Auger-Aliassime, second top-10 to be eliminated
In the absence of Alexander Zverev and Novak Djokovic, eight members of the world’s top 10 started this US Open. After only three days of competition, only six of the top ten ranked are still alive in New York. The first to fall was Stefanos Tsitsipas and, last night, Félix Auger-Aliassime, eighth in the world and sixth seed, was the second favorite to say goodbye to the last Grand Slam of the year. The 22-year-old Canadian, coached by a Toni Nadal who did not witness his defeat, was clearly outclassed by the British Jack Draper in three sets (6-4, 6-4 and 6-4 in 2h29).
If Auger-Aliassime said goodbye to New York last year with a good taste in his mouth after reach the first Grand Slam semi-finals of his career, this time, the Canadian leaves the Big Apple with a completely different feeling. Although he started 2022 by winning the first title of his career in Rotterdam (He had previously lost eight finals in which he had not won a single set)Félix’s season has not lived up to the expectations raised around one of the main promises of tennis in recent years. The quarter-finals in Australia are his best Grand Slam result this yearsince at Wimbledon he was eliminated on the first substitution, while at Roland Garros he fell in the fourth round after putting Nadal on the ropes.
The person responsible for inflicting another setback on the Canadian was another tennis player who promises a lot, Jack Draper, winner of four Challenger titles this year. The Londoner, despite only being 20 years old, is 53rd in the world (last year he was 259th and with this victory he provisionally rises to 46th place) and in less than a month he killed two of the world’s top ten, as he knocked out Tsitsipas in Montreal. In fact, five of his last six victories have come against current or former members of the top 10 (Tsitsipas and Monfils in Montreal, Thiem and Fognini at Winston-Salem and Auger-Aliassime at the US Open). After beating Ruusuvuori in the first round and his victory last night against Auger-Aliassime, in which he showed courageous and aggressive tennis, Draper reaches the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career. Until this US Open, the Englishman had played only two editions of Wimbledon and, for his first experience in a Major outside his country, he will ask for it. Her next rival on this sweet road will be the Russian Karen Khachanov, who yesterday beat the Portuguese Monteiro in four sets.
Murray returns to US Open third round six years later
He was therefore living his best season. At 29, he gives more meaning than ever to that of Big Four. 78 wins, including 24 in a row, nine titles, his second Wimbledon and world number one, the first time for a British player on the world tennis throne. Andy Murray in 2016 looked the three tennis gods in the eye. Now, six years later, life is very different. Injuries, hip operations (2018 and 2019) and even the threat of withdrawal. A test which, this season, sees a little light. He cherishes his first ATP title since 2019, in Antwerp, and, after falling below the top 200, returned to the top fifty for the first time since 2018 (he is now 51st). Today, for the first time since 2016, he certified his presence in the third round of the US Open after beating American Emilio Nava, 20, 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 and 6-0, in three hours.
“Physically, it’s the best I’ve felt in recent years. My move is by far the best I’ve had in a long time. It has always been a very important part of my game and today, with these guys who hit so hard, you have to defend well”, assured the Briton, champion in 2012, after beating Nava, invited to the Grand Slam, but with enough nerve and tenacity to take the first set from Murray, who will face Matteo Berrettini (14th), winner against Hugo Grenier (119th) by 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 and 7-6 in 3h25. After a placid start, resolved in three sets against a dangerous rival like the Argentinian Francisco Cerúndolo (27th), it was time to add more epic to a story that was full of it.
The local promise, who saw that opening set in jeopardy after going 3-5, recovered with one final break despite Murray’s comeback attempt, which made it 5-5. From there, the young American, who had just played five sets for the first time in his career, against John Millman, began to falter. “When you play five sets for the first time, it’s not always easy to recover and I think his level went down a bit in the third and fourth sets. He’s a young player and he’s going to have a really good future,” Andy dedicated to him, adding his 48th (11 losses) win at Flushing Meadows. He came there confidently on serve (79% of points won with firsts), taking advantage of his experience (22 winning shots and 26 unforced errors for 33 and 56) and demonstrating this long-awaited mobility (14/16 points gained in uploads on the network). “I’m getting closer to the level I want to reach and I hope to go far here,” he said. Like almost all lovers of this sport.
Ruud overcomes fear and Kyrgios, leaves a set and Medveved sweeps
The rest of the men’s day was marked by encounters with other all-time favourites. One of them is Casper Ruud, who is one of four players with New York’s number one outlet options. The Norwegian overcame the initial scare to beat Dutchman Tim Van Rijthoven, world number 117 and who was a complete unknown until this summer when he stormed the grass tour to win at Den Bosch. Van Rijthoven took the first set and made Ruud shakebut the reaction of the Norwegian came to turn the tide and scoring the victory by 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4 and 6-4 in nearly three hours of play. Ruud, this year’s finalist at Roland Garros, is already in the third round of the US Open, where he will face local Tommy Paul, who last night eliminated compatriot Sebastian Korda 6-0, 3-6, 4-6, 6 – 3 and 6-4 in a great comeback.
He also dropped a set en route to the third round. Nick Kyrgios. The Australian, dazzling since reaching the last Wimbledon final, It was not easy for him against a great Benjamin Bonzi, 50 years old in the world. The Frenchman put a Kyrgios against the ropes several times, which only managed to rest in the fourth round. Ultimately, the scoreboard reflected a 7-6(3), 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in favor of the Aussie. Very serious meeting with Nick, who focused on what was happening on the court and was able to move forward with the problems that arose, especially this third set in which Bonzi surprised. The 23rd seed will play in the third round against American JJ Wolf, world number 87 and tormentor of Tabilo, whom he beat 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 and 6-3.
Daniil Medvedev didn’t have too many problems, apart from overcoming a slightly tighter second set than the others, to win 6-2, 7-5, 6-3 in 2:11 over Arthur Rinderknech. The Russian sent a very serious match against the 27-year-old Frenchman and 58th in the world, who seems to be a carbon copy of his physical appearance, but with less quality and regularity. In fact, he committed 50 unforced errors against 20 for the Muscovite, who will meet the Chinese Yibing Wu, who got rid of the Portuguese Borges.
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