US Open picks: Wednesday, September 6

Madison Keys
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Aryna Sabalenka over Qinwen Zheng
The 20-year-old Zheng is practicing all the time, trying to discover how she can improve her forehand, and also, when she can have a chance to crush her backhand. She has had a solid year, but not great, yet, but she is very young, so gradually,  assuming that she wants to be much better, then soon enough, she can be inside in the top 10.

However, she still has to  enrich all of it, as the same thing with the now No. 1 Sabalenka, who when she started, she was decent, but not great. Now, she is. Not all of it, but at least this year, she won her first Slam when she won the Australian Open. She is a gigantic hitter, with both sides. Sabalenka is quick, and she is fast, but her second serve and at the net is still so-so. Regardless, she really does know how to play, so on Wednesday, she will beat Zheng 6-3, 6-4.
Madison Keys over Marketa Vondrousova
The American really likes  to entertain the fans in Flushing Meadows, and Keys appears to be healthy, on the court. She may not be to fast, running, but her huge forehand, and her gigantic backhand is solid. Keys can also attack immediately, and try to dictate.

The Czech Vondrousova has had a very good year, starting slowly, but then in July, she won Wimbledon. Her variety was encaging. She can spring and she can also whack her backhand. She also can volley close to the net. However, Keys can explode, with her forehand, and when she does, she will win the match 6-3, 7-5.

Carlos Alcaraz over Alexander Zverev
Two years, before the Spaniard became alive, Zverev dominated the Spaniard, early, when he beat him, twice. But then in 2022, Alcaraz  began to rise when he beat him in Madrid in the final. Well, OK, Zverev was tired, due to when he won the semis, which was terrific, but his body was breaking down. Then at Roland Garros, a few weeks later, Zverev got him again, in a long match in the quarters, but it was close. This year, though, they faced off once again in Madrid and Alcaraz crushed him 6-1, 6-2. Yes, Alcaraz looks so darn good when he is on, but when Zverev is locked in, then he can chuck it in a number of shots.

The German can do a variety of shots, and he can mix it up, but there are times when he can back off.   Alcaraz rarely does, and there are moments when he messes it up, when he tries to bang it, even though it is nearly impossible. However, he has won two Grand Slams, and each month, he is more skilled, and more patient. In the quarters, Zverev won a match agains Jannik Sinner in almost five hours. That was one of his best matches, ever, but on Wednesday, if he has to play in another three hours, or more, he will start to be exhausted. That could be wrong, but Alcaraz is fresh, and he is quicker, and he is also better at the net. He will win it 6-4, 6-7, 6-4, 6-2.

Daniil Medvedev over Andrey Rublev (written on Sept. 5)
The 2021 champion Medvedev can be up and down, when he is playing, but he can be brilliant, when he is shut in. His forehand and his backhand are so consistent, down the line, and side to side. He can be irritated, when he is not going well, and then he will hit some bizarre shots, which are out. Yet he can also be so steady, as he can move it all around the box.

However, will Rublev finally take down the biggest players at the Slams? He has, in the ATP 1000s, when he beat a number of very good player, beating Medvedev  in the 2021 Cincinnati and at the  ATP Finals in Italy. So clearly, when he is cracking his forehand and his backhand, and putting it away, he can upset the big boys. He really does think that if he can return better, and he can serve with a lot of aces, then he can feel satisfied. However, this year, Medvedev beat him 6-2, 6-2 in the final of Dubai. He simply beat him on the hardcourts, showing that he is smarter than he is. Medvedev will beat him again, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-3.