US Open predictions — Quotes from Media Day — Must-click women’s tennis links

The IX: Tennis Tuesday with Joey Dillon, Aug. 29, 2023

Howdy, y’all and Happy Tennis Tuesday! We’re into the start of the main draw at the US Open, with Day 1 wrapping up just before midnight. I was fortunate enough to attend the first day, as well as catching some action on qualifying’s final day. Two of my three qualifying picks advanced to the main draw in Olivia Gadecki and Wang Yafan. Gadecki lost a tough three-setter to Maria Andreeva, while Yafan plays No. 7 Caroline Garcia. Folks, expect the upset there.

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That being said, with a new Grand Slam means some Joey Dillon Predictions. Although women’s tennis has their own Big 3 in Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina, the tour is still deep. Coco Gauff is being touted as one of the players to take it all this fortnight after winning in Washington and Cincinnati, while Jessica Pegula is another American eager to capitalize on her recent WTA 1000 win in Montreal.


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As you’ll see in my predictions below, there will be some upsets, but not so much from the top seeds. Maria Sakkari was upset on the first day, but other than her and Garcia, it should be a bit straight-forward. Still, the WTA is stacked with talent and anyone can win on any day. Upsets are the norm, but will we see a lot? Petra Kvitova can knock anyone off the court, but the New York weather hampers her asthma. Madison Keys is another with all the tools and has made a final here, but she’s not as in-form as she’d like. Could a young star like Zheng Qinwen or Anastasia Potapova come through? Perhaps another qualifier can mimic Emma Raducanu in 2021, or her runner-up in Leylah Fernandez? Marketa Vondrousova shocked the world to win Wimbledon, yet is severely underrated by most when looking at US Open odds.

I don’t know, things will be interesting and like I say, take these predictions with a truckload of salt.

Round of 16
(1) Iga Swiatek def. (20) Jelena Ostapenko
(6) Coco Gauff def. (11) Petra Kvitova
(4) Elena Rybakina def. (18) Victoria Azarenka
(10) Karolina Muchova def. (8) Maria Sakkari
(9) Marketa Vondrousova def. (27) Anastasia Potapova
(3) Jessica Pegula def. (17) Madison Keys
(5) Ons Jabeur def. (23) Zheng Qinwen
(2) Aryna Sabalenka def. (21) Donna Vekic

Quarterfinals
(1) Iga Swiatek def. (6) Coco Gauff
(4) Elena Rybakina def. (10) Karolina Muchova
(3) Jessica Pegula def. (9) Marketa Vondrousova
(2) Aryna Sabalenka def. (5) Ons Jabeur

Semi-Finals
(4) Elena Rybakina def. (1) Iga Swiatek
(3) Jessica Pegula def. (2) Aryna Sabalenka

Final
(4) Elena Rybakina def. (3) Jessica Pegula

Now, this will likely not happen, but my gut says Rybakina is just going to find some really great form. I do think the top half is much stronger, so the champion will probably come out from that semi-final.

Onto links!


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This Week in Women’s Tennis

Sara Sorribes Tormo lost in the final round of qualifying at Tennis in the Land, but wound up capturing her second WTA singles title with a three-set win over Ekaterina Alexandrova in the final. Miyu Kato and Aldila Sutjiadi snuck past Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Ellen Perez to win the doubles title.

At the Chicago Women’s Open, Viktoriya Tomova Ulrikke Eikeri and Ingrid Neel her first WTA 125 title with a win over Claire Liu, while Ulrikke Eikeri and Ingrid Neel took home the doubles crown after receiving a walkover by Cristina Bucsa and Alexandra Panova.

Perhaps I’m biased, but this Danielle Collins feature by David Kane is perhaps my favorite of the week. He also sat down with Marie Bouzkova, who spoke out about her viral reaction that lead to Miyu Kato’s default in the French Open doubles tournament.

Congratulations to Serena Williams, who gave birth to her second child, a daughter named Adira:

Lily Miyazaki holds two degrees from the University of Oklahoma, but she’s excelling on the court by qualifying and winning her first Grand Slam main draw match.

A year after speaking out about being sexually assaulted by her coach, Fiona Ferro is back playing on her own terms, at her own comfort level.

Ons Jabeur opened up about investing and off-court endorsements to not only set herself up for her future, but to continue being a role model for girls in Africa and beyond.

As the US Open celebrated 50 years of equal pay, regular events are still playing catch-up. That being said, a rumored move for the WTA Finals to Saudi Arabia has been quite the talk on tour.

Jessica Pegula always aims to serve an ace, but she had a different Ace up her sleeve in pre-US Open festivities:

Clervie Ngounoue captured the USTA Girls 18s title to earn her wildcard, but she’s hoping this fortnight will be a big jumpstart into a lively career on tour. Unfortunately, she quickly lost her Grand Slam debut to Daria Saville, who’s coming back from her ACL tear last fall and gears up to play Iga Swiatek.

Friend of The IX Blair Henley broke down the significance of the men and women both playing with the same ball and exactly which balls they’re playing with:

Billie Jean King, who said she didn’t play tennis for 20 years before dusting off her racquets, led the WTA’s 50th anniversary celebration at the tour’s gala before the US Open.

