Rublev vs. Tiafoe and Muguruza vs. Azarenka Highlight Third-Round Matchups in New York

Rublev vs. Tiafoe and Muguruza vs. Azarenka Highlight Third-Round Matchups in New York

4 min read

The first three days of the US Open are mostly complete with a lot of unseeded names taking over the bottom half of the men's draw. It's making for some interesting opportunities as Novak Djokovic continues his march toward history at the top of the draw.

On the women's side, Naomi Osaka benefited from a walkover from Olga Danilovic, Bianca Andreescu was tested by Viktorija Golubic, and top seed Ashleigh Barty overcame a challenge from Vera Zvonareva. There's a lot to keep up with as the Grand Slam picks up speed in Week 1.

Let’s take a look at some of the most intriguing third-round matchups with in-depth analytics from Universal Tennis INSIGHTS: US Open.

(5) Andrey Rublev (UTR Rating 15.69) vs. Frances Tiafoe (UTR Rating 15.17)

Tiafoe has had some memorable experiences at his home major, and he's certainly going to know how to use the crowd to his advantage. The 23-year-old American eased past Christopher Eubanks in the first round and shut out Guido Pella on Wednesday. According to INSIGHTS, Tiafoe will need the crowd and then some as he has his work cut out for him against Rublev with the Russian favored to win at 75%.

Rublev entered the US Open on the heels of a final run in Cincinnati and has the higher UTR Ratings as well as the better record against common opponents. Tiafoe may yet surprise the No. 5 seed as the two have never faced off before.

(9) Garbine Muguruza (UTR Rating 12.90) vs. Victoria Azarenka (UTR Rating 13.01)

Seeding won't mean much in this high-power third-round clash between Grand Slam champions. Muguruza, a Wimbledon winner in 2017 and Roland Garros champion in 2016, has beaten Azarenka in their most recent meeting, in Rome last year. Rome marked their only completed match since 2016.

On Wednesday, Muguruza beat Andrea Petkovic for the first time in four meetings to book her place in the third round. She has never been beyond the round of 16 in New York.

“It’s a learning process," Muguruza said. "I feel now that I enjoy being here more. I feel like I know the surface more. I know how to manage, how to handle everything. I just to reset every time I come here, just to be more positive. It always has an effect when you go somewhere and for whatever reason you don’t feel comfortable. But I feel like I proved to myself many times that even if some tournaments don’t go well, you can come back one year and play well and finally break through that wall."

Azarenka (a two-time Australian Open winner) has the higher UTR Rating, higher Trending UTR Rating, and higher hard-court UTR Rating, and reached the US Open final just last year. INSIGHTS gives her the higher odds of reaching the fourth round at 57%.



(2) Daniil Medvedev (UTR Rating 15.97) vs. Pablo Andujar (UTR Rating 14.94)

According to INSIGHTS, this match is on Medvedev's racquet as he has a 90% chance of beating the 35-year-old Spaniard. But it's still one matchup to take note of because Andujar is no average third-round opponent: He holds a recent win over Roger Federer. In Geneva earlier this season, Andujar stunned the Swiss on his way to the semifinals. It would take a lot for him to pull off the upset, but at least the match should be entertaining.

"Personally, really special to be back in front of the crowd in New York,” Medvedev said. “ 2019 is going to stay in my mind. What I’m trying to do is stay in the moment, stay myself, and let the people decide.”

Medvedev eased past Germany's Dominik Koepfer on Wednesday after being just as efficient in his opener against Richard Gasquet. The No. 2 seed is the second-favorite to win the Grand Slam at 16% behind top seed Djokovic. The Russian is seeking his first Grand Slam after appearing in the 2019 US Open final and 2021 Australian Open final.



(5) Elina Svitolina (UTR Rating 12.87) vs. Daria Kasatkina (UTR Rating 12.73)

After having tight margins to beat Olympic silver medalist Marketa Vondrousova on Wednesday, Kasatkina battled to a 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 win. The 24-year-old has a respectable 43% chance of upsetting Svitolina on Friday. Although Svitolina has a spotless 5-0 record against the Russian, they haven't played each other in over two years.

Svitolina is playing her first Grand Slam as a married woman after tying the knot with fellow pro player Gael Monfils in mid-July. Last week she picked up her first title when she beat Alize Cornet in the Chicago WTA 250 final.




Carlos Alcaraz (UTR Rating 15.63) is just 18 years old but he's been turning heads on tour for over a year with his mature game. The Spanish teenager is in the same section as No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas but could give him quite the scare. He's into his second career Grand Slam third round following this year's Roland Garros.

Leylah Fernandez (

UTR Rating 12.72), another 18-year-old, has eased into the third round following a straight-set win over the always-dangerous Kaia Kanepi. She will take on No. 3 seed Osaka in her first US Open third round and could give the Japanese sensation trouble with her lefty spin in their first career meeting.

Stay tuned for more from INSIGHTS, and to learn more about Universal Tennis, click here.

•UTR Ratings and INSIGHTS probabilities as of 9 a.m. EST, Sept. 1, 2021.

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