TennisReporters.net top 32 men: 5-1

Novak Djokovic

5 Andrey Rublev
He is very powerful, when he is on, and he can smile in the ball, to both sides. When he is feeling very good, the Russian can go for it, early, or if he is feeling patient, he can mix it up from the backcourt. However, he has yet to win a Grand Slam, and while he can be right there, but then, his other spectacular player rarely become nervous. He does, on occasion. Unfortunatly, he has yet to reach the semis at the Grand Slams, as the 26-year-old has backed up when it was close. He did win Monte Carlo, and Bastad, Sweden, and also, when he reached the final at Shanghai, China in October . That was very solid, but Novak Djokovic beat him time and time again, so if he wants to upset him, next year, he has to improve his volley, and also, closer at the net.  He might be able to win a Slam in 2024, then he is going to be a real show.

4 Jannik Sinner
Here is another one who can eventually grab to win a Slam. The Italian had a terrific week in the ATP Finals in Turin, Italy,, beating Daniil Medvedev, upsetting Djokovic early on, but then in the final, the Serbian rose, while Sinner looked pretty tired, or maybe he was  collapsing. In a sense, it doesn’t really matter, as in the fall, he played fantastic, winning Beijing and Vienne, beating  Daniil Medvedev, twice. He stood toe-to-toe, grinding him down, and with some his massive strokes, with his backhand or his forehand. He even won the ATP Masters in Toronto in August, revolting so high. However, he can mess it up, depending which week, whether he is playing great, or mediocre. He is tall, and he can put it into the corner, but next year, if he can win Slam for the first time. To do it though,  he has to return better and deeper, and meld it up, even more.  He has to be more true , and really pay attention before he gets on the court. It is almost mandatory.

3 Daniil Medvedev
The other Russian had a up and down year, winning a bunch of matches, but also, when he looked darn good at the U.S. Open against Djokovic in the final, he looked like he had a real chance to win it, but in the second set tiebreaker, he was right there. then he missed some unpaired error. He does really like to rally, very flat, and he will to wear down the opponents, but at times, he doesn’t like to come into the net enough, so his decisions could be questionable. He has a little bit with the spin, now,  and his first serve is flat, to different areas. The man can look startling, and this year, he won Rotterdam, Netherlands,  Doha, Qatar ,  Dubai, Miami and Rome. In the fall, he was very decent, but not fantastic. He is quite caring, and he looks to think, when he is talking, which is awesome, but in the court, if he wants to win another Slams, he must change a few things, especially when he can go down really low, and put it away.

2 Carlos Alcaraz
He has become darn fast,  sprinting to the right and to the left, mixing it up, and he can win it into the corners for a winner. The Spaniard is very young, and he still has a decent amount to improve, but he already can change his tactics. His forehand and his backhand are jolly sturdy, and he can also touch it on the net and put it away. However, after he won Wimbledon, and he played wonderful ball, after that, he could not win another title. Of course he was hurt, bodily, once and a while, and perhaps he was mentally shake, yet next year, he will learn how he will approach it. In the first half, he also won Buenos Aires, Indian Wells, Barcelona, Madrid, and London/Queens, and of course, Wimbledon, in the clay, the hardcourts, and the grass. That was almost flawless, but then   he wasn’t after that. At the end at the ATP Finals, Djokovic beat Alcaraz in straight sets, out hitting him, backhand versus backhand.  Maybe at the Australian Open, he can win the title, that is if his second serve and his return can be upwords.

1 Novak Djokovic

Way back when, when he won his first Grand Slam at the 2008 Australian Open, he was so swift, and his backhand was already phenomenal, but his forehand was good, but not great. His return was so sensible, and he could play stroke after stroke, and he rarely became tired. However, he knew, year after year, that he had to get much better so he could not only beat everyone, but to win the titles, he had to be more muscular, in the matches. Now, he has won 23 Grand Slams, a record, and here and there, he could miss some strange errors, but he will always try to hang in there, and re-do it.    He won three Slams this season, and next year, he might be able to do it again. He has won 98 Slams, and he is third behind Jimmy Connors (109 titles) and Roger Federer [103 titles.) In 2024, Djokovic could pass Federer, and eventually, maybe next year, he can tie Connors. Either way, he is the dominates.

