Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks back on the week that was in the world of tennis. This week, Charles Blouin-Gascon previews the 2021 US Open.
Welcome to New York, New York, the city so nice they’ve named it twice.
Okay sorry, this lede was way obnoxious. It’s always been cliché and corny to quote the 1978 Gerard Kenny song, but these are trying and uncertain times. We’re thrilled to be there (figuratively speaking, because we’re not there physically) for the final Grand Slam of the 2021 season, the biggest party of all in the biggest stage of the sport.
The above is what New Yorkers are likely to keep repeating ad nauseam over the next two weeks. It’s beyond obnoxious in its own right…so maybe our lede was spot on? That’s what we choose to believe.
US Open draw preview
In any case, welcome to New York City for the 2021 US Open. We will be running daily previews starting next Monday, highlighting a handful of the better matches of each day throughout the tournament. For now, we have a draw preview for both men and women below. As always, follow these predictions at your own peril. We are typically very bad with our picks.
Is Ashleigh Barty in the middle of a season for the ages? Yes, but because of a certain Serb on the men’s side, Barty’s 2021 season is overshadowed. It’s a shame: five singles titles, including Wimbledon, and an overall 40-7 record, should not be overlooked.
A US Open win would change that for Barty. Regrettably, this isn’t the scenario we envision here. Instead, we see the final Grand Slam of the season as Karolina Pliskova’s crowning achievement. The 29-year-old Czech is currently in the midst of the greatest run of her career, having lost the Wimbledon title in a heartbreaking three-setter against Barty before making the National Bank Open final and the Western & Southern Open semifinal. Considering that the US Open has traditionally been her best Grand Slam, it’s not too far-fetched. And it would be great to see it happen to such a great person.
Quarterfinals: Ashleigh Barty over Jessica Pegula; Karolina Pliskova over Maria Sakkari; Naomi Osaka over Simona Halep; Barbora Krejcikova over Ons Jabeur
Semifinals: Karolina Pliskova over Ashleigh Barty; Naomi Osaka over Barbora Krejcikova
Final: Karolina Pliskova over Naomi Osaka
On the men’s side, all eyes will be on Novak Djokovic and his quest for a 21st career Grand Slam title, but maybe the heat should be on Alexander Zverev? Maybe you’ve heard l, maybe you haven’t, but the German was accused of sexual misconduct last year by a former partner of his. Well he’s back in the news again, for the exact same reason. Maybe at some point the tour could do something about it? It’s embarrassing. (But of course, it pales in comparison to whatever it is that Olga Sharypova has had to endure and suffer through. Allegedly.)
It’s a supposedly weak draw on the men’s side but really, who cares. If Djokovic makes history he’ll have made history. And if he doesn’t, then he won’t.
Quarterfinals: Novak Djokovic over Hubert Hurkacz; Denis Shapovalov over Gael Monfils; Stefanos Tsitsipas over Roberto Bautista Agut; Daniil Medvedev over John Isner
Semifinals: Novak Djokovic over Denis Shapovalov; Daniil Medvedev over Stefanos Tsitsipas
Final: Novak Djokovic over Daniil Medvedev
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG