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Rediff.com  » Sports » US Open PIX: Tomljanovic ends the great Serena's run

US Open PIX: Tomljanovic ends the great Serena's run

Last updated on: September 03, 2022 11:23 IST
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A summary of Friday's action at the US Open.

Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic celebrates winning the first set during her third round match against Serena Williams at the US Open on Friday.

IMAGE: Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic celebrates winning the first set during her third round match against Serena Williams at the US Open on Friday. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

A defiant Serena Williams bid an emotional goodbye to the US Open after a third-round defeat to Ajla Tomljanovic on Friday, in what may have been the last singles match of her glittering career.

 

Defeat has always been hard to swallow for the fiercely competitive Williams and no doubt the 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-1 loss to the 46th ranked Australian stung her to her core.

But after a joyous run into the third round there was no shame in a loss to the gritty Tomljanovic, allowing the 23-times Grand Slam winner to exit with dignity intact and head held high.

Serena Williams reacts after winning the second set

IMAGE: Serena Williams reacts after winning the second set. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

Her three matches, highlighted by a second-round win over world number two Anett Kontaveit, were a gift to her fans, the relentless never surrender attitude that made her tennis' dominant player for over two decades on display right until the very final point.

Always up for a fight, the 40-year-old came out swinging, forcing Tomljanovic to go the distance. The Australian needed six match points to deliver the knockout punch and bring an end to an engrossing three-plus-hour slugfest.

Williams had signalled her intention to retire last month, saying she was "evolving away from tennis" but never confirming the US Open as her final event.

Defending champion Medvedev to meet Kyrgios in fourth round

Russia's Daniil Medvedev in action during his third round match against China's Wu Yibing

IMAGE: Russia's Daniil Medvedev in action during his third round match against China's Wu Yibing Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

Defending champion Daniil Medvedev cruised into the fourth round with a straightforward 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Chinese qualifier Wu Yibing to set up a blockbuster clash with Australia's Nick Kyrgios.

The Russian blazed past Stefan Kozlov and Arthur Rinderknech in the last two rounds and looked every bit the champion again, as he fired 12 aces and converted six out of 12 break points to comfortably dispatch his 22-year-old opponent.

Medvedev's win in front of an emotional Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd following Serena Williams's loss to Ajla Tomljanovic meant he has reached the round of 16 at Flushing Meadows for the fourth straight year.

Wu, who became the first Chinese man in US Open history to reach the third round, was plagued by several unforced errors in the clash as Medvedev prevailed in an hour and 55 minutes.

After sealing a closely-contested first set, Medvedev broke early and raced ahead 5-1 in the next and closed it out in style to take full control of the contest.

The third set followed a similar pattern as Wu crumbled under the relentless pressure as Medvedev completed the win to stay on course to become the first player to win consecutive US Open titles since Roger Federer's run of five between 2004-08.

But a defeat to Kyrgios in the next round would see Medvedev lose his number one ranking to Rafael Nadal after the tournament.

"We've played great matches. All have been quite tight on the scoreboard," Medvedev, who has lost three out of his four previous meetings with Kyrgios, said.

"It's 3-1 to him but I'll try to do better this time and it'll be a great match for people to watch."

Kyrgios roars past wildcard Wolf

Australia's Nick Kyrgios harnessed an efficient victory over  American wildcard J.J. Wolf.

IMAGE: Australia's Nick Kyrgios harnessed an efficient victory over American wildcard J.J. Wolf. Photograph: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Australian Nick Kyrgios reached the fourth round of the US Open for the first time, notching a routine win over American wildcard J.J. Wolf 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 in the shadow of Serena Williams's Flushing Meadows farewell.

The fiery Wimbledon finalist harnessed his mighty serve to clinch the affair in an efficient hour and 56 minutes, whacking 21 aces at his opponent and sending over 35 winners, as he wrested the momentum early with a break in the fifth game of the first set.

There were few fireworks as Kyrgios defended all seven breaks he faced inside Louis Armstrong Stadium, where he earned a $7,500 fine for "spitting and audible obscenities" during his second-round meeting with France's Benjamin Bonzi.

With the sporting world's eyes laser-focussed on neighbouring Arthur Ashe Stadium as Williams fell to Ajla Tomljanovic in dramatic fashion in what is widely expected to be her final tournament, Kyrgios' lopsided matchup prompted little fanfare.

But it nonetheless marked the latest in a stellar run for Kyrgios, who is playing the best tennis of his career after winning in Washington, D.C., and reaching his first Grand Slam final at the All England Club.

Gauff whips Keys

Coco Gauff celebrates victory over fellow-American Madison Keys.

IMAGE: Coco Gauff celebrates victory over fellow-American Madison Keys. Photograph: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Coco Gauff dominated fellow-American Madison Keys to win 6-2, 6-3 on Friday and reach the US Open fourth round for the first time on Friday.

The 18-year-old Gauff, who was once again called on to warm up Arthur Ashe Stadium court for Serena Williams ahead of her compatriot's highly-anticipated night match, has now made the second week of all four Grand Slams.

Gauff began tentatively and was broken in the first game but quickly regrouped, breaking back and firing an ace up the tee for a 4-1 lead she would not relinquish.

The 12th seed maintained her level in the second set as she redirected former finalist Keys' powerful ground strokes and sealed the win on her opponent's 22nd unforced error.

The French Open finalist, who improved to 11-3 at Grand Slams this year, said she was honoured to open up for Williams at the tournament for the third time and would be again glued to her idol's match.

"It's been amazing. I haven't missed it," Gauff said.

