Nole was much better than in his first round (as you would expect) as he beat Tallon Griekspoor in straights. The only criticism I have seen mentioned is the second serve wasn’t great but there wasn’t a lot wrong with his first delivery. The Serb only won 54% behind his second serve but we all know that the top players generally do what is required to get through these rounds. It will be more how Djokovic deals with the pressure as the rounds go by. I would imagine he is keeping one eye on the performances of Alexander Zverev, who once again got it done in straights and for the loss of only four games against Albert Ramos Vinolas. Zverev was saying after how the serve is a good measurement of how he is actually playing. Dropping three points behind his first serve suggests this was as easy as the 6/1 6/0 6/3 scoreline says. Sascha plays Jack Sock next who has found a few wins again in New York, this one in five sets against Alexander Bublik. Nole will play Kei Nishikori, who almost blew a two-set lead against Mackenzie McDonald. You always think of the semi-final in 2014 when the two played, but in reality, although Kei won that day, Djokovic leads the head-to-head 17-2. In fact, that was the last time Nishikori beat him and he was heavily beaten at the Olympics recently.
There were also wins For Denis Shapovalov and Matteo Berrettini. Shapovalov had to grind out the first set against Roberto Carballes Baena in a tiebreak but after that, his firepower showed against the clay courter. Berrettini was made to work harder by Corentin Moutet. The serve getting him through in four but the Frenchman is a tricky opponent when he gets you into a point. Shapovalov will play Lloyd Harris on Saturday while Berrettini takes on Ilya Ivashka, who has won his last sixteen sets for the record. Gael Monfils will play Jannik Sinner after both came through in four sets. This should be quite an interesting match, Monfils is playing some good attacking tennis of his own and Sinner seems a little wobbly at the moment. Zachary Svajda caused him a few problems in his four-set victory. Monfils also won in four against Steve Johnson in a relatively high-quality contest.
There were also wins for Reilly Opelka, Nikoloz Basilashvili, Aslan Karatsev and Jenson Brooksby. Karatsev saved a couple of matchpoints against Jordan Thompson. 37-year-old Andreas Seppi ousted tenth seed Hubert Hurkacz, some effort this now, after beating Fucsovics in a final set breaker in the first round. The Italian is talking up his chances against Oscar Otte for a place in the fourth round. Otte came from an early breakdown to beat Denis Kudla in three. One final note in the men’s, Dan Evans pulled out of his doubles match with Lloyds Glasspool last night but we hope it is just precautionary.
Ash Barty was in similar form to her opener, she played pretty well again but did have a few issues closing it out against Clara Tauson. I think it is a case like with Djokovic, where she will just simply get the job done but that is a little concern, I won’t want to see her do that against Shelby Rogers next, or it might get a bit trickier. Emma Raducanu is in this little part of the draw and she turned the tables on Shuai Zhang having lost to her in San Jose a month ago. This win should not be underestimated against an experienced player. She managed to peg Zhang behind the baseline this time and the 6/2 6/4 did not look in too much doubt as she raced to a 6/2 4/0 lead before a slight Zhang fightback. The Brit will play against Sara Sorribes Tormo on Saturday. This is turning into a nightmare matchup for quite a lot of players with the Spaniard showing consistency and depth from the baseline these days and she seems to have raised her level a notch or two. The betting markets show this is virtually the toss of a coin with some ever so slightly preferring Sorribes Tormo.
Karolina Pliskova had to serve out of her nut to keep Amanda Anisimova at bay. It is great to see that Anisimova has put in a performance of this level again after having a tough year or so on and off the court. There were no breaks here in the last two sets of the Czech’s 7/5 6/7 7/6 victory. From reading reports it was literally Pliskova’s serve that was keeping her in this as when the points were extended Anisimova was having a lot of joy. Pliskova will play Ajla Tomljanovic who is enjoying a good run of form at the last couple of slams. Talking of players in good form, Belinda Bencic beat Martina Trevisan for the loss of four games and she will have her first real test against the twenty-third seeded Jessica Pegula in the last 32. It was a disappointing effort from Paula Badosa as she lost to Varvara Gracheva, I really didn’t see this one coming as she was one of my tips. By all account, she didn’t really get anything going in this match and it means it might be time for me to reevaluate where she is at right now. Gracheva will play Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who unlike Badosa has found a way to win when things aren’t a 100%.
Also through is Iga Swiatek, although she wasn’t overly impressive against Fiona Ferro, having to win a second set breaker to stay in the event. She will play Anett Konataveit next who beat Jill Teichmann, Konatveit s playing well but we have been here before. Petra Kvitova beat Krystina Pliskova and will play Maria Sakkari after she surprisingly beat Katerina Siniakova with minimal fuss 6/4 6/2. This looks like a tasty encounter. Bianca Andreescu is still yet to lose a main draw match in New York as she took care of Lauren Davis and she won’t have to worry about the power of Ludmilla Samsonova next after she lost to the Lucky Loser, Greet Minnen. Angie Kerber also had to play yesterday as her match with Anhelina Kalinina was postponed the night before. She got through 6/3 6/2 with minimal fuss which is just what she needed going into her third-round match against Sloane Stephens, in an incredibly sticky part of the draw for all concerned.
Al Davies (Andy Del Potro).