US Open Quarterfinal Preview: Rublev vs. Tiafoe; Swiatek vs. Pegula; & More

US Open Quarterfinal Preview: Rublev vs. Tiafoe; Swiatek vs. Pegula; & More

4 min read

The US Open quarterfinals are taking place without Serena Williams. But two Americans – one woman and one man – will try to emulate the six-time US Open champion and reach the semifinals in New York. Let’s dive into the details of Wednesday’s quarterfinals, with Universal Tennis INSIGHTS guiding the way.

(9) Andrey Rublev (15.49) vs. (22) Frances Tiafoe (15.49)

A new US Open men's champion is guaranteed to be crowned this weekend. Frances Tiafoe’s win over Rafael Nadal was the biggest win by an American male since James Blake beat Nadal in the third round of the 2005 US Open. He’s the youngest American to reach the US Open quarterfinals since Andy Roddick in 2006. Tiafoe will look to reach his first Grand Slam semifinal when he takes on Andrey Rublev.

“When I first came on the scene, I felt like a lot of people had a lot of expectations on me on how I would do,” Tiafoe said. “I wasn’t ready for it mentally. I wasn’t mature enough for it. These past couple of years, when the tension hasn’t been on me, I have been able to develop. I have a great team behind me. I am just putting my head down and I am happy with where I am in life in general. I am able to do me and do it my way and enjoy the game I love.”

INSIGHTS gives Rublev the slight advantage at 52%, having beaten the 24-year-old earlier this year in Indian Wells. Rublev eased past Cameron Norrie in straight sets to reach his third US Open quarterfinal. Like Tiafoe, he’s seeking his first major semifinal appearance.

(1) Iga Swiatek (13.26) vs. (8) Jessica Pegula (12.85)

Iga Swiatek’s odds of winning the 2022 US Open just keep going up. The No. 1-ranked Polish player started the tournament as a 22% favorite to take home her third major championship title. But as she prepares to face eighth seed Jessica Pegula of the U.S., INSIGHTS has Swiatek as a 40% favorite to win her first US Open title.

Swiatek, a two-time French Open champion, is gradually lifting her Hard UTR Rating (13.22) to more closely match her Clay UTR Rating (13.37). This year, she’s 34-5 on hard courts and 18-1 on clay.

“My goal was to play better on hard court more consistently. I'm pretty happy that I did that,” she said.

Swiatek has won two of her three meetings against Pegula, including both that took place earlier this year. INSIGHTS puts Swiatek’s chances of reaching her first US Open semifinal at 71%. The 28-year-old Pegula has been here before and will be eager to reach her first Grand Slam semifinal. Three times she’s made the final eight at a Grand Slam, including twice at the Australian Open, and three times she’s lost.

“I maybe would take some more chances this time playing her, especially playing her on a maybe quicker hard court than last time playing her on clay,” Pegula said. “I just have to play within myself and play smart and be present.”

(3) Carlos Alcaraz (15.90) vs. (11) Jannik Sinner (15.81)

While Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have maintained a stranglehold on majors, the US Open will see a member outside of the Big Three win for the third time in three years (after Dominic Thiem in 2020 and Daniil Medvedev in 2021).

At 19 years old, Carlos Alcaraz could become the youngest ATP No. 1 in rankings history (since 1973). He needs to reach the final to do so, and according to INSIGHTS, he’s favored to go even farther and raise his first Grand Slam title with 24% odds.

On Monday, Alcaraz was tested for the first time in a five-set win over Marin Cilic. As the 2014 US Open champion, Cilic was the only remaining former Grand Slam winner left in the draw. Now it’s anyone’s for the taking with Nick Kyrgios, the next INSIGHTS favorite at 22%, followed by Jannik Sinner at 16% and Casper Ruud at 13%.

Alcaraz will face Sinner in Wednesday night’s quarterfinal action. Both have been this far at a major before but are appearing in their first quarterfinal in New York City. Alcaraz has the slight advantage at 55% due to his higher UTR Ratings, but Sinner has beaten the Spaniard twice this year, in the fourth round of Wimbledon and the Umag final.

(6) Aryna Sabalenka (12.73) vs. (22) Karolina Pliskova (12.63)

Two of the biggest hitters in the women’s game will face off for a US Open semifinal spot when sixth seed Aryna Sabalenka (12.73) meets No. 22 seed Karolina Pliskova (12.63) of the Czech Republic.

Pliskova, the 2016 US Open finalist, is into the quarterfinals in Queens for the fifth time. Sabalenka, meanwhile, is looking to make back-to-back US Open semifinals after falling to teenager Leylah Fernandez last year.

Pliskova has hit the second-most aces of women’s singles players at the US Open, and Sabalenka showed off her power game by hitting 38 winners to beat 19th seed, Danielle Collins, in the fourth round. Sabalenka and Pliskova have split their four matches, but INSIGHTS has Sabalenka a slight favorite at 57%. Pliskova won their past two contests, both of which took place in the last 15 months.

“I really expect great level from her,” Sabalenka said. “Every time she will make some winners, it's not going to pissing me off, it's going to be like, ‘OK, it's normal, she's making it, what next?’ I think that's why last two matches I lost her.”

Semifinals Start to Take Shape

While there's still quarterfinal action to take place, half of the semifinals are set. Fifth seed Casper Ruud has moved closer to attaining the No. 1 ATP ranking after a straight-sets win over Matteo Berrettini. In his first Grand Slam semifinal on Friday, the Norweigian will play Karen Khachanov. The No. 27 seed subdued a red-hot Nick Kyrgios on Tuesday night. According to INSIGHTS, Ruud is favored to advance with 68% odds.

Coco Gauff's run ended in the quarterfinals to Cincinnati champion Caroline Garcia, while Wimbledon finalist Ons Jabeur topped Ajla Tomljanovic, the Australian who defeated Serena Williams in her final match. Jabeur leads 2-0 in career head-to-head meetings against Garcia, but they haven't shared a court since 2020. Per INSIGHTS, Jabeur has a slight edge at 52%.

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

•UTR Ratings and INSIGHTS probabilities as of 12:00 p.m. EST, September 6, 2022.

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