Hubert Hurkacz lifted his first ATP trophy after upstaging top seed Benoit Paire in the final of the Winston-Salem Open.

Hurkacz made Polish history as the third seed stunned Paire 6-3 3-6 6-3 at the ATP 250 tournament in North Carolina on Saturday.

The 22-year-old became the first Pole to win a tour-level title since Wojtek Fibak in 1982 after breaking serve on five occasions against Paire.

Contesting his first ATP final, Hurkacz defeated four consecutive seeded opponents to celebrate a maiden trophy following wins over 16th seed Feliciano Lopez, 10th seed Frances Tiafoe and second seed Denis Shapovalov before trumping Paire.

Hurkacz, who withstood a brief rain delay in the decider, will now head into the US Open with confidence.

He will open his Flushing Meadows campaign against another Frenchman – Jeremy Chardy – while Paire is set to face Brayden Schnur.

 

Former US Open finalist Kevin Anderson will not play at Flushing Meadows next week due to a right knee injury, the United States Tennis Association has announced.

World number 17 Anderson was beaten Rafael Nadal in the 2017 final in New York, while he lost at the same stage at Wimbledon to Novak Djokovic in 2018.

But the South African's hopes of a breakthrough grand slam title have been ended for another year after he was forced to withdraw from the US Open two days before his tournament opener.

Anderson has played just 15 matches on the ATP Tour this season and has not featured since Wimbledon.

He had been drawn as the 16th seed at Flushing Meadows, but lucky loser Paolo Lorenzi will take his place against 16-year-old American Zachary Svajda.

Qualifier Magda Linette won an epic final against Camila Giorgi to triumph in the first edition of the Bronx Open, sealing her first WTA Tour title.

In the last WTA event before the US Open, the world number 80 triumphed 5-7 7-5 6-4 in two hours and 33 minutes, topping her sole previous success on the 125k circuit.

Three competitive sets eventually led to Linette taking the victory, while Italian Giorgi lost her second final in the space of 20 days, having suffered the same fate in Washington.

Four of the first five games in the opening set produced breaks and Giorgi ultimately prevailed by striking to love on Linette's serve at 5-5 before converting the first of three set points.

But the Pole has scrapped hard all week, winning seven matches to reach the final, and claimed the second set with some clutch play. 

She saved four break points at a critical moment to move 5-4 ahead and, despite failing to take two set points in the next game, ultimately got the break she needed.

Giorgi, ranked 58, appeared to have regained the ascendancy by breaking in the first game of the decider. However, Linette saved another four break points to stop herself from falling a double break behind.

That changed the momentum and she subsequently rallied from 4-2 down, winning four straight games and claiming the first of two championship points when Giorgi put a forehand into the net, Linette celebrating by embracing her team.

Linette heads to Flushing Meadows on a high and could face defending champion Naomi Osaka in the second round of the US Open.

Marketa Vondrousova took the decision to pull out of the US Open after another injury flare-up convinced her she was not ready to "play against the best" at Flushing Meadows.

The 20-year-old burst onto the scene at the French Open, beating Johanna Konta to reach a first grand slam final that she lost to Ashleigh Barty.

But Vondrousova struggled for form on the grass courts and had hoped to return at the US Open, only for a wrist problem to cause her concern in practice ahead of the year's final major.

The world number 17 subsequently decided not to continue at Flushing Meadows, with Zhang Shuai taking her line in the draw as the 33rd seed and playing Viktorija Golubic.

Vondrousova explained on Instagram: "A very tough day for me [on Friday]. I had a long break after Wimbledon to give my wrist a good rest and treatments and I was very excited to be cleared for competition.

"But at my second practice in NY my wrist injury came back with swelling and pain. To be able to play against the best at a grand slam I have to be 100 per cent fit and unfortunately I came to terms that I am not.

"I will now go home and speak with my doctors about further plans. I miss my tennis and my fans and can't wait to be back."

Darren Cahill says Simona Halep can take her game to another level and has backed the two-time grand slam champion to mount a strong challenge for a maiden US Open title.

Halep doubled her tally of major triumphs by demolishing Serena Williams with an imperious performance to win Wimbledon for the first time last month.

