US Open 2019 Day 4 Preview: Zverev, Tiafoe and Riske Take Flight

published: Aug, 29, 2019

by: Ben Stevens

They’re not exactly making it look easy, are they?

Serena Williams, Roger Federer, even Novak Djokovic all looked human on Wednesday at the US Open.

Maybe it’s first-week hiccups, maybe it’s a sign of things to come. Either way, it’s something to keep an eye on…

Here’s your three to see on day 4 in New York:

Alexander Zverev (GER) [6] v Frances Tiafoe (USA) – First on Arthur Ashe

It’s basically a given at this point: a major rolls around, and Sascha Zverev tries his best to immediately blow it. Thankfully for him, he still managed to find a way past Radu Albot in his opener, but things get substantially harder against Frances Tiafoe. A guy who, despite the marked difference in career trajectory, has as many major quarterfinal appearances as Zverev does, Tiafoe definitely has the chops to cause the “upset”, and with the New York crowd sure to be behind him, he has to like his chances. Indeed, even if Zverev keeps his head on straight, this seems likely to go five, and that makes this quite the intriguing match in prospect.

Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) v Alison Riske (USA) – Third on Grandstand

Coming into this tournament without so much as a single grand slam victory in 2019, Jelena Ostapenko has managed to clear a very low bar already this week, but if she wants to get her career back on track here in New York, she’s gonna have to do it the hard way, starting with the tricky Alison Riske. The woman who crushed the hopes of newly-minted no. 1 Ash Barty’s at Wimbledon, Riske is actually the favourite coming into this one, and while she doesn’t possess the outright firepower of Ostapenko (few do), her ability to flatten the ball out and take time away from her opponents will make it difficult for the Latvian to take the big cuts she’d prefer. Either way, it should be a good match, presenting a fun contrast in styles of attacking tennis.

Hyeon Chung (KOR) v Fernando Verdasco (ESP) [32] – Fourth on Court 10

Guess who’s back, back again… Hyeon Chung’s back, tell a friend. Having been absent from the tour since a brief appearance in Rotterdam in February, the 2018 Aussie Open semi-finalist, is back on the grand slam stage, and now gets a difficult, but not impossible test in the veteran Fernando Verdasco. Certainly Verdasco comes in vulnerable, having retired from his only USO-warmup match against Benoit Paire in Cincinnati, while Chung has been playing challengers almost non-stop all August, and had to qualify just to reach the main draw. Assuming the Korean’s tank isn’t running on empty, he’ll be a particularly difficult hurdle for Verdasco to clear, as he should be able to work his righty forehand to the Spaniard’s lefty backhand to his advantage, and make this the sort of war of attrition he definitely doesn’t want. Of course, Verdasco isn’t a complete slouch, and might simply be too good at this stage of Chung’s comeback, but don’t be surprised if the latter’s feelgood story continues either.

Ben Stevens

Contributor to TennisConnected. Long time player, coach and fan. Still waiting on Mark Philippoussis to break through at a major.

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