All five former champions Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Marin Cilic and Stanislas Wawrinka won their third round matches to keep alive their hopes of another US Open title in New York. For good measure a number of NextGen stars led by the Russians Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, the German Alexander Zverev, the Australian Alex de Minaur and the Italian Matteo Berrettini have also advanced giving them a chance of breaking through at the highest level in Tennis.
The top seeded Novak Djokovic encountered few problems as he swept past the American Denis Kudla 6-3,6-4,6-2 and the Spaniard Rafael Nadal whose won three titles in New York, the same number as Djokovic advanced with the same scoreline against the Korean NextGen star Hyeon Chung. However, the five time champion Roger Federer who dropped the first set in both his previous two rounds, looked the best of the lot as he brushed aside the Briton Daniel Evans 6-2,6-2,6-1 on Arthur Ashe stadium in the first match of the afternoon session.
The 2016 champion Stanislas Wawrinka beat the lucky loser Paolo Lorenzi of Italy 6-4,7-6(9),7-6(4) and that set up a rematch against Novak Djokovic of the 2016 final which the Swiss won to capture his fourth grand slam title. Perhaps the most significant victory of all five former champions, the 2014 champion Marin Cilic of Croatia ended the run of the American John Isner as he survived 40 aces to beat the highest ranked American, seeded fourteenth with a 7-5,3-6,7-6(6),6-4 win on Louis Armstrong stadium.
The red hot Russian Daniil Medvedev overcame ugly exchanges with the New York crowd and a gritty Feliciano Lopez as he won 7-6(1),4-6,7-6(7),6-4 to move into the second week for the first time in New York. Medvedev, who was a runner up in Washington and Montreal, and won his maiden Master’s series title in Cincinnati beat the the 37 year old Lopez, 7-6(1), 4-6, 7-6(7),6-4. The sixth seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany who needed five sets to win both his opening matches, barely avoided going the distance as he beat the Slovenian Aljaz Bedene 6-7(4),7-6(4),6-3,7-6(3) to reach the first round of the US Open for the first time.
In what was the only major upset of the third round, the Australian Alex de Minaur beat the 2014 finalist Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-2,6-4,2-6,6-3. In an eagerly anticipated clash in the night session on Saturday, Andrey Rublev beat the fiery Australian Nick Kyrgios in straight sets 7-6(5),7-6(5),6-3 to add to his scalp of the eighth seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in the first round. Matteo Berrettini of Italy, beat another Australian Alexei Popyrin 6-4,6-4,6-7(3),7-6(2) to also book a place in the last sixteen.
Also reaching the second week of the Open are a host of established stars who have given themselves a shot at glory. Belgium’s David Goffin, the beaten finalist in Cincinnati, continues his impressive return to form after a hard fought 7-6(5),7-6(9),7-5 win over the 2016 semi finalist Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain. The Frenchman Gael Monfils, a semi-finalist in 2016 overcame a 1-2 deficit in sets to end the hopes of Canada’s Denis Shapovalov 6-7(5),7-6(4),6-4,6-7(6),6-3.
The Argentine Diego Schwartzman, seeded 20th who carries his country’s hopes in the absence of the 2009 champion Juan Martin Del Potro ended all American hopes with a surprisingly easy 6-4,6-1,6-3 win over Tennys Sandgren. Grigor Dimitrov who got a walkover in the previous round from the 12th seeded Croat Borna Coric made the most of his good fortune to advance with 7-5,7-6(8),6-2 win over the qualifier from Poland Kamil Majchrzak 7-5,7-6(8),6-2.
The two remaining spots in the round of Sixteen have gone to the Spaniard Pablo Andujar who completes his comeback after a host of injuries and a near retirement as he beat Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik 6-4,6-3,6-2. The little known qualifier Dominik Koepfer joins fellow German Alexander Zverev with a 6-3,7-6(5),4-6,6-1 win over the Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili, a recent winner in Hamburg on clay.
The following is the list of matches in the round of Sixteen with my pick mentioned first:-
Novak Djokovic (1) v. Stanislas Wawrinka (23)
Rafael Nadal (2) v. Marin Cilic (22)
Roger Federer (3) v. David Goffin (15)
Daniil Medvedev (5) v. Dominik Koepfer (-)
Grigor Dimitrov (-) v. Alex de Minaur (-)
Andrey Rublev (-) v. Matteo Berrettini (24)
Gael Monfils (13) v. Pablo Andujar (-)
Alexander Zverev (6) v. Diego Schwartzman (20)
In the ladies section of the draw, Serena Williams continues her quest for an elusive 24th major title as she takes on Petra Martic of the Czech Republic after beating another Czech Karolina Muchova 6-3,6-2. Also advancing are the French Open champion Ashley Barty, third seeded Karolina Pliskova, the defending champion Naomi Osaka of Japan who beat the American Cori Gauff, 6-3,6-0.
The following is the list of matches in the round of Sixteen with my pick mentioned first :-
Naomi Osaka (1) v. Belinda Bencic (13)
Ashley Barty (2) v. Wang Qiang (-)
Karolina Pliskova (3) v. Johanna Konta (16)
Serena Williams (8) v. Petra Martic (22)
Elina Svitolina (5) v. Madison Keys (10)
Elise Mertens (25) v. Kristie Ahn (-)
Taylor Townsend (-) v. Biana Andreescu (-)
Donna Vekic (23) v. Juliana Gorges (-)
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@]