Iga Swiatek in the first round of the 2022 US Open, New York
Iga Swiatek in the first round of the 2022 US Open, New York | Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images)

Tennis | US Open 2022 | Nadal and Swiatek endure tough second round tests on day four

By Tony Fairbairn

  • Rafael Nadal [2] v Fabio Fognini
  • Iga Swiatek [1] v Sloane Stephens
  • Grigor Dimitrov [17] v Brandon Nakashima
NEW YORK, USA – Rafael Nadal and Iga Swiatek’s US Open title hopes must pass tough second round matches on day four of the US Open.

 

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Rafael Nadal [2] v Fabio Fognini  H2H & Match Fundamentals

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Rafael Nadal [2] v Fabio Fognini H2H: Nadal leads 13-4
US Open 2022 New York, USA
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Rafael Nadal’s bid for a 23rd grand slam title started in fine fashion with a four set victory over Australian Rinky Hijikata. The Spaniard will know that tougher challenges await and he will have to play much better than he did last night but his previous performances at Grand Slams this season show that he is more than capable of winning the title here. Now that doubts over Nadal’s fitness have disappeared the Spaniard can focus on raising his game for the rest of the tournament.

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Next for Nadal will be old rival and close friend Fabio Fognini after the Italian proved he still has it by beating Aslan Karatsev in five sets. The Italian is reaching the end of his career now but will still believe he can cause one last upset at a Grand Slam and there is no better way to do it then by beating the Spaniard at the place where he beat him seven years ago.

Nadal will get to practice his fitness and overall baseline game against a player like Fognini who won’t exactly blast him off the court. If Nadal can maintain consistent power and depth then he should come through this match but Fognini should give the Spaniard enough problems to think about heading into the rest of the tournament.

Prediction: Nadal in four sets.

 

 

Iga Swiatek [1] v Sloane Stephens  H2H & Match Fundamentals

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Iga Swiatek [1] v Sloane Stephens H2H: Swiatek leads 1-0
US Open 2022 New York, USA
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Despite voicing frustrations over the type of ball being used in the women’s draw at the US Open, Iga Swiatek didn’t seem to show any sign of slowing down as she raced past Jasmine Paolini in her opening match. After a tricky patch of form heading into the US Open, Swiatek is seemingly finding her feet again. Now the Pole is looking to continue her dominant season as she looks to win her first Grand Slam title out of Roland Garros in New York.

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A very tough test awaits Swiatek next in the form of former champion Sloane Stephens who loves playing in New York. Every time Stephens steps onto court at the US Open, the American seems to up her game to new heights and this year seems to be no exception. Despite entering the tournament in relatively poor form, Stephens will know that it just takes one big result to turn her season around. Will this match be that moment?

This is a rematch from their Cincinnati contest where Swiatek won in straight sets and a similar outcome is to be expected here. However the quicker balls may work in the American’s favour and if she can find a consistent level on her serve then she may give the Pole one or two problems to think about.

Prediction: Swiatek in straight sets.

 

 

 

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Grigor Dimitrov [17] v Brandon Nakashima  H2H & Match Fundamentals

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Grigor Dimitrov [17] v Brandon Nakashima H2H: Dimitrov leads 1-0
US Open 2022 New York, USA
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Despite injury concerns, it was a very impressive opening round victory for Grigor Dimitrov over Steve Johnson. The Bulgarian’s world class serving was on show and if Dimitrov can keep producing those types of performances then he can go a very long way at this tournament. However that has been the problem with Dimitrov, consistency and now the Bulgarian looks to build on that consistency in his second round match.

A tough test awaits though as fast-rising American Brandon Nakashima is Dimitrov’s second round opponent. The 21 year-old has had a mini-blip since reaching the second week at Wimbledon but the developing American knows that he has the game to cause any player problems. Quick movement and flawless power from the baseline is a deadly combination and Nakashima will look to use this to cause Dimitrov problems here.

Nakashima will need to serve well to have a chance of beating Dimitrov as the Bulgarian will be aggressive and take the match to the American in all areas of the court. Should Dimitrov be consistent then he should have too much quality for Nakashima but that could be easier said than done for the 17th seed.

Prediction: Dimitrov in four sets.

 

 

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