Zverev (unlike most featured in the ad, Zverev hasn’t won a Slam). The endorsement deal was reached after the allegations first surfaced. I asked Tennis Channel CEO Ken Solomon about covering Zverev’s matches, and he said the issue has to be addressed (TC has no live Open rights). The ATP recently took steps toward developing a domestic violence policy, which Zverev, who refutes the allegations, said he supports.

Daniel Kaplan

Daniel Kaplan·Staff Writer, Sports Business

September 10, 2021 at 5:48 PM EDT

Will Djokovic continue to march toward history?

Next up, in the evening session, will be immortality-chasing Novak Djokovic taking on the man who ended his Olympics dream in Tokyo, Alexander Zverev. Djokovic is just two matches away from capturing tennis’s equivalent of the Holy Grail – the hallowed calendar Grand Slam of winning all four majors in the same calendar year. Not since Rod Laver in 1969 has a man pulled it off, while Margaret Court and Steffi Graf are the only two women to have achieved the feat in the Open Era.

So the question is: can Zverev play the role of Roberto Vinci in 2015? Vinci you probably recall was the unheralded Italian who ended Serena Williams’ Grand Slam dream at precisely the stage Djokovic is at now. Zverev certainly has a shot — that Olympics win last month is one of three he’s registered over today’s opponent — but he’s never done it over five sets. And that is the crux of it; Djokovic is vulnerable in the shorter format but to do it over the best of five when he has time to figure you out… well at the moment that’s tennis’s Holy Grail for the rest of the field. I’m picking Djokovic in four for this one.

Charlie Eccleshare

Charlie Eccleshare·Tottenham Hotspur Correspondent

September 10, 2021 at 5:39 PM EDT

Daniil on ESPN post-match

Daniil on ESPN post-match

“If you give them the court, you’re gonna lose.” – Medvedev on how familiar he is with losing to a top dog.

“I think both. As we saw in the stats, I’m trying to be a little more aggressive than I was before. When I first came on tour, I was just hitting bombs. And now I’m trying to turn defense into offense.” — on whether his mental or physical game has improved.

On being one of the first players to travel with a mental coach: “It’s a little bit personal but I’m happy with what we’re doing. I can still have some meltdowns but it’s rarer than before.”

Superstar.

(Photo credit: Al Bello / Getty Images; The Athletic may receive an affiliate commission if you open an account with BetMGM through links contained in the above article.)

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 5:25 PM EDT

A huge applause for Felix

The 21-year-old falls short in the U.S. Open semifinals after holding a massive lead in the second set. If he holds, he at least makes the matchup against Daniil Medvedev infinitely more competitive.

Instead, Auger-Aliassime just couldn’t handle the avalanche that came down on him. It’s a disappointing way to end his time at the U.S. Open, but there are plenty of positives to take from his time at Flushing Meadows.

Auger-Aliassime’s semifinal appearance is the farthest he’s ever been in a major tournament. In fact, FAA has had career-best performances in each of the major tournaments this past year.

While he hasn’t won a singles tournament yet (he’s 0-for-8), he’s still young and has plenty of time to improve and take his place among the next generation of talents like Medvedev, Tsitsipas, Thiem and others.

Not to mention, his appearance in the semis is still part of a historic moment for Canadian tennis. FAA is the first Canadian to make the semifinals of the men’s U.S. Open draw, not to be outdone by Leylah Annie Fernandez who was the first Canadian semifinalist of the women’s U.S. Open draw. Auger-Aliassime can leave New York with his head up high.

Julian McKenzie

Julian McKenzie

September 10, 2021 at 5:20 PM EDT

Basically nobody else on the planet can do this

Medvedev is on to the US Open Final after beating FAA 6-4, 7-5, 6-2. A huge bummer for the Canadian who had the crowd behind him but wasn’t able to overcome Medvedev’s brutal serves and consistent baseline winners. Frankly, that felt a lot like a first round match in the final hour or so.

What a fabulous tournament however for Felix. Everyone knows he’s going to be there for years to come, the question of course is whether he can step it up against the big hitters.

Medvedev says the difference was that second set, where ‘everyone thought it was going to be one set all’. Also said he doesn’t think he played his best, which didn’t matter. An easy win.

A recap, as we wait for Djokovic-Zverev:

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 5:16 PM EDT

Rangers fan spotted

As FAA wins to stay in the match (5-2 in the third)….

Daniel Kaplan

Daniel Kaplan·Staff Writer, Sports Business

September 10, 2021 at 5:07 PM EDT

How, Cliffie?!?!

ESPN commentator Cliff Drysdale, who has been coming to Flushing since 1978, said he has never been to a Mets game. The Mets play a few hundred yards away, and Drysdale has been promoting the Mets-Yankees game on ESPN this Sunday. Fellow ESPN commentator Darren Cahill said the Mets are wonderful hosts and always make tickets available to the ESPN crew. This is the type of banter that occurs when the result of a match is obvious. Probably what I will take away from this match: Cliffie needs to go to Citifield.

Daniel Kaplan

Daniel Kaplan·Staff Writer, Sports Business

September 10, 2021 at 5:00 PM EDT

2-1 Daniil in the third set

FAA’s making a ton of errors and is struggling to hold service. The consistency we talked about earlier is lacking. Med’s beating him by avoiding errors. It sounds simple, and it is, and it’s working like a charm.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 4:56 PM EDT

Who wore it better?

Pineapple under the sea suit guy or sponge that lives in a pineapple under the seat Hall of Fame guy?

