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US Open 2019: First week round-up and 4th round preview

ANALYST
Feature
01 Sep 2019, 18:48 IST

4th seed Dominic Thiem was the highest-seeded casualty in the first week of the 2019 US Open
4th seed Dominic Thiem was the highest-seeded casualty in the first week of the 2019 US Open

With the third-round matches in the bottom half of the draw getting over, the first week of the US Open has come to an end.

Here is a round-wise recap of the week's top stories:

First round

Tsitsipas fell in the first round to Rublev
Tsitsipas fell in the first round to Rublev

The first-round saw a bevy of seeded casualties as three top 10 seeds - last season's quarterfinalist Dominic Thiem (4), Stefanos Tsitsipas (8), Karen Khachanov (9) and Wimbledon semifinalist Roberto Bautista Agut (10) biting the dust.

Fabio Fognini (11), Felix Auger-Aliassime (18), Guido Pella (19), Taylor Fritz (26) and Kyle Edmund (30) were the other seeds who failed to get past the first-round hurdle.

Five-time champion Roger Federer dropped the opening set in his first-round match against Indian qualifier Sumit Nagal, for the fourth time in 19 appearances at Flushing Meadows (2000 against Peter Wessels, 2003 against Jose Acasuso and 2017 against Frances Tiafoe).

Second round

Lucky loser Paolo Lorenzi won consecutive five-set matches to reach the third round
Lucky loser Paolo Lorenzi won consecutive five-set matches to reach the third round

In the second round, Hyeon Chung, on the comeback trail from injury, beat Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco in a deciding set tiebreak. New marathon man Alexander Zverev produced consecutive five-set wins (over Radu Albot and Tiafoe respectively) to move into the third round.

Two lucky losers, 37-year-old Italian Paolo Lorenzi and Poland's Kamil Majchrzak, went the distance for the second consecutive match, to reach the Round of 32.

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Federer dropped the opening set of his first two matches at the US Open before seeing off Bosnia's Damir Dzumhur in four sets to extend his perfect second-round record at the tournament to 19-0.

Rafael Nadal had a second-round walkover against Australia's Thanasi Kokkinakis and Novak Djokovic saw off Cordoba winner Juan Ignacio Londero in straight sets.

Third round

Federer recorded his 63rd straight-set victory at the US Open
Federer recorded his 63rd straight-set victory at the US Open

Top seed and defending champion Djokovic beat American Denis Kudla in straight sets to record his 72nd match win at the US Open. In the process, he surpassed Pete Sampras for fifth place in the list of most match wins at the tournament which is led by Jimmy Connors (98), Federer (88), Andre Agassi (79) and Ivan Lendl (73).

Stan Wawrinka ended the run of lucky loser Lorenzi in straight sets to set up a tantalizing 4th round clash with Djokovic, in a repeat of the pair's 2016 final which went Wawrinka's way.

Federer recorded his 63rd straight-set win at the US Open by conceding only five games against Brit Daniel Evans. It was the Swiss maestro's 17th consecutive third-round victory at the US Open, since his defeat to Juan Carlos Ferrero in the same round on his tournament debut in 2000.

Daniil Medvedev
Daniil Medvedev

Daniil Medvedev continued his fine hardcourt form this season by progressing past the third-round at the US Open for the first time. The fifth seed will meet German Dominic Koepfer for a place in his first Major quarterfinal.

Seventh-seed Kei Nishikori, the 2014 runner-up, fell to Australian Alex De Minaur in four sets. Grigor Dimitrov beat lucky loser Majchrzak to move into the second week at Flushing Meadows for the third time.

Pablo Andujar booked a maiden 4th-round berth in a Slam by overcoming Kazakh Alexander Bublik. In other matches, Gael Monfils beat Denis Shapovalov, Marin Cilic beat John Isner, 2017 quarter-finalist Andrey Rublev beat Nick Kyrgios, Matteo Berrettini beat Alexei Popyrin, Diego Schwartzman beat Tennys Sandgren and three-time champion Nadal beat Chung to complete the fourth-round line-up.

