Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks ahead to the latest in tennis. Today, Charles Blouin-Gascon previews day 8 of the 2021 US Open.
They’re doing this at an age when most would be in, or graduating from, high school.
That’s the craziest thing about seeing youngsters Carlos Alcaraz, Leylah Fernandez and Emma Raducano making the fourth round at this year’s US Open. While we were busy smoking weed, going to parties and doing unspeakable things (hi, mom and dad) at 18 years old, this trio is launching professional tennis careers on the biggest stage of the sport.
Well okay, Fernandez has now turned 19 years old (happy birthday!) but the point remains. The kids are alright and they’re accomplishing alright things.
Who has the best chance in New York?
On the men’s side, Alcaraz’s tournament is already a success regardless of what happens from here. Just how thrilling and entertaining his win against Stefanos Tsitsipas was? Well consider that the match happened 2 days ago and we barely discussed the Greek’s bathroom breaks since. It was one of the most entertaining matches of the season, but don’t think the young Spaniard is content with merely making the fourth round. He gets qualifier Peter Gojowczyk, an opponent well within his reach in a match that’s starting just as we’re writing this.
On the women’s side on Monday, Raducanu gets Shelby Rogers, who’s riding high herself after defeating world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty in what was another highlight of the first week of action. There was also Leylah Fernandez, who slayed the Naomi Osaka dragon with daring and inspired tennis and who was rewarded with a match against former champion Angelique Kerber. Both players are starting the third set as we’re writing this and the jury is still out on whether Fernanded will end up winning and ensuring her New York adventure lasts at least another round or losing and bringing her New York to a close after a dream week.
In all three cases, I guess our plea here is to enjoy their matches as much as possible. The youngsters are great, and so is the future of the sport.
Day 8 preview
Here is our preview for day 8 of action at the US Open. There are plenty of great matches but our choices for the three to watch are below. As always, if you disagree with us please don’t tell us about it. The rest of the day’s schedule is here.
Louis Armstrong Stadium: Belinda Bencic  vs Iga Swiatek  (First match of the day)
Do you know that there is one player on the WTA who made the second week of all four Grand Slam events of 2021? Surprisingly, her name is Iga Swiatek. This shows why maybe we shouldn’t always judge excellence and success: the Polish has not come close to winning a second career major title, but she’s still been great all season long.
Arthur Ashe Stadium: Jannik Sinner  vs Alexander Zverev  (First match of the day)
We wrote yesterday that men’s tennis has a blind spot for Alexander Zverev and we stand by it. The ATP should probably do something about the German, one way or another, but until then he makes it hard to ignore if he keeps playing as well as he has. For now, he gets to show what he can do against the next great white hope of Italian tennis in Jannik Sinner.
Louis Armstrong Stadium: Oscar Otte vs Matteo Berrettini  (Not before 3pm local time)
Did you know that this is the first time in US Open’s history that two Italian men have made the fourth round? If you’re Italian and you love men’s tennis, these next few years should be a doozy.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG