In Brief

US Open: Rafael Nadal and Sloane Stephens complete the year of surprises

Final Grand Slam of the year lives up to its potential for shock results

In his US Open preview ESPN writer Peter Bodo had said that 2017 was the “year of the surprise” in tennis and to expect more shocks at Flushing Meadows.  

“The final Grand Slam of the year might produce results as stunning as the ones delivered at the first major of the year, the Australian Open,” Bodo wrote. He wasn’t wrong.

World number one Rafael Nadal picking up another Grand Slam title is not too much of a surprise, but did anyone at the start of the season really think that the Spaniard would share a clean sweep of majors with Roger Federer?

Nadal’s comfortable victory over Kevin Anderson last night was his third title in New York and 16th Grand Slam in total. Not too bad for a player who had been written off by some pundits.

His resurgence has even prompted Newsday’s Barbara Barker to say that Nadal “could surpass Roger Federer as the best”.

After victories in Australia and at Wimbledon, Federer’s Grand Slam total increased to 19 in 2017. Nadal’s successes at Roland-Garros and in New York means he’s three behind on 16 majors.

Five years younger than his Swiss rival, Nadal may have Federer’s record in his sights - but the world number one is not thinking numbers. He’s just glad to be part of one of sport’s greatest ever rivalries.  

“I feel lucky to be part of it [the rivalry],” Nadal told ESPN. “We competed for such a long time for first and second in the sport, and competed for the most important events. 

“I do my way, he does it his way. I’m very happy with all the things that are happening to me. I won this [US Open] title again. I have this trophy with me.”

While Nadal and Federer will look to add more titles to their glittering haul, in the women’s game Sloane Stephens is celebrating her first ever Grand Slam victory.

Continuing the tennis “season of surprises” the 24-year-old completed a memorable return from injury to win in New York. After 11 months out of action, she had slipped to a low of 957 in the world rankings and only made her competitive return at Wimbledon earlier this summer.

Going into the US Open unseeded and ranked 83 in the world, Stephens would not believe what would happen next during a whirlwind two weeks in New York.

Progressing to her maiden Grand Slam final, Stephens would go on to beat friend and fellow American Madison Keys 6-3, 6-0 and pick up a cheque for $3.7million (£2.8m).

“When I had surgery, I was not thinking that I would be anywhere near a US Open title,” Stephens told the BBC. “Nor did I think I was going to be anywhere near the top 100.” 

Dubbed as the “comeback queen” Stephens joked that she may not be able to top her success in New York. “I should just retire now,” said Stephens when presented with the trophy on Saturday. “I told Maddie I’m never going to be able to top this. I mean, talk about a comeback.”

Rafael Nadal cruises to 16th Grand Slam title

11 September 

Rafael Nadal has won his 16th career Grand Slam title after cruising to a straight-sets victory over Kevin Anderson in the final of the US Open.

It’s the third New York success for the world number one, who was too strong for Anderson in the 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 victory.

The Spaniard’s performance on Arthur Ashe Stadium was hailed as a “masterclass” by The Guardian after he lost only 15 points on his serve. 

After winning the French Open in June, Nadal and Roger Federer have a clean sweep of the Grand Slams in 2017.

Reported by the BBC, Nadal said: “It is a very special two weeks for me, but first I want to say congratulations to Kevin who has come back better than every after some tough injuries. You are a great example to all the players on tour.

“To close the Grand Slam year with a win in New York, brings me to a higher energy because the crowd is unbelievable here.”

Anderson, who was playing in his first Grand Slam final, said: “I want to congratulate Rafa. I know we are the same age but I feel I have been watching you my whole life.

“You are an idol of mine and you are a great ambassador for our sport. I want to say thank you for the support from back home in South Africa, to my wife and my brother, but also my parents back home. You built me a wall in my back yard and taught me to fight for everything.”

Sloane Stephens wins first Grand Slam title

10 September

Unseeded Sloane Stephens secured her first Grand Slam title as she stormed to victory over Madison Keys in the US Open women’s final.

The world number 83, who returned to the court at Wimbledon following 11 months out through a foot injury, was too strong for fellow American Keys as she recorded a 6-3, 6-0 victory at Flushing Meadows.

“I had surgery in January and if someone had told me then that I would win the US Open, I would have said it was impossible,” 24-year-old Stephens told the BBC.

“This journey has been incredible and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

“Madison is one of my best friends on tour. I wouldn’t have wanted to play anyone else. I told her that I wished it could have been a draw.”

