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Firm favourite for the women’s title Ashleigh Barty comes up against Denmark’s rising star Clara Tauson on Thursday for a place in round three. Barty has been in rampaging form across all surfaces, picking up five titles already this season, including her Wimbledon win. But, she is far from infallible as her first round Olympic exit in Tokyo showed.
Tauson has made incredible progress since turning pro in 2019 and quietly arrives in New York with some very solid form. The 18-year-old Dane came through qualifying to pick up a stunning win in Lyon earlier in the year, and only a fortnight ago scored another WTA title win in Chicago. She competently pushed aside world 92nd-ranked Clara Burel 2-0 in the opening round and I fully expect her to play well on Thursday too.
Barty’s serve dominance will be particularly concerning to Tauson, having fired off 11 aces in her first round win over Vera Zvonareva. Barty will almost certainly prove too strong for Tauson, but if she can hold serve consistently and stay aggressive, I fancy her odds of unsettling Barty and stealing a set away.
Many of us on the tennis team here at Paddy believe this is Alexander Zverev’s time, the young German finished runner-up at last year’s edition and will surely have been targeting to go one step further this time around.
His form arriving in New York has been majorly impressive, he’s claimed recent wins in Cincinnati, took home gold in Tokyo and is undefeated in an impressive 11 games leading up to the US Open. Included in those wins is an impressive three set first round dismissal of Sam Querrey. His opponent on Thursday Albert Ramos-Vinolas avoided a first round scare, but needed five sets to overcome the 133rd-ranked Lucas Pouille.
With Zverev in the form of his life over the past few months, it seems obvious that this can only go one way and I’m tipping him to lay down a big marker for the rest of the tournament.
The all-American match-up between Taylor Fritz and Jenson Brooksby is likely the most difficult game to call on Thursday. Fritz caused somewhat of an upset with his three sets to one victory over 14th seed Alex de Minaur in Round 1. But, that performance was far from convincing, making a huge 53 unforced errors, which included six double faults.
Fritz will need to reduce those errors massively on Thursday if he is to match his best performance at US Open’s, having made it to Round 3 in both 2018 and 2020. Brooksby arrives at the tournament in better form than his American counterpart, he narrowly missed out on the Hall of Fame Open title in July and played brilliantly during his run to the semi-final of the Citi Open in early August. Brooksby eliminated some big names there without dropping a set, including Frances Tiafoe, John Millman and Felix Auger-Aliassime.
My slight concern with Brooksby will be his sharpness, he overcame the in-form Mikael Ymer in the first round on Tuesday, but that was in a four set, four-hour long slog. I’m tipping Brooksby to win, but he wil pushed all the way by Fritz.
* All match times are approximate and some will depend on the finish of games being played before them.
17:00 Ashleigh Barty vs Clara Tauson: Barty To Win And Both Players Win A Set
18:15 Alexander Zverev v Albert Ramos-Vinolas: Set 1 Correct Score: Zverev 6-0
22:30 Jenson Brooksby v Taylor Fritz: Brooksby To Win 3-2 In Sets
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