The 2018 French Open champion has suffered first-round defeats at Flushing Meadows in each of the past two years but is among the leading contenders to win the final grand slam of the year.

Cahill, the world number four's former coach who still spends time working with the amiable Romanian, says there is more to come from Halep.

"I think Simona can get better, absolutely, and she has a great chance at Flushing Meadows," Cahill, who will work as a commentator for ESPN at the US Open, told Omnisport.

"She's only 27 and, as we've seen over this generation in both the men's and the women's game, a lot of the players are playing their very best tennis in their early 30s, so age is not really a problem for her.

"She's been one of the most hungry tennis players I've ever met, which is part of the reason I decided to work with her when she asked four years ago.

"I could see in her eyes that desire to be as good as she could possibly be and her work ethic is second to none. She dedicates herself 100 per cent to her tennis, that comes before everything else, and that's part of the reason she's been as successful as she has.

"Winning a couple of majors has been great for her, but I think she still views every single tournament exactly as she has done before. She'll take the approach that, 'I'm here, I'm ready and if I play my best tennis, I've got a great chance of winning'."

Cahill believes last year's runner-up Williams is a worthy favourite but thinks up to 20 players are capable of being crowned US Open champion.

"Simona is coming in refreshed, relaxed about the year she's had after winning Wimbledon and she's confident." he added.

"I think it's wide open. The bookies have Serena as the favourite, but then she has an incredibly difficult draw against [Maria] Sharapova in the first round - even though she has a great record against Maria.

"Maria is always the type of player who will rise to the occasion, so it will be a difficult one.

"If Serena plays her best I'm confident she would win that and then she has to go into any major as a slight favourite with the record that she has.

"Beyond that there are 15-20 players who you would not be surprised if they win it - such is the depth of the game on the women's side and the professionalism has improved out of sight over the last 10 years."

Coco Gauff will make her second grand slam appearance at the US Open next week, fresh from capturing the tennis world's imagination with her stunning Wimbledon performance.

The 15-year-old reached the fourth round after becoming the All England Club's youngest qualifier in the Open era, and she will be one of the main attractions at her home slam.

Gauff beat her idol in the first round at Wimbledon when she defeated Venus Williams, who in 1997 shocked tennis by progressing to the US Open final as a 17-year-old before losing to Martina Hingis.

It will be a difficult challenge for Gauff to replicate that achievement, but how does her career to this point stack up to that of the adolescent Venus? We compared their two records to find out.

WTA Tour record: Williams (before the 1997 US Open) 10-9, Gauff 4-4

By the time she arrived at Flushing Meadows for her first US Open, Williams was effectively a regular on the tour and had already enjoyed reasonable success. She reached the quarter-finals at Indian Wells and beat Jennifer Capriati in Miami, where she suffered the first of two straight-sets defeats to Hingis that served as preludes to their New York showpiece.

Gauff, meanwhile, has been largely limited to the lower-level ITF circuit beyond her exploits at Wimbledon. She did beat fellow emerging talent and doubles partner Caty McNally in the first round in Miami, but that marks her only victory on the WTA Tour away from the All England Club.

Singles finals: Williams 0, Gauff 1 (ITF)

Gauff does have the experience of a singles final that the young Venus did not, though it came on the ITF Tour in Surprise, Florida in February. She suffered defeat to Sesil Karatantcheva and there was no clue at that point of the highs to come at Wimbledon.

World ranking: Williams 66, Gauff 141

The teenage Venus' performances on the tour going into the US Open had helped her become established in the top 100. Gauff still has some way to go to achieve the same feat but a Wimbledon-esque run for the 15-year-old in Queens would catapult her up the rankings.

Grand Slam win-loss record: Williams 1-2, Gauff 3-1

The major difference between the 17-year-old Venus and the 15-year-old Gauff is that prior to her dream run in the Big Apple, Williams had shown no signs of being able to deliver on the grand slam stage. She reached the second round at the French Open before being beaten by Nathalie Tauziat. At Wimbledon she lost to Magdalena Grzybowska in round one, providing little indication of the form she was about to find - or the game that would see her eventually win seven slam singles titles.