Keys replied: “Sloane is truly one of my favourite people and to play against her was special. I obviously didn’t play my best tennis and Sloane was very supportive.

“If I’m going to lose to anyone, I’m glad it’s to her.”

Rafa Nadal has 16th Grand Slam title in his sights 

9 September

Rafa Nadal will face Kevin Anderson in tomorrow’s US Open men’s final after a convincing victory over Juan Martin del Potro.

Top seed Nadal will be confident of winning a 16th Grand Slam title, and a third in New York, when he goes up against the 32-ranked South African. Anderson reach the final with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 win against Pablo Carreno Busta.

“It means a lot,” said Nadal on the BBC. “It has been an amazing season of course after a couple with injures and troubles.

“To be back here in front of this amazing crowd, on this amazing court, and to have the chance to fight for another title is so important to me.

“It will be very tough against Kevin. He has an unbelievable serve and is a great example for the kids in the way he has come back from injury. I have known him since we were 12, so I am very happy for him.”

After epic encounters against Dominic Thiem and Roger Federer, the semi-final was one match too far for crowd favourite Del Potro.

“I’ve been exhausted after the [Dominic] Thiem match, the Roger [Federer] match,” said the Argentine. “I had flu during the week. So I had many problems before this match, but I was very motivated to play the semi-final in my best tournament.

“He just played better than me. He deserved to win, and I did all my best, all my effort to survive this match - but I couldn’t do well.”

Sloane Stephens lines up all-American final against Madison Keys

8 September

After beating Venus Williams in the last four line-up, unseeded Sloane Stephens will play Madison Keys in tomorrow’s final of the US Open women’s singles.

Keys conquered Coco Vandeweghe in the all-American semi-finals - and Stephens couldn’t be more proud of her fellow US tennis players.

“Having four Americans in the semi-finals, I think that says a lot about American tennis and where we are right now,” said Stephens, who beat Williams 6-1, 0-6, 7-5. “I don’t think I would have had it any other way. I’m just super proud and honoured to be a part of what these four girls were, what we did tonight.” 

After 11 months out injured, Stephens returned to action at Wimbledon was ranked 957th. But with a run of 14 victories in 16 matches, the 24-year-old is through to her first Grand Slam final.

She told the BBC: “I have no words to describe my feelings and what it took to get here. I have no words. I have no idea how I have done it. Your guess is as good as mine.  

“If someone had told me when I started my comeback that I would make two semi-finals and a Grand Slam final, I would have passed out. I don’t know how I did it. Just hard work.”

Keys dominates Vandeweghe to reach final

Madison Keys lost just three games in her 6-1, 6-2 semi-final victory over Coco Vandeweghe. 

Like Stephens, Keys is also making her Grand Slam final debut tomorrow. She said: “I knew had to rise to the occasion and I’m just really happy to be in the final.”

Del Potro will dig deep against Nadal

Juan Martin del Potro admits he is not in the perfect physical condition after epic matches against Dominic Thiem and Roger Federer, but the Argentine says he could be a “danger” for tonight’s semi-final opponent Rafa Nadal. 

“Physically I’m not in the perfect conditions, but when you play semi-finals on the Grand Slam, everything can happen,” Del Potro told the BBC.

“So you must be ready for the chance and playing against Rafa in my favourite tournament, I will try to enjoy the atmosphere, the game, and I know if I play my best tennis, I could be a danger for him.”

Tonight’s other men’s semi-final will see South Africa’s Kevin Anderson up against Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta.

US Open matches to watch 

Tonight’s men’s singles semi-finals (UK times)

  • Kevin Anderson vs. Pablo Carreno Busta (9pm)
  • Rafa Nadal vs. Juan Martin del Potro (10.30pm)

Tomorrow’s women’s singles final

  • Madison Keys vs. Sloane Stephens (9pm)

Juan Martin del Potro stuns Roger Federer in New York

7 September

Juan Martin del Potro played his “match of the tournament” to beat Roger Federer and reach the US Open semi-finals. 

The Argentine thrilled the New York crowd by winning 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (10-8), 6-4 and will now face Rafa Nadal in the last four. Nadal secured his semi-final spot with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 win over Russian teenager Andrey Rublev. 

“I think I played my best match of the tournament,” Del Potro told the BBC.  “I played everything well. My serve was good, I hit my forehands as hard as I possibly could.

“This is my home court too. The fans make me feel happy every time I play here. I hope against Rafa the crowd will be cheering for me again.” 

