Novak Djokovic, who captured the Australian Open in February, needed six match points to tough out the straight sets victory and reach the quarter-finals of the Western & Southern Open. He breezed through the final game by winning four straight points, closing it out with a cross-court forehand winner to take it in 88 minutes on Tuesday. With that, the World No. 1 won his 20th straight match of 2020 with a hard-fought 6-2, 6-4 victory over Tennys Sandgren.
“All in all it was a great performance,” said Djokovic. “I felt better and played better than last night. I am going in a great direction.” American Sandgren, who is ranked 55th in the world, made him work for the victory as he survived five match points in the ninth game of the second set.
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) August 25, 2020
He advances to the quarter-finals where he will play German Jan-Lennard Struff, who defeated seventh seed David Goffin 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
This week’s no-spectator event is a tuneup for the US Open which begins on 31 August on the same New York courts. This tournament was moved from Cincinnati to establish a quarantine bubble in New York for the upcoming Grand Slam.
Djokovic jokingly celebrated his win Tuesday by thanking all four sides of the empty stadium. “I served well,” he said. “But I can still get better.” He had pulled out of doubles on Sunday with pain in his neck, but did not appear to be bothered by the injury against Sandgren. “The neck is doing well,” he added.
In women’s tennis, fourth seeded Naomi Osaka rolled over Dayana Yastremska in straight sets 6-3, 6-1 in the third round. Osaka, who is one of two top 10 players to reach the third round, clinched the victory when Yastremska was called for a foot fault while serving on match point. Blasting eight aces, she won 83% of her first serve points and broke Yastremska’s serve four times.
Osaka moves to the quarter-finals where she will face Anett Kontaveit, who defeated Marie Bouzkova 6-3, 6-3.
Yastremska, who at 20 was the youngest player left in the women’s draw, made six double faults and won just 38 percent of her second serves.
In other matches this week, Johanna Konta edged out former winner Vera Zvonareva 6-4, 6-2 to book her spot in the quarter-finals. The two former top five players battled for 80 minutes with Konta hitting five aces and making just three double faults.
Third-seeded Serena Williams clawed out a 7-6 (8/6), 3-6, 7-6 (7/0) victory over hard-hitting Dutch qualifier Arantxa Rus to avoid joining the WTA upsets at the Western & Southern Open. The 23-time Grand Slam champion, currently ranked ninth in the world, fired 14 aces in the hard-fought victory that lasted two hours and 49 minutes.
Williams’ Tuesday match was not to be however, as she lost three sets to 13th seeded Maria Sakkari 5-7, 7-6 (7/5), 6-1. The 23-time Grand Slam winner finished with a whimper at the end of the two-hour, 17-minute match as Sakkari clinched the victory with a backhand down the line that a dejected Williams just watched without making an effort to move.
At other points in the match, Williams flung her racket into the spectator-less stands and rebuked the chair umpire for slapping her with a time violation.
Sakkari, of Greece, advances to the quarter-finals of the no-spectator event where she will face Johanna Konta who cruised past Vera Zvonareva in straight sets 6-4, 6-2.
Source: AFP Relax News