Forget the awful Will Smith movie, this is the real Wild Wild West.

How else can you describe a US Open that five days in, is already guaranteed to give us a first-time male finalist? One who, to be more specific, was given no chance in hell of doing so when this tournament started.

Whether this is better for tennis than the usual dominance of the big 4 is certainly a matter for debate, but there’s no denying the entertainment value. All we need now is Novak Djokovic to run onto the court and steal the title by knocking out the winner with a folding chair.

In all seriousness, whether you’re a big 4 diehard or not, enjoy the novelty. Even by pre-2004 standards, this is nuts – and there’s nine days left!

Also congrats to Serena Williams on the birth of her daughter. To all other parents expecting their child to compete on the tour anywhere in the 2034-50 range, I’m very sorry.

Here’s your three to see for day 6 at the US Open.

Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) [12] vs Daria Kasatkina (RUS) – 2nd on Louis Armstrong

At first glance this might not look like the most enticing of matchups, but dig deeper and you’ll find some real substance. Having seen Ostapenko skyrocket up the rankings after her French Open victory, it’s easy to forget now that it was Kasatkina, not the Latvian who was the higher-ranked of the two ’97-borns heading into that tournament, largely on the back of her victory in the Charleston final over… you guessed it, Ostapenko. More than most, Kasatkina plays a wonderfully varied game that can frustrate heavy-hitters, and that means Ostapenko will have to be as composed as she is fearless.

Roger Federer (SUI) [3] vs Feliciano Lopez (ESP) [31] – 1st on Arthur Ashe, Night Session

Another match that should be straightforward for the Swiss maestro, and yet he might as well be Nick Kyrgios for all the uncertainty surrounding him right now. Just like against Mikhail Youzhny, Federer holds a commanding head-to-head lead, 12-0, but he is clearly not 100%, and a player of Lopez’s quality is far more likely to capitalise should he flounder again. On the flip side, Federer said after the Youzhny match he wasn’t too concerned about either his dodgy back or his shaky start, and maybe we shouldn’t be either. Putting in a vintage Federer performance here would go a long way to assuage those concerns.

Gael Monfils (FRA) [18] vs David Goffin (BEL) [9] – 3rd on Louis Armstrong

Two players who could only be more different if they didn’t speak the same language, the contrast in styles should make this a fun matchup. Where Monfils is the erratic showman, Goffin is the definition of solid, yet while the Frenchman leads their head-to-head 2-1, all three of their affairs have gone the three-set distance, with the Belgian taking the most recent match in Shanghai last year. Expect plenty of entertaining baseline exchanges, with Monfils trying to break down Goffin’s resistance before the latter can create an error – both men have to like their chances, and whoever wins, it’s begging to go five.


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