Novak Djokovic enters quarters; Sakkari survives thriller
An out-of-sorts Novak Djokovic scraped his way to a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win over American wildcard Jenson Brooksby on Monday to move into the US Open quarter-finals and three wins from tennis immortality.
NEW YORK: An out-of-sorts Novak Djokovic scraped his way to a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win over American wildcard Jenson Brooksby on Monday to move into the US Open quarter-finals and three wins from tennis immortality.
Chasing a 21st major that would seal a calendar year Grand Slam, Djokovic had difficulty getting into gear against the 99th ranked Brooksby, who for a moment looked capable of derailing the Serb.
For the second consecutive match the world number one came out flat and dropped the opening set, something he will not want to do in his quarter-final when he faces Italian Matteo Berrettini in a rematch of the Wimbledon final which he won in four.
The sixth seeded Italian will mark a big step up in quality for Djokovic, who has not faced anyone ranked inside the top 50, including a qualifier and a wildcard.
Greek Maria Sakkari emerged triumphant from a gruelling three hour, 30 minute battle with former champion Bianca Andreescu, clinching a 6-7(2), 7-6(6), 6-3 victory to reach the quarter-finals.
Sakkari helped the Canadian to an early break in the first set with a trio of double faults before finding her footing.
Andreescu, the 2019 champion, won a punishing 21-shot rally to open the first-set tiebreak before clinching the set with three straight points, capping it off with an ace.
Sakkari, who faces fourth seed Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-final, said she knew she had to change her approach to stay in the match.
Fourth-seeded Karolina Pliskova mounted a strong defensive effort to send Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova packing 7-5, 6-4 in the fourth round, keeping on track her bid for a maiden major title.
The Wimbledon runner-up fired off seven forehand winners and converted on break point in the final game in the first set, before fending off six of Pavlyuchenkova's seven break point opportunities in the second set inside the Grandstand.
British teenager Emma Raducanu continued her dream run at the US Open by overwhelming American Shelby Rogers 6-2, 6-1 to reach her first Grand Slam quarter-final.
Going through qualifying to get to the last eight at a major is a stunning accomplishment by itself, but the 18-year-old has done it without dropping a set.
Raducanu, who burst onto the scene in July by reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon on her Grand Slam debut, has gone one better at the US Open in dominant fashion.
Up next for the youngster is Swiss 11th seed and Olympic champion Belinda Bencic, who advanced with a 7-6(12), 6-3 win over Polish 2020 French Open champion Iga Swiatek.
Sixth-seeded Matteo Berrettini of Italy was made to work hard at the US Open as he battled past qualifier Oscar Otte of Germany 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals for a second time.
The 25-year-old Italian, who reached his first major final at Wimbledon before losing to world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, was tested by Otte, surviving a dip in the second set, before raising his intensity to advance after two hours and 22 minutes. The German struggled with a wrist injury throughout the fourth set after falling at 1-1 in the set, but continued to toil.
South Africa's Lloyd Harris gained revenge over Reilly Opelka of the US as he continued his strong run, overcoming the 22nd seed 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 to reach his maiden major quarterfinal. The 24-year-old, who was competing in the fourth round at a Slam for the first time, fell to Opelka in a final-set tie-break in the third round in Toronto. The big-serving American went on to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 final.
However, Harris fired 62 winners and won seven straight games as he rallied in New York, securing his victory after two hours and 31 minutes. The World No. 46 will face fourth seed Alexander Zverev in the last eight after the German moved past Italian Jannik Sinner 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(7). Agencies