Here’s a recap of Friday’s action from the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
Novak Djokovic sets up 2016 US Open finals rematch
In case you needed proof that Novak Djokovic remains good at tennis, here is video evidence of a dominant straight-set win over Denis Kudla.
Djokovic hasn’t dropped a set through three rounds of the tournament, but that might get challenged next round when he faces Stan Wawrinka for the first time since their duel at the 2016 US Open final.
The 34-year-old Wawrinka, currently ranked 24th in the world, dispatched Paolo Lorenzi in the third round on Friday.
Daniil Medvedev takes on New York City
No. 5 seed Daniil Medvedev advanced to the fourth round at Louis Armstrong Stadium, but he did not make many friends along the way.
During his 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 win over Spain’s Feliciano López, Medvedev was assessed a code violation after angrily snatching away a towel, then tossed his racquet and was seen giving the crowd the finger.
As he basked in the boos following his win, Medvedev decided to have some fun with his interview.
Keys powers through Kenin
2017 US Open runner-up Madison Keys topped Sofia Kenin in straight sets, but not all was well during the American’s 6-3, 7-5 match.
After a strong first set, Keys had to have her blood pressure and pulse measured by medical staff in the second half and later admitted to not playing at 100 percent.
Despite that trouble, Keys was dominant on the court with 10 aces and a 26-9 winner disparity. She’ll face No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina on Sunday.
Williams dominates Muchova
Serena Williams played her best tennis of the tournament in her win over Karolina Muchova on Friday. Williams beat the 23-year-old Muchova 6-3, 6-2 and is headed to the Round of 16.
Muchova had a few good moments during the match, but Williams was a force to be reckoned with. A few games into the match, it was clear that Williams was setting the pace, and Muchova would have to play her best tennis to have a chance. Williams overwhelmed Muchova with her power, cruising to a win in the first set with this final point.
Williams had a little hiccup with her serve in the second set, losing two straight games after going up 3-0, but easily took the final three games. She’ll be facing Petra Martic next.
Barty squeezes past Sakkari
Ashleigh Barty, the No. 3 seed, squeezed past Maria Sakkari of Greece on Friday afternoon. Barty and Sakkari battled over two sets, with Barty getting the edge 7-5, 6-3. Barty has struggled somewhat since her French Open win in June, and her good friend Sakkari gave her a fight, but she’s onto the Round of 16 after pulling out the win.
“Maria’s an incredible competitor,” Barty said after the match. “It was important for me to try to dictate. It was tricky to play a friend but really happy with the way I closed out those sets.”
Federer breezes past Evans
The early-match issues that plagued Federer in the first two rounds seem to be a thing of the past. The No. 3 seed appeared to be completely comfortable in his Round 3 match against Daniel Evans, beating him 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 in just one hour and 19 minutes.
Federer wasn’t able to pinpoint why he was able to start quickly on Friday as opposed to his matches on Wednesday and Monday, when he dropped the first set both times. He granted that the warm, less breezy weather may have had something to do with it, or perhaps that the courts are playing faster. Regardless of why, he likely hopes the same conditions will appear when he faces his opponent in Round 4.
While the match itself lacked drama, Federer’s comments after did not.
Nishikori upset by 38th-ranked de Minaur
Minutes after Federer finished off Evans, 2014 finalist and No. 7 seed Kei Nishikori was upset by Aussie Alex de Minaur. From the Associated Press:
Nishikori, the No. 7 seed and 2014 finalist at Flushing Meadows, lost to 38th-ranked Alex de Minaur 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 in the third round, leaving less than half of the top 12 men still in action. Other seeds to lose earlier in the tournament included No. 4 Dominic Thiem, No. 8 Stefanos Tsitsipas, No. 9 Karen Khachanov and No. 10 Roberto Bautista Agut.
De Minaur, a 20-year-old Australian who has won two tour events this year, including last month's hard court tuneup in Atlanta, outlasted Nishikori from the baseline and took advantage of his opponent's 60 unforced errors.
Next up in the round of 16, De Minaur faces the winner of the match later Friday between Grigor Dimitrov and Kamil Majchrzak.
Pliskova survives rocky match against Jabeur
It looked like No. 3 Karolina Pliskova was on her way to elimination, but overcame slow reactions and a formidable opponent to beat Ons Jabeur 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 in Round 3 on Friday. Pliskova started strong and won the very first game of the match with two straight aces, and that was the tone of the first set. Jabeur got one back, but Pliskova won the set 6-1 in just 26 minutes.
Jabeur found her game after dropping eight of the first nine games. Pliskova continued to dominate with her serve, but Jabeur started finding ways to eat away at Pliskova's iron grip on the match. Jabeur returned a sure ace to turn around a game, and suddenly she was up 3-2 and Pliskova seemed quite out of sorts. After Jabeur went up 4-2 and served up an ace, Pliskova had a rare display of emotion and smashed her racquet on the court. She was also not in the mood for any comments from her husband in the stands.
Pliskova telling her husband to shout his mouth is actually a mood pic.twitter.com/UtmN8TRJSu— LorenaPopa 🕵️♀️🎾 (@popalorena) August 30, 2019
She lost the second set, and struggled through many, many challenges from Jabeur in the third set. Pliskova was slow to react and appeared to be low on energy, but she powered through to win the third set and earn a spot in the fourth round.
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