ATP Finals day 7: Sinner over Medvedev, Djokovic over Alcaraz

Novak Djokovic
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Jannik Sinner over Daniil Medevev (written on Friday)

In Italy, Jannik Sinner is on fire, hitting some massive strokes. He has won all three in the ATP Finals, so clearly, he will have to rocking and rolling. However, he will face against Daniil Medvedev on Saturday, and the Russian has beaten him all six times. He edged him 7-6, 7-6 in Beijing, China in the final, last month, so the Italian was darn close, but now, he will have to change it up, or attack, earlier. He also lost against Medvedev in Vienna in the final, too, pushing him back in three tough sets.

“It’s obviously a little bit more pressure, but it is kind of a positive pressure. I like to be in this situation,” said Sinner. “I had never beaten Holger Rune and I it was clear that it was going to be a great battle. This is an important victory for me & I know I have a great opportunity to do something important on Saturday. I like to have some pressure.”.”

Medvedev has to, as the Russian realizes exactly way to go, to hit the right shots, and he can also pound it, point after point. He did win two matches, but against  Carlos Alcaraz, he looked fair, yet he needed to smash the ball, early. This time, though, he has beaten him a lot, so he might do the same things.    

“At this moment Sinner in top form. I felt like in Vienna I made a good response to what he did in Beijing, but I still lost. I need to be even better, to respond better to his shots.” said Medvedev

Anyone can lose for ever, against the best players, but once in a while, you can play tremendous, and stick in there.  This time, will finally snag it, and Sinner will win 5-7, 6-4, 6-4

Novak Djokovic over Carlos Alcaraz

Is this really true that Carlos Alcaraz spoke with his coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero, when he was struggling this week, early, and current, he is happy again. That must be true as the former one time Roland Garros champion Ferrero looked very good for years, but also, he was depressed. However, he is pushing himself, and now, Alcaraz is understanding what to do.

 He has to, as he must face against the No. 1 Djokovic. That will be a huge challenger.

“I opened my eyes. This is the last tournament of the year and I have to give everything I have.We also spoke about the level and what I had to do,” Alcaraz said. “I realized that my game depends on whether or not I enjoy myself, whether or not I smile. At the end of the day, that’s the most important thing for me. Obviously, the joy and the smile have returned to my game and I think that was reflected in the matches.”

He did and on Saturday, at night, Alcaraz  will have to play backhand to backhand, as the No. 1 is usually nearly perfect. They have played each other four times, mostly very close, and they have split each other. The Serbian beat him at Roland Garros, and then the Spaniard took him out at Wimbledon.

Also, Djokovic out-hit him in August, in Cincinnati, on the hardcourts. Alcaraz  realizes that to come into the net, when he can, and also, to return, respectably, then he will have another great chance to beat him.

“I’m going to try and find my A-game,” Alcaraz said.

Djokovic has lost a few times, this year, and his forehand could go off, but in the third set, he will raise his game, and he will win it 6-4, 6-7, 6-4.

ATP Finals day 6: Alcaraz over Medvedev, Zverev over Rublev

Andrey Rublev
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Carlos Alcaraz over Daniil Medvedev
Will Carlos Alcaraz beat Daniil Medvedev for the second time this year and advance into the semis? That is possible, although Alexander Zverev took him down in the first match. He looked a little bit erratic, with his forehand and his serves, yet against Andrey Rublev, he recovered.

Now, the two time Grand Slam has to play even better, as the Russian, Medvedev, is super steady, again, and his forehand down the line is terrific. He knows that on the fast hard courts, he has to bring him down. At the U.S. Open, in the semis, Medvedev played as well as he could, beating him in four sets. Alcaraz will have to changed it up

 “Medvedev is one of the best players in the world. … You have to play very well tactically, be patient and aggressive at the same time. It’s very difficult to beat him,” Alcaraz said. “You have to wait for the opportunity, but run and be calm, and get five or six shots in per point until the chance comes, while being aware that often it won’t.”