After playing five-set matches in the opening two rounds Federer admitted that Del Potro was “better than him” on the night.

“In some ways I’m actually happy I made the quarters, so I’m not disappointed, because it’s been a good run this year already,” said the Swiss. “Unfortunately I ran into a guy who was better than me.”

All-US semi-finals is ‘awesome’ says Keys 

Madison Keys was in fine form to beat Kaia Kanepi and make it an all-American semi-final line-up in the women’s singles semi-finals.

Keys joined Coco Vandeweghe, Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens in the final four after her 6-3, 6-3 victory over Kanepi and says it will be “awesome” to have four Americans in the semis.

She told the BBC: “This means the world to me. I’m just so happy to be here. We’re going to have four American women playing tomorrow, and that’s pretty awesome.” 

Keys will now face Vandeweghe who beat top seed Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 in the quarter-finals.

US Open semi-final matches to watch (UK times) 

Men’s semi-finals

  • Rafael Nadal vs. Juan Martin del Potro
  • Pablo Carreno Busta vs. Kevin Anderson

Women’s semi-finals

  • Venus Williams vs. Sloane Stephens (midnight)
  • Madison Keys vs. CoCo Vandeweghe (1.15am)

Petra Kvitova’s ‘amazing’ run ends against Venus Williams

6 September 

Nine months after suffering horrific hand injuries in an attack at her home Petra Kvitova says that her “amazing” run at the US Open will hopefully ease expectations.

Speaking to the BBC after losing in the quarter-finals 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2) to Venus Williams, the 27-year-old did not believe she would have gone so far in the Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows.  

“After this great run here, I hope it will be a little bit easier for me to breathe and play well, and no expectation again,” said Kvitova. 

“It’s tough to say right now but overall, I think it’s amazing. I didn’t really think that I could come so far. I’m just glad that I could show it here, that there is a way to play well again. So from my side, in a couple of days, I hope that I will say, good job. But not just now.”

Williams, won the thriller against Kvitova to reach her 23rd Grand Slam semi-final, will face fellow American Sloane Stephens in the last four on Friday.

She said: “I was so fortunate to win that match. It came down to the wire and I’m hoping we have more matches like that.”

Stephens holds nerve in tie-break 

It took a final-set tie-break for Stephens to beat Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-4). “Oh man, I’m getting teary-eyed,” said Stephens, who returned to tennis at Wimbledon after 11 months out with a foot injury. 

“I think my coach is probably crying. This is just incredible. When I started my comeback at Wimbledon I could never have dreamed of this happening. Making the semi-final of my home Slam, it’s indescribable.”

If Madison Keys and Coco Vandeweghe also win their quarter-finals there would be an all-US line-up in the last four. 

American hopes ended in the men’s singles

The home fans' hopes of seeing an American in the men’s semi-finals were ended after Sam Querrey was beaten by South Africa’s Kevin Anderson.

The 28th-seed Anderson won an epic battle 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (9-11), 6-3, 7-6 (9-7) to defeat Querrey. He will now face Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta.

US Open matches to watch (UK times)

Men’s singles quarter-finals

  • Rafael Nadal vs. Andrey Rublev (6.15pm)
  • Roger Federer vs. Juan Martin del Potro (1.15am tomorrow)

Women’s singles quarter-finals

  • Karolina Pliskova vs. CoCo Vandeweghe (5pm)
  • Madison Keys vs. Kaia Kanepi (midnight)

Del Potro wins classic to set up Federer clash

5 September

Juan Martin del Potro will face Roger Federer in the US Open quarter-finals after producing an amazing comeback against Dominic Thiem.

Argentine Del Potro hit back from two sets down to beat Thiem 1-6, 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-1), 6-4 in front of a noisy crowd on the Grandstand court.

Del Potro, who also saved two match points, actually thought about retiring during the match. Quoted by the BBC, he said: “I played one of the epic matches of my career here at the US Open, which is my favourite tournament, in front of a great crowd. 

“I was thinking to retire in the middle of second set because I couldn’t breathe, I couldn't move well, and Dominic was dominating the match so easy.”

Federer not concerned by back injury

Roger Federer secured his spot in the last eight with a 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 win against Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber. Despite leaving the court for a medical timeout, the Swiss third seed said it was nothing to worry about.

"I just needed a bit of a rub on my back. Or my… bottom," said Federer. "I just felt something, sort of my muscle being tight at the back. Sort of my quad, I guess.

