British number one Dan Evans advanced into round three of the US Open and was joined by his Greek counterpart Stefanos Tsitsipas who again took another ‘legal’ albeit controversially lengthy, bathroom break as rain – the remnants of Hurricane Ida – flooded Louis Armstrong Stadium despite its closed roof.
I think taking a break and going to change — I was completely wet — I was refreshed. I was much more able to deliver good tennis in the fourth set. I was able to stay resilient on each and every point. Stefanos Tsitsipas
The match between Kevin Anderson and the 11th seeded Diego Schwartzman was suspended with the diminutive Argentine leading by a set. The match was moved to Arthur Ashe Stadium following the conclusion of the Tsitsipas Mannarino clash where Schwartzman eventually won 7-6(4) 6-3 6-4, closing it out well past midnight local time.
Arthur Ashe Stadium and Louis Armstrong are the only courts at Flushing Meadows that can be covered during bad weather, but the latter has proved to be not entirely waterproof with its natural ventilation which allowed the high winds to force the water into the stadium.
With some 3inches of rain falling in an hour in New York, spectators were told: “This is a dangerous and life-threatening situation. Do not attempt to travel unless you are fleeing an area subject to flooding or under an evacuation order” leading the city’s governor Kthy Hochul to declare a state of emergency.
Evans playing out on Court 10, produced another solid display to dispatch American Marcos Giron 6-4 7-6(3) 2-6 6-3 as he continues to regain his fitness following his bout of Covid which prevented him from competing at the Tokyo Olympics. A short rain delay didn’t prove a problem for the Briton seeded 24, as he broke his opponent in the opening game to ease through the first set.
Leading 6-4 3-4 having wrestled back an early break, the two combatants were forced off the court and on their return, Evans took a two-set lead against the world No. 64.
However Giron forced the match into a fourth set which was keenly contested with Evans calling for the trainer at 3-all to attend to an upper leg injury, but his services were not required for by the time he arrived, Evans was serving for the match and a place in the third round where he has a good chance of progressing further as he faces Alexei Popyrin, the beneficiary of a retirement following the 15th seeded Hungarian, Grigor Dimitrov, pulling out with a foot injury while trailing the Australian by two set and 0-4.
Meanwhile Andy Murray’s conqueror Stefanos Tsitsipas remain unabashed by the controversy he has created by his now ‘trademark’ bathroom breaks as raised by Murray and in Cincinnati, Alexander Zverev.
This time the 23-year-old Greek was booed after taking more than eight-minutes between the third and fourth sets during his 6-3 6-4 6-7(4) 6-0 win over Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.
“I think taking a break and going to change — I was completely wet — I was refreshed,” Tsitsipas pointed out following his 30-minte fourth-set bagel. “I was much more able to deliver good tennis in the fourth set. I was able to stay resilient on each and every point.”
As on Monday following Murray’s tirade, Tsitsipas says he is playing by the rules as defined by the ATP which do not provide a fixed time limit for toilet breaks which in many players and pundits view, is basically ‘gamesmanship’ aimed at disrupting an opponent’s rhythm.
On this occasion the third seed fired a career-high 27 aces, five more than his previous best, in winning his 50th match of the year on tour.
“I just felt very loose on my serve,” Tsitsipas said. “My ball toss was very consistent. That helped me find a spot and have points off my serve.”
Tsitsipas also had a big serving day smashing down a career-high 27 aces and saving the only break point he faced.
“Had a great start on the first and second set, taking the lead early,” Tsitsipas recollected. “Did everything tactically kind of correct. Had gained that momentum from the beginning of both sets. It felt like I was just comfortable, performing at my best. Those breaks, I think they came without too much struggle and effort. I just did the right things at the right time. That gave me the lead from early on.
“In the third I had difficulties to kind of find that game, that momentum, as I did in the first and second. I think he also kind of loosened up a little bit, started playing a bit more careless, and things were kind of working in his favour more than they did for me.”
At the bottom of the draw, Russian second seed Daniil Medvedev breezed into the third round with a dominating performance, brushing aside Germany’s Dominik Koepfer 6-4 6-1 6-2.
“Great level from me,” Medvedev said. “There were a few tight moments in the match and I managed to play them well. I’m happy to be through in less than two hours.”
Daniil Medvedev, a former finalist, has been the most dominant force thus far at Flushing Meadows and has hardly been tested in two matches.
Koepfer pushed Medvedev two years ago leading by a set and a break, but on Wednesday the Russian simply dominated, losing a total of 15 total points on his service games.
“I think it was a great match from my side,” Medvedev said. “I’m really happy. The conditions were a bit slower, quite cold indoors with the roof closed.
“It was tough to make some crazy winners or some crazy shots. That’s why I saw after the match statistics that both of us, we didn’t do a lot of winners. I had to stay super consistent. I knew it from the beginning of the match, because two years ago when I played him was a tight one. So I knew that from the beginning of the match, I have to, you know, keep my level high, and that’s what I managed to do. That’s how I won.
“So really happy with my level today.”
Earlier his compatriot, two-time quarterfinalist Andrey Rublev, seeded five, played a tight first two sets against Pedro Martinez then rolled past the Spaniard 7-6(2) 6-7(5) 6-1, 6-1 and faces American Frances Taifoe next who warns “I’m coming after him!”
Casper Ruud of Norway, seeded eight, became the highest seed to fall, stunned by Holland’s Botic Van de Zandeschulp, a qualifier, 3-6 6-4 6-3 6-4.
The Dutchman was joined by three other qualifiers in round three, namely Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk, Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonen and Alex Molcan of Slovakia as did the 18-year-old from Spain, Carlos Alcaraz on his debut at the US Open.