Of course, he realizes that the Spaniard can get enthusiastic, and bash his backhand. Or is he could, he can kiss it on the net. Alcaraz  did beat him in the semis at Wimbledon and the Indian Wells, so he will be ready to face off.

 Medvedev might changed it up, and surprise him.

“I’m going to try my best to play Carlos,” said Medvedev. “The moment you relax and say to yourself, ‘Maybe this match I can go easier,’ you can lose all the rhythm. That’s how tennis is. … So I need to play fast.”

Alcaraz has had a good fall, but not specular. Medvedev  has also been up and down, but on Friday, he will hit some phenomenal winners, in the third set, and he will take it 4-6, 7-6, 6-4.

Alexander Zverev over Andrey Rublev
Andrey Rublev has not had a good week, at all. Not all the times, but too frequently. Alexander Zverev did beat Alcaraz, so from the backcourt, he slammed a number of winners. He has yet to win  a Grand Slam, even though he has come close, and  Zverev  really does think that if he can be healthy, then he will have a chance next year.

The big thing, though is that  Zverev has won the ATP Finals twice, in 2018 and 2021. That was very impressive. One way another, at night, he has to win, or go home.
The German will win, 7-5, 6-3.

Sebastian Korda upsets Daniil Medvedev, Shelton over Sinner

Sebastian Korda
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

At some point, each month, one of the players will climb, in front of you, and he be super consistent. How about  Sebastian Korda, who upset Daniil Medvedev 7-6(8) 6-2. Then he beat Francisco Cerundolo 7-5, 7-6 (6).

He has been so close over the last few years, but he has yet to reach into the top 20. He can be steady, and he smashes his forehand, but also, Korda can trip up. But in Shanghai,  when he beat the No. 3  Medvedev, it was the first time that he beat a top fiver. That was really important.


“I think one of the things that maybe disrupts him is  just being an aggressive player, going to the net,  slicing the ball, bringing him in. I think I do that really well, and I think it gives him a little bit of trouble,” Korda said.

He has not gone very deep at the ATP 1000s, but now it is time to do it. Not to win, but perhaps into the semis or the final, but he has to identify it.

Speaking of Ben Shelton, who reached in the semis at the US Open, he is rolling again. On Tuesday, he beat the Italian Jannik Sinner 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5), who just won Beijing, China. He was playing so much better now, after he won at Toronto, just before at the U.S. Open, and after he lost against Alexander Zverev, he re-set, and in China, last week, believe it or not, he beat Medvedev in the final. He is now ranked No. 4, and finally, on the court, he can mix it up, a lot. He is maturing, and more thoughtful, when he is returning.  Against the young, strong man Shelton, he was pretty patient, but the American grabbed it in the tiebreaker, hitting some wonderful strokes. Each month, he is thinking more, on the court. Believe it or not, he will face against Korda on Thursday. That will be very close, again. It is a toss-up, but Korda will snag it 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 in the third set.

 Frances Tiafoe lost again, and he may not reach into the top 8 at the ATP Finals in Turin, Italy. He is ranked No. 14, so to have any chance, he will have to go super deep in Paris, coming up. He has had an odd season, this year… Since he reached into the final at Roland Garros, then Casper Ruud fell down fast, but now it looks like he is trying to play well again. He really has to, but he lost against,losing against Fabian Marozsan 6-4 in the third set.

The American No. 12 Tommy Paul beats the 19-year-old Arthur Fils 6-4 in the third set. Paul has had the best year, ever, and he has a chance to reach into the ATP Finals,  but he has to go unlimited in Shanghai,  Paris and another couple of events.  Here he has to go against Andrey Rublev, who is a very tough player. He will  where him down in the third set. He will upset  Rublev 5-7, 7-6, 7-6…

J.J. Wolf is back, and he is healthy, again. He beat  Matteo Arnaldi 7-6 in the third, also a young player from  France. On court, Wolf  can really be angry, but he is very intense. However, he has to face against another Frenchman, Ugo Humbert. The No. 34  will trip Wolf in two, muscular sets.

