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US Open PICS: Djokovic, Federer through; Venus exits

Last updated on: August 29, 2019 08:58 IST

Djokovic overcomes shoulder woes; Roger Federer drops first set again.

Images from the third day's play at the US Open.

Novak Djokovic

IMAGE: Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts while making a backhand return to Argentina's Juan Ignacio Londero in their second round match on Day 3 of the US Open. Photograph: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Reigning champion Novak Djokovic battled with a shoulder problem that hampered his backhand as he secured a 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-1 win over Argentine Juan Ignacio Londero and reached the third round of the US Open on Wednesday.

 

Djokovic, who had work done on his left shoulder during his pre-match warm-up inside Arthur Ashe Stadium earlier in the day, was in clear distress when he took a medical timeout while leading 4-3 in the first set.

The Serbian top seed returned to court to close out the first set and then got more treatment before Londero, in only his second main draw match at Flushing Meadows, broke him twice for an early 3-0 lead in the second.

But a determined Djokovic found his way back by winning the next five games and then, after easing through the tie-break, had more treatment before racing home in the third.

Up next for the three-times champion will be either fellow Serbian Dusan Lajovic, the 27th seed, or American Denis Kudla, who were unable to play their match earlier because of inclement weather.

Federer loses first set again in win over Dzumhur

Roger Federer

IMAGE: Switzerland's Roger Federer returns a shot during his men's singles second round match against Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Five-time US Open champion Roger Federer defeated Damir Dzumhur 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 in their second-round clash on Wednesday.

In a similar story to his first-round match against India's Sumit Nagal, the Swiss ace lost the first set 6-3 and once again found himself in trouble.

But he got back into the match with a much-improved second set as he won it 6-2.

Federer then broke Dzumhur to lead 2-0 and went for the kill at 3-1 and initially looked to have won the point with a vicious cross-court forehand winner.

The third-set scoreline didn’t reflect the numerous challenges posed to Federer throughout. 

He looked out of sorts in the early stages of the match, hitting eight winners to 17 unforced errors as Dzumhur raised his level in crucial moments.

Federer scored an early break at 1-1 in the fourth set and the slight advantage was all he needed. A strong first serve from the Swiss wrapped up the match after two hours and 21 minutes.

Barty battles past Davis

Ashleigh Barty celebrates after defeating Lauren Davis.

IMAGE: Ashleigh Barty celebrates after defeating Lauren Davis. Photograph: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Second seed Ashleigh Barty fought off a stiff challenge at the end of the second set to beat American Lauren Davis 6-2, 7-6(2) and reach the third round.

The French Open champion came to the net to great effect, proving the more aggressive player as she used her slice to dictate the pace of the contest and fired 35 winners, 22 more than her opponent.

"There were parts of my game that I still want to clean up," Barty said after the match. "I had to hit a lot of balls tonight, it was extremely tough."

Davis mounted a fierce defensive effort, saving 14 of 18 break points the Australian earned, and had a set point herself at 5-4 in the second stanza at Louis Armstrong Stadium.

But she was not immune to the intense pressure of the match, kicking a tennis ball into the stands in frustration after knocking it into the net at 5-6 in the second set to give Barty the advantage.

Barty ultimately battled through to a tie-break and secured the victory when the American went wide with a forehand at the end of another lengthy rally.

Avoiding a third set was a bonus for Barty, who would have been looking to conserve as much energy as possible for a campaign she hopes will go deep into the second week.

Next up for the world number two is a meeting with either Maria Sakkari of Greece or China's Peng Shuai on Friday, when victory would take her into the fourth round at Flushing Meadows for only the second time.

"There's always room for improvement every single match that you play," said Barty.

"I think that's the beauty of this sport: now that I'm still alive in the tournament, I get an opportunity to do that in my next round."

Svitolina wears down Venus

Elina Svitolina

IMAGE: Elina Svitolina celebrates her win over Venus Williams. Photograph: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Fifth seed Elina Svitolina knocked Venus Williams out of the US Open to reach the third round despite an heroic defensive effort from the 39-year-old former champion.

Trailing 5-3 in the second set, seven-times Grand Slam champion Williams saved five match-points to hold serve in a dramatic 22-point game.

The 24-year-old Ukrainian, who has reached the fourth round of the US Open for the past two years, struggled to convert break points throughout the match, winning just four out of 17.

Svitolina, who beat Williams in the first round at Roland Garros this year, called the American an "inspiration".

"I had to stay very focused," said the 24-year-old Ukrainian. "She's a very experienced player so she knows how to handle (these) moments.

