- Djokovic comes from two sets down
- Great day for USA as homegrown talents impress
- Swiatek through but Rybakina goes out
Novak Djokovic pulled off a remarkable comeback at the US Open, overturning a two-set deficit to defeat his compatriot Laslo Djere. There were also strong performances from American players as the home nation look for a first homegrown men’s singles champion since Andy Roddick. In the women’s singles Iga Swiatek cruised through but fourth seed Elena Rybakina crashed out.
Fantastic comeback from three-time champion
Djokovic, 36, staged a great recovery as he continues his bid to match Margaret Court’s record of 24 major titles. In New York, the Serb clinched a thrilling 4-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 victory, marking the eighth instance in his career where he has rebounded from being two sets down to secure a win.
Regarding his resurgence after the second set, Djokovic revealed that he resorted to a motivational pep talk in front of the mirror, which evidently had a rejuvenating effect on his performance.
In the round of 16 three-time champion Djokovic is set to square off against Croatian qualifier Borna Gojo. Currently ranked 105th globally, Gojo continued his impressive run at Flushing Meadows by notching a convincing 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 triumph against Czech player Jiri Vesely. Djokovic’s eyes remain fixed on the prize, as he strives to draw level with the Australian legend’s record of major victories in the tournament.
Home nation impress
A quartet of American players, including Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul, and Ben Shelton, have ignited hopes of a homegrown men’s singles champion for the first time since Andy Roddick’s victory in 2003.
Frances Tiafoe, the 10th seed, secured his place in the fourth round for the fourth consecutive year, recovering from a slow start to defeat France’s Adrian Mannarino in a thrilling four-set match, with the final set decided by a 7-6 (8-6) tiebreak.
American men’s number one, Taylor Fritz, displayed dominance on the court, needing only an hour and 30 minutes to secure a straight-set victory of 6-1, 6-2, 6-0 against Jakub Mensik, who happened to be celebrating his 18th birthday. This victory marked Fritz’s best run at the tournament.
Tommy Paul also showcased his skills, winning his match against Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina with a score of 6-1, 6-0, 3-6, 6-3. He is now set to face compatriot Ben Shelton in the last 16 after Shelton defeated Russian Aslan Karatsev 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 6-0. Shelton’s performance stood out, as he unleashed a remarkable 147 mph serve, the fastest recorded in the tournament so far.
Wozniakcki continues comeback, Swiatek stroll, Rybakina exits
Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki is making an impressive comeback at the US Open, reaching the fourth round where she is set to face American sixth seed Coco Gauff. Wozniacki, a former world number one who retired in 2020 and later had two children before returning to the tennis circuit in August, secured her place in the fourth round by defeating American Jennifer Brady with a scoreline of 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Reflecting on her performance, the 33-year-old Wozniacki expressed confidence in her abilities, stating, “If I play my best tennis, I know I’m tough to beat.”
Meanwhile, Coco Gauff faced a tough challenge in her match against Belgium’s Elise Mertens, dropping the first set 3-6. However, she made an impressive comeback, winning the next two sets 6-3, 6-0.
Day five at Flushing Meadows also saw victories for Swiatek, the defending champion, and Karolina Muchova, who was a finalist at the French Open. Both players showcased their strong form and determination on the court.
In a thrilling late-night encounter, Kazakh fourth seed Rybakina suffered a surprising defeat at the hands of Romanian 30th seed Sorana Cirstea. The 24-year-old Rybakina hit a double fault on match point, allowing the 33-year-old Cirstea to continue her remarkable season and reach the fourth round of the tournament for the first time.
Djokovic made harder work of his third round match than many anticipated, however, the 24-time Grand Slam winner has shown, yet again, that he has the ability to find a way to win when things are going against him. Despite enduring an unexpected five set match, Djokovic’s route to the final is, on paper, easier than top seed and world number two Carlos Alcaraz, the defending champion, due to the early exits of Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas. He is 5/6 with bet365, ahead of Alcaraz (6/4) at the time of writing. Those looking for an outside bet for the title might want to look at the form of the Americans with the likes of Fritz (22/1) and Tiafoe (28/1), who possess undoubted quality, being inspired by the crowd at Flushing Meadows. All prices are correct at the time of going to press and are subject to change.
On the women’s side world number one Swiatek is making efficient progress, despite not having been quite as dominant to date in 2023 as she was last year. This, along with the exit of Rybakina, must increase the Pole’s chances. Gauff is another talented, in-form American who can draw strength from the home support in New York. At the time of writing, bet365 are offering 7/4 for Swiatek, 10/3 for Aryna Sabalenka and 9/2 for Gauff.
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