3.57pm EDT 15:57 Wawrinka had been threatening, and promptly breaks his journeyman opponent in the sixth game – only to end up two break-points down himself in the next. The Swiss saves the first, but not the second, as he mishits a volley, before launching his racket at his chair. He then sheepishly asks the
Wawrinka had been threatening, and promptly breaks his journeyman opponent in the sixth game – only to end up two break-points down himself in the next. The Swiss saves the first, but not the second, as he mishits a volley, before launching his racket at his chair. He then sheepishly asks the umpire if he’d been given a warning (he hadn’t).
Elsewhere, David Goffin has won the first-set tie-break against Pablo Carreño Busta, a player whose name I can only read to the tune of “Another One Bites The Dust”.
Dan Evans has complained that a quick turnaround was partly to blame for his heavy defeat to Roger Federer:
“I was fatigued,” Evans said. “I thought it was pretty tough I was first up after playing yesterday, if I’m being brutally honest. Him being totally fresh and me, you know, battling yesterday, I didn’t get out of here until probably going on 6pm … just complete polar opposites, isn’t it?
“And to try to beat him feeling tired, stiff, playing four sets yesterday, it’s near on impossible. But do you think a guy who’s my ranking has any say in that? There are probably about four people in this tournament who have a say when they play. Maybe three.”
Federer, who played his second-round match under the roof on a rain-hit Wednesday, hit back at Evans’ comments. “That doesn’t mean like, ‘Roger asks, Roger gets’,” Federer said.
“Just remember that, because I have heard this shit too often now. I’m sick and tired of it, that apparently I call the shots. The tournament and the TV stations do. We can give our opinion. That’s what we do. But I’m still going to walk out even if they schedule me at 4 o’clock in the morning.”
On Louis Armstrong, 2016 champ Stan Wawrinka is in action against Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi, who’s hoping to match his best-ever US Open (and slam) performance by reaching the fourth round. 34-year-old Wawrinka is used to being the veteran, but he’s actually three years younger than Lorenzi. Still on serve in the first set.
Those three victories mean the bottom half of the women’s fourth-round draw is taking shape. Konta will face the No 3 seed, Karolina Pliskova, next. Williams and Barty, meanwhile, are on course for a box-office quarter-final meeting.
Johanna Konta beats Zhang Shuai 6-2, 6-3!
Konta cruises through her service game and then attacks the Zhang serve, aggressive returns helping her carve out a match point. Zhang saves the first, but Konta dominates the next rally – and seals victory as a Zhang forehand goes long!
Over on Grandstand, Johanna Konta sees a break point, and a chance to go 5-2 up in the second, go begging as Zhang holds her serve. The No 16 seed still leads by a set and a break.
Serena Williams beats Karolina Muchova!
Serena finishes off the job to win 6-3, 6-2. She tells courtside reporters she’s happy with her performance, and looking forward to an evening off with her daughter after her afternoon win. She’ll play Petra Martic next.
Thanks Katy. I’ve just had my dinner, since you ask – I
got the classic Friday fish and chips from the Guardian Towers canteen. Now time to judge some athletes!
found it in the fridge
Barty beats Sakkari 7-5, 6-3
Ashleigh Barty, who is looking to reassert herself after a mixed time of it since winning the French Open in June, has advanced in two tight sets against Maria Sakkari. Maria’s an incredible competitor. 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. Nothing’s changed [since winning the French Open]. I’m still the same person. It hasn’t changed the way I prepare or live my life. It was incredible journey in Paris, I loved every minute, but as soon as we come back over to America I can’t wait to get to New York.” but it hasn’t changed the way
There were so many questions about Williams’s state of mind and body coming into this tournament but she’s looking in good touch right now. From 3-3 in the first set, she’s taken six games on the spin for 6-3, 3-0. Muchova has impressive variety but, as is so often the case for Williams’s opponents, she can’t quite match the 37-year-old for power.
Konta is aiming to equal her best performance at Flushing Meadows by reaching the fourth round. This is the only grand slam where she’s not yet reached the semi-finals. Can she change that this year? Of course she can. She has the talent, and by the looks of it the form too. But then sometimes she forgets how good she is and blows up. So much of it is in her head.
Konta takes the first set 6-2
Konta is also close to a one-set lead, serving at 5-2 in front of a disappointingly sparse crowd on Grandstand. Though you probably can’t blame the spectators for wanting to find a bit of shade after that near three-hour contest between Alex de Minaur and Kei Nishikori. Konta doesn’t chose the best of moments to allow Zhang a first break point of the match at 30-40. Zhang leaves the court wide open by running around her backhand, allowing Konta to produce an easy forehand winner. Konta clubs another forehand winner on a second break point. And the British No 1 takes the set when Konta eclipses Zhang in a moonball exchange.