Carlos Alcaraz is ready to rock, again


Carlos Alcaraz
MALTphoto

The No. 1 Novak Djokovic is not playing now, but in the next two months, on the court, he will be there. When and where? Who knows?

Yes, the No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz is playing this week in Beijing at the China Open. He does have a chance to finish No. 1, but he has a lot more work to do. However, he still is psyched. He will also play in Shanghai, next week, an ATP 1000.

“We have really beautiful battle for the No. 1 spot after the great performance Djokovic had in the American season, let’s say. He’s the No. 1 right now,” the Spaniard said.  

“I’m coming here with extra motivation to try to recover it in the Race, of course, in the ranking. It’s something that I have in my mind every time that I practice, in every tournament.  Is not obligatory for me to recover that, but of course you have to put the goals in the year. So for me No. 1 spot is one of the main goals for me.”

The 20-year-old Alcaraz has won 12 titles, including in the 2023 Wimbledon, on the grass, and also in Indian Wells on the hard courts, as well as Madrid on clay. Over the past couple years, he has gone deep all over the place, but  he has not won in Asia, or China. But he is ready to go.

The former No. 1 Daniil Medvedev is there, in the tournament, and the Russian will push himself again, or he hopes, so. At the U.S. Open against Djokovic in the final, he looked very good in the second set, but in the tiebreaker, he missed a really important shot, with a set point, and then he collapsed. In the third set, he was done. He has played against Alcaraz three times this year,  at Indian Wells and Wimbledon, when he lost, but in the semis at the US Open, he played a great show, and he beat him.

“If we face each other, we are both happy, we are both in the final. That’s a good goal, to try to make this happen,” the Russian said. “At the same time, as I said, so many good players. It’s tough. … It’s going to be interesting to see who copes up better. I think we’re going to see a lot of different results where the seeded players can lose and stuff like this because first rounds are never easy.”

What he means it that there are so many very good players in the top 20 in Beijing, including — and there are a lot, such as Holger Rune, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev, Jannik Sinner, Casper Ruud and Alexander Zverev, who just won a title in Chengdu. The No. 13 Tommy Paul will face against Medvedev, and to reach into the top 10 for the first time, he will be so satisfied. But can Paul win it in three sets against the Russian in Beijing? Possibly, but he is going to have to drag him down.

Rune was very honest, saying that the No. 4 played it to much this year. Now the 20-year-old feel much better.

“I was struggling with back injury for a while now. I got it fixed,” the Dane said. “I played a lot of tournaments with a lot of pain in my back. But then I was like at the end, Okay, I got to stop and fix it, not come back to playing tournaments until I’m hundred percent. That’s also why I’m here…Maybe a few tournaments too much where I should have maybe rested. Also to be maybe more ready for the biggest tournaments. But that’s the past. Now I have to look at now and forward.”

The top 10: the men after the U.S. Open

Frances Tiafoe
MALTPhoto

Here is my list of the men with the biggest impact from the US Open.

1. Novak Djokovic
Clearly, at this point, he is the best player, ever, now winning 24 Grand Slams. He is ahead of Rafa Nadal (22) and Roger Federer (20). The Swiss is retired, and the one thing is that possibly next year, the Spaniard Nadal will return and play in the 2024. Can he win another Slam again, maybe at the Australian Open, and of course, with  Roland Garros, who has won it 14 titles. He has to be totally healthy, but his body is breaking down, gradually.

With Djokovic, he almost never gets hurt,  which is why he can just raise his game, in the matches, and chase it up with his forehand, his backhand, his serve, his return, and with the net. Yes, he can make a few errors, but beyond that, he can re-set it again, open his eyes, and bash the ball. He has had an incredible year, but let us see if he continues to win more titles during the fall.