The contrast to Gauff could hardly be greater, with plenty of expectation sure to be on her shoulders after Wimbledon wins over Venus, Magdalena Rybarikova and Polona Hercog and a defeat to Simona Halep in which she did herself no disservice.

There stood Roger Federer, already among the greats and with a fifth straight US Open title secured.

It was 2008 and the Swiss star had just passed Roy Emerson on the all-time list of major winners, securing his 13th and continuing his dominance at Flushing Meadows with a straight-sets victory over Andy Murray in the final.

Novak Djokovic had won his first grand slam in Melbourne at the start of the year and Rafael Nadal was still unbeaten at Roland Garros, the Spaniard then going on to clinch his first Wimbledon title.

It marked the third straight year in which the 'Big Three' had swept the grand slams, a feat they are looking to repeat 11 years later.

How little has changed entering the 2019 US Open, which starts on Monday.

Federer (three), Nadal (four) and Djokovic (four) have won the past 11 majors and still we wait for the 'Next Gen' to break through as the three greatest male players of all-time continue to dominate.

Murray's career-interrupting hip injury reduced the 'Big Four' to the 'Big Three' and there is no sign of anyone taking the three-time grand slam champion's place of being a consistent challenger at majors.

The years 2006 to 2008 marked the years of Federer and Nadal, and 2018-19 have been Djokovic's. The Serbian could finish this year having won three grand slams in a season.

In between, anticipated contenders have come and gone (Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic are 28) or come and been consistent without breaking through (Kei Nishikori is 29).

Stan Wawrinka was a regular star and won three grand slams before his injury woes, while Marin Cilic and Juan Martin del Potro took their chances at Flushing Meadows in 2014 and 2009 respectively.

Another so-called 'Next Gen' – the likes of David Goffin (28) and Jack Sock (26) – has been replaced, while Dominic Thiem (25) looks the likeliest challenger to Nadal at Roland Garros.

Now emerges another group in Daniil Medvedev (23), Alexander Zverev (22), Stefanos Tsitsipas (21), Karen Khachanov (23) and Borna Coric (22).

Yet it remains hard to see the final verdict on 2019 not simply echoing that of 2008 as the 'Big Three' bid to complete another major sweep.

Benoit Paire continued his fine season to reach the Winston-Salem Open final as Hubert Hurkacz moved into his maiden ATP Tour decider.

Paire, the top seed at the ATP 250 tournament, beat Steve Johnson 1-6 6-0 6-0 in a rollercoaster clash in North Carolina on Friday.

After none of the scheduled quarter-finals were completed due to severe weather a day earlier, the tournament played catch up.

Paire overcame Pablo Carreno Busta in the last eight while Johnson, last year's runner-up, eliminated John Millman.

Frenchman Paire lost just 10 points in the third set in his semi-final against Johnson, moving onto 29 ATP Tour wins this season and into his eighth final.

Paire will face Hurkacz after the 22-year-old Pole beat Frances Tiafoe and Denis Shapovalov on Friday.

Hurkacz was a 6-3 6-4 winner over second seed Shapovalov, who overcame Andrey Rublev in the quarter-finals, in their semi-final to move into his first ATP Tour final.

Camila Giorgi claimed a thrilling semi-final win over Wang Qiang to reach the Bronx Open decider, while Magda Linette also progressed on Friday.

Giorgi saved four match points to edge top seed Wang 4-6 6-4 7-6 (8-6) after two hours, 39 minutes in New York City.

The Italian came from a break down three times in the third set, saving her first match point in the 10th game.

Giorgi squandered a match point of her own in the 12th game before coming from 6-3 down in the tie-break to reach an eighth WTA Tour final.

She will face qualifier Linette, who upset fifth seed Katerina Siniakova 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 in their semi-final.

Linette is into her second WTA Tour decider and lost to Giorgi in three sets when they last met in 2015.

Rafael Nadal does not believe he has an advantage heading into the US Open after he was drawn away from Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

World number two Nadal was placed in the bottom half of the draw, and cannot meet Federer or Djokovic until the final should he get that far.

