Preview & Schedule: Nadal, Medvedev Headline Packed Day 4
Rain prevented 11 of Wednesday's 16 scheduled second-round singles matches from being played at the US Open, resulting in a busy Thursday schedule to catch up. Second-seeded Spaniard Rafael Nadal is among the top names in action on Day 4, along with fifth-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev and sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev.
Nadal headlines the night session against Aussie wild card Thanasi Kokkinakis. He won his lone FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting against a then-17-year-old Kokkinakis at the 2014 Australian Open. The Aussie was rewarded for years of persistence in dealing with injuries by defeating Ilya Ivashka on Tuesday for his first Grand Slam win in four years. He's capable of beating anyone when he's healthy and in top form, as evidenced by his stunning upset over Roger Federer last year in Miami.
But the Spaniard has history on his side. He hasn’t lost to a player outside the Top 200 of the ATP Rankings since 2006 Stockholm (l. to J. Johansson) or before the third round in New York since 2004. Nadal also has present form to rely on, arriving off his 35th ATP Masters 1000 title at the Coupe Rogers (d. Medvedev) and a dominant first-round win on Tuesday over another Aussie in John Millman.
“He has a big forehand, big serve. He's a dangerous opponent, of course,” said Nadal of Kokkinakis. “I need to go on court and to play well. If not, will be a very difficult match.”
Medvedev looks to continue his top-form against Bolivian Hugo Dellien. The Russian is coming off the best three-week run of his career, winning his first ATP Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati (d. Goffin) and finishing runner-up at the Coupe Rogers (l. to Nadal) and Citi Open (l. to Kyrgios). Although Medvedev downplayed himself as a favourite to win this year, pointing out that he’s never reached a Grand Slam quarter-final, that could change if he keeps up his current level.
“These [past] three weeks, I basically didn't have any downs. I had only great matches,” said Medvedev. “Hopefully I can bring this confidence on the court for two weeks or more.”
Zverev opens the day session with a popcorn clash against #NextGenATP American Frances Tiafoe. The German leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 3-1, but Tiafoe’s lone win came two years ago on hard courts in Cincinnati. Zverev is seeking confidence after sporting an 8-6 record since Roland Garros, but his five-set victory over Moldovan Radu Albot on Tuesday could spur him on. Tiafoe is also rounding into form again and reached the quarter-finals last week in Winston-Salem.
“I'm just trying to regain my full confidence. It's about going match by match for me. It's about doing the best I can for now,” said Zverev. “It's the first time in probably a few years where I'm not a favorite in any way at a Grand Slam, and it takes some pressure off, as well. It's a different mindset for me now.”
Other notable matches on Thursday include No. 13 seed Gael Monfils of France taking on Romanian Marius Copil and No. 14 seed John Isner of the United States facing German Jan-Lennard Struff. Former US Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia, seeded No. 22, squares off with German Cedrik-Marcel Stebe.
ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, 29 August 2019
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