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Monday Digest: Djokovic, Barty pursuing history at the US Open

Aug 30, 2021
written by: Tennis Canada
written by: Tennis Canada

Must watch this week 

Novak Djokovic, Ashleigh Barty favourites for the title

Both the WTA and ATP top ranked players will be playing in New York this year. Both of them will have opportunities to cement their dominance in their respective tours, with Asleigh Barty already guaranteed to finish as the World No. 1 and Novak Djokovic with a chance to win the Calendar Grand Slam, or simply the Grand Slam.  

Djokovic has won the first three majors of the season, beating the likes of Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Matteo Berrettini and Rafael Nadal en route to the trophies. A win at the US Open would both make the Serb the first male player to win all four majors in the same season since Rod Laver in 1969, and also break a three-way tie between him, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal of 20 Grand Slam titles each.

Novak Djokovic lifts his fists
Photo : Frey/Tennis Photo Network

Barty, the winner of two majors, including Wimbledon this year, could become the first female player to win multiple Grand Slam titles in the same season since Serena Williams lifted three trophies in 2015, and the first to win both Wimbledon and the US Open back-to-back since Serena Williams in 2012. 

Bianca, Shapovalov, Fernandez, Auger-Aliassime looking for strong showings 

2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu will try to regroup after a summer marked by injury and disappointing results for the Canadian’s standards. Andreescu reached the final of the Miami Open earlier this year, but was not able to back the results during the clay and grass season. Back on her favourite surface, though, she will be looking for a deep run at the last Grand Slam tournament of the year. 

Bianca ANdreescu kisses the US Open trophy
Photo : Martin Sidorjak/Tennis Canada

In the men’s draw, Félix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov arrive in New York on the back of their best results at a major, with Shapovalov reaching the semi-finals and Auger-Aliassime reaching the quarter-finals, both at Wimbledon. Shapovalov reached the quarter-finals at the US Open in 2020, falling in a competitive five-set-match against Pablo Carreno-Busta.  

Felix Auger-Aliassime started his campaign earlier today with a hard-fought victory over qualifier Evgeny Donskoy in four hours. Read the full report here

Rounding up Canadian action, Leylah Fernandez, Vasek Pospisil, and Rebecca Marino also feature in the main draw at the US Open. Fernandez also scored her first win today, coming back from a break down in the first set to defeat Ana Konjuh in the first round. Marino went through the qualifying tournament and will face No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina in the opening round. Pospisil will face Fabio Fognini, the No. 28 seeded player.  

Photo : Camerawork USA

In case you Missed it 

Winston-Salem 

In the last tune-up event before the US Open in the ATP Tour calendar, unseeded player Ilya Ivashka from Belarus won his first career title over Sweden’s Mikael Ymer, who reached his first final. 

Several lower-ranked players and players who did not perform well on the North-American hard-courts this summer have played in Winston-Salem, including top seed Pablo Carreno-Busta, Frances Tiafoe, and former World No. 1 Andy Murray. Although they were not able to make it into the later rounds there, these players still got some much-needed match practice ahead of the US Open. 

Chicago 

World No. 6 Elina Svitolina entered the Chicago WTA250 event as the top seeded player to try to get better results ahead of the North-American Grand Slam tournament.

The only Top 10 player in the draw, Svitolina had to work hard for the title, playing two marathon matches in a row in the semi-final and final rounds, with both going over two hours. She faces Canadian Rebecca Marino in the first round. 

Under the radar 

Galarneau qualifies for Challenger event 

Alexis Galarneau succeeded in qualifying for the main draw of the St Tropez Challenger this week. He will open his campaign against another qualifier, Dan Added from France, who is ranked just below Galarneau. 

Follow all the Canadians in action this week here