2. Daniil Medvedev
The Russian had a terrific tournament at the U.S. Open, but in the final, he did not push himself closer to the net. In the second set, he was so thick, but in the tiebreaker, he backed up, and the Serbian jumped on him. Yes, Medvedev can win another Slam, but there are a couple things that he needs to do, such as going closer to the baseline, and also, to work on the volleys. If he goes, he will have a chance to go deep once  again.

3. Carlos Alcaraz
The young Spaniard was playing fantastic, until the semis, and then he started to throw in some odd shots. He has won two Slams, and clearly, he is darn good, but he needs to be a little bit more calm, when he is playing. The 20-year-old will continue to improve, just like Djokovic when he was adding with some new volleys.

4. Ben Shelton
The American came out of nowhere, in the semis, as after he looked very good at the Australian Open, but after that, he lost a lot, all the way until August. Then in Flushing Meadows, he looked much stronger and more potent. He could not handle Djokovic, but he really does want to catch him, and beat him, pretty soon. That is a vast  challenge.

5. Taylor Fritz
He looked pretty good, although into the quarterfinals, and then he stopped thinking exactly what to do. There were moments at times against Djokovic, but he missed so many basic shots. He can be a darn good player, but if he wants to go further, into the top 5, he was to return better, his second serve, and also, at the net.

6. Frances Tiafoe

He is another person that he lost early during the summer, and then once he came into the U.S. Open, he was fresh and ready to dance. He did, all the way in the quarters, and then against Shelton, he looked pretty decent, but when he was way to the right and on the left, he was there, and he is thought he could put away, close to the lines, but he missed a lot. Then he was gone. He can smile a lot, and he has improved over the last two years, but will he actually win a ATP 1000 at some point? Possibly, but who knows.

7. Andrey Rublev

The other Russian can look so efficient, and he can also be forceful, but then he will to start sliding. He has beaten a lot of very good players, but not against the top ones. Maybe he is good enough, but not to win a Slam.

8. Alexander Zverev
It is almost impossible to see where he is going. He played some wonderful matches, but then in the quarters, he looked really tired, again. Sure, he can play great, but in the fall, he is going to have to attack early, and try to stick it away, or just sit there, point after point, and hope he can grind them down. Maybe he will, but if the German does the same things, he might never win a Slam.

9. Jannik Sinner
The Italian can look spectacular, and he is a huge hitter, but in the fifth set against  Zverev, he lost himself. He is only 22-years-old, and in August, he won Toronto. That was a big positive, but he need to be much more fitting in the fall.

10. Alex de Minaur
The Aussie had a solid summer, winning Los Cabos, reaching into the final at Toronto, and then in the quarters at the U.S. Open, he was pumped up, but in the last two sets, Medvedev crushed him. Good bye, and quickly. He is rational and he has to improved his return and his backhand, but if he can reach into the top 5 next year, he must think about where he should go, and trick the other people.

US Open pick: men’s final

Novak Djokovic
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Novak Djokovic over Daniil Medvedev
Two years ago, in the final at the U.S. Open, when Daniil Medvedev before it started, it  looked like that against Novak Djokovic, he could out-hit  him. Maybe he would not,  but he could knock him down. It might have been almost impossible, yet he could be oh-so powerful. He started  hitting the ball, even if he missed a few shots, but he believed that in a few hours, he might be a little bit nervous, but he realized that Medvedev was so consistent, and with more depth. He won it, winning it 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

Djokovic had won 27 matches, but on Sunday, he was tired, mentally, and he could not produce enough winners. He was barely mediocre. But this time, in 2023, he looks totally healthy, so when he goes on the court, he will be fresh. As Medvedev said, he will have to play fantastic, all the time, but he does have a to chance to beat Djokovic again.

“He (Djokovic) is always better than the previous time he plays. For example, I beat him in the [2022] U.S. Open final, he beat me in Bercy (Paris Masters) in a great match. [He lost to] Carlos [Alcatraz] beat him in Wimbledon, he beat him in Cincinnati. Novak is going to be his best version on Sunday, and I have to be the best-ever version of myself if I want to try to beat him. Novak, when he loses, he’s never the same after… It’s just a different mentality… So, I have to use it knowing that he’s going to be 10 times better than he was that day. And I have to be, if I want to still beat him, 10 times better than I was that day.”

