Djokovic Denies Djere In 5, American Men 4-0 Friday At US Open; Alcaraz v Evans, Wawrinka v Sinner

by Staff | September 2nd, 2023, 1:49 am
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It was a perfect day for the American men at the US Open on Friday for the start of the third round. The Top 3 all won plus Ben Shelton.

The American No. 1 Taylor Fritz dominated again crushing qualifier Jakub Mensik 6-1, 6-2, 6-0. The qualifier Mensik was celebrating his 18th while Fritz was celebrating playing him, lost just three points on first serve with 10 aces and no break points faced in the 90 minute win.

“It’s more of a relief than anything, I’d say, because I feel like I’ve been wanting this and expected it for a while,” said Fritz who hasn’t dropped serve this event. “So it does feel really good to be in the Round of 16, second week, for the first time, and we’re looking for a lot more.”

In his first US Open fourth round, Fritz will take on another qualifier in Swiss lefty Dominic Stricker who won another 5-setter beating Benjamin Bonzi 2-6, 7-5, 7-6(7-4), 3-6, 6-2 in his first US Open.

Frances Tiafoe breezed in the first two round but had to fight today to get past the tricky Adrian Mannarino 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 7-6(8-6).

Tiafoe came from a set down to pull ahead but Mannarino made things interesting down the stretch. Tiafoe reaches his fourth straight US Open fourth round.

“I played a loose game early in the first set and then after that, I thought I was a better player even though I lost the set, had a ton of break points. I was definitely finding my rhythm, so I just used that as confidence and kept going,” Tiafoe said. “I was super mad that I gave back a break in the fourth and made it real complicated for myself in the end. But I got it done and feels good to be in the fourth round.”

Up next for Tiafoe is Shelton who pulled away from Aslan Karatsev 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 6-0. Shelton cracked 26 aces including a 147mph laser. The 20-year-old has made both hard court Slam fourth rounds this year.

“I am really pleased with my performance today,” Shelton said after. “Happy with the way I served. I think it was one of my best serving days ever. I think I had the most aces I have had in a match and it was the day after John Isner played his last match, it is kind of weird. Maybe he left some of his serving magic out for me so thanks Johnny.”

Tommy Paul also reached his first US Open fourth round taking down Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-1, 6-0, 3-6, 6-3.

In the night match, tournament favorite Novak Djokovic had to rally for an 8th career 0-2 comeback to beat countryman Laslo Djere 4-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 to keep his title hopes alive.

Djokovic was in all kinds of trouble early on as Djere was in calmly in control in all areas early on. But Djokovic would leave the court after the second and when he returned — we’ve seen this before — he got on top and went into lockdown. There was blip early in the fourth when they traded three straight breaks, but otherwise it was all Djokovic the last three sets.

Djokovic wobbled a bit at the end serving for it saving a break point at 5-3, 30-40, but won it on his second match point.

“Unbelievable. It’s almost 2am, you guys stayed,” Djokovic told the crowd. “Thanks you for supporting me.”

“It’s not so enjoyable for me especially in the first two sets, one of the toughest matches I’ve played here in many years,” he said. ““Huge huge credit to Laslo for playing some of the best tennis I’ve ever seen him play.”

He then talked about what happened when he left the court after the second.

“I did a little pep talk in the mirror,” Djokovic said. “I was so pissed off and agitated with the result. Tonight it worked and I am grateful.”

Qualifier Borna Gojo ousted Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. Australian wildcard Rinky Hijikata advanced past Zhang Zhizhen 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Both are playing in just their third Slam, and it’s their first fourth round.

On tap Saturday, the third round concludes with Carlos Alcaraz moving to the day session to take on No. 26 Daniel Evans. The Spaniard has won both meetings including the 2023 Barcelona semifinals.

Former champion Daniil Medvedev will meet Winston-Salem winner Sebastian Baez in a first-time tour-level collision.

No. 6 Jannik Sinner takes on Stan Wawrinka in a good one, No. 8 Andrey Rublev meets Arthur Rinderknech and No. 12 Alexander Zverev will meet No. 19 Grigor Dimitrov. Zverev leads 5-1 over the Bulgarian winning the last five.

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