US Open PIX: Djokovic eases into Round 3; Tsitsipas stunned

Images from Day 3 of the US Open, at Flushing Meadows, New York.

Novak Djokovic overcame some minor early issues to cruise past Spain’s Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 in the second round of the US Open on Wednesday, as he continues his hunt for a 24th Grand Slam title.

More accustomed to the bright lights of the New York night session, the Serbian star instead absorbed the muggy midday August heat, firing off 35 winners to set up a meeting with compatriot Laslo Djere in the third round.

A handful of unforced errors were all that separated Djokovic and his unseeded opponent in the first set, as the three-time champion overcame early inaccuracy on his first serve and converted a break-point chance in the fourth game.

The Spaniard lost his resolve in the second set, kicking the ball frustration after a botched overhead smash in the second game, and Djokovic broke in the third and fifth games.

Zapata Miralles helped the 36-year-old break again in the seventh game with a double fault and a clumsy error.

Djokovic saved four break-points early in the final set, where he fell and rolled onto his hip in the third game, taking his time getting up off the court as he showed his age for a fleeting moment.

But if he were rattled he scarcely showed it, winning the final five games before closing out the match with a forehand winner.

The Serb is already assured of retaking the world number one spot when the rankings are updated after the tournament after winning his opening match.

He beat his next opponent Djere in their only prior meeting at Belgrade last year.

Stricker stuns Tsitsipas in five-set thriller

Swiss Dominic Stricker secured the biggest win of his career with a thrilling 7-5, 6-7(2), 6-7(5), 7-6(6), 6-3 upset of Greek seventh seed Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach the third round.

Playing in his first US Open main draw, world number 128 Stricker used a massive serve, booming forehand and solid net play during a gruelling four-hour encounter in which he broke the Australian Open finalist six times for his first top-10 win.

For Tsitsipas, who won an ATP 250 title in Los Cabos in early August but then went a combined 1-2 at Masters 1000 events in Toronto and Cincinnati, the loss marked another early US Open exit after falling in the first round last year.

Tsitsipas had a chance to serve for the match while leading 5-3 in the fourth set but Stricker stepped up with the break en route to forcing a decider where he consolidated an early break with a hold to love for a 3-0 lead that sent him on his way.

“I was down 3-5 and then I came back in the fourth set. I don’t know how, but I did it somehow and then I kept playing very high level tennis. I am a bit speechless but it is a great day,” said the 21-year-old Stricker.

“Such a great day for me, such a great win,” Stricker added. “It gives me a lot of confidence and I think it is great to see from my team. We are working hard every day and it is so great to do that.”

Gauff downs fellow-teen Andreeva

American sixth seed Coco Gauff delivered a convincing 6-3, 6-2 win over Russia’s Mirra Andreeva in a battle of teenage talents to reach the third round.

Gauff, whose lead-up to the year’s final Grand Slam included hardcourt titles in Washington and Cincinnati, converted four of her five break-point opportunities and surrendered her serve just once during the 76-minute match in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

For home favourite Gauff, it was a much more routine day at the office considering she had to dig deep to secure a comeback win in an opening match that left her frustrated with the amount of time her opponent, Laura Siegemund, took between points.

Andreeva, 16, has relished the Grand Slam stage in her debut season on tour having reached the third round at the French Open and fourth round at Wimbledon but was not able to conjure up similar magic in New York.

The 19-year-old Gauff quickly settled into a rhythm after dropping serve in the opening game and during one stretch won 12 consecutive points to open up a 4-1 lead before relying on her serve to close out the set.

Gauff continued to show solid movement and shot selection in the second set where she feasted on Andreeva’s serve, twice breaking the Russian to love to build a 5-2 lead before closing out the match with a hold to love.

Up next for Gauff will be a clash with Belgian 32nd seed Elise Mertens, who was a 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-1 winner over American Danielle Collins in a match that lasted nearly three hours.

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