"I just didn't want Philipp to wait. It was more precaution. It's all good. No problems there. I'm not worried about it. I'm sorry I had to do it."

Russian teenager Andrey Rublev will play Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals. Rublev, 19, beat David Goffin 7-5, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 while Nadal defeated Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-2, 6-4, 6-1.

US ladies star in home Grand Slam

Madison Keys is the fourth American women to secure a quarter-final place after victory against Elina Svitolina.

Keys - who beat Svitolina 7-6, (7-2) 1-6, 6-4 - joins fellow Americans Coco Vandeweghe, Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens in the final eight. 

As the only former US Open winner left in the quarter-finals, 2000 and 2001 champion Williams is aiming for a third victory at Flushing Meadows.

“I’ll take any advantage I can get, let’s face it,” said Williams who faces Petra Kvitova tonight.

“But at the end of the day when I go out there and someone’s across the net from me, they’re playing well. They’re not going to give you any matches.”

US Open matches to watch (UK times)

Men’s singles quarter-finals

  • Pablo Carreno Busta vs Diego Schwartzman (5pm)
  • Sam Querrey vs Kevin Anderson (1.15am tomorrow)

Women’s singles quarter-finals

  • Anastasija Sevastova vs Sloane Stephens (7pm)
  • Venus Williams vs Petra Kvitova (midnight)

Maria Sharapova and Garbine Muguruza knocked out

4 September 

Maria Sharapova and Garbine Muguruza were sent packing on a night of drama at the US Open in New York. 

Sharapova, making her return to Grand Slam action after a 15-month doping suspension, hit 51 unforced errors in her 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 defeat against Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova.

"It's been a really great ride in the last week," the Russian said in The Times. "Obviously coming off a loss, it's a quick turnaround in order to reflect on the last eight and nine days. Ultimately I can take a lot from this week. It's great to get that major out of the way. I'm thankful for the opportunity. I did my best and I can be proud of that." 

Women's singles title favourite Muguruza will also reflect on disappointment in New York after losing to Petra Kvitova, who was making her own return to tennis after being attacked by an intruder at her home in December.

Kvitova, who suffered severe hand injuries in the attack, produced a stunning 7-6 (3), 6-3 against Wimbledon champion Muguruza. 

Czech Kvitova will now face Venus Williams in the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows. Quoted by The Telegraph, she said: "It was kind of a dream to come and play on the big stage, one of the top players in the world. I tried to work hard to play here again. It means a lot. It was a journey. I didn't know how it would end and if it ends here on the big stage, it's a happy ending. 

"Everything after what happened is something new. I really appreciate every moment and it's totally different to before. I came here really without any expectations. I don't have any goals, I will just try to be aggressive." 

Querrey's the last American man standing Sam Querrey will go into the quarter-finals of the men's singles with the whole of the US behind him. 

The big hitter is the last American man standing and he delighted the capacity crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium by winning 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 against Germany’s Mischa Zverev, The Times reports.  

Querrey said: "I really could not have done anything much better out there, I was kind of in the zone. It's my first time playing out here at night and I wanted to make the most of it. 

"I came out of the chute hot and once I broke early I felt I was off to the races and I felt comfortable three minutes into the match and I think that was the key."

Today's US Open schedule (UK times) 

Men's singles matches to watch

  • David Goffin vs Andrey Rublev (5pm) 
  • Rafael Nadal vs Alexandr Dolgopolov (5.15pm) 
  • Dominic Thiem vs Juan Martin del Potro (8.10pm) 
  • Roger Federer vs Philipp Kolhschreiber (midnight)

Women's singles matches to watch

  • Karolina Pliskova vs Jennifer Brady (4pm) 
  • Daria Kasatkina vs Kaia Kanepi (7pm) 
  • CoCo Vandeweghe vs Lucie Safarova (7.15pm) 
  • Elina Svitolina vs Madison Keys (2am tomorrow)

Federer and Nadal bounce back from early setbacks

1 September

Roger Federer needed five sets to overcome Mikhail Youzhny at the US Open yesterday. At one stage, the five-time champion was two sets to one down but he eventually dispatched his opponent 6-1 6-7 (3-7) 4-6 6-4 6-2.

The Swiss star has a formidable record against the Russian – he has now won all 17 matches against Youzhny.

"My preparation hasn't been good at all here," admitted Federer. "Maybe I struggled more than I would have liked to. But I'm still in the draw, which gives me a chance."

