Novak Djokovic outclassed Jan-Lennard Struff at the US Open yesterday, winning in straight sets 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 to advance to the fourth round of the US Open.
Djokovic, a three-time champion at Flushing Meadows, was never under pressure against the German, who has only ever managed to take one set off him in his career. The only drama, if it can be called that at all, came early on when Struff had an early breakpoint but failed to convert and cause any damage.
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"It was a very, very good performance from my side," Djokovic said after his 600th career win on hard courts. "I managed to read his serve well. Made one necessary break in the first set, I faced one or two break points in the opening game….”
The aftermath of Benoit Paire’s positive test has continued to sweep across the US Open, causing scheduling drama in New York yesterday, when the United States Tennis Association (USTA) delayed the match between Adrian Mannarino and Alexander Zverev for over three hours.
"The match was delayed while a collaborative dialogue with health officials was conducted today," the organization said in a statement. "Communication with the players was ongoing during the afternoon to keep them updated at all times. Given the sensitivity of the medical issues involved, the USTA is not able to provide further details."
After a nearly three-hour delay to start the match Zverev, the fifth seed, came back from an early deficit to beat Mannarino 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 in the third round.
Mannarino had been put under stricter enhanced protocols at the tournament after being contact traced to Paire, who tested positive for Covid-19 last week. According to Mannarino, he was preparing to head to the court for the match Friday when he was stopped by an official.
"The tour manager came to talk to me and explained the situation," Mannarino said after the match. "The state department of health took over, [and] the city [had] actually allowed me to play with a new protocol [last week] and obviously the state took over the decision. [They] took over to say I've been exposed to a positive case, obviously, so I should be quarantined in my room and not be able to go to the tennis court and play the match today."
Mannarino will now go into quarantine in his hotel room for seven days before being allowed to travel back to France.
Kerber Through to Last-16
Former champion Angelique Kerber made an easy run into the fourth round winning 6-3 6-4 against the 20-year-old American Ann Li yesterday.
The German, a three-time Grand Slam champion,has not dropped a set in the tournament yet.
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The only time Kerber looked a little stressed was when reaching for a shot out wide she stretched and seemed to have turned her ankle. The threat of the injury caused some concern but in the end, Kerber held her nerve to get through comfortably.
Li, for her part was aggressive through the game, relying on her forehand and opening up the court. But kerber is known for her quick feet and amazing defence and relied on both to thwart a hometown victory.
Naomi Osaka survived a third round scare against Ukrainian teenager Marta Kostyuk winning 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-2 to make it to the last 16.
“She didn't back down from me or from, like, the speed of my ball, which for someone that young is kind of amazing, because I feel like, you know, the first set went that way, and then she could have faded in the second set,” Osaka said post match.
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Osaka was seemingly breezing through the match taking the first half with ease and despite gong down a break in the second rallying back to gain control. Kostyuk though wouldn’t back down and won the tiebreak to take it to a decider. Osaka has now played two three setters already in the tournament, and aggravated concerns about the hamstring injury in her left leg. The injury caused her to pull out of the Western and Southern Open final last week, but Osaka played it down.
“It could be better,” she said. “But I think for a three-set match, the amount of movement that I did, and the fact that I felt like I could have kept going if I really needed to, is definitely a good sign.”
Osaka will next face Anett Kontaveit, whose has stormed into into the full glare of the US Open spotlight by making it to the fourth round. She booked a showdown with Osaka following a routine 6-3, 6-2 win over No. 24 seed Magda Linette on Day 5. The Estonia player has had a remarkable year. She opened up the season by making the Australian Open quarterfinals.
Shapovalov Wins, Tsitsipas out
Denis Shapovalov and Taylor Fritz played out a high quality third round match yesterday, the Canadian prevailing 3-6 6-3 4-6 7-6(5) 6-2 to make it to the fourth round.
It was a superb match where the momentum shifted every few games, ending with Shapovalov entering the last 16 at Flushing Meadows for the first time since his US Open debut in 2017.
“I was struggling serving because he was putting his racket on everything and he was playing so solid,” Shapovalov said. “In the fourth set when I was down a break I was able to loosen up and get the rhythm back on my serve.
Stefanos Tsitsipas, the World No 6, meanwhile, dropped six match points to Borna Coric and crashed out of the tournament. Tsitsipas never recovered from having dropped those match points in the fourth set — four on his own serve — to lose 6-7(2), 6-4, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(4).
“This is probably the saddest and funniest thing at the same time that has ever happened in my career,” tweeted Tsitsipas moments after the match.
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