Saturday Preview & Schedule: Nadal Ready To Rock
Rafael Nadal is known for always being on the go. But after receiving a walkover in his second round at the US Open, the Spaniard has been forced to sit without playing a live point since Tuesday. The second seed will be eager to hit the court once again as he headlines third-round action on Saturday, joined by sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev, No. 13 seed Gael Monfils of France and No. 28 seed Nick Kyrgios of Australia.
Nadal takes on South Korean Hyeon Chung, who is enjoying a successful comeback after missing five months this season with a back injury. Chung, the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals champion in 2017, scored back-to-back five-set wins this week to reach the third round. He won the first tournament of his comeback earlier this month at an ATP Challenger Tour event in Chengdu. Having beaten Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev en route to the semi-finals of the 2018 Australian Open, Chung knows what it takes to excel at Grand Slams.
But what he’s yet to excel at is mastering Nadal. The Spaniard leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 2-0 and won all four sets they’ve played. Nadal will also be the fresher of the two for their showdown. Chung has spent a minute under seven hours on court this week, in addition to his three qualifying matches last week, while Nadal required just over two hours to defeat Aussie John Millman on Tuesday. He hasn’t been in action since then due to Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis withdrawing from their second-round match with a shoulder injury, but did manage to save the day for a young fan off the court on Friday.
Zverev will look for a shorter stay on court when he meets Slovenian Aljaz Bedene, who is competing in the third round of the US Open for the first time. The sixth seed added to his reputation as a fifth-set expert, prevailing in consecutive five-setters this week against Moldovan Radu Albot and #NextGenATP American Frances Tiafoe. Zverev holds a 3-0 lead against Bedene in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry, including a convincing win at this year’s Australian Open, and will need to replicate that effort to remain fresh for the second week.
“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 before the tournament started. “It's the first time in 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.”
Two of the flashiest players on tour square off for the first time when Monfils takes on #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov. The Frenchman is back in the Top 15 for the first time in two years after outstanding results this season that include a title in Rotterdam (d. Wawrinka) and semi-final finish at the Masters 1000 event in Montreal. Meanwhile, Shapovalov has been finding his form again after beginning to work last week with former Top 10 player Mikhail Youzhny. The 20-year-old reached his first semi-final since March in Winston-Salem and hasn’t dropped a set so far this week.
“I'm a big fan of his. He's been so exciting to watch from when I was super young. I've always seen him come out with crazy points, crazy hot shots. He's so athletic on the court. I think he's one of the best athletes in the world in any sport,” Shapovalov said of Monfils. “He can really do everything. He can play aggressive, he can stay in the rallies, he's got a big serve. It’s going to be a tough match.”
Kyrgios closes out the evening session against Russian Andrey Rublev. Both men have been in top form during the North American hard-court swing, with Kyrgios prevailing at the Citi Open (d. Medvedev) and Rublev defeating Roger Federer to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final in Cincinnati. The US Open holds extra weight for Rublev as the venue where he announced his arrival on Tour, coming through qualifying to reach the quarter-finals in 2017, while Kyrgios looks to reach the second week at this event for the first time.
“He's a young, fearless player who has been playing really well the last couple weeks,” Kyrgios said. Obviously he had that win over Roger. He plays big from both sides. He's a great player. He's going to have a great future.”
Other notable matches on Saturday include No. 14 seed John Isner of the United States taking on former US Open champion and No. 22 seed Marin Cilic of Croatia, while #NextGenATP Aussie Alexei Popyrin meets No. 24 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy.
ORDER OF PLAY – SATURDAY, 31 August 2019
 Matteo Berrettini vs Alexei Popyrin
 Bob Bryan / Mike Bryan vs Roberto Carballes Baena / Federico Delbonis
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