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Talking Points ahead of US Open Men’s Tournament

Tennis’ final Grand Slam starts tomorrow as the best players battle it out to become US Open champion. Here I preview the action in what promises to be an action packed two weeks of tennis.

Nadal gets a favourable draw

Although Nadal will not admit it, he must be quietly pleased with his draw for the tournament. Te defending champion is on the opposite side of the draw to Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. He may have to face Karen Khachanov, Kyle Edmund and Kevin Anderson or Dominic Thiem. Nadal will feel that he can outlast those opponents and he will be determined to defend the US Open for the first time.

Rafael Nadal
Will Nadal win his second Grand Slam of the year? Photo By: Getty

Tough Draw for Federer

Roger Federer has not enjoyed a happy few months of tennis by his own high standards. He was knocked out of Wimbledon by Kevin Anderson and was comfortably beaten by Novak Djokovic in the final of the Cincinnati Open. The 20 time Grand Slam champion is projected to face Benoit Paire in round 2, Nick Kyrgios in round 3 and Hyeon Chung or Fabio Fognini in the last 16. That is before a potential semi-final with Djokovic. A tough draw indeed.

Novak Djokovic
Can Djokovic win back to back Grand Slams? Photo By: PA

How far can Murray go?

Andy Murray will play his first Grand Slam tournament since Wimbledon 2017. Murray’s return is great to see but question marks remain over his movement as a result of his hip injury. Murray is keen to quash any talk of him being a dark horse but if he is fully fit then he could be a dark horse. He could face Juan martin Del Potro in round 3 in what could be a titanic tussle.

Dimitrov v Wawrinka Part II

Grigor Dimitrov and Stan Wawrinka were paired together for the second Grand Slam in succession after being drawn in the opening round of Wimbledon earlier this year. The unseeded Wawrinka won that day and he has enjoyed an excellent hard court season – reaching the quarter finals in Cincinnati. Dimitrov has endured a difficult season but a win here could reignite his season.

Britain Wimbledon Tennis
Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland plays a return to Taylor Fritz of the U.S during their men’s singles match on day two of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Tuesday, June 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

Can Zverev make the breakthrough?

Alexander Zverev is a force to be reckoned with but he has not proved himself on the major stage yet. He reached the quarter finals at Roland Garros this year. He holds three Masters 1000 titles but if he is to progress deep in this tournament then he will need to show greater mental fortitude than he has in previous Slams. To his credit he managed to win five set matches on the French clay but he faces a tough draw. He has the potential to beat anyone as he has one more chance to go deep in a Slam in 2018.

The 2018 US Open promises to be an action packed tournament filled with drama. May the best player win.

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Wimbledon Women’ Final: Will it be number 8 for Serena or can Kerber etch her name in Wimbledon history?

The 2018 Wimbledon Final will be contested between number 11 seed Angelique Kerber and number 25 seed Serena Williams. This match is a repeat of the 2016 final which Williams won in two tight sets. Here I preview what promises to be a fascinating encounter.

Wimbledon Women's Trophy
The Venus Rosewater Dish will be presented to the winner but who will hat be? Photo By: Gary M Prior/Allsport

Kerber’s Route to the Final

R1. v Vera Zvonareva 7-5 6-3

R2. v Claire Liu 3-6 6-2 6-4

R.3 v Naomi Osaka 6-2 6-4

R.4 v Belinda Bencic 6-3 7-6(5)

QF v Daria Kasatkina 6-3 7-5

SF v Jelena Ostapenko 6-3 6-3

Angelique Kerber has dropped just one set on her way to the final. Her most impressive performance was in the semi-final against the power of Ostapenko. She will come up against a similar type player in Serena Williams. Kerber’s fairly routine progress means she shouldn’t be affected by fatigue and she will need all her energy if she is to triumph here.

Angelique Kerber
Will Kerber be elebrating on Saturday? Photo By: Reuters

Williams’ Route to the Final

R1. v Arantxa Rus 7-5 6-3

R2. v Viktoriya Tomova 6-1 6-4

R3. v Kristina Mladenovic 7-5 7-6(2)

R.4 v Evgeniya Rodina 6-2 6-2

QF v Camila Giorgi 3-6 6-3 6-4

SF v Julia Goerges 6-2 6-4

Serena has peaked perfectly in this tournament. Her response to losing her first set in the quarter final showed what a champion she is. She dug in and found a way to win. Her semi-final performance was excellent. Goerges played a great match but Serena’s power and angles were too much. She will need a big performance to beat a familiar foe on Saturday.

Serena Williams final
Will Serena be roaring with delight on Saturday? Photo By: UPI

My Thoughts

Serena understandably enters the match as the favourite considering her past victories here. She is going for her eighth title and looking to equal Margaret Court’s Open era¬† record of 24 Grand Slams. She won 87% of points behind her first serve in the semi-final and her serve was what won her the title against Kerber in 2016. She will face a different type of pressure as she has not played much tennis since the birth of her daughter. Can she handle it?

Kerber has made steady progress throughout the tournament on what I consider to be her best surface. Her serve has been vital to her progress. She made 77% of first serves in her semi-final and will need to make a similar number in the final. The German’s defence has been wondeful throughout the Champioships and she has been excellent in nullifying the big shots of Osaka and Ostapenko.

It would be special to see Serena win her 24th Slam at the All England Club and create history. It would be equally sweet to see Angelique win her first Wimbledon after her nightmare 2017. I’m giving the nod to Serena in two tight sets or over 3 sets. It promises to be a great game of tennis.