"You have to earn almost every point. You have to step up your game. If you give her short ball she always takes it on. So you have to be aware."

Williams said that while she was sad to leave the tournament so early, there were a lot of positives to take from the match.

"I served well and I played well. She played well. There's a lot for me to build on from there."

Keys sails through to third round

Madison Keys

IMAGE: Madison Keys returns the ball to Lin Zhu. Photograph: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Madison Keys eased through to the third round, recovering from a slow start and an early loss of serve to beat China's Zhu Lin 6-4, 6-1.

The 10th-seeded Keys, who lost in the 2017 US Open final to fellow American Sloane Stephens, struck 31 winners in front of an enthusiastic home crowd.

Zhu, who exited the first three Grand Slams of the year in the first round, converted two of three break-point opportunities but struggled to cause problems for her opponent.

"I think she came out and she was playing really well," Keys said of Zhu. "I just kind of stuck to my game and knew that I’d have and opportunity and stayed calm."

She will face either Germany's Laura Siegemund or 20th seed Sofia Kenin of the United States in the third round.

Pliskova overpowers Bolkvadze

Karolina Pliskova

IMAGE: Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic returns a shot. Photograph: Elsa/Getty Images

Hard-hitting Karolina Pliskova put on a serving masterclass to defeat Mariam Bolkvadze 6-1, 6-4 and advance to the third round of the US Open.

The towering third-seeded Czech pounded nine aces and won 90 per cent of her first-serve points at Arthur Ashe Stadium, which had its retractable roof closed due to rain.

World number 202 Bolkvadze, who was playing only her second main-draw match at a Grand Slam, appeared to struggle with nerves in a one-sided opening set.

A lengthy battle then ensued with Bolkvadze serving at 2-2 in the second set.

Pliskova fired a blistering backhand winner to convert her fourth break point opportunity and extinguish any hope of a comeback for the Georgian qualifier.

Former world number one Pliskova, 27, is still searching for her maiden Grand Slam title and the speedy US Open hard courts, where she reached the final in 2016, could provide her with her best opportunity.

Next up for Pliskova is a third-round clash with either Ons Jabeur of Tunisia or Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus.

Nishikori fends off spirited Klahn

Kei Nishikori

IMAGE: Kei Nishikori celebrates winning a game in the first set against Bradley Klahn in the second round. Photograph: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

Japan’s Kei Nishikori fended off Bradley Klahn 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the US Open second round as the 2014 Flushing Meadows runner-up continued his bid for a first Grand Slam title.

What appeared at the outset to be a routine match for the seventh-seeded Japanese turned into a surprise challenge from American Klahn.

After a tepid start, Klahn won all his first serve points in the second set and saved three of the four break point opportunities against him.

Nishikori, who reached the semi-finals last year and in 2016, broke Klahn to take the third set, switching the momentum back in his favour and dominating the longer rallies.

Inconsistency ultimately proved Klahn’s downfall as the 29-year-old committed 62 unforced errors in the match, 30 more than his opponent.

Nishikori, who had rued his lack of playing time after his first-round opponent was forced to retire, was joined by his usual crowd of excitable fans, shielded from the soggy conditions under Louis Armstrong’s retractable roof.

He will face either 31st-seeded Cristian Garin of Chile or Australia’s Alex de Minaur in the third round.

Coric withdraws with back strain

Borna Coric withdrew from the US Open ahead of the 12th seed's second-round match against Grigor Dimitrov due to a lower back strain.

The Croatian world number 12 eased to a straight sets win over qualifier Evgeny Donskoy in the first round on Monday but his back problem has been an issue recently, having also forced him to withdraw prior to this year's Wimbledon.

The 22-year-old has struggled with his game recently, falling in the second round of the Rogers Cup in Montreal and the first round of the Cincinnati Masters earlier this month.

"I am really sad because I had to withdraw from the tournament," he wrote on Twitter.

"The last couple of months were really tough because of the injury I had. For an athlete, the worst thing that can happen is an injury in the middle of the competition," he said.

"It is never easy to withdraw but at this moment, my body is telling me to stop and assess the situation. So as hard as this decision is, I think it is smart in the long term.

"I am looking forward to playing the US Open next year. Thanks everyone for the amazing support I got here, you make me feel like home," said Coric, who reached the fourth round of the tournament last year.

Bulgarian Dimitrov will get a walk over to the third round where he will face either Pablo Cuevas or Kamil Majchrzak, who hoped to play their second-round match on Wednesday despite rainy weather at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

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