The top quarter of the 2020 US Open draw will feature most of the matches we expected to see. The only seed to have lost before the third round is John Isner, seeded 16th. The second quarter was more unpredictable as two third-round clashes will take place without a seed participating. Novak Djokovic survived a bit of a scare as Kyle Edmund did well to defeat him in the opening set tie-break. However, the top seed soon regained control of the match and comfortably cruised to the finish line.
The fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas avoided a potentially tricky opponent. Maxime Cressy plays a game you don’t see often on the ATP Tour these days, reminiscent of the vintage serve-and-volley style. The American had a great serving day, avoiding numerous double faults for two sets despite going for broke on pretty much every 2nd serve. Tsitsipas’ return is often considered a weakness of his and the Greek can be vulnerable to losses against such opponents. Therefore, the 7-6 6-3 6-4 win has to be something of a relief for the fourth seed, who saved all four break points faced and put enough block returns in play to stop the eccentric American.
Filip Krajinovic put up another great display to defeat Marcos Giron 6-4 6-1 6-3. The Serbian is in great shape, following a great run at last year’s Western & Southern Open. Krajinovic is very high on confidence right now and clearly carries a lot of belief in his abilities. While he doesn’t possess any explosive weapons, Krajinovic’s crafty baseline tennis can be a threat to anyone when he’s playing in the right mindset.
It was a fantastic performance from Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff, who dismantled Michael Mmoh 6-2 6-2 7-5. Struff blasted 14 aces and won 82% of points on his serve, saving the only break point faced. He was also excellent at ventures to the net, resulting in a success rate of 85% (22/26). The German is in excellent form after the restart but he will have to face world no.1 Novak Djokovic in the third round.
Another stunning serving display was produced by Taylor Fritz. The American played the always dangerous Gilles Simon but was 100% ready for the challenge. Broken just once, Fritz hit 16 aces and took just two hours to power through the Frenchman’s counterpunching.
Hubert Hurkacz looked uncharacteristically not invested in his clash against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. The Pole struggled mightily on return early on and allowed his opponent way too much space to play with. Davidovich Fokina plays his best when he can utilize his wide array of shots and he unleashed a whole ton of unexpected drop shots and other tricks on Hurkacz. The 24th seed took a medical timeout on his right arm in the fourth set and appeared flat throughout the 4-6 6-1 2-6 2-6 loss.
Another seed to be thrown out on Wednesday was Chile’s Christian Garin. Down two sets to love to Mikhail Kukushkin, Garin looked to be on the comeback trail as the Kazakh’s stamina level was quickly deteriorating since midway through the third set. Garin won his first-round encounter against Ulises Blanch in exactly the same fashion and for a good while there, it looked like a repeat was on the cards. The Chilean lead 3-1 in the fifth set but Kukushkin was able to level and grind out the match in which both the players required a medical timeout in the decider. It will take a great effort from the Kazakh to regenerate for Friday after such a grueling battle.
Match of the day
Alexander Zverev survived a very tough test against 19-year-old Brandon Nakashima. The youngster impressed with his blistering two-handed backhand and showed little to no stage-fright in the biggest match of his career so far. He also showcased a lot of good all-court tennis, utilizing netplay as a way to shorten the points. Zverev took the opening set after Nakashima imploded at 5-5 in the first set, despite holding a 40-0 lead in that game.
Nakashima leveled the match in a dramatic second set tie-break (on his 7th set point) but ultimately committed way too many errors off his weaker forehand side as he couldn’t get through Zverev’s defense. The German’s second serve was all over the place again but his ground game is looking really solid. Zverev closed out the match in just under three hours 7-5 6-7 6-3 6-1.