Djokovic Cruises Into US Open 3R, Zverev Looking Scary Good; Tsitsipas v Alcaraz Fri.
by Staff | September 2nd, 2021, 11:38 pm

It wasn’t vintage Novak Djokovic Tuesday night in his US Open opener, but tonight the Serb got back on track hammering Tallon Griekspoor 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the third round.

“Great performance,” Djokovic commented. “Better definitely than the first round match. Obviously I’m very pleased with the way I came out on the court. I served very well. I found the rhythm on the serve. It was important I came up with the goods.

“I made him play. I saw him first time playing in his first-round match a couple days ago with Struff, saw he was serving really well. So I knew that the keys of the match, one of the biggest keys, is my return, trying to make him play, trying to make him move. He’s not the greatest mover on the court. I tried to give him always a different look.

“All in all very good, very good. I’m very pleased with the level of my tennis. All is going in the right direction.”

Djokovic, who improves to 23-0 in Slams in 2021, is now just five matches wins and 15 sets away from a historic Calendar Grand Slam.

Up next will be Kei Nishikori who needed five sets to hold off Mackenzie McDonald. The American upset Nishikori in D.C., but tonight Nishikori overcame an early break in the fifth to win a 27th career 5-set match. Djokovic has won 16 straight over Nishikori since his stunner at the 2014 US Open semifinals.

“I think his best thing is controlling the ball,” Nishikori said of facing Djokovic. “He can hit anywhere from both side. He’s been serving well. Best return on the tour. Maybe compared to other guys, less unforced errors. I mean, he has everything. I think that’s couple good things.”

Earlier in the day, Alexander Zverev is making a strong claim that he’s the man to beat or the second man. The German routed Albert Ramos Vinolas 6-1, 6-0, 6-3 in just 74 minutes. That’s 74 minutes for a full three sets on hard courts.

“I’m happy that I’m in the third round,” Zverev said. “I think today in general was a good match for me. I think maybe Albert, you’ve got to ask him that, but didn’t play his best. But I’m happy. I’m happy with how the match went.

“I had two very different matches in my first round and second round, with Sam being one of the biggest servers on tour and Albert being one of the best baseliners on tour. Happy I won both in straight sets and looking forward to what’s ahead.”

Zverev connected on 81% of his first serves and lost just 3 points on that first delivery.

“My serve is kind of the key to my game,” said Zverev. “When it’s working I’m playing great. When it’s not, I’m losing matches like I did at Wimbledon.

“So I think it’s no secret that my serve is probably the most important shot in my game, and I’m happy with how it’s working. I hope I continue to get better throughout the next few matches and everything else. As I said, the matches are not going to get easier and I will need that to be my weapon.”

Zverev has now his last 13 matches and 8 of his last 9 at the US Open. Next will be the American Jack Sock who outlasted Alexander Bublik in five sets.

In an all-American battle, the noisy Jenson Brooksby toughed out Taylor Fritz 6-7(7), 7-6(10), 7-5, 6-2 in just over four hours.

The 20-year-old Brooksby used some guile and grunting to reach his first Grand Slam third round. He’ll now face Australian Open semifinalist Aslan Karatsev who came from two sets down to deny Jordan Thompson.

Former semifinalist Matteo Berrettini dropped a set but won in four over Corentin Moutet. Moutet’s countryman Gael Monfils advanced over Steve Johnson in four.

Another Top 10 seed was sent home as No. 10 Hubert Hurkacz fel to Andreas Seppi in 4.

And Reilly Opelka didn’t drop serve in a win over Italian teen Lorenzo Musetti.

In the nightcap on Armstrong, Denis Shapovalov shook off 7 first set double faults to beat Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena in straights.

Tomorrow for the start of the third round, Russians Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev return plus Stefanos Tsitsipas takes on 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz in the men’s match of the day.

Arthur Ashe Stadium, Day Session – 12:00 PM Start
Victoria Azarenka (BLR) [18] vs. Garbine Muguruza (ESP) [9]
Not Before 1:30 PM
Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) [3]

Arthur Ashe Stadium, Night Session – 7:00 PM Start
Leylah Fernandez (CAN) vs. Naomi Osaka (JPN) [3]
Andrey Rublev (RUS) [5] vs. Frances Tiafoe (USA)

Louis Armstrong Stadium, Day Session – 11:00 AM Start
Elena Rybakina (KAZ) [19] vs. Simona Halep (ROU) [12]
Not Before 1:00 PM
Pablo Andujar (ESP) vs. Daniil Medvedev (RUS) [2]
Not Before 4:00 PM
Angelique Kerber (GER) [16] vs. Sloane Stephens (USA)

Louis Armstrong Stadium, Night Session – 7:00 PM Start
Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) [18] vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) [12]
Danielle Collins (USA) [26] vs. Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) [2]

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Alcaraz Upends Tsitsipas Streak In Barcelona; Carreno Busta Wins 6 Sets
Tiafoe Comes Up Big Again, Upsets Schwartzman; Zverev v Alcaraz

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6 Comments for Djokovic Cruises Into US Open 3R, Zverev Looking Scary Good; Tsitsipas v Alcaraz Fri.

tennismonger Says:

I’m getting gobsmacked over all these poised & talented next-gen kids coming out of the woodwork now…Brooksby, Rune, etc. – you get the picture.

Carlos will not be fazed by Tsitsi’s antics (or imposing game) today, so to me, the big question is will Steph “Escape from Alcaraz?!”

Sorry, couldn’t resist…

chrisford1 Says:

You have to feel a little sad for the “Two Lost Generations” of ATP players that would have had a lot more success (obviously) without the Big 3 and Andy Murray around. Stan was a big game player so he got his 3 Slams when he zoned in, but the 4 ‘Legends’ also hogged most of the Masters and ATP championships. Del Potro will always be highly regarded for who he was when not injured.
Tsonga, Ferrer, Roddick with his incomplete game, Davydenko – hopefully they get credit for how good they were and not be obscured by lower number of titles than they could have had in a different time. but that’s sport! Timing and luck are factors, so bad luck for them.
But this group, 18-25, (and Thiem) not only know they are the successors, the talent level just seems higher than in the past challengers to the Legends. And they seem to be keeping on coming in a big bunch, as tennismonger says.

tennismonger Says:

& not to beat a dead horse, but the ESPN guy commented last night that Fritz (a mere 23 yrs, old!) was looking like the proverbial “grizzled veteran” as he staggered off the court following his loss to Brooksby…it was heartbreaking. More discerning fans of the game may have noticed that Fritz has improved quite a bit in the past year…but it still wasn’t enough. Back to the grindstone.

At least some of the guys like Fritz have time on their side but even without the emotional investment, some of these matches are hard to watch…so intense!

Finally, from the more mature side of the field…we should give 3 cheers at the very least to Peter Gojowczyk, a grizzled veteran if there was one, who has struggled a lot lately – he plugged his way through qualifying & he’s now in the 4th round.

Dave Says:

Easily the best match of the year. Tsitsipas played amazing and yet Carlos BEAT him with winners from everywhere. So clutch. Wow. That was fun.

armelwani Says:

@dave Couldn’t agree with you more. That match had everything, and I am so proud of Carlos hanging tough and outplaying his more experienced opponent.

@tennismonger You called it, and he couldn’t escape from Alcaraz!! :)

Dave Says:

Zverev would have won in 5 sets in a best case scenario had Sock not gotten injured after the first set. He got off very easy in this one. He showed a bit of mental fragility in this match.

Top story: Alcaraz, Zverev, Muguruza, Gauff Headline Day 1 At 2022 French Open