Some rain halted play at the US Open on Thursday, but with the two main courts at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center having a roof, just one men’s singles match had to be postponed until tomorrow (Daniel Evans vs Corentin Moutet). The only seeds to lose on Day 4 were No. 14 Grigor Dimitrov and No. 25 Milos Raonic.
On the right track
It’s a small miracle that Karen Khachanov is still in the tournament as Jannik Sinner was clearly the better player in their first-round match before fading away physically. Khachanov was looking much better on Thursday though, dominating former World No. 45 Andrey Kuznetsov. The older of the Russians is coming back after 31 months of break from the game ,and couldn’t repeat his great performance from the first round. Khachanov impressed with excellent spot-serving and, rather uncharacteristically for him, consistency off the ground.
Dominic Thiem seems to be on the right track to start tuning in his powerful groundstrokes. The Austrian faced Sumit Nagal, who famously took a set off Federer in last year’s US Open. Nagal was not able to repeat his success this time around, though, unable to match Thiem’s power. The second seed is playing tennis more reminiscent of what he showed during the pandemic break, not that awful display against Filip Krajinovic at the Western & Southern Open.
Last year’s runner-up Daniil Medvedev put up yet another solid display to beat Australia’s Christopher O’Connell 6-3 6-2 6-4. O’Connell broke through the lower-tiers of professional tennis last season and confirmed his belonging to the Grand Slam level with a very solid performance here. However, nothing he could do was enough to break through Medvedev’s defense. The Russian is looking not that far off his stunning form from last year.
Milos Raonic, who many saw as a dark horse contender for even winning the bottom half of the draw, will not repeat his runner-up finish from the Western & Southern Open. The 25th seed was upset by countryman Vasek Pospisil 7-6 3-6 6-7 3-6. Pospisil actually led the head-to-head 4-3 before this match, and he managed to extend this lead by breaking his opponent’s serve twice. Raonic couldn’t convert any of the five break points he produced. The two obviously know each other very well, having practiced and played together many times. When two players have such in-depth information and years of history between them, it often happens that their matches can go both ways, no matter who’s in better form at the moment.
Grigor Dimitrov was basically 2-0 up against Marton Fucsovics but somehow managed to give that lead away. The Bulgarian served for the second set twice, missing four set points and ultimately losing it in a tie-break. Each time Dimitrov seemed to regain control, Fucsovics would somehow find a way to claw back. The first one to start fading physically was Dimitrov, and the 14th seed lost the deciding set 6-1.
This can be a controversial pick as it was actually quite lopsided. But Felix Auger-Aliassime‘s win over Andy Murray was certainly long-awaited and honestly, it didn’t disappoint. It was always going to be hard for the Brit to perform his best after that first-round marathon against Yoshihito Nishioka. Meanwhile, Auger-Aliassime played what was surely one of the best performances of his short career. The Canadian didn’t manage to let Murray’s star status fool with his concentration and played every point with intent and great desire to win it.
Murray failed to generate a single break point in a 6-2 6-3 6-4 loss. Knowing the recent history of his dramatic matches it was hard to write him off. Auger-Aliassime’s 24 aces and 17 forehand winners allowed him to never take the foot off the gas. The Canadian imposed a furious pace off the ground on his opponent and did absurdly well to keep up with it himself.
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