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2019 U.S. Open: What to Watch Saturday (Besides Osaka vs. Gauff)

How to watch: ESPN2; streaming on ESPN+ and ESPN3.

How to get there: Take the 7 subway line or the Long Island Rail Road to Mets-Willets Point.

Saturday’s schedule: Men | Women

The whole tennis world will be focused on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday night when Coco Gauff faces No. 1 Naomi Osaka in the third round of the United States Open (7 p.m., ESPN2).

Here are a few others worth keeping an eye on.

[Check here for periodic updates from the match between Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff.]


Nick Kyrgios vs. Andrey Rublev

In the span of three days, tennis fans have seen the full range of Nick Kyrgios.

On Tuesday night, he invited controversy as he accused the ATP, the governing body of men’s tennis, of corruption after they fined him for a set of outbursts at his previous event, the Cincinnati Masters. On Wednesday, he walked his statement back, saying, “My point and intention was to address what I see as double standards rather than corruption.” By Thursday night, he was back on a tennis court, playing exceptionally in a second-round victory over Antoine Hoang. He danced after exceptional shots, spoke in the post-match interview about how he was trying to be more focused on the court, and then went to support his friend Jack Sock during his first-round doubles match.

Nick Kyrgios: On a Path to Glory, Suspension or Both?Aug. 28, 2019

There’s no saying what fans will see on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday night when Kyrgios plays Andrey Rublev. The match will be after the blockbuster Osaka-Gauff match.

Rublev, a 21-year-old Russian ranked 43rd, has had some big wins of late, defeating Roger Federer in Cincinnati and upsetting eighth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas in the first round of the Open. Rublev, much like Kyrgios, is a powerful baseline player, especially on the forehand side. Both players are known to play aggressive tennis at times and to get into mental slumps after errors.


Taylor Townsend vs. Sorana Cirstea

Townsend pulled out a stunning upset on Thursday over fourth-seeded Simona Halep, the reigning Wimbledon champion. Townsend pressured Halep by coming to net an astounding 106 times and sticking to her plan even as Halep periodically picked out clever passing shots. Cirstea, who was ranked as high as No. 21, is known for erratic baseline play. She tends to go for winners early in a point, which can lead to as many unforced errors as it does winners. If Townsend can pressure her to go for the big shots by coming into net as frequently as she did against Halep, her winning formula may repeat itself.


Kristie Ahn vs. Jelena Ostapenko

Ahn, 27, made it out of the first round at a major for the first time, after many years on the lower tours, trying to break into the top 200. If she wins Saturday, she will finally break into the top 100. Ostapenko, a former French Open champion and top-5 player, has struggled to recapture her top form since a wrist injury toward the end of last year. She had not won a match at Grand Slam event this year before the U.S. Open, but she has won her first two rounds in straight sets.


Caroline Wozniacki vs. Bianca Andreescu

Wozniacki, a former world No. 1. and the 2018 Australian Open champion, has needed three sets in each round to edge past Wang Yafan and Danielle Collins. Standing in her way Saturday is Andreescu, 19, one of the most exciting young players on tour. Although she needed to withdraw from the French Open because a recurring shoulder injury, she returned to the tour in early August for the Rogers Cup in her hometown, Toronto, and won. Andreescu’s shot making variety has set her apart from many youngsters on the tour, and her hardcourt titles at Toronto and Indian Wells, where the surfaces are similar to the courts in Flushing Meadows, make her a contender. At No. 15, she is the highest seed left in her quarter of the draw.

ASHE STADIUM, Day session

Hyeon Chung vs. Rafael Nadal

At the 2018 Australian Open, Chung became the first Korean player to reach a major semifinal, defeating Alexander Zverev and Novak Djokovic on the way. Although he has struggled with injuries in 2019, he made it through U.S. Open qualifying without losing a set and has played two grueling five-set matches without looking particularly worse for wear. He played especially well in his second-round victory over the No. 32 seed, Fernando Verdasco, coming back from a two-set deficit to snatch the upset.

Nadal, in contrast, comes into Saturday’s match well rested. He swept aside John Millman in three sets during their first-round match on Tuesday night and was awarded a walkover in the second round after Thanasi Kokkinakis pulled out because of injury concerns. Nadal should have every answer to Chung’s tenacious play to advance to his 13th consecutive round of 16 at a Grand Slam event.


Gaël Monfils vs Denis Shapovalov

This match features two of the most entertaining players on the ATP Tour. Both players’ games feature hard baseline shots, some augmented by leaping into the air in order to get their racket over the ball and drive down the ball flatly into the back corners. Shapovalov has looked in especially fine form, dispatching first his close friend Felix Auger-Aliassime and then Henri Laaksonen in straight sets. If there’s anyone who can understand the weak points in an acrobatic baseline game, it may be Monfils, who pulled out shots like these on Thursday night:

Friday’s Highlights2019 U.S. Open: Highlights From FridayAug. 30, 2019Roger Federer Heats Up on Court and OffAug. 30, 2019The Evolution of Tennis in Four GripsAug. 30, 2019Daniil Medvedev: The Russian Player Who Trolled the U.S. OpenAug. 31, 2019


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