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Barty, Djokovic lead favourites into Round 3 at US Open

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Roar Guru
3rd September, 2021
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Ashleigh Barty continues to look every part the favourite for the women’s title as she continued her progress through the draw at the US Open.

The Australian defeated Danish teenager Clara Tauson in straight sets to advance to the third round, but while the scoreline suggested otherwise she was made to work hard for the victory.

Having held for a 1-0 lead to start the match, Barty required ten break points to break her opponent for a 2-0 lead, and from there she breezed through the remainder of the first set, taking it 6-1.

But, as was the case in her first-round match against Vera Zvonareva, the Ipswich native had to battle through the second set, as every time she got the break, she’d immediately drop her serve.

She got herself in the position to serve for the match at 5-4, but again dropped serve as Tauson pegged back a break for 5-all. Another break later had Barty again serving for it at 6-5, and after fighting off a break point closed it out to claim victory 6-1, 7-5.

Ash Barty plays a forehand

(Mark Brake/Getty Images)

Her next opponent will be American Shelby Rogers, who defeated Sorana Cirstea in straight sets. It will be the fifth time the pair have met this year, after also facing each other twice in Melbourne, as well as in Charleston and Madrid.

Win that, and she’ll line up either an Olympic rematch against Sara Sorribes Tormo or British qualifier Emma Raducanu, who reached the fourth round at Wimbledon in July before being forced to retire due to a breathing issue.

Elsewhere in the women’s draw, Angelique Kerber won her suspended second-round tie to set up a third-round blockbuster against 2017 champion Sloane Stephens, while there were also wins for Iga Swiatek, Belinda Bencic and Petra Kvitova.

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Swiatek got the better of Fiona Ferro at a major for the second time this year. After beating her in the third round of the Australian Open back in February, this time the Pole had to come from a set and break down to win in three sets, bageling her opponent in the last.

Kvitova defeated Kristyna Pliskova (whose sister Karolina was in action against Amanda Anisimova at the time of writing this article) to line up a third-round clash against Maria Sakkari, also a straight-sets winner over Katerina Siniakova.

One of the most improved players on tour this year, Paula Badosa, suffered an upset loss at the hands of Varvara Gracheva, whose straight sets win saw her line up a third-round clash against compatriot Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

In the men’s draw, one of only two Australians left in the draw, Jordan Thompson, threw away a two-set advantage and wasted several match points in the fourth-set tiebreak to go down to Russian 21st seed Aslan Karatsev in five sets.

2014 finalist Kei Nishikori emerged through a five-set rollercoaster against Mackenzie McDonald to line up a third-round blockbuster against top seed Novak Djokovic, who was barely troubled in a straight-sets triumph against Tallon Griekspoor.

The clash between Djokovic and Nishikori will be their 20th overall, and third at the US Open, where they are tied 1-all. Most notably, the Japanese start upset Djokovic en route to reaching the final in 2014, where he lost to Marin Cilic.

It also comes just a month after Djokovic ended Nishikori’s medal hopes at the Tokyo Olympics, before himself missing out on a bronze medal when he lost the third-place playoff match against Pablo Carreno Busta.

Novak Djokovic plays a backhand

(Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

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Olympic gold medallist Alexander Zverev continued to bulldoze his way through the draw, thrashing Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas in straight sets, while Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini needed four sets to beat Frenchman Corentin Moutet.

A day after turning 35, French showman Gael Monfils defeated American Steve Johnson in four sets to set up a clash with Italian 13th seed Jannik Sinner, who also needed four sets to defeat American wildcard Zachary Svajda.

Wimbledon semi-finalist Hubert Herkacz, however, suffered a four-set loss against Andreas Seppi, whose victory saw him edge one step closer to a possible all-Italian fourth-round clash against Berrettini.

The third round gets underway on Saturday morning (AEST), with a clash between former grand slam champions and world number ones Victoria Azarenka and Garbine Muguruza kicking off the day session on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

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That is followed by a mini-intergenerational clash between third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and 18-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who has been dubbed the next big thing in men’s tennis.

For Alcaraz, who played and lost to Rafael Nadal on his 18th birthday at the Madrid Masters in May, this will be his first appearance on Centre Court at any major, and so he will relish the challenge of playing one of the up-and-comers in men’s tennis on such a huge stage.

In the evening, Naomi Osaka will look to continue her undefeated run at the majors this year when she faces Canadian Leylah Annie Fernandez, before Russian fifth seed Andrey Rublev takes on local favourite Frances Tiafoe.

On Louis Armstrong Stadium, 12th seed Simona Halep kicks off an enticing day-time triple header, which also includes a clash between former US Open champions Angelique Kerber and Sloane Stephens, as well as Russian second seed Daniil Medvedev taking on Spaniard Pablo Andujar.

At night, Canadian 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime is up against another Spanish veteran in Roberto Bautista Agut, before women’s second seed Aryna Sabalenka takes on local Danielle Collins.

The last remaining Australian in the men’s draw, Alexei Popyrin, is second on Court 17 against British 24th seed Dan Evans.

Matches to watch on Day 5

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Arthur Ashe Stadium
Day session – play starts at 12:00pm (2:00am AEST)
[18] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) vs [9] Garbine Muguruza (ESP)
Not before 1:30pm (3:30am AEST)
Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) vs [3] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)
Night session – play starts at 7:00pm (9:00am AEST)
Leylah Annie Fernandez (CAN) vs [3] Naomi Osaka (JPN)
[5] Andrey Rublev (RUS) vs Frances Tiafoe (USA)

Louis Armstrong Stadium
Day session – play starts at 11:00am (1:00am AEST)
[19] Elena Rybakina (KAZ) vs [12] Simona Halep (ROU)
Not before 1:00pm (3:00am AEST)
Pablo Andujar (ESP) vs [2] Daniil Medvedev (RUS)
Not before 4:00pm (6:00am AEST)
[16] Angelique Kerber (GER) vs Sloane Stephens (USA)

Night session – play starts at 7:00pm (9:00am AEST)
[8] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) vs [12] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN)
[26] Danielle Collins (USA) vs [2] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR)

Grandstand
Play starts at 11:00am (1:00am AEST)
Henri Laaksonen (SUI) vs Peter Gojowczyk (GER)
[8] Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) vs Kamilla Rakhimova (RUS)
[5] Elina Svitolina (UKR) vs [25] Daria Kasatkina (RUS)
Not before 5:00pm (7:00am AEST)
Alex Molcan (SVK) vs [11] Diego Schwartzman (ARG)

The full Day 5 schedule is available here.

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