Rafael Nadal, the top seed, trailed by a set and a break to Japan's Taro Daniel before grabbing the second set and prevailing 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-2.

The 31-year-old Spaniard echoed Federer's philosophical perspective, saying: "It's true that I didn't play very well tonight but at the same time it's true that I'm through to the next round.”

Although there is excitement at the prospect of a Nadal vs Federer semi-final, the Spaniard's uncle hopes such a tie does not materialise. "I would prefer that Federer lose before!" Toni Nadal told the Tennis Podcast.

"I don't like that Rafa plays against the best players. For us it is not so good to play against players like Federer, Djokovic or Murray. I prefer he plays against not such good players!"

Elsewhere, Karolina Pliskova, the 25-year-old world number one, beat Nicole Gibbs in three sets to reach the third round. The Czech saved seven of nine break points to win 2-6 6-3 6-4.

Today, Kyle Edmund, the last Brit standing, faces Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov for a place in the fourth round. It will be their third meeting this year, with each man grabbing a win apiece.

Later, Venus Williams and Greece's Maria Sakkari face each other in what promises to be a thrilling encounter. Maria Sharapova takes on fellow wildcard Sofia Kenin of the US, and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza plays Slovakian 31st seed Magdalena Rybarikova.

Today's US Open matches to watch (UK times)

Men's singles

  • N. Mahut vs Pablo Carreno (4pm)
  • D. Schwartzman vs M. Cilic (4pm)
  • Lucas Pouille vs M. Kukushkin (6pm)
  • Kevin Anderson vs B. Coric (6pm)
  • D. Shapovalov vs K Edmund (6pm)
  • Sam Querrey vs Radu Albot (10pm)

Women's singles

  • E. Makarova vs  C. Suarez Navarro (5.15pm)
  • Ashleigh Barty vs Sloane Stephens (6pm)
  • Aleksandra Krunic vs J. Gorges (6.30pm)
  • Magdalena Rybarikova vs Garbine Muguruza (7.15pm)
  • M. Sakkari vs Venus Williams (8pm)
  • A. Sevastova vs D. Vekic (9.15pm)

US Open: Nick Kyrgios should quit tennis, says Greg Rusedski

31 August

After being knocked out of the US Open in the first round last night, Australian Nick Kyrgios should consider giving up tennis. 

That's the view of former British No 1 Greg Rusedski after watching Kyrgios lose 6-3, 1-6, 6-4, 6-1 against his compatriot and world number 235 John Millman.

Kyrgios has been hampered by a shoulder issue, but Rusedski believes his lack of effort was inexcusable. Quoted in The Telegraph, Rusedski said: "Yes the shoulder was bothering him. But take two anti-inflammatory tablets, get the physio on and find a way through it.

"He was serving at 137 miles per hour with a bad shoulder, he didn't have any problems with his feet or his legs so he could run as much as he liked out there.

"If he doesn't want to play tennis then don't play tennis, go do something else with your life. I mean there's people working 9-5 in jobs which are so hard, grinding every day and making no pay whatsoever.

"He's getting millions of dollars a year to play this sport. But he has the chance to walk away and do something else with his life."

Edmund is the last Briton standing  Kyle Edmund is through to the third round after beating American Steve Johnson 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4). He is the only British hope left in the singles though after Aljaz Bedene and Cameron Norrie were knocked out last night.

"It's a shame really that a few of us have lost early, and obviously Andy [Murray] was injured," Edmund was quoted on the BBC.

"I guess in another way it's good that there's some more depth in British tennis that we're able to have other people go further." 

Zverev: I played very, very bad  Fourth send Alexander Zverev could not hide his disappointment after losing to Croatia's Borna Coric. 

Going down 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-1), 7-6 (7-4), the 20-year-old German felt he had missed his chance in New York.

He said: "It's upsetting because the draw is pretty open in the bottom part - I felt like I should have been the favourite there. I just played a very, very bad match, that's just the way it is.

"I've been dealing with expectations from a very young age, so for me this is just another step. I know that I could have done some big things here, something that I haven't done before, but I won't. It's as simple as that."

Sharapova delighted with fan reaction  Maria Sharapova will face American wildcard Sofia Kenin in the third round after a 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-1 victory over Timea Babos of Hungary. 

The Russian is playing her first Grand Slam event after a doping ban, has been pleased with the reaction of the fans since her return. She said: "I've had an amazing reaction from fans since I've been back, and that's been very special." 