However, the Spaniard shrugged off any suggestion he holds an edge going into the final grand slam of 2019.

"I don't know. I have to win my matches to have an advantage because I only can meet them after the semi-finals," Nadal said.

"I have plenty of work before that to know if I have an advantage or not. So let's see if I am able to do my work.

"That's not an advantage or disadvantage. That's part of the draw. That's part of the things that happen when you are No.1, No.2 and No.3.

"For example, at Wimbledon it was the other way. They changed. Now here is the opposite. Let's see what's going on."

Second seed Nadal opens his campaign against John Millman, who knocked Federer out in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows in 2018.

Thanasi Kokkinakis, who also upset Federer last season, and Fernando Verdasco are potential second and third-round opponents. 

Dominic Thiem – seeded fourth – could meet Nadal in the semi-final, in what would be a repeat of the French Open final, as well as an epic quarter-final from last season's US Open.

"He is the No.4 now. Every year he's improving," Nadal said of the 25-year-old Austrian.

"Already this year he won a Masters 1000 on hard. He played again the final in Roland Garros. Every day he is a very solid, and every year is more solid.

"He has everything to win important events. He already is winning important events. He's a very, very hard worker. Just a question of time that he achieve all his goals."

Roger Federer thinks being "knocked down" by Andrey Rublev in the Western & Southern Open prompted him to get his "act together" and could enhance his chances of winning the US Open.

Russian Rublev consigned the 20-time grand slam singles champion to a straight-sets defeat in the third round in Cincinnati last week.

Federer believes that early exit in his last tournament before the final grand slam of the year could prove to be a blessing in disguise as he eyes a first Flushing Meadows triumph for 11 years after losing a classic Wimbledon final to Novak Djokovic last month.

"What I'm very proud of is I've had a very consistent last year and a half, two years, ever since my back locked up on me in Montreal. I struggled here as well, struggled for quite a while." said the Swiss legend.

"I've been playing well. Playing well in slams recently, which has been great. I think also the win over Rafa [Nadal] in the semis was big for me. Also the finals, the way I played that in Wimbledon, is going to give me some extra confidence.

"I'm happy where my game is at. Cincinnati might be a good thing that I lost early, who knows. It's maybe one of those things that sometimes needs to happen, like when I won at the Australian Open, went to Dubai, lost first round in 2017, then went on to win Indian Wells and Miami.

"Maybe the same thing, I played a great Wimbledon. Needed to get knocked down in Cincy, get my act together, train hard. That's what I did. I'm ready for the US Open. The draw is out, see which qualifier I will play.

"It's going to be a tough tournament to win, no doubt about it. I feel like I'm part of that group who can do it."

For the vast majority of the 21st century, grand slam finals have largely been the domain of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

Their dominance, shared somewhat with Andy Murray, has defined the modern era of the men's game. However, it has been most regularly interrupted at the US Open, which starts on Monday.

Marin Cilic and Stan Wawrinka have each prevailed in the past five years at Flushing Meadows, with Kei Nishikori, Kevin Anderson and Juan Martin del Potro all reaching the final in that time.

The most likely outcome remains that the men's final will be contested by at least one of the big three but, ahead of the final major of 2019, we examine some of the contenders to gatecrash the showpiece.

Daniil Medvedev

The world number five is enjoying a breakthrough year and heads to Flushing Meadows as one of the form players on the ATP Tour. He reached successive finals at the Citi Open and Rogers Cup, easing past the likes of Dominic Thiem and Karen Khachanov en route to the showpiece of the latter.

His heavy 6-3 6-0 defeat to Nadal in that final may have provided cause for reticence. However, Medvedev continued his outstanding US hard-court swing by coming from a set down to defeat Djokovic in the semi-finals of the Western and Southern Open, before going on to beat David Goffin in the final.

His fightback against the best player in the world should raise confidence he can upset the established order. It will be tougher over five sets but on current form Medvedev appears the most credible threat to the big three.

Karen Khachanov

Khachanov's year has not been quite as impressive as his Russian compatriot Medvedev. However, he too resides in the top 10 and has a victory over Djokovic to his name, having beaten the Serbian in the Paris Masters final last year.

