Novak Djokovic was disqualified and ousted from the US Open after he struck a ball that hit a line judge at the end of the first set of his match against Pablo Carreno Busta.
In bizarre scenes, Djokovic who had previously called the trainer to the court, was broken by the Spaniard and then picked the spare ball in his pocket and swatted it towards the back boards. The ball went on to hit the line judge, a woman, on the throat, and she went down with a yelp of pain. Djokovic rushed over to help her almost immediately, and then followed ten minutes of discussion between the tournament referee, the umpire and Djokovic, before he was announced to have been disqualified.
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While Djokovic took to social media hours later to post an apology, he has faced criticism for walking off court, refusing to meet the media and moving out of Flushing Meadows and going to his rented home in New York. He will forfeit the $250,000, due to him for reaching the fourth round, “in addition to any or all fines levied,” according to the United States Tennis Association (USTA), as well as losing all his ranking points.
The incident isn’t the first time Djokovic has lost his temper on the court. Famously in 2016 at Roland Garros he went to smash his racquet, only to watch it slip and fly to the backboards narrowly missing a line judge. Djokovic admitted he may have gotten ‘lucky’ at the time. A few months later at the ATP Tour finals in London he almost hit a spectator in the stands, when smashing a ball in anger towards his players box. On the second occasion he snapped at reporters asking him if it was something he should address saying: “It’s not an issue for me. It’s not the first time I did it. It could have been [serious], yes. It could have snowed in the O2 Arena as well, but it didn’t.”
The incident adds on to a turbulent six months for the top ranked player in the world, where he has been exceptional on court but less so off it. First he faced the backlash of organising the Adira Tour at the peak of the Covid crisis in Europe. The event was cancelled halfway through after several players tested positive for the virus. Over the past weeks he has also drudged up support — in addition to opposition from Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal — to start a breakaway players’ union.
His standing in the game will have suffered from the incident — not to mention the fact that he has now, in truly surreal manner given up an unbeaten record through the season and will miss out on collecting another Grand Slam champion.
This year’s US Open will be the first in 64 Slams to not feature Nadal, Federer of Djokovic in the quarterfinals — the first since 2004.
Naomi Osaka in Quarters
Taking to court late last night — in the morning for India — Naomi Osaka dominated proceedings from the word go to register a 6-3, 6-4 win over Anett Kontaveit
"For me it's very important because it's quite easy to get down on yourself, especially when you feel like you could have converted so many times," Osaka said. "But I just told myself that she's a great player she's supposed to hold her serve so yeah just keep pushing."
The scoreline may not reflect it but Kontaveit was a hard opponent to put away, saving five points and eight out of nine break points in the second set. However, Osaka, whose left thigh was seen heavily strapped due to her hamstring injury, gained momentum and blasted her way into the final eight.
For her math Osaka came out wearing a face mask with Trayvon Martin’s name on it. Martin, unarmed black man who was shot dead in 2012 by white neighbourhood watch members in Florida. The Japanese superstar will compete against Shelby Rogers in the quarter finals.
Zverev Moves Ahead
Alexander Zverev recorded a straightforward 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 win over after a fourth round demolition of Alejandro Davidovich Fokina at the US open and has made it to the quarters for the first time in his career.
It was an easy win for the German star, who hit 39 winners and dropped just one service game through the match.
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Speaking to reporters after the match, Zverev who heard about Djokovi’s disqualification while on court, said the draw was “interesting” after the Serb’s departure. “It’s very unlucky, very unfortunate,” he added. “The decision was made by the supervisors and, as I said, they’re just doing their job. There’s no grand slam champions left in the draw. It’s going to be one of the young guys, I think. Now is the time when I think it gets really interesting. I know who’s where in the draw. We’ll see where we go from here.”
Rogers and Brady Dominate
Jennifer Brady continued to dominate the courts at Flushing Meadows and reached the quarterfinals for the first time in her career, shocking Angelique Kerber 6-1, 6-4 in the fourth round.
The 41st-ranked Brady used of her forehand impeccably to dominate a22 minute first set. Brady, unheralded as she is, is one of the dark horses of the tournament, and is yet to drop a set in New York. She has lost only 19 games in the four matches she has played. Brady will face Yulia Putintseva in the quarterfinals.
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Brady wasn’t the only American shocking former Grand Slam champions, with 27-year-old Shelby Rogers also fighting off four match to beat the sixth-seeded Petra Kvitova 7-6 (5), 3-6, 7-6 (8-6) to reach the quarterfinals.
“The fight I had today,” Rogers said. “Just to stay so resilient and fight for every point there, especially in the tiebreak. I just stayed with it, didn’t give up and fought for every point.”
Bopanna-Shapovalov Reach Last-8
The Indian-Canadian pair of Rohan Bopanna and Denis Shapovalov have made it to the quarterfinals of the Grand Slam beating the German pair of Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Miles in an hour and 47 minutes yesterday.
After dropping the first set, the duo started a dramatic comeback to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Bopanna and Shapovalov were much crisper in the second set, serving better and attempting more winners.
They will face the Dutch-Romanian duo, Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau at 0130 IST tomorrow.
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