Maybe he will, but Djokovic really wants to win another huge tournament, which would be 24 Grand Slams, the most of all time. But he did say that if he wins, it could be the last, which would be totally nuts. Even if he loses, next year, and he is  healthy, he certainly has a solid chance to win any of the Slams. 

“Well, fact is that, at 36, every Grand Slam final … could be the last one. So I think that I probably value these occasions and opportunities to win another Slam more than I have maybe 10 years ago,” said Djokovic. “It’s another shot for history.”

Both of them are playing great,  but stroke to stroke, whoever will win, he will have to play better, backhand to backhand, as well as when they serves. Also, when you return, if you manage to catch it, you have to put it some different areas, or if you can, to try it to wack it.

Medvedev will push him into the fifth set, and he will certainly try to chuck in a bunch of winners, but Djokovic will be so calm again, and he will sling in  a few outstanding winners. He will win it 7-6 3-6, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. Ka-bang.

US Open picks: men’s semifinals

Novak Djokovic
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Novak Djokovic over Ben Shelton
In 2003 at the U.S Open, Andy Roddick won the U.S. Open, knocking down David Nalbandian and Juan Carlos Ferrero. He became No. 1, and he won a number of excellent titles. But that was just one, but it is better than nothing.

Ben Shelton has reached into the semis, and he has had an incredible strokes over the past 11 days, but really, can he stun Novak Djokovic, who has won 23 Grand Slams? I doubt that. Yes, the 20-year-old has played fantastic, with his terrific first serve, his forehand and his backhand. He is fast, running, and he can also knock it in very close next to the lines. That is right now, though, and without a doubt, he is improving a lot, but before he came here, he lost a number of matches over the past four months. Assuming he continues to be healthy, and add more game, then he could reach the top 10, or higher, by the end of the year. However, there is history, and some people  rise, and other people stay there. That is really happened.

But not Djokovic, who won his first Grand Slam title, grabbing the 2008 Australian Open, who looked very good, but he still had to improve his forehand, and at the net, too. Right now, though, when he is playing great, he is almost perfect. However, the last time was in Flushing Meadows in 2018, when he beat Juan Martin del Potro in the final, a gigantic hitter. He could not play last year at the U.S. Open, but in 2022  final, the Russian,  Daniil Medvedev, beat Djokovic. So in a sense, there are times when the Serbian loses, not all the time, but sometimes. As he said: “Believe in yourself and your abilities; confidence is key to success.”

He must have watched on TV looking about Shelton, how he should play. He will out-stroke him, backhand to backhand, and at the net, too, and also with his hard serves. Shelton can win one set, but other than that, Djokovic will win it 6-3, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 and reach the final once again.

Carlos Alcaraz over Daniil Medvedev
Both of them are not tired at all, and they have also played each other a couple times, and it was close. At night, the same thing will occur, with some long, strong rallies, all over the place, with more than a few huge shots. They both have won it here, and they could do it again. Alcaraz can do whatever he wants to, and he also likes to do some fantastic rallies, but he can also slip, once and a while. He is very young, and at times, he can over think, but constantly, he can also be more patient, until he can try to put it away.

Medvedev can be to intense, and he can also become angry, yet he can re-set himself. His forehand and his backhand are so devout, and his first serve is massive. He has said that he wants to become No. 1 again, but he also knows is that first, he has to figure out how t unearth Alcaraz. He will, for two sets, but Alcaraz will climb up again, and he will win it 6-4, 4-6, 5-7, 7-6, 6-3.

US Open 2023: Which men will reach the quarterfinals?

