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Saturday, October 19, 2019

Tennis

Elina Svitolina had extra reason to win for boyfriend Gael Monfils

Elina Svitolina Gael Monfils

Elina Svitolina says she felt extra pressure to deliver a win during her fourth round match against Madison Keys at the US Open on Sunday night.

Gael Monfils, Svitolina’s boyfriend, was in attendance for the match and cheered her on. Svitolina beat Keys 7-5, 6-4 and said in her post-match interview with ESPN that she wanted to win for Monfils’ birthday.

“It’s his birthday today, so I was trying to be really focused on my match. It was extra motivation today,” Svitolina said.

She also said he told her “if you don’t win, don’t come back,” which seemed to be much more of a joke than a threat.

The victory for Svitolina was her 30th career win over a top-10 opponent. She advances to face Johanna Konta in the quarterfinals. Monfils will face Pablo Andujar in the fourth round on the men’s side.

Naomi Osaka had classy gesture for Coco Gauff after match

Naomi Osaka Coco Gauff

Naomi Osaka ended fan-favorite Coco Gauff’s run at the US Open on Saturday, but the Japanese-born player won over fans with her classy gesture after the match.

Osaka, who won the tournament last year by beating Serena Williams in a controversial finals match, steamrolled Gauff 6-3, 6-0 in one hour and five minutes to advance to the fourth round.

Gauff, who is just 15, was making her Arthur Ashe Stadium debut in front of a sold-out crowd. Getting trounced had to have been disappointing, even if it came at the hands of the No. 1-ranked woman in the world. Gauff was somewhat tearful after the match, so Osaka went to speak with her and give her a pep talk. Osaka encouraged Gauff to join her for a post-match interview that way she could get the adulation from the fans that she deserved before exiting the court.

Gauff could be heard declining because she thought she would cry. Osaka encouraged her in response.

Gauff ended up speaking with ESPN’s Mary Joe Fernandez on the court for an interview:

The gesture and class displayed by Osaka was well-received by the tennis and sports community at large.

Daniil Medvedev snaps at towel person, flips the bird during match

Daniil Medvedev

Daniil Medvedev was a hotbed of inappropriate conduct during his third-round match against Feliciano Lopez at the US Open on Friday night.

The 5th-seeded player got frustrated after his serve was broken and he fell behind 5-3 in the first set. A ball person brought him a towel after the game, and Medvedev snapped at the man. Medvedev received a code violation for his mistreatment of the ball person and then threw his racket when the violation was announced.

Then Medvedev flipped the bird to fans as he walked to his chair at the side change.

Medvedev’s gesture was shown on the big screen at Louis Armstrong Stadium, leading to boos from the fans. Chair umpire Damien Dumusois said he could not discipline Medvedev because he did not see the gesture live.

Medvedev rallied to win the first set in a tiebreak and won the match in four sets. Afterwards he thanked the fans for their energy, crediting them with providing him the boost he needed to win. The comment seemed to be an acknowledgement of the boos.

Watch: Gael Monfils ends US Open match with fancy 360 putaway

Gael Monfils

Gael Monfils closed out his second-round win over Marius Copil at the US Open on Thursday night with a flourish.

Monfils had his second match point opportunity and was looking to put things away. He served out wide, forcing Copil to save the ball with a lob. Rather than just put away an easy overhead, Monfils decided to get fancy and did a 360 shot. Take a look:

The fancy finish was a continuation of cool shots Monfils had early in the match. Take a look at this one from the first set:

The Frenchman won easily 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. He will face Denis Shapovalov in the third round.

Tip via Tennisdude

Novak Djokovic acknowledges shoulder injury is affecting him

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic made it through to the third round of the US Open with a straight set 6-4, 7-6, 6-1 victory over Juan Ignacio Londero on Wednesday night in New York, but the win did not come easily.

Djokovic was seen grabbing at his left shoulder multiple times throughout the match and received treatment on it at various points.

He was asked about his shoulder injury during an on-court interview with ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi after the match.

“It was definitely affecting my serve and backhand,” Djokovic acknowledged. “I don’t want to talk about it too much. … This is something I’ve been carrying for quite a while now. It wasn’t easy playing with the pain, but you have to find a way to fight and hope you get some lucky shots, you get some opportunities when they’re presented and take them.”

Djokovic acknowledged the match was difficult but did not want to dwell on his shoulder injury.

“It’s not the first time I’m facing this kind of adversity or challenge. It is what it is and I’m just grateful to be on the court,” he said.

Nole joked that he probably would freeze his arm for the next 48 hours so he could recover for his third-round opponent.

The 32-year-old, who won the Australian Open and Wimbledon this year, is looking to win the US Open for the second straight year and fourth time overall.

Serena Williams offers explanation for her dominance over Maria Sharapova

Serena Williams

Serena Williams’ dominance over Maria Sharapova is one of the most impressive running streaks in tennis.

With her 6-1, 6-1 victory over Sharapova during the first round of the US Open on Monday night, Williams has now beaten Maria 19 straight times. 19. She leads Sharapova 20-2 head-to-head and has not lost to Maria since 2004.

Serena was asked in an on-court interview after her match for the reason behind her dominance of Sharapova.

“She’s such a good player. When you play her, you have to be super focused. So every time I come up against her, I bring out some of my best tennis,” Williams said.

Then in an interview on ESPN’s set, Serena was pressed further on the matter and offered potentially a better explanation.

“I don’t know. I think because of her height, the ball is in my strike zone a lot of the time. That’s the only thing I can think of. But there are a lot of players who are her height and they’re not necessarily in my strike zone, so maybe it’s just her shot,” said Williams.

Maybe that explains it.

Another big factor in the lopsided results has to be Sharapova’s psyche. The 32-year-old Russian has said in the past that she was bothered by her losing streak to Serena. That was six years ago! At this point her struggles against Williams are probably just as much mental as anything else. If you walk onto a court knowing you’re going to lose, you’re going to lose. That’s probably why Sharapova gets steamrolled so badly by Serena.

Nick Kyrgios calls chair umpire Fergus Murphy a ‘tool,’ smashes rackets during loss

Nick Kyrgios

Nick Kyrgios had another eventful night on the tennis court during his second-round match against Karen Khachanov at the Cincinnati Masters on Wednesday.

Kyrgios lost to Khachanov in three sets 6-7, 7-6, 6-2 while dealing with ankle/foot issues. He expressed issues in the second set with chair umpire Fergus Murphy after the pace of his play was pointed out. Kyrgios then brought up notorious slow player Rafael Nadal and compared himself to the Spaniard, saying he was nowhere near as slow.

Kyrgios eventually was hit with a warning for unsportsmanlike conduct after cursing at Murphy, whom he also called a “potato.” The Australian player was heated and smashed two rackets, but he headed off the court before doing so in an attempt to avoid further penalty.

After losing the final set so easily, Kyrgios was in no mood to be courteous. He called Murphy a “f—ing tool” and refused to shake the umpire’s hand.

Kyrgios was lucky he wasn’t defaulted or penalized worse in the match. He and Murphy have history; Murphy issued a disrespectful Kyrgios a code violation during a June match in London.

Expect to see Kyrgios disciplined for his conduct, which is nothing new for him.