Elsewhere in the women's singles, Venus Williams and Garbine Muguruza progressed to the next round, but two-time finalist Caroline Wozniacki suffered a shock defeat.

Williams beat Oceane Dodin of France 7-5, 6-4 while Muguruza enjoyed a comfortable 6-4, 6-0 victory against Ying-Ying Duan. Wozniacki was sent crashing out after a 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 6-1 loss to Ekaterina Makarova.

Today's US Open matches to watch (UK times)

Men's singles second round

  • Grigor Dimitrov vs Andrey Rublev (5.15pm)

     

  • Roger Federer vs Mikhail Youzhny (7.15pm)

     

  • Dominic Thiem vs Taylor Fritz (7.15pm)

     

  • David Goffin vs Guido Pella (7.15pm)

     

  • Rafael Nadal vs Taro Daniel (1.15am tomorrow)

     

Women's singles matches to watch

  • Elina Svitolina vs Evgeniya Rodina (4pm)

     

  • Jelena Ostapenko vs Sorana Cirstea (4pm)

     

  • Karolina Pliskova vs Nicole Gibbs (6pm)

     

  • Agnieszka Radwanska vs Yulia Putintseva (9.15pm)

     

  • Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Kurumi Nara (10pm)

     

Nadal questions timing of Murray decision

30 August

World number one Rafael Nadal believes that the timing of Andy Murray's withdrawal from the US Open was a 'little bit strange'.

Murray, who has a hip injury, had been on the practice courts at Flushing Meadows but pulled out of the final Grand Slam of the season on Saturday.

As number two seed, Murray's decision to step down after the first round draw means that Nadal and Roger Federer will remain in the same half of the draw. Had Murray withdrawn before the draw was made on Friday, Nadal and Federer would have been kept apart.

The Telegraph reports that the Spaniard 'hinted at annoyance' at the timing of the Scot's decision.

Nadal, who beat Serbia's Dusan Lajovic 7-6, (6), 6-2, 6-2 in the opening round, said: "I always thought that he was going to be playing if he was here practising. It was a little bit strange that he retired just the morning after the draw was made. It was something that is a little bit strange and difficult to understand.

"Normally you want to keep practising, keep trying until the last moment. You don't retire Saturday morning. You retire Monday morning or Sunday afternoon. If not, you can do it before the draw.

"That's why I say it's strange. But of course he has his reason, and for sure the only news, and the negative news, was that he will not be playing here.

"Injuries are bad for everybody. I know better than all of them. So I wish him fast and good recovery. That's the most important thing."

Federer struggles against teenager Tiafoe

Roger Federer needed five sets to beat US teenager Frances Tiafoe. Playing under the Arthur Ashe Stadium roof, the Swiss third seed, a five-time champion in New York, had to grind out a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 victory against the 19-year-old.

"I was maybe a bit worried from the beginning with my back issue, but eventually I was able to let go," said Federer.

"If I felt that my back was going to get worse every match, I probably wouldn't have played. My hope and belief is that it's only going to get better."

In tomorrow's second round Federer will face Slovenia's Blaz Kavcic or Russia's Mikhail Youzhny.

Defending champion Kerber crashes out

Angelique Kerber's disappointing year continued when she was knocked out of the first round by world number 45 Naomi Osaka.

The German sixth seed could not match the power of the Japanese 19-year-old who secured the 6-3, 6-1 victory at Flushing Meadows.

Kerber, who has not won a title since last year's US Open, said: "I'm still the same player and the same person. I know that I will not be giving up like this. So for me, I will try to forget the match as soon as possible and look forward again."

Elsewhere in the women's singles top seed Karolina Pliskova enjoyed a comfortable first-round victory over Magda Linette. Pliskova hit eight aces in the 6-2, 6-1 win.

Today's US Open schedule (UK times)

Men's singles matches to watch

• Grigor Dimitrov vs Vaclav Safranek (4.30pm)

• David Goffin vs Julien Benneteau (6pm)

• Marin Cilic vs Florian Mayer (8pm)

• Alexander Zverev vs Borna Coric (9pm)

• Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs Denis Shapovalov (1.15am Thursday)

Women’s singles matches to watch

• Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Marketa Vondrousova (6.30pm)

• Maria Sharapova vs Timea Babos (8pm)

• Caroline Wozniacki vs Ekaterina Makarova (9pm)

• Garbine Muguruza vs Ying-Ying Duan (11pm)

• Venus Williams vs. Oceane Dodin (midnight)

How to watch the US Open

Eurosport 1 and 2 will show live coverage of the tennis grand slam from New York. Channels are: Sky 411 and 412; Virgin Media 523 and 524; BT 412 and 413. You can also stream the action live via the Eurosport Player. Subscription costs £9.99 for full access until the end of September. 

