Play continued until nearly 2:30 a.m. on Day 6, as Marin Cilic and Alex de Minaur battled deep into a fifth set in Louis Armstrong Stadium and, after Saturday night turned into Sunday morning, three rounds are now in the books at the 2018 US Open.
The men’s and women’s singles fields were slimmed down to the last 16 on a day of upsets in Louis Armstrong Stadium, as three Top-5 players, Alexander Zverev, Angelique Kerber and Petra Kvitova, joined what is become a long list of upset victims in the tournament’s new 14,000-seat second stage.
The day’s play in Arthur Ashe Stadium was more straightforward, where Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Madison Keys and Maria Sharapova all advanced.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing, as 2017 runner-up Keys dropped the opening set before dominating sets two and three against Aleksandra Krunic in the first match on the show court.
Marin Cilic outlasts Alex de Minaur in four-hour epic: The 2:26 a.m. record for latest night match finish still stands, but only just.
The clock read 2:20 a.m. when the 2014 US Open champion struck his 60th winner of the night on his eight match point to wrap up his comeback from two sets down.
In a match that finished level on points won, 166 apiece, a draw would have been a fair result as both men pushed themselves to the limit and beyond to the delight of a raucous Armstrong evening crowd.
Though the 19-year-old de Minaur lost the match, he won over an army of fans for his tireless play.
Roger Federer tames Nick Kyrgios: The Swiss put his hat in the ring for “shot of the tournament” honours with an around-the-net-post beauty in the third set.
This would be his third three-set victory in as many US open matches.
Federer was at his efficient best in the 6-4 6-1 7-5 victory over the Aussie, and has yet to be pushed to a tiebreak in nine sets played.
Prior to Saturday’s result, each of the three matches between Federer and Kyrgios have ended in third-set tiebreaks, with Federer holding a 2-1 edge but, despite an inspired performance from the mercurial Australian, there would be no such drama on Day 6, as Federer’s class kept Kyrgios at bay.
Both Federer (vs. John Millman) and Novak Djokovic (vs. Joao Sousa) will face unseeded opponents in Round 4, as a potential dream quarterfinal draws near.
Kerber, Kvitova, Bertens fall in Armstrong: Kerber, the 2016 US Open champ, started strong against No 29 Dominika Cibulkova, but the Slovak continued to play on her own terms, hitting 40 winners to 39 unforced errors in a 3-6 6-3 6-3 victory.
Kvitova, the No 5 seed, could not rein in her power game as No 26 Aryna Sabalenka, the 2018 US Open Series Breakout Performer, continued her hot summer with a well-deserved 7-5 6-1 result to reach her first Grand Slam fourth round.
In the Armstrong opener, Cincinnati champion and No 13 seed Kiki Bertens fell victim to 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova.
The unseeded Czech, who was the last direct acceptance into the women’s singles draw, had never advanced past Round 2 at a Slam prior to her US Open run.
Maria Sharapova continues to shine under the lights: The No 22 seed improved her record in Arthur Ashe Stadium night matches to 22-0, as she took out 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.
Though the No 10-seeded Latvian is the higher-ranked player, her five career US Open wins pale in comparison to Sharapova’s 38, and that imbalance showed in the Russian’s 6-3 6-2 victory.
The result was never in doubt, as Sharapova led 5-1 in the opener and reeled of the match’s final five games in succession.
Novak Djokovic finds a new level: After battling through a pair of tough four-setters to reach Round 3, Djokovic eased past his first seeded opponent, No 26 Richard Gasquet, to close out the Ashe evening session.
The two-time US Open champion is a master at improving his game as a tournament wears on, and his Saturday night display was the first indication that he is doing just that.
Alexander Zverev exits early again: After taking the first set in a tiebreak, Alexander Zverev fell to perennial dark horse Philipp Kohlschreiber.
The four-set loss ends another disappointing US Open for the World No 4; he now holds a 4-4 lifetime record in New York and has yet to advance past Round 3.
Kohlschreiber, 34, has now reached the US Open fourth round for the fifth time since 2012, though he has never advanced beyond that stage.
Sunday starts the business end of the singles competitions, with eight matches featured across the NTC’s three show courts.
Both defending champions, Rafael Nadal and Sloane Stephens, will be in action in Arthur Ashe Stadium, while Serena Williams looks to put her victory over sister Venus behind her as she shifts her focus to her clash against Kaia Kanepi for a spot in the quarter-finals.
For the first time in the fortnight, two Top-10 players will trade blows as 2017 finalist Kevin Anderson, the No 5 seed, takes on No 9 Dominic Thiem.
Men’s and women’s doubles play will begin Round 3, while mixed action wraps up Round 2.
Sunday will also see the first serves in the boys’ and girls’ singles events, with a full slate of opening-round action dotting the Flushing Meadows grounds.
Britain’s Jacob Fearnley reached round two of the boy’s qualifying with a 1-6 6-3 6-2 win over Italy’s Francesco Passaro, while Harry Wendelken fell at the first hurdle against Henry Von Der Schulenburg from Switzerland, 6-3 2-6 6-3.
Brits in action on Day 7: Court 4 – Boys Qualifying R2 / Jacob Fearnley  v Cezar Cretu (ROU) ; Court 9 – Boys Singles R1 / Anton Matusevic v Otto Virtanen (FIN); Court 17 – Mixed R2 / Jamie Murray & Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) v Juan Sebastian Cabel (COL) & Abigail Spears (USA) .
Prime Watch: Amazon Prime has upped its streaming game with 7 match courts now available in addition to its US Open Live Show channel available via smart TV, FireStick, computer and mobile device.
These are live television feeds from Arthur Ashe Stadium, Louis Armstrong Stadium, Grandstand, and Courts 5, 10, 13 and 17.
As a result, viewers can watch Jamie Murray in action on Sunday, who plays the second match on Court 17.