Raducanu again & Nole wins after early fright – Day 8 US Open.

It was over in the blink of an eye. Despite falling an early break behind, Emma Raducanu was soon out of sight and over the line against a tired-looking Shelby Rogers. After the first set, I thought I would put my son to bed and then come down and watch the remainder. After a few nursery rhymes followed by The Gruffalo and Baby Goes to Market, I returned to see the Brit doing her on-court interview. Rogers admitted after that there was nothing left in the tank after the exertions against Ash Barty. It is still impressive from Raducanu nonetheless, she seems pretty relaxed and she is just opening out the shoulders and letting loose. There are a few people arguing that she hasn’t beaten anyone yet, the highest-ranked player she has taken out is Sara Sorribes Tormo at 41 in the rankings. The bottom line is she has beaten all in front of her and all without dropping a set. The doubters (I am somewhere in the middle at the moment) will get to find out where she is at in the next round when she plays the bang inform Belinda Bencic. The Olympic Gold medalist is also yet to drop a set and after winning the opener on a breaker that lasted over 80 minutes, a sole break in the second was enough to see her through against Iga Swiatek. The bookmakers do not think there is much in this next round with Bencic being a 4/6 (1.67) favourite as I write.

The other quarter-final will be between Karolina Pliskova and Maria Sakkari. Pliskova beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7/6 6/4 but reports say this was not the highest of quality encounters. Pliskova agreed with that and said she wasn’t feeling 100% physically but did not elaborate on it. Her serving stats were not as impressive as the last few rounds either. Sakkari on the other hand was out on the Ashe for nearly three and a half hours when beating Bianca Andreescu. Sakkari showed plenty of fight but towards the end was aided by Andreescu having an off-court medical timeout, getting her left upper thigh heavily taped. She then had issues with her service motion and hitting backhands on the run when she returned to the court.

Novak Djokovic had to beat a slow start and an inspired Jenson Brooksby. The American came out firing, breaking straight away and once again showing great variety. There are a lot of similarities with Andy Murray’s style of play and at times he can remind me a little of Tomas Berdych too when he lets fly. Nole was looking nervous with uncharacteristic errors and coming up well short with drop shots. The match turned in the second set when Brooksby won a 20-minute game to break back but despite having game points for 3-3, he lost his serve again and Nole turned the screw. There was no looking back from there. I saw a Tweet from Andy Roddick – ‘First he takes your legs ……. Then he takes your soul’. That sounds like a fair assessment. I look forward to seeing a lot more of Brooksby in the future but this was Nole in four. Djokovic will play Matteo Berrettini after the Italian took care of Oscar Otte. Otte was trailing two sets to one before he injured himself when falling heavily on his right wrist and the contest was done from that point. Berrettini will need to up it quite substantially against the World Number One.

Alex Zverev put in a good solid display, especially on serve to take care of Jannik Sinner. There were a few moments in the third, where Sinner even had a few set points that could have kept Sascha out there a bit longer but he survived it to get through 6/4 6/4 7/6. Next, he plays Lloyd Harris for a place in the last four. Harris played another really good match and had too much for a disappointing Reilly Opelka on the day. Harris should have won the first set but he was very comfortable from that point on and didn’t drop serve thereafter to win in four. Zverev and Harris did play in Cincy recently with the German prevailing 7/6 6/2.

Al Davies (Andy Del Potro).

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