Ajla Tomljanovic had a winning return after a nine-month knee injury layoff, winning a tight three-setter in her first match of the year.

10 moms are playing in the singles main draw of the US Open and we have a throwback encounter between Yanina Wickmayer and Vera Zvonareva in today’s action.

Though she had to withdraw because of a back injury, Bianca Andreescu’s run to the 2019 US Open title was highlighted by wtatennis.com.

The WTA continues to build their partnership with SAP to deliver high-quality analytics and data to improve both player and fan experiences.



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Five at The IX: US Open Media Day

Q. As a member of the players council, I wanted to ask you about Saudi Arabia, the prospect of the WTA entering into some kind of arrangement with them. There’s talk of holding the WTA Finals there this year. How do you feel about that? How would you feel about playing there, given the human rights groups talk about as a repressive state for women?

JESSICA PEGULA: Well, yeah, I mean, first of all, yeah, that’s a rumor. I don’t know if it’s going to happen or not. I know that’s been up in the air.

I think that if you look at a pros and cons list, we’d obviously have to see there be a lot of pros overweighing the cons to feel comfortable going there, whether that’s seeing them as a group maybe have to donate money to women’s sports or women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, to see some sort of change or action going towards helping those causes in their country. I think that would be something really important that, if we did end up going there, we would want to see.

At the same time, yeah, there’s obviously a lot of hot topics on that and issues, but at the same time if we can go there and create change, that’s also a great thing.

I think it’s just going to have to be the right arrangement and we’re going to have to know if we go there, okay, well, we want to be making a change, and you need to help us do that.

If that was the case, I think unfortunately a lot of places don’t pay women a lot of money, and it’s unfortunate that a lot of women’s sports, like we don’t have the luxury to say no to some things.

Again, I think if the money was right and the arrangement was something that we could get behind where we could go and create change, then I would be okay playing there.

But, yeah, I mean, we’ll see. Those are all factors that it depends on for me. We’ll just have to see how it works out.

Q. Going back to the topic of the WTA Finals, it’s getting kind of late, only two months away. Is anybody or you in particular getting impatient? Have you had the opportunity to talk to the other players about organizing logistics and everything?

IGA SWIATEK: Well, obviously we want to know because it’s hard to plan also what’s going to happen after. I would love to play Billie Jean King Cup Finals, especially when we got a wild card. I don’t know where the Finals are going to be, how it’s going to look with the traveling and everything.

It would be great, yeah, if the decision were made earlier. Especially when we were in Fort Worth, they kind of assured us the decision is going to be made at the beginning of the year. It is a little bit annoying, but as players there’s nothing we can do, because it’s all about business and negotiations that WTA has, so we kind of have to wait.

Maybe the players from players council know a little bit more, so… I don’t really want to, like, dig into the Finals topic because obviously it is frustrating, but there’s no sense to overanalyze it.

Q. The 50th anniversary of equal pay at the US Open. Still lots of existing inequities. What changes would you like to see?

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I mean, I think for the US Open, 50th anniversary, they’re having the gala tonight, I’m going. I’m really happy to be a part of that.

Yeah, there’s obviously a lot of inequities on prize money, more on the 1000, 500, and 250 level. They have a plan in place, from what I’m told, like a 10-year plan, to kind of improve that situation.

I definitely think a lot of it needs to be improved, especially in these events. I mean, at least when I really paid attention this summer, just the crowd at the 500 and 1000 events that I’ve played, where it was combined. I will say, at least my matches were pretty much more crowded or the same crowded as some of the top seeds on the men’s side. I don’t think it’s an attraction issue. Obviously in some tournaments, yes, but especially in like the 1000 events, I don’t think it’s necessarily an attraction issue.

I think we have a long ways to go, but I am proud to say that where we are now, especially in the Grand Slams.

Q. You just said to play here one more time. Is this a one-shot deal?

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: No, I just meant I can’t predict the future. I don’t know what’s going to happen in a year. But to be here now, “another time” I guess is a better word, it’s great.

I don’t know how long I’m going to play for. I don’t know if it’s going to be a year, two years, three years. I can’t predict the future.

I also realize that I’m not that young anymore. I’m 33. Obviously you have Venus still playing. She’s older than me. You have older players. At the same time I think what I’ve learned most is that you can’t predict the future.

I’m just enjoying being here in the moment. I hope for a great tournament. I’m definitely planning on playing a lot more next year, playing more of a full schedule.

Q. What has been the best thing about being Wimbledon champion and what has been the most difficult thing about being Wimbledon champion?

MARKETA VONDROUSOVA: I feel like it’s the pressure maybe. It’s very tough to, like, meet the expectations after the finals and everything. Yeah, I just really wanted to win some back-to-back matches now in the U.S. swing because it’s very important for me to have matches under my belt. I’m happy that I did that. I had two good tournaments.

Yeah, I mean, the best thing, I feel like the fans, it’s really nice to see the kids and everybody just wants to meet you. It’s a very nice feeling to have.


Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By: Addie Parker, @addie_parker, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: @TheIceGarden, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer

Written by Joey Dillon