US Open | Day 4 Highlights
A relatively upset-free Day 4 in the men’s and women’s singles draws was punctuated by a shocker in the Louis Armstrong Stadium nightcap, as World No 2 Caroline Wozniacki succumbed to Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko.
With Simona Halep’s loss on opening day, this is the first time in the Open era that the Top 2 seeds in the women’s draw have been eliminated before the end of the second round in New York.
In the past 49 Open editions of the tournament, at least one of the Top 2 women has reached the quarter-final stage or better.
I think regardless what happens for the last few tournaments of the year, it's still going to be a great year because I won in Australia, Caroline Wozniacki
Caroline Wozniacki goes down under: The reigning Australian Open will not win a second Slam in 2018, as Tsurenko dominated her, 6-4 6-2, in Thursday’s second evening match in Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Twice a finalist and thrice a semi-finalist in 12 US Open appearances, Wozniacki has now lost in Round 2 in three of the last four years in New York.
“I’ve won so many tournaments throughout my career, but I’d never won a Grand Slam [until this year]. I think regardless what happens for the last few tournaments of the year, it’s still going to be a great year because I won in Australia,” said Wozniacki in her press conference.
“If I hadn’t won in Australia, we would be talking differently. But I did. I’m very proud of that. It’s something that nobody can ever take away from me.”
The only other women’s seed to fall was No 11 Daria Kasatkina of Russia, who bowed out in a 6-2 7-6 defeat to Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
Belarusian charge: Three of the four Belarusian women are still playing in the women’s draw.
Lead by Victoria Azarenka, compatriots Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Aryna Sabalenka and Vera Lapko all won their first-round matches.
The trio announced themselves last year by carrying Belarus, a country of 9.5 million people, to the Fed Cup final without their seasoned leader, who remained in California all year during a child-custody case.
Sabalenka, Sasnovich, and Lapko defeated Belgium, 4-1, and Switzerland, 3-2, before falling in Minsk to the United States, which was led by Sloane Stephens and Coco Vandeweghe.
If the 24-year-old Sasnovich advances over Jelena Ostapenko, she would potentially face compatriot Aryna Sabalenka in the fourth round. Sabalenka plays No 5 seed Kvitova next.
Federer, Djokovic continue collision course: Roger Federer continued his efficient run through the Flushing Meadows field, moving past Benoit Paire, 7-5 6-4 6-4, to wrap up the day session in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The Swiss has not dropped a set through two matches and will do well to continue that trend against the mercurial Nick Kyrgios on Saturday.
For the second straight match, Novak Djokovic needed four sets to grind his was to victory in Ashe, this time absorbing a third-set surge from American Tennys Sandgren before restoring order in a 6-1 6-3 6-7 6-2 evening victory.
Federer and Djokovic, who have split six career meetings in New York, are on course for No 7 in a potential quarter-final showdown.
Umpire steps down to coach Kyrios? An extraordinary mid-match pep talk from the chair umpire spurred Nick Kyrgios into a US Open third-round blockbuster with Roger Federer in New York.
Swedish official Mohamed Lahyani is under fire for his unprecedented intervention, but Kyrgios rolls on after pulling off a drama-charged 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-0 comeback win over Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
Kyrgios was trailing 3-0 in the second set, having thrown away the first on a wild second-serve double-fault, when Lahyani left his chair to beg the Australian to start trying for the sake of the paying crowd and to avoid being sanctioned, again, for not giving his best effort.
Seeking some sort of physical treatment, Kyrgios said: “Okay, just call the trainer to the court and I’ll try.”
When the trainer arrived and asked what the Aussie needed treatment for, Kyrios said: “I don’t know, check my wrist or something … Can you just stay out here for like two minutes?”
The umpire’s controversial ‘coaching’ was savaged on social media, with fans furious about his perceived bias towards Kyrgios and claiming it was unfair on Herbert.
The USTA, already under siege over a succession of rules blunders at this Grand Slam, was also understood to be unimpressed with Lahyani’s conduct and are investigating the incident.
Carreno Busta one of three men’s seeds to fall: A repeat of last year’s dream US Open run was not to be for 2017 semi-finalist Pablo Carreno Busta, whose 2018 campaign was stopped short in the second round by injury.
The Spaniard, seeded No 12 at this year’s tournament, retired while trailing Joao Sousa, 4-6 6-3 5-7 6-2 2-0.
Fabio Fognini, the Italian No 14 seed, was turned back in four sets by John Millman of Australia despite wearing red, white and blue in America’s Slam.
No 23 Hyeon Chung met his match against Mikhail Kukushkin, who sent the Korean home in Round 2 of the US Open for the second consecutive year.
Madison Keys flies the flag for Team USA: The 2017 finalist was the only American to advance in singles play on Day 4, defeating her compatriot Bernarda Pera to clinch a third-round spot for the third consecutive year in New York.
Tennys Sandgren, who reached the quarter-finals at this year’s Australian Open, blitzed Novak Djokovic in a third-set tiebreak before falling in four, while Frances Tiafoe fell to Australia’s Alex de Minaur in a four-set battle of ATP Next Gen stars.
Taylor Townsend also picked up a set in a losing effort, as she went the distance against No 10-seeded Jelena Ostapenko.
With Round 3 set in both the men’s and women’s singles draws, seeded players will now begin to square off for the first time.
Serena and Venus Williams are two of those seeds, and the sisters will meet in Arthur Ashe Stadium to headline the Day 5 evening session.
Defending champion Sloane Stephens will open the day’s play on the show court with a marquee matchup of her own against Victoria Azarenka.
On the men’s side in Ashe, Rafael Nadal faces Karen Khachanov, while Juan Martin del Potro takes on Fernando Verdasco.
Over in Louis Armstrong Stadium, 2017 US Open finalist Kevin Anderson will have his hands full against Canadian wonder-kid Denis Shapovalov.