Novak Djokovic turned up the jets Friday night in New York blasting past Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 to reach his 12th straight US Open fourth round.
The Serb was in total command of the German who he just whipped a week ago at the relocated Cincinnati event. But today, Djokovic was even better in the comprehensive win.
”It was a very good performance from my side. I managed to read his serve well,” Djokovic said. “I found my way, especially after the first set. The second and third sets were a really great feeling on the court.
“I’ve been playing well the past couple of weeks, training well, focusing on the right things, maintaining that level of performance and hoping for the best. I’m feeling confident about my game and taking that to every match I play.”
The win was Djokovic 600th on hard court and extended his current win streak to 29 and upped his record on the year to 26-0.
Djokovic will now face former US Open semifinalist Pablo Carreno Busta who had an easy day against Ricardis Berankis 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.
Denis Shapovalov won the match of the day over Taylor Fritz. After Fritz took the first, Shapovalov got into gear however up in the third the wheels came off. Fritz began rolling on his serve. He took the third and then served for the match at 5-3 in the fourth.
The Canadian responded with a strong run to finish the match for a 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2 in just under 3-and-a-half hours. Shapovalov then teamed with Rohan Bhopanna to finish off their postponed first round doubles with a win.
The 21-year-old will now meet a rested and in-form David Goffin who reached his fourth straight US Open fourth round beating Filip Krajinovic in straight sets.
Alexander Zverev was to play Adrian Mannarino at 2:30pm, however when the time came, the umpire and the ball people showed up, but the players didn’t. In fact, the players didn’t take Armstrong until 5pm when it was revealed the health department got involved and likely tried to stop Mannarino from taking the court.
A USTA statement read, “The Zverev-Mannarino match was delayed while a collaborative dialogue with health officials was conducted today. 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.”
Earlier in the week, the lefty had reportedly been placed in an enhanced bubble after he had been in contact with Benoit Paire who tested positive for COVID.
When they finally took the court, Zverev dropped the opener before a late second set injury derailed Mannarino and the German took it 6-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2.
“I was told there is very little chance that we were going to play,” Zverev said on court. “The New York State called and said he shouldn’t play
“So it was back and forth, back and forth,” he added. “It was political, not about us players.”
Said Mannarino: “I was preparing to go on court at 2.30 p.m. The tour manager came to talk to me and explained the situation that the state department of health took over the city.
“The city allowed me to play but the state took over this decision to say I’ve been exposed to a positive case so I should be quarantined in my room and not be able to go on the court.
“They told me they were trying to contact some guys and see if this decision could be changed. Obviously a lot of effort has been done, they pushed the match back. Sascha agreed, which is nice.”
The issue became so big that Djokovic, who was preparing for his night match, got involved.
“I was aware of what was happening and I was actually contacted by his coach during that process. I was communicating with his coach for a few hours and trying to help, speaking to the ATP,” Djokovic said of the situation.
“I was also trying to get to the people that are in the highest positions in New York state, trying to get to the governor of New York because I understood he was the only one who could reverse the decision.”
The end result is Zverev will meet new face Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the fourth round.
In the evening, the push-backed Stefanos Tsitsipas-Borna Coric went the distance with the Croat coming out on top in a thriller 6-7 (2), 6-4, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (4). The Greek blew a 5-1 lead in the fourth squandering six match points.
After a 6+ minute delay to go to the locker room, Tsitsipas returned refocused. He got up a break but again failed to keep the lead. Coric kept grinding and it paid off. Coric, who contracted COVID over the summer and went five sets on Wednesday, was the strong and mentally tougher man taking in a breaker in 4 hours, 37 minutes.
Jordan Thompson also made his first Slam fourth round.
Saturday, the Russian trio of Daniil Medvedev, Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev return along with Dominic Thiem who meets 2014 champion Marin Cilic.
Young star Felix Auger-Aliassime tries to back up his big win over Andy Murray.
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