Daniil Medvedev

First Quarter
Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz won the tournament last years in New York, but he couldn’t play at the Australian Open, due to an injury, but now he is back, with his phenomenal strokes. The No. 1 does think that he can win it again, and maybe he will, but he has to be rock solid, almost each match. He should be fine, into in the quarters, when he might have to face against Jannik Sinner, who has played much better this summer, and possibly against Alexander Zverev, who once reached here in the final in 2020, but he has been up and down, week after week. Grigor Dimitrov can look terrific with his fun one-handed backhand, but it is hard to say that he is really locked in. In the quarters will be Alcaraz versus Sinner.
Dark horse: Tallon Griepspoor

2nd Quarter
Is it possible that Daniil Medvedev will play excellent ball and win it again, when he won the 2021 in Flushing Meadows? Yes he is so consistent, and he can move it all around, but he has had some tough matches in the summer, losing when it was very tight. He could possible do it again, but he can go back of the baseline, rather than rushing into the net. It will be up to him, and yes, he can reach into the quarters, but he could face against Alex de Minaur in the fourth round, who is so much better then he is really on. However, the reason why is that the Aussie has yet to reach in the top 10, as he slips, here and there. It should be a very close match, but the Russian will beat him in five sets.

Andrey Rublev should get through, or maybe he will not. If you watch him, he can look very good, and then he disappears,  but in the first round he has to beat Emil Ruusuvuori, a pretty good player. Somehow he will, but then he might have to face versus the veteran Gael Monfils, who has had a terrific summer. That match will be a blast, on court, as the Frenchman can really celebrate. Rublev will take it, though, but in the fourth round he will lose against Hubert Hurkacz, as in the summer, he became much more aggressive, and he put it away. This time, he will reach into the quarters, the first time at the US Open.
Dark horse: Nicolas Jarry

3rd Quarter
Will Casper Ruud rise up again at the US Open?  He did that in 2022, reaching the final here, and he did also when at the 2023 Roland Garros. He lost, both of them, but before that, he can be so fantastic, with some stunning shots. However, this year he looked very good at times, but he can also drop down, especially with his serve and his return.  He has to play fabulous, early, as he might have to face against three different people, with Sebastian Korda,  Adrian Mannarino, and  Frances Tiafoe. The two Americans want to do very deep in the second week, here. Tiafoe has reached into the semis two years ago, and when he is on, he can split the ball, but he has not played well in the summer. Korda just came back due to his injury, and he looked pretty good this week, but he can win a few matches, yet he still needs more time. The veteran, the Frenchman, has so much variety, when he plays, each week, and there are other times when his strokes are not there. Essentially, Ruud will reach into the quarters.

How about Holger Rune? He has had some fine matches, in Monte-Carlo, Rome, and Wimbledon. He is still pretty young, but he might face the American, Tommy Paul, who has had a very good year.  But in the fourth round, against Rune, will he be there? I would think, yes, Paul will, in five brutal sets.
Dark horse: Ben Shelton

4th Quarter
It is almost so obvious that when Novak Djokovic is on top of it, he will put on a show, just like when he out-lasted against Alcaraz in three hours, 49 minutes. That was won of the best match this year. But this is different, three out of five, rather than two out of three. But Djokovic is used to it, as he has won the U.S. Open many times. Even in the first three matches, it will be pretty easy. Maybe he can play against Felix Auger-Aliassime in the third round, but that Canadian is really straining. How about against Taylor Fritz or Lorenzo Musetti?Close, but no cigar. Stefanos Tsitsipas could reach into the quarters, but he has not played well during the summer. He might be out. How about the other American, Christopher Eubanks, who has had a superb this year,  but to beat the top players is questionable. Djokovic  will be there in the quarters,  as will be Fritz, but then he is going to have to play incredible to go into the fifth set. Try to do it.
Dark horse: Milos Raonic

The picks at Wimbledon: Friday, July 14

Jannik Sinner
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Novak Djokovic over Jannik Sinner
Remember that last year, at the 2022 Wimbledon, Djokovic was down 0-2, but then he came back and he roared, grabbing it 5-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. The Italian was clearly tired, and then he broke down with so many errors.