US Open diary: Sharapova's winning return and Zverev's nod to Borg

29 August

After completing a drugs ban, Maria Sharapova made a winning return to Grand Slam competition on the opening day of the 2017 US Open.

The Russian was in good form beating world number two Simona Halep 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 at Flushing Meadows. Sharapova said: "Everything you go through is so worth it for this moment. You sometimes wonder why you put in the work and this is exactly why.

 

"It's primetime, baby. These are the opportunities you play for. I embrace every moment of it. I love it. I can't wait for moments like that.

 

"Behind all these crystals and little black dresses this girl has a lot of grit and she isn't going anywhere." 

 

Konta sent packing

 

Britain's number seven seed Johanna Konta suffered a shock defeat going down 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to Serbia's Aleksandra Krunic.

 

Konta said: "It is important not to catastrophise. At the end of the day, it is a tennis match, a sport. To have a healthy perspective on that, in general, goes a long way.

 

"She played consistently much better than me. She was able to raise her level throughout the match and mine fluctuated a little bit up and down. In terms of effort and fight, I competed until the very last point but the level of tennis by her was just better."

 

 

Zverev's retro nod to Borg

 

Germany's Alexander Zverev made quite the fashion statement during his opening round victory over Darian King. Wearing high socks, a headband and retro-inspired knitwear designed by Pharrell Williams in his 7-6(9), 7-5, 6-4 win, Zverev was rocking the 70s look made famous by Bjorn Borg.

 

 

Women's favourite Muguruza starts strong

 

Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza was in dominant form as she swept aside Varvara Lepchenko 6-0, 6-3 at Arthur Ashe Stadium. The 23-year-old, who has been tipped to win in New York, said: "I don't feel I'm a favourite here, because I never really played very good. I'm happy that I'm in the second round."

 

Elsewhere Petra Kvitova secured her spot in the second round with a 7-5, 7-5 win against Serbia's Jelena Jankovic. Fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki won 6-1, 7-5 against Romania's Mihaela Buzarnescu.

 

In the men's draw Australia's Bernard Tomic was beaten 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 by Gilles Muller of Luxembourg. Marin Cilic, winner of the 2014 US Open, beat American Tennys Sandgren 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

 

How to watch the US Open

 

Eurosport 1 and 2 will show live coverage of the tennis grand slam from New York. Channels are:  Sky 411 and 412; Virgin Media 523 and 524; BT 412 and 413. You can also stream the action live via the Eurosport Player. Subscription costs £9.99 for full access until the end of September.

 

Tonight's US Open schedule (UK times)

 

Men's singles matches to watch

  • Dominic Thiem vs Alex de Minaur (4pm)

     

  • Rafael Nadal vs Dusan Lajovic (7.15pm)

     

  • Grigor Dimitrov vs Vaclav Safranek (8.30pm)

     

  • Nick Kyrgios vs John Millman (10pm)

     

  • Roger Federer vs Frances Tiafoe (1.15am Wednesday) 

     

 

Women's singles matches to watch

 

  • Karolina Pliskova vs Magda Linette (4pm)

     

  • Elina Svitolina vs Katerina Siniakova (4pm)

     

  • Angelique Kerber vs Naomi Osaka (6pm)

     

  • Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Marketa Vondrousova (7.15pm)

  • Agnieszka Radwanska vs Petra Martic (7.15pm)

     

 

Expect more stunning results at the US Open

25 August

The absentee list for the US Open has been the a major talking point ahead of the year's final tennis grand slam, starting on Monday.

From the men's game, last year's winner Stan Wawrinka and runner-up Novak Djokovic are both injured. The dominant force in women's tennis, Serena Williams, is having a baby and won't return to the game until 2018.

Because of the absentees, and many other players either out of form or not fully fit, this year's US Open could be wide open for both the men's and women's singles titles.

ESPN tennis writer Peter Bodo says 2017 has been the "year of the surprise" and this could continue in New York. "The final Grand Slam of the year might produce results as stunning as the ones delivered at the first major of the year, the Australian Open," Bodo writes. 

Speaking to ESPN, world number nine Grigor Dimitrov agrees there's everything to play for. He said: "The seedings won't matter much. Everybody can beat everybody. It's been like that in the past maybe two years."