Williams wins the first set 6-3
But back to the real Serena Williams, who has upped the intensity on Ashe to break Muchova … before dropping it and allowing her opponent a chance to break back. But Williams’s trusty serve gets her out of trouble – is there a stronger shot in the women’s game? – and she holds for 5-3. Williams decides she doesn’t want to wait to serve this first set out, and charges to 0-30 on Muchova’s serve, the second point won when she gobbles up a Muchova slice. Make that 0-40, three set points. Williams absolutely wallops a return winner that leaves Muchova rooted to the cement! Wow. After a competitive first half of the set, Williams walked away with that.
The doubles events also get into full swing today after Wednesday’s washout delayed so many matches. Dan Evans must recover quickly from his humbling by Roger Federer, because he teams up with Cameron Norrie later. And fans are currently fighting for a spot on Court 5, where Coco Gauff and Caty McNally are getting under way in the women’s doubles. Qualifying for the junior events begins too, with plenty of fledgling Federers and wannabe Williamses looking to make a name for themselves.
Last year’s semi-finalist Anastasija Sevastova is out, beaten 6-4, 6-3 by Petra Martic, who awaits the winner of Williams v Muchova. That match hasn’t quite caught fire yet, though Williams has had a couple more chances to break. It’s 3-3.
Konta is seeing the ball like a football right now but then just as I type that she hits a shot so wayward it’s probably landed in Flushing Bay. The great commentator’s curse. Zhang holds but Konta still seems so strong. She leads 2-1.
Johanna Konta is under way on Grandstand against China’s 33rd seed Zhang Shuai and continues where she left off in yesterday’s 6-1, 6-0 destruction of Margarita Gasparyan with a blistering backhand return down the line for the break in the opening game. Wow. She couldn’t have hit that ball any truer. The British No 1 then backs up the break with a love hold. She’s looking inspired. Meanwhile Barty has served out the set for a 7-5 lead.
Ashleigh Barty is in a battle on Louis Armstrong, where at the business end of the first set she’s locked at 5-5 against Greece’s Maria Sakkari. The second seed, in the style of a true champion, decides it’s time to strike, stepping it up when she needs to to break to 15. The French Open winner will serve for the set.
A double fault doesn’t stop Muchova from holding in the opening game, and then Williams responds with a hold to 15 of her own. Williams is looking pretty pumped early on, and is striding purposefully around the court to show she means business. Some rasping returns from Williams help her carve out a break point chance in the third game. Muchova’s serve dismisses the danger. Deuce. A wobbly Williams backhand into the net and it’s Muchova’s advantage. Muchova then pulls off the one-two punch to survive from break point down. Muchova leads 2-1.
Even if it’s a rain coat rather than a dressing gown it’s still a bizarre choice of clothing given the unbroken sun overhead. But I digress. The six-times champion, who of course is still searching for that 24th grand slam title which would surely confirm her as the game’s greatest, is up against Karolina Muchova, of whom there is, erm, much to like. The 23-year-old Czech is rising up the rankings, currently at 44 having started the year at 144, and reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals last month.
Here comes Serena. After two night matches, it’s her first taste of the day session this year. But she seems to have forgotten it’s not nearly bedtime because she’s wearing what looks a bit like a black dressing gown over her purple outfit.
De Minaur breaks Nishikori to seal an impressive 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 win. This kid is going places. And given that his next opponent will be either Grigor Dimitrov, who’s had a terrible year and only advanced to the third round courtesy of a walkover, or the world No 94 Kamil Majchrzak, he’s got a fantastic chance of reaching the quarter-finals, where he could face a certain R Federer.
Serena Williams will be up next on Ashe. The only two singles matches currently in progress involve two Australians. Ashleigh Barty, who dragged herself out of a deep hole in the first round before looking more assured in the second, has an early break against the 30th seed from Greece, Maria Sakkari, leading 3-1. And Alex de Minaur looks to have repelled Kei Nishikori’s comeback. The young counterpuncher, who was once called “the future of tennis” by Daniil Medvedev, is a game away from reaching the fourth round of a slam for the first time, leading 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 5-3.