"Even the day when I watched it on TV I had to order room service. I know she's on my side of the draw and I don't know when I might face her but that's the goal."

Gauff will be the favourite when she takes on China's Zhang Shuai on Sunday. Shuai beat Canada's Rebecca Marino 6-2, 6-4.

Garcia continues sizzling form, crushes Andreescu

France's Caroline Garcia hits a forehand against Canada's Bianca Andreescu.

IMAGE: France's Caroline Garcia hits a forehand against Canada's Bianca Andreescu. Photograph: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Caroline Garcia's juggernaut rolled on at the US Open on Friday when the Frenchwoman charged past former champion Bianca Andreescu 6-3, 6-2 into the fourth round to underline her status as a serious title contender at the hardcourt major.

It was the first time that the 28-year-old made the last 16 stage at the US Open and she peppered the Louis Armstrong Stadium court with 31 winners during her victory over the Canadian, who won the title at Flushing Meadows in 2019.

Having arrived in New York after becoming the first qualifier to win the WTA 1000 title at Cincinnati in the lead-up, Garcia has dominated her contests with her aggressive style of play and is yet to drop a set.

Next up for Garcia will be a clash against 29th-ranked American Alison Riske-Amritraj and another win will see her reach her first Grand Slam quarter-final since reaching the stage for the first time at the 2017 French Open.

Garcia was ranked at a career-high fourth in 2018 but slipped down the ladder due to mixed results and injury problems.

Since coming back from a foot injury in May, when she was 79th in the rankings, Garcia has won a WTA 1000 title on hardcourt, a grasscourt event in Bad Homburg and the Warsaw tournament on clay.

"My game style is to definitely go on the shorter rallies, so try to put pressure on the serve and the return, what I've been managing good most of the time," Garcia said.

"It's a game I really try to keep improving, what I've been doing the last couple of weeks. It's a challenge every single time I walk on court. But I really like it, really enjoy it."

Berrettini brushes aside Murray

Italy's Matteo Berrettini and Great Britain's Andy Murray shake hands at the net after their third round match at the US Open on Friday.

IMAGE: Italy's Matteo Berrettini and Great Britain's Andy Murray shake hands at the net after their third round match at the US Open on Friday. Photograph: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Matteo Berrettini regrouped from a series of squandered chances in the third set to brush aside Britain's Andy Murray 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(1), 6-3, harnessing his powerful forehand to reach the fourth round.

Playing in the third round in New York for the first time in six years, Murray appeared utterly outmatched as Berrettini rocketed across nine aces and 19 winners in the first set and extinguished the Briton's sole break point opportunity.

The situation went from bad to worse for the 2012 champion in the second set, when a dejected Murray tossed his racket towards his bench after handing 13th seed Berrettini the break with a double fault in the ninth game.

But the tables turned as the 26-year-old Italian was unable to convert any of eight break point chances in the third set and handed his 35-year-old opponent the momentum in the tiebreak with a handful of unforced errors.

Berrettini, who beat Murray in the Stuttgart final earlier this year, said he tried to play more "brave" in the final set, getting the critical break in the eighth game after forcing the twice Wimbledon winner into a backhand error.

"I guess you learn from the past a little bit," said Berrettini, who clinched the contest with an ace to cheers from the rowdy crowd inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. "I wasn't aggressive enough on the break points," he added.

The world number 14 faces Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich-Fokina, who beat him in Monte Carlo last year, in the next round.

Lucky loser Moutet makes history at US Open

France's Corentin Moutet in action against Botic van De Zandschulp of the Netherlands.

IMAGE: France's Corentin Moutet is the first men's lucky loser to reach the fourth round at any Grand Slam event since another Frenchman, Stephane Robert, did so at the 2014 Australian Open. Photograph: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

France's Corentin Moutet became the first lucky loser to reach the fourth round of the US Open following his 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 win over Argentine Pedro Cachin.

Moutet is the first men's lucky loser to reach the fourth round at any Grand Slam event since another Frenchman, Stephane Robert, did so at the 2014 Australian Open.

The lucky loser is a player who lost during qualifiers but makes the main draw because of a withdrawal and has his name picked at random.

Moutet will be a huge underdog when he faces fifth seed Casper Ruud, who emerged victorious after a four-hour-and-23-minute battle with American Tommy Paul by the score of 7-6(3), 6-7(5), 7-6(2), 5-7, 6-0.

With the win Ruud became the first Norwegian man to reach the second week at the US Open.

Jabeur rallies past Rogers 

Ons Jabeur

IMAGE: Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur celebrates after defeating Shelby Rogers of the United States. Photograph: Al Bello/Getty Images

Tunisian fifth seed Ons Jabeur survived a thrilling duel to down home hope Shelby Rogers 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, reaching the fourth round of the hardcourt major for the first time.

The Wimbledon finalist squandered six of the eight break points she earned in the opening set but hit her stride in the second as she dropped just two first-serve points.

Rogers called on the trainer to receive some treatment on her right arm before the start of the third set. With Jabeur sprinting through the first four games, it seemed game over.

But Rogers refused to cave in and fought off five match points from 0-40 down in the seventh game to hold serve. She then broke Jabeur in the next game to roars of approval from the Louis Armstrong Stadium crowd.

A couple of errors from the American, however, handed Jabeur victory on her sixth match point and the Tunisian yelled out in relief.

"Crazy match," Jabeur said in an on-court interview. "Even down 5-1, 40-love she doesn't make the mission easy for me... I'm very happy that I kept fighting and went until the end."

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