Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks ahead to the latest in tennis. Today, Charles Blouin-Gascon previews day 7 of the 2020 US Open.
The match was quickly delayed for over an hour.
Insomuch as an hour, or 3,600 seconds, can sometimes take painstakingly long to pass by, yesterday was the absolute opposite. Suddenly, more than an hour had passed and the match still hadn’t started.
It was easy to miss unless you were actually tuned in to the channel that was supposed to air the third round match between Adrian Mannarino and Alexander Zverev. If you were instead watching, say, Denis Shapovalov battle American Taylor Fritz, then all you really saw was a shirtless Zverev in his suite awaiting the start of a match he was slated to compete in over an hour ago but you didn’t really ponder what it must mean that the shirtless Zverev had been waiting for an hour for his match to start.
Then, you saw the first little murmurs on Twitter. Just what in the hell had happened for Mannarino, Zverev’s opponent for this delayed match? Well the United States Tennis Association released a statement on the Frenchman, one that was (probably purposefully) vague and difficult to read much into.
USTA statement on Zverev-Mannarino:
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) September 4, 2020
The problem, apparently, was that Mannarino had been in contact with countryman Benoit Paire, who had tested positive earlier in the week for coronavirus. We’ve learned since that the New York State Department of Health told Mannarino he wouldn’t be able to compete yesterday and that he needed to quarantine in his hotel room.
This is fine potentially, but the problem is that the 32-year-old had been allowed to compete and play tennis since being in contact with Paire. And ultimately, he was allowed to compete against Zverev as well, losing in four relatively uncontested sets. Hard to follow such logic really.
On to the three matches to keep a close eye on for today.
DAY 7 PREVIEW
Louis Armstrong Stadium: Angelique Kerber  vs Jennifer Brady  (11am start)
American Jennifer Brady has enjoyed quite the formidable 2020 season, making the quarterfinal at the Brisbane International, the semifinal at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships before capturing the title at The Top Seed Open presented by Bluegrass Orthopaedics. An overall record of 17/6 in 2020 is downright miraculous.
Standing in her way today is German Angelique Kerber, who’s apparently worked through whatever hindered her game last year and who’s already equalled her best 2019 Grand Slam result.
Louis Armstrong Stadium: Petra Kvitova  vs Shelby Rogers (Not before 3pm)
In light of our intro today, we’re choosing to highlight American Shelby Rogers, upon whose shoulders lie the hope of every have-nots of the top half of the women’s draw. Rogers has had quite the draw and managed to escape without having lost a set, which bodes well for her chances in the fourth round and moving forward. The thing is, you can say the same for Rogers’s opponent today, Petra Kvitova. Depending how the rest of the matches shake out, the Czech might not be the hands-on favourite—but she definitely is against Rogers.
Louis Armstrong Stadium: Borna Coric  vs Jordan Thompson (Not before 5pm)
At some point, Croatian Borna Coric will run out of fuel, right? After an easy first round match against Pablo Andujar, Coric has had his back against the wall in his two next matches, needing to come back from a 1-2 set deficit before grabbing the win.
In contrast, Australian Jordan Thompson has taken full advantage of the draw and has made the fourth round without having been challenged. He’s been good but he probably doesn’t have a shot here.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG