2021 U.S. Open: What to Watch on Saturday
How to watch: From 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern time on ESPN2; and streaming on the ESPN app. In Canada on TSN from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and streaming on TSN.ca and the TSN app.
Matches to keep an eye on.
Because of the number of matches cycling through courts, the times for individual matchups are estimates and may fluctuate based on when earlier play is completed. All times are Eastern Standard.
ARTHUR ASHE STADIUM | 2 p.m.
Novak Djokovic vs. Kei Nishikori
Novak Djokovic, on a quest for a career-defining Grand Slam, has not been kept out of the second week of a Grand Slam event since the 2017 Australian Open. The task of breaking that streak falls to Kei Nishikori, a finalist at the 2014 U.S. Open. Nishikori struggled with a wrist injury in 2017 and has more recently faced issues with his right shoulder. Although his game can now be inconsistent at times, Nishikori could push Djokovic to exert himself more seriously, or at the least provide some very entertaining tennis.
Louis Armstrong STADIUM | 1 p.m.
Belinda Bencic vs. Jessica Pegula
Belinda Bencic, the 11th seed, won gold at the Tokyo Olympics in August, and has kept her foot on the pedal since. Bencic has lost only 16 games on her way to the third round, overwhelming her opponents with steady counterpunching on defense and acute shot making on offense.
Jessica Pegula, the 23rd seed, has been similarly dominant in her past two matches. Following her run to the quarterfinals at the Australian Open in February, she will be looking to match her career result and push herself into the top 20. As these two hardcourt heavyweights meet, it’s hard to say which will persevere.
Louis Armstrong STADIUM | 3 p.m.
Gael Monfils vs. Jannik Sinner
Gael Monfils, the 17th seed, struggled at the beginning of 2021, losing in the first round at the Australian Open, but has found his form since then. Monfils recently recorded his 500th ATP Tour win, joining an exclusive club that only contains 10 other active members.
On the other side of the net, the relative newcomer Jannik Sinner has only won 60 professional matches. However, Sinner has already made himself a mainstay near the top of the tour, reaching the finals at the Miami Open to break into the top 20.
ARTHUR ASHE STADIUM | 7 p.m.
Ashleigh Barty vs. Shelby Rogers
Ashleigh Barty, the first seed, has followed an unusual pattern through the first two rounds of play. She has won the first set in both of her matches at ‘6-1’, while needing to win seven games to then finish off the second set and secure victory. Shelby Rogers, ranked No. 43, will need to start brightly in order to push back on the momentum that Barty has begun to build.
Sleeper match of the day.
ARTHUR ASHE STADIUM | 6 a.m.
Emma Raducanu vs. Sara Sorribes Tormo
Emma Raducanu was ranked No. 338 before this year’s Championships at Wimbledon. After receiving a wild-card into the main draw, the 18 year-old won three matches without dropping a set, catapulting herself up the rankings. Although her hard court preparation this summer was only at challenger level events, she played through the qualifying rounds and her first two matches at the U.S. Open without dropping a set once more, and will look to reach the second week of play on her first attempt at Flushing Meadows.
Sara Sorribes Tormo upset the 22nd seed, Karolina Muchova, in the first round and then skated past Hsieh Su-wei in the second. Her powerful baseline shots are moderated by her clay-court upbringing, making it difficult for opponents to set themselves against a barrage of consistent, deep balls.
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