But the Serbian has done it so many times at the Grand Slams, owning 23 majors. He knew what to do, and while Sinner is improving, he still isn’t playing excellent, match after match. He has won seven titles, which is fine, but he has yet to win it at the Slams, or  the ATP 1000s. He is very good, but the 21-year-old has to set it up, ASAP.

Djokovic thinks that he has improved, but even when he beat him in Monte Carlo, it was pretty easy. However, he does think that eventually he can be more consistent.

“He’s playing on a very high level. He likes to play on grass,” Djokovic said. “He likes to play on quick surfaces because he likes to be aggressive and take control of the point. From both forehand and backhand, he’s smashing the ball really, really hard, trying to be the one that is going to dictate the point from early on. I know his game well. He’s so young, so of course it’s expected that he’s going to improve. He is improving, no doubt, I think with the serve, he’s been serving better. On grass, it obviously makes a difference. He’s a very complete player.”

Is that true? Yes, Sinner is concise, and his forehand down the line is can be very impressive. His hard backhand can slap it, and his first serve is flat and inhuman. However, he doesn’t return that well, and he isn’t fabulous at the net. Likely, that is because he has yet to reach into the Grand Slams final. But it is time to do it this year.

Sinner thinks that he is going to play 100 percent to upset with Djokovic.

“Physically, I have improved,” Sinner said. “I’m much stronger. I can stay on court for many hours without suffering. Also, mentally, you’re going in with a slightly different mental side on court knowing you are also top 10 player. It is a little bit different.  I have some good things now in my game, and hopefully I can use it in the right way. I’m going to stick with my game plan. Hopefully I can execute it in the best possible way.”

He sounds that he really wants to do, but the Serbian will chuck in some his amazing backhand, and because of that, while Sinner will push it into the fifth set, at the end, Djokovic will win it in once again. Ka-boom.

Carlos Alcaraz over Daniil  Medvedev
The Russian has had a really good year, winning a number of the tournaments, but also, he can let down. Medvedev won in Rotterdam, Doha, Dubai, Miami on the hardcourts, and in Rome, on the clay. But on grass, he began to struggle, yet 12 days ago, he switched at Wimbledon, and he became more patient. That has been good, but when he beat five players, and he clapped and cheered. Yet none of those were in the top 30 players, so to beat the No. 1 Alcaraz, he will have to play unreal. He knows that in March at Indian Wells in the final, Alcaraz jumped high, and he won it 6-3, 6-2.

“I think Indian Wells is not going to count a lot here. It was so slow in Indian Wells,” Medvedev said. “It’s not going to be the same. At  Wimbledon, the ball bounces lower. The serve is more important. There, I felt like I couldn’t get free points with the serve.”

There will be a number of the points where they can hit both sides, with there forehand and there backhand. When they are into it, they can also hit a number of aces, in the first serves, as well as when they can spring on the second serve.  

“It’s interesting to play someone like Carlos,” said Medvedev. “He is an amazing, amazing player. What he continues to do is just unbelievable. He doesn’t stop. I don’t think he will, but I’ve played a lot of great players in my career. I managed to win many times. So I’m going to try to do my best. If I show my best, I’ll have my chances.”

Believe it to not, at the 2021 Wimbledon, they played each other for the first time in the round 64, and Medvedev crushed him 6-4, 6-1, 6-2. An early blow out. And then in 2022 at the U.S. Open, Alcaraz waxed up, quickly, and he won it.

Just like Rafa Nadal when he won it the first time at Roland Garros, the Spaniards began to beat everyone. Perhaps the 20-years-old can eventually win all four Grand Slams . But he has a long way to go.

“[Medvedev’s] really a complete player,” said Alcaraz. “I’m going to say, like I think [Andrey] Rublev said a few times, he’s an octopus. He catches every ball. He’s an amazing athlete… He does almost everything well.”

This will go into the fifth set, and there will be some great points, into the corners, and changing it up, too. Neither of them have reached into the final at Wimbledon, so it is crucially important. Whoever can put together more than a few shots close at the end with his terrific forehand, then he will win it. It has to be Alcaraz, who will win it with an amazing dropshot.