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 4:50 PM EDT

And for a bit of levity here since Tennis is full of humor

We have a Heel (Med), a Face (Felix) and a second Face 😉

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 4:49 PM EDT

A rollercoaster here in New York

I was kind of tearing up looking at this graphic from the ESPN broadcast (first time recent Dad over here). What a moment for Canada. He’s coming down from a set deficit as Medvedev just served his way to a lead with a 6-4 win in set one. My advice? Play like a kid, Felix. Let it flow.

And before I could even post that, Felix surges to a lead in the second set, in part behind a bunch of Daniil errors and double faults. The first break finally came and the floodgates are open. Both men are already digging deep — going to be very interesting if we make it to a 5th set. Don’t sleep on tight muscles especially this deep in a major final (the last of the season!), during COVID and of course during an Olympics year. I’m exhausted just writing that sentence.

Medvedev pulls it out with a remarkable comeback after it looked like he had no shot. He’s up two sets to love.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 4:09 PM EDT

Is Zverev poised to upset Djokovic?

Looking ahead to Zverev-Djokovic later tonight, I’m getting the feeling that Zverev is ready to give Djoker hell.

“This year it seems like nobody can beat him in a big match, nobody can beat him at the Grand Slams. I feel like I was the first player to beat him in a very big match this year. That does give you something. To any person it would give you something,” Zverev told Tennis.com.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 3:46 PM EDT

First break to Medvedev

After not seeing a single break point in the first six games, Medvedev gets the first break at 4-3. Felix is killing himself out there with a ton of unforced errors. Overhitting like crazy. Reminds me of what happened to Maria Sakkari last night against Emma Raducanu in the women’s semifinal.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 3:44 PM EDT

The technology behind the electronic line calls

A defining feature of this year’s Open is electronic line calling, eliminating the need for lines judges. ESPN commentator Brad Gilbert once told me he invited NBA HOFer Chris Mullin to one of his matches in the 1980s, and he asked who all the people on the court were. Indeed, the tennis court has long been cluttered, and TV camera shots of players waiting for a serve invariably had out of shape linespeople hunched over in the background. Also, companies pay a lot to have their names on the backwalls, so why have lines judges obstructing the view. It does take away the replay challenge excitement, but it’s clearly for the best. There are a few hiccups when a ball is not immediately called in or out by an electronic voice. Hawkeye is the technology behind the lines calls.

Daniel Kaplan

Daniel Kaplan·Staff Writer, Sports Business

September 10, 2021 at 3:24 PM EDT

Sizing up the Medvedev-FAA matchup

Daniil Medvedev has been in the semifinals each of the last three years, largely due to his ability to morph his game if he struggles and gets behind. He’s in incredible shape, hits winners like it’s his day job and he plays a fairly conventional game (aside from the random emotional outburst).

Felix is extremely hyped up by Twitter bots and pundits alike, and it’s easy to see why. He’s athletic, plays a very different style of tennis and (crucially) will have the crowd behind him.

Daniil’s one of my favorites to become a superstar and part of a rotating cast of three or four to eventually unseat Djokovic as the alpha dog. I have him winning in four sets.

Eric Drobny

Eric Drobny

September 10, 2021 at 3:08 PM EDT

What the prediction models think will happen in the semis

The US Open doesn’t run betting odds on its site, in part because New York State has yet to fully legalize sports betting. But there is a backdoor way in through the USTA’s deal with IBM. All tournament long on the Open’s website, and app, the matchups include IBM’s Watson’s “Match Insights.” Watson crunches data to predict a winner. Today, Watson gave Medvedev a 56% chance to win. The predictor had been fairly accurate until last night when it got both women’s semifinals wrong (here is a surefire bet: a teenager will win the women’s final). Watson also gives Novak Djokovic a 56% chance of beating Alexander Zverev tonight. One drawback of the Watson prediction is that it doesn’t change in real time. It should be noted how different the percentages are over at tennis.com, which is owned by Tennis Channel, which in turn is owned by Sinclair. Sinclair is making a big push into betting. At tennis.com, Medvedev has an 82.4% chance, and Djokovic 67.3%.

Daniel Kaplan

Daniel Kaplan·Staff Writer, Sports Business

September 10, 2021 at 3:06 PM EDT

A Medvedev vs. Auger-Aliassime prediction

With the adrenaline just about wearing off from last night’s (or this morning’s if you live in the UK) women’s semifinals, it’s time for the men to step into the ring.

First up, it’s another young Canadian, as the hugely exciting 21-year old-Felix Auger-Aliassime takes on Russia’s No 2 seed Daniil Medvedev. At 25, Medvedev is a veteran by comparison and has the experience of two major finals to his name already (including at Flushing Meadows two years ago) so he goes in as a big favourite. Auger-Aliassime, though, should have a good amount of crowd support, and as long as he’s not playing in a final is a match for anyone. It’s when he gets to the showpiece match that’s the issue. FAA is 0-8 in ATP level finals and has never even won a set in those matches. Expect some big serving and rasping backhands between two of the best movers on the tour. My prediction for what it’s worth… Medvedev in four.

Charlie Eccleshare

Charlie Eccleshare·Tottenham Hotspur Correspondent

September 10, 2021 at 3:04 PM EDT

Medvedev a significant favorite in first semi against Auger-Aliassime

Daniil Medvedev and Felix Auger-Aliassime are about to take the court for the first semifinal. The Russian is a significant favorite with -550 odds on BetMGM. Auger-Aliassime is +425 to pull off the upset.

They’ve only played once before. Medvedev won that one 3-6, 6-4, 7-6. It was 9-7 in the third-set tiebreak, but that was back in 2018 and was a home match for Auger-Aliassime in Canada. Both players have come a long way since then.

Dan Santaromita

Dan Santaromita·Associate Editor, Sports Betting

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Raducanu defeats Fernandez, Djokovic faces Medvedev in men’s final on Sunday – nonenglishfeed