Bodo says that to fully appreciate the upheaval, you must look back to the first major of the year, in Melbourne in January. "Top-ranked Andy Murray and deposed number one Novak Djokovic were tipped to slug it out to establish the pecking order in the decimated Big Four, with 'fifth Beatle' Stan Wawrinka standing by with hopes of his own … while Serena Williams seemed bent on revenge," he writes.

Fast forward to August, Nadal has won at Roland-Garros and is back at number one in the world rankings, Federer is favourite for the US Open title after winning in Melbourne and Wimbledon while Andy Murray has struggled with fitness. Djokovic and Wawrinka are injured – and Williams is not playing.

Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph asks: "Should the WTA Tour be concerned if a fourth different slam champion is crowned this year?" 

For the third time this decade, the season's Grand Slam series could see four different winners after victories for Serena Williams (Australian Open), Jelena Ostapenko (French Open) and Garbine Muguruza (Wimbledon).

With Serena not on tour, the women's game "has been calling out for a new heroine", according to the newspaper. But the lack of a consistent performer isn't a new issue to hit the women's tour.

After Milos Raonic became the latest big name to pull out of the US Open, American tennis legend John McEnroe has called for a review of the tour calendar in light of player injuries.

In his role as a pundit for ESPN, McEnroe said "They [tour officials] have worked over the years to get it [the schedule] down to nine or ten months. I think perhaps they would be better served to continue to look at that.

"Sometimes it’s unpredictable. But certainly the wear and tear is there, because the ball is being hit harder so you have to react quicker. So things happen more often than they did in the past. That's part of why you're seeing a lot of injuries."

US Open tennis betting odds: Bookies' favourites and ones to watch

24 August

The stars of the ATP and WTA tours return to grand slam action on August 28 when the US Open Tennis Championships start at Flushing Meadows in New York.

In the men's draw there will be some big names missing with 2016 winner Stan Wawrinka, Novak Djokovic, Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori all ruled out of the final grand slam of the season.

While in the women's draw, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka will not appear on court at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre.

But Wimbledon champions Roger Federer and Garbine Muguruza will play in New York and are favourites among the bookmakers.

2017 US Open men's singles betting odds
  • Roger Federer 6/4 fav

     

  • Rafael Nadal 5/2

     

  • Andy Murray 7/1

     

  • Alexander Zverev 7/1

     

  • Nick Kyrgios 14/1

     

  • Marin Cilic 16/1

     

  • Grigor Dimitrov 16/1

     

  • Dominic Thiem 25/1

     

  • Juan Martin del Potro 28/1

     

The favourite: Roger Federer 6/4

Can anyone stop the Fed-Express in New York? Nadal looks his most likely challenger after Djokovic and Wawrinka were ruled out with injury. Andy Murray has not played since Wimbledon, but has recovered from a hip injury.

The outside bet: Grigor Dimitrov 16/1

Dimitrov comes into the tournament on the back of a victory in the Masters 1000 in Cincinnati so will be confident. He has three titles in 2017 and hopes to land a grand slam in the season's final attempt.

The long shot: Sam Querrey 100/1

There has not been an American winner of the US Open men's singles since 2003. John Isner at 66/1 could be a decent bet, but with some bookies offering 100/1 on Sam Querrey he could be the long shot to place on. Querrey has two hard-court titles this season and was impressive at Wimbledon.

2017 US Open women's singles betting odds
  • Garbine Muguruza 6/1

     

  • Karolina Pliskova 7/1

     

  • Johanna Konta 8/1

     

  • Maria Sharapova 9/1

     

  • Simona Halep 9/1

     

  • Elina Svitolina 10/1

     

  • Angelique Kerber 12/1

     

  • Petra Kvitova 14/1

     

  • Venus Williams 14/1

     

  • Caroline Wozniacki 16/1

     

The favourite: Garbine Muguruza 6/1

There's not much between the odds for the favourite in the US Open women's singles, but Spain's Muguruza comes into the tournament with wins at Wimbledon and Cincinnati. She will be gunning for her third career grand slam title.

The outside bet: Angelique Kerber 12/1 Former world No.1 Kerber may be having an indifferent season on the court, but she is the defending champion so don't rule her out.

The long shot: Agnieszka Radwańska 40/1 A tough call who to choose for this one, but Poland's Radwanska is inside the world's top ten and currently defending her Connecticut Open title at New Haven. She struggled with her health at the start of the year, but is back to full fitness.

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