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Madison Keys, of the United States, celebrates after defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova, of Russia, in the women's final match during the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019, in Mason, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Madison Keys, of the United States, celebrates after defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova, of Russia, in the women's final match during the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019, in Mason, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)|Associated Press
Tennis

U.S. Open women's 3rd round: Abrams picks Serena vs Muchova, Kenin vs Keys, Barty vs Sakkari, Konta vs Zhang, Svitolina vs Yastremska, more

Matches start Friday at 12:20 pm EDT.

Neal Abrams

Neal Abrams

2019 U.S. Open

Flushing Meadows, Queens, NY

Women’s Third Round picks

Friday, August 30, 2019

Serena Williams over Karolina Muchova

I don’t give Muchova much of a chance against Serena. We all know that the American is way past her prime and it would be nice for her to realize it, but she can still beat most women with her serve alone. Once the point starts, Serena is susceptible to missing groudies, especially when she has to run. But she’s still much better than Muchova, and she’ll show it today.

Sofia Kenin over Maddy Keys

This match should tell us just where Maddy Keys is, in terms of the quality of tennis in her right now. I still maintain that Keys probably hits every shot aggregately better than any other women’s player in the game right now. If she could ever get her 10-cent head together, she’d win multiple Grand Slam events. But Kenin is coming on like gangbusters, and, at 20-years-old, she’s gonna be around torturing Keys for many more years to come.

Ash Barty over Maria Sakkari

Maria Sakkari hits a ton, but she’s still a work-in-progress. Barty is not playing anywhere near her best, yet she possesses that champion quality of being able to win without her best game. The Aussie will figure things out and take out the Greek Goddess.

Johanna Konta over Shuai Zhang

Great Britain’s Johanna Konta is a bit of an enigma, like our own Maddy Keys. She reminds me a bit of an old-time men’s player from the 50’s, Marty Mulligan, who would rotate between being a Grand Slam contender to first round loser from year to year. When he had confidence, he was a tough out, but when he had none, he couldn’t buy a win. That’s what Konta is to me. She has confidence this year, so she should take out the tough Zhang Shuai.

Qiang Wang over Fiona Ferro

Qiang Wang is the 18th seed, and a real tough player. She has a steely resolve and a game to go along with it. She should have no trouble taking out Frenchwoman Fiona Ferro.

Anastasija Sevastova over Petra Martic

I love watching Petra Martic play because you can see her mind working, trying to figure out a way to win. Tennis is about competing and problem-solving, and Martic does the best she can with her somewhat limited game. In this match she’s coming up against a player who is just superior. Sevastova will move on.

Elina Svitolina over Dayana Yastremska

Dayana Yastremska is dangerous. She can be very scary when she’s lose and hitting the lines, because it’s hard to cover from line to line if you’re on the baseline in tennis. She plays with abandon, and that’s what makes her fun to watch. Here, she’s playing someone who is equally athletic, which the entertaining Svitolina showed in her very tough win over Venus Williams on Wednesday. My best guess here is that Svitolina plays great defense and forces Yastremska into just too many errors.

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