The Monfils-Shapovalov match marked the 24th match at this year's US Open which went the distance - the highest tally of five-set matches at a Major since the 2018 French Open (25).

Fourth round preview

The Round of 16 at the year's last Grand Slam sees presence of the top three seeds Djokovic, Nadal, and Federer, joined by three players (Koepfer, Andujar, De Minaur) making their first appearances in the second week of a Major. Here is a brief preview of the various matches.

Top half

Djokovic vs Wawrinka

Wawrinka won the 2016 US Open title in his last match with Djokovic at the tournament
Wawrinka won the 2016 US Open title in his last match with Djokovic at the tournament

Djokovic would look to reach a 12th consecutive US Open quarterfinal when he faces Wawrinka in a rematch of the pair's 2016 final. Djokovic leads Wawrinka 19-5 in their head-to-head, 2-1 in matches at the US Open (won 2013 SF, 2012 4th round, lost 2016 final) and 4-3 in Grand Slam tournaments.

Koepfer vs Medvedev

Dominic Koepfer makes his maiden 4th round appearance at a major
Dominic Koepfer makes his maiden 4th round appearance at a major

This is Koepfer's first and Medvedev's second Round of 16 match at a Major. The pair have not met previously on the tour.

Fifth-seeded Medvedev would be favoured to continue his fine hardcourt run and reach his first Grand Slam quarterfinalist, where he is projected to clash with top-seed Djokovic in a rematch of the pair's 2019 Cincinnati semifinal which went the Russian's way.

Federer vs Goffin

Federer won his last match with Goffin, in the final of Halle 2019
Federer won his last match with Goffin, in the final of Halle 2019

Five-time winner Federer leads Belgian David Goffin 8-1 in their head-to-head. In the pair's last meeting on tour, Federer beat the Belgian to win his 10th title in Halle this season.

Federer has dropped one set in his two previous Slam meetings with Goffin and would be favoured to reach his 13th US Open quarterfinal.

Dimitrov vs De Minaur

Alex De Minaur
Alex De Minaur

De Minaur ousted seventh-seed and former finalist Nishikori to book his maiden appearance in the fourth-round of a Major, where he'll face Bulgaria's Dimitrov. It would be the pair's first meeting on tour and Dimitrov would look to reach his first Major quarterfinal since the 2018 Australian Open.

Bottom half

Rublev vs Berrettini

2019 US Open - Day 6
2019 US Open - Day 6

Rublev faces Italia's Berrettini for the first time at a Major. The Russian won the pair's lone meeting on tour in Marseille this year, and he would look to return to the quarterfinals in New York following his fairytale run to the last-eight as a qualifier in 2017.

Berrettini's lone previous fourth round match at a Major ended in a straight-sets defeat to Federer at Wimbledon 2019

Monfils vs Andujar

Pablo Andujar
Pablo Andujar

The Spaniard made his first fourth-round match at a Major by beating Alexander Bublik in the third round. Andujar will take on 2016 semifinalist Gael Monfils for a place in his maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal.

Monfils has won all his 3 previous matches with Andujar but the pair hasn't met on tour since Nice 2013. The Frenchman would be favoured to reach his first Grand Slam quarterfinal since the 2016 Australian Open.

Zverev vs Schwartzman

Sascha Zverev
Sascha Zverev

Zverev beat Aljaz Bedene to reach his first fourth-round at the US Open where Argentinian Diego Schwartzman awaits. The pair has split their previous two meetings on tour and hasn't met at a Slam before.

The winner of this match would book his place in a third-quarterfinal at a Grand Slam.

Cilic vs Nadal

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal

Nadal would look to reach a 9th quarterfinal at Flushing Meadows when he takes on 2014 winner Marin Cilic. Nadal leads the Croat 6-2 in all matches and 2-1 in Grand Slam meetings.

However, the pair's last meeting at a Major went the way of Cilic, in the 2018 Australian Open semifinals.

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