The third day of the men’s singles at the US Open was the most dramatic yet by far. Many top players were in action, but five men were victims of upsets. Which players suffered that fate? Read on to discover who looked good and bad, as well as which match stood out the most.
US Open Day 3 Men’s Recap
Who looked good
There was no stunting of three-time US Open champion Novak Djokovic’s momentum. The Serbian eased past Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-4 6-1 6-1 6-1. Djokovic was expected to beat the Spaniard, who is a clay court specialist, but his performance impressed again nonetheless. The 23-time Grand Slam champion had to save two break points in his opening service game, but faced few problems after that.
Frances Tiafoe was another straight sets winner on Arthur Ashe Stadium. Last year’s semifinalist dispatched Sebastian Ofner 6-3 6-1 6-4. The American #2 dominated behind his first serve in particular, winning 88% of the points behind his first delivery. He faces the tricky Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in the third round.
American #1 Taylor Fritz also triumphed comfortably, sweeping aside Juan Pablo Varillas 6-1 6-2 6-2. Fritz’s win means he has dropped just ten games in his first two matches. Although the former Wimbledon quarterfinalist was the heavy favourite for each encounter, the dominance he has shown so far will not have gone unnoticed by the other players in the draw.
Tommy Paul showed courage to avoid being one of the seeded players to exit the tournament. He found himself two sets down against the hard-hitting Roman Safiullin on Court 17. But Paul found inspiration in front of a passionate home crowd, prevailing 3-6 2-6 6-2 6-4 6-3. The American hit 43 winners, with the vast majority coming in the final three sets, showing how he found his range when he needed to.
Benjamin Bonzi produced a superb performance in the previous match on Court 17. The Frenchman played the best tennis in the big moments to upset 25th seed Christopher Eubanks 7-6 2-6 6-2 7-6. The crowd tried to inspire Eubanks to repeat his Wimbledon heroics, but Bonzi demonstrated mental strength to breathe life into his previously faltering season at the US Open.
Who looked bad
Last year’s runner-up Casper Ruud was the highest seed to be a victim of an upset. Zhizhen Zhang toppled the fifth seed 6-4 5-7 6-2 0-6 6-2. Zhang crashed an incredible 60 winners, and deserves enormous credit for his performance. But Ruud paid the price for being too passive throughout the match. The Norwegian also allowed himself to become uncharacteristically agitated by a long bathroom break taken by Zhang at the end of the fourth set. Ruud was then broken in the first game of the final set, and never recovered.
Seventh seed Stefanos Tsitsipas is another man out after an upset defeat. This also happened in five sets, with Dominic Stricker beating the Greek 7-5 6-7 6-7 7-6 6-3. The defeat is particularly galling for Tsitsipas, as he served for the match in the fourth set. It was surprising to see a man of the class and experience of the two-time Grand Slam finalist buckle under the pressure. Stricker then grew in confidence, relentlessly assaulting the Tsitsipas backhand with his left-handed forehand to win.
Mackenzie McDonald is another player who will be disappointed with his display. The American is unseeded, but was the favourite against Borna Gojo after a solid American hard-court season. However, he looked unsettled from the beginning, and Gojo took full advantage with his powerful groundstrokes. McDonald conceded 17 break points during the match, being broken five times as Gojo caused another upset at the US Open.
Finally, Marton Fucsovics dramatically crashed back to reality after his five-set win against Sebastian Korda. He was crushed by Australian Rinky Hijikata 6-1 6-2 6-1. The Hungarian leaked nearly twice as many unforced errors compared to winners in an unexpectedly one-sided contest.
Match of the day
Jiri Vesely and 20th seed Francisco Cerundolo’s five-set epic wins match of the day. Cerundolo lost the opening two sets 7-6 6-2, with Vesely in devastating form off his topspin forehand. But the Argentine responded with aplomb, racing through the next two sets 6-3 6-2. The final set’s quality was simply stunning at times, with many incredible winners. Cerundolo then broke at 5-5, giving him an opportunity to serve for the match. However, things suddenly went wrong from there. Vesely broke back, and then dominated the final-set championship tiebreak. The final score was 7-6 6-2 3-6 2-6 7-6 in favour of the Czech, completing yet another upset on the third day of the men’s singles at the US Open.
Main Photo Credit: David Kirouac – USA TODAY Sports