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A Surprising Yr Could Culminate in a Surprising U.S. Open

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Who’s going to win the USA Open, which starts next week? Given the outcomes over the weekend in a vital warm-up tournament near Cincinnati, the reply looks like it could possibly be “almost anyone.”

Though the fields were strong, each the lads’s and girls’s singles tournaments in Ohio were won by unseeded players. The lads’s winner was Borna Coric of Croatia, ranked 152nd on the planet last week after being injured for a yr and returning in March. The victory made him the bottom ranked player ever to win a Masters 1000, the elite events rated slightly below the Grand Slams.

Along the best way, he beat the two, 4, 7, 9 and 15 seeds. Did he think there was a probability to win entering into? “Absolutely not,” he said.

The ladies’s winner was Caroline Garcia of France, the Thirty fifth-ranked player last week. She became the primary qualifier ever to win a WTA 1000 title and beat the 4, 6 and seven seeds to accomplish that. “It’s hard to imagine I’m standing here today; it’s been such every week,” she said in her post-match speech.

The outcomes proceed an unexpected yr in tennis. The previous men’s Masters 1000 event, in Montreal, was also won by an unseeded player, Pablo Carreño Busta of Spain. The seven 1000 events this yr have had six different winners. (Carlos Alcaraz won two but has never made the semifinal of a Grand Slam event.)

The lads’s Grand Slam events have been won by the familiar duo of Rafael Nadal (Australian and French Opens) and Novak Djokovic (Wimbledon), but at ages 36 and 35 their dominance appears to be wavering. They each needed to survive at the least one five-set match on their method to their Grand Slam titles this yr. And Nadal, who lost to Coric last week, has been coping with an injury to his abdomen that led to his withdrawal from Wimbledon.

On the ladies’s side, Ashleigh Barty won the Australian Open as the highest seed, then retired. Iga Swiatek of Poland looked as if it would take up her mantle, occurring a run earlier within the yr that culminated in a French Open win and the No. 1 rating. Then she lost within the round of 32 at Wimbledon and the round of 16 in each Toronto and Cincinnati. The Wimbledon winner was Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the second-lowest-ranked woman ever to win there at No. 23.

On the U.S. Open, which starts Aug. 29, the bookmakers are keeping the religion with Djokovic as the lads’s favorite at about 8-5. If he plays. His vaccine status means he may not even be allowed within the country. And the No. 2 player on the planet, Alexander Zverev, is out after an ankle surgery.

Daniil Medvedev is the following alternative at about 5-2, probably largely because he’s the reigning champion. He hasn’t won a giant event this yr and is the No. 1 player almost by default. After that come Alcaraz, Nadal and Nick Kyrgios. Coric is 35-1. Particularly if Djokovic is out, the tournament result looks rather more uncertain than usual.

Despite her recent struggles, Swiatek is the 3-1 favorite on the ladies’s side, perhaps for lack of a greater option. After that, it’s anyone’s guess. Most oddsmakers have Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep, Coco Gauff and the defending champion, Emma Raducanu, all within the 7-1 to 16-1 range, plus at the least one other eight or 10 players with an actual shot at 22-1 or less, including Rybakina and Garcia.

Generally, tennis fans put a good amount of stock within the hardcourt warm-ups for the U.S. Open, if not to indicate the winner at the least to indicate players to observe. The upset-filled events this yr could possibly be a harbinger for a U.S. Open stuffed with surprises.

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