That was Federer’s best performance since letting it slip in that Wimbledon final against Novak Djokovic. So perhaps the hangover is easing. Here are his thoughts:
Different opponent, different day. I don’t know if that’s the reason but I’ve learned from my first two matches. I got my groove back. It was tricky with the sun, the shade and the heat. I got off to a good start and never looked back. It was a good performance. I played a tough one against him in Australia so I was expecting it to be more difficult. Danny’s got the shots. I though he looked a bit tired from yesterday. Maybe not the physical element, just the mental side of things.
Federer overwhelms Evans 6-2, 6-2, 6-1
Evans came agonisingly close to reaching the last 16 on his previous two third-round appearances here, almost ousting Tommy Robredo in 2013 and having a match point against Stan Wawrinka in 2016 before losing in five. But this is an entirely different story. Evans is broken for the seventh time … and Federer completes the easiest of wins with a hold to 15 when Evans tugs his return wide. Evans is off court in double quick time, though he does smile to himself in the corridor. Or perhaps it was a grimace given that 79-minute shellacking. Federer, of course, soaks in the applause of the swooning crowd.
News on tomorrow’s order of play:
Third set: Federer 6-2, 6-2, 4-1 Evans* (*denotes next server)
Evans can’t build on that minor victory, and is promptly broken when he double faults to trail 3-1. Meanwhile Kei Nishikori’s fightback is in full swing. The seventh seed has taken the third set against Alex de Minaur to reduce his arrears to 6-2, 6-4, 2-6. Johanna Konta will follow on Grandstand, while Ashleigh Barty, the French Open champion, is warming up on Louis Armstrong following Pliskova’s win. Federer holds for 4-1.
Third set: Federer 6-2, 6-2, 2-1 Evans* (*denotes next server)
Back on Ashe, Federer and Evans are sticking to the script. Federer holds. Federer breaks. But look here, Evans has won his first points on Federer’s serve since the first set, breaking a run of 21 consecutive service points for Federer, and it’s 15-40! Federer fends off the first break point with an ace. Then on the second, Federer, striking from well within the court, has Evans pegged far behind the baseline … but nets! Evans breaks for the first time but it’s likely to be a brief celebration for the battered Brit.
Pliskova beats Jabeur 6-1, 4-6, 6-4
Since the first set, very little has been straightforward for Pliskova, but she’s in her serving groove here, and has two match points at 40-15. A big serve out wide … and Pliskova goes back behind Jabeur to seal an unconvincing win. The former finalist will have to do better in the fourth round, where she could meet Konta.
Elsewhere, Karolina Pliskova, the third seed, is close to coming through in a tortuous three sets on Louis Armstrong, where she’s about to serve for the match against Ons Jabeur, leading 6-1, 4-6, 5-4. And over on Grandstand, Johanna Konta may have to wait a while longer to get on court, because Kei Nishikori is fighting back against Alex de Minaur, trailing 6-2, 6-4, but 4-2 up in the third.
Federer wins the second set 6-2
Federer is reading virtually every Evans serve and he does so again for 0-15. The 38-year-old shows the speed of an 18-year-old to double his advantage to 0-30. And a strong second serve is dismissively dealt with by Federer for 0-40. The second set is soon his when Evans’s forehand flies long. Evans glances at his coaching box – not that he’s got a coach right now after splitting with David Felgate, Tim Henman’s former coach, before the tournament. He then mangles his racket at the changeover and gets a warning from the umpire for his efforts.
Second set: Federer 6-2, 5-2 Evans* (*denotes next server)
This is exhibition tennis from Federer on serve. Another game flies by in the blink of an eye. A ball boy holds an umbrella over Federer at the changeover to shield him from the sun. But the GOAT doesn’t need any shade. He doesn’t even sweat when he’s being pushed, so he’s not going to be perspiring today. A brief delay before Evans serves to stay in the set because of an issue with the number of balls they’re playing with. That’s about Federer’s only problem right now.
Second set: *Federer 6-2, 4-2 Evans (*denotes next server)
Evans manages to take an early lead in his service game for the first time this set. 30-15. 40-15. But Federer flicks his wand and conjures up a backhand winner down the line. 40-30. Evans does at least hold from there, but at this stage this may be more about trying to keep the scoreline respectable than aiming any higher.
Second set: Federer 6-2, 4-1 Evans* (*denotes next server)
Bish. Bash. Bosh. Break. Four winners fly by Evans and Federer breaks to love, before backing it up with another four unanswered points. This is brutal.
Second set: Federer 6-2, 2-1 Evans* (*denotes next server)
Federer holds. But you already knew that, right? He’s dropped only six points on serve so far. And an ominous stat for Evans: he’s never taken a set off Federer before. That tight 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3), 6-3 defeat at the Australian Open this year was preceded by a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 loss at Wimbledon in 2016.