He was impressive in seeing off Stan Wawrinka, rising star Felix Auger-Aliassime and Alexander Zverev at the Rogers Cup and showed signs he could form a grand slam challenge at his run to the quarter-finals of the French Open this year.

Marat Safin, the last Russian man to win a grand slam, was Khachanov's idol growing up. He has the game to potentially emulate his hero, but a 1-8 record against the big three will leave plenty sceptical of his prospects.

Dominic Thiem

Though not in the same vein of form as Medvedev, Thiem deserves his place on the list having been the most consistent challenger to Djokovic, Nadal and Federer in recent times.

He has reached the last two French Open finals, losing to Nadal on each occasion. However, he defeated Djokovic in five sets at Roland Garros this year and played at a level in the final that would have seen him victorious were he facing anyone other than the 'King of Clay'.

The hard court provides more of a level playing field and Nadal needed a tie-break to beat him in five sets in the quarter-final at Flushing Meadows in 2018. Thiem also holds a 4-2 record against Federer, whom he beat at Indian Wells this year. 

Eventually, Thiem's persistence in pushing this legendary trio to the limit will pay off and there is plenty of evidence to suggest the US Open could be the stage on which he reaps his rewards.

Roberto Bautista Agut

While the other four names on this list have their best years ahead of them, Bautista Agut is arguably enjoying an elongated peak.

He was a quarter-finalist at the Australian Open, where he showed his endurance with three five-set victories and pushed Djokovic to four sets in the Wimbledon semi-finals.

The 31-year-old has since found some consistency on the hard court, reaching the last eight in Montreal and Cincinnati, and came from a set down to beat Djokovic in Miami back in March.

That win, however, marked his only success against a big-three opponent. Bautista Agut has proven he can reach the latter stages of majors but, if the draw does not somehow open up for him, would need to overcome the history books to earn a first slam final berth.

Lucas Pouille

Pouille's thrilling 2016 fourth-round triumph over Nadal at Flushing Meadows had the look of a breakthrough moment for the Frenchman, but since then he has not been able to record a single victory over the Spaniard, Djokovic or Federer.

The 25-year-old does, however, seem to enjoy himself on the hard court, securing the best slam result of his career on the surface as he progressed to the last four at the Australian Open before running into a rampant Djokovic.

He beat Khachanov before being thumped by Djokovic in Cincinnati and, though he has endured an inconsistent year, the high-points Pouille has experienced should leave him with nobody to fear outside of the three favourites. 

Pouille is unquestionably an outsider, but if he can harness the form that saw him stun Nadal then he can at least afford to have hope of pulling off another shock and giving France a grand slam finalist to celebrate.

No matches were completed as severe weather washed out the Winston-Salem Open quarter-finals on Thursday.

Bad weather and power outages at the ATP 250 tournament meant the last-eight clashes were pushed back to Friday in North Carolina.

Only one match got underway, with top seed Benoit Paire leading 11th seed Pablo Carreno Busta 4-3 in the first before it was suspended.

The pair will return to complete their quarter-final, while second seed Denis Shapovalov is due to face Andrey Rublev – who stunned Roger Federer at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.

Frances Tiafoe will take on Hubert Hurkacz and John Millman is set to go head-to-head with last year's runner-up Steve Johnson.

Top seed Wang Qiang advanced to the semi-finals of the WTA Bronx Open, where she will meet Camila Giorgi.

Wang recovered from a first-set bagel to prevail 0-6 6-1 6-4 against Russian lucky loser Anna Blinkova on Thursday.

World number 18 Wang withstood a late fightback in the final set to move through to the final four of the WTA International event.

"I didn't have too much feeling in the first set," Wang said. "In the second set, I started again, so I found my way."

Next up for Wang is Italy's Giorgi, who eased past Alize Cornet 6-2 6-1 earlier on Thursday.

Katerina Siniakova – the fifth seed – saved two match points as she survived to beat wildcard Bernarda Pera 4-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 in two hours, 27 minutes.

Siniakova will face Magda Linette for a place in the final after the Polish player outlasted Karolina Muchova 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 7-6 (7-3).

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