How to Watch the U.S. Open on Saturday

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The New York Times 04 September, 2021 - 05:00am 7 views

Where can I watch US Open tennis?

How can I watch the US Open? The tournament will be broadcast on ESPN and ESPN2. You can livestream the tournament on WatchESPN.com or via the ESPN app, but you will need to prove you have a TV subscription that includes ESPN. CNETUS Open 2021: How to watch the tennis tournament today without cable

Novak Djokovic and Ashleigh Barty feature at Arthur Ashe Stadium as the third round of singles play concludes.

How to watch: From 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern time on ESPN2; and streaming on the ESPN app. In Canada on TSN from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and streaming on TSN.ca and the TSN app.

ARTHUR ASHE STADIUM | 2 p.m.

Novak Djokovic, on a quest for a career-defining Grand Slam, has not been kept out of the second week of a Grand Slam event since the 2017 Australian Open. The task of breaking that streak falls to Kei Nishikori, a finalist at the 2014 U.S. Open. Nishikori struggled with a wrist injury in 2017 and has more recently faced issues with his right shoulder. Although his game can now be inconsistent at times, Nishikori could push Djokovic to exert himself more seriously, or at the least provide some very entertaining tennis.

Louis Armstrong STADIUM | 1 p.m.

Belinda Bencic, the 11th seed, won gold at the Tokyo Olympics in August, and has kept her foot on the pedal since. Bencic has lost only 16 games on her way to the third round, overwhelming her opponents with steady counterpunching on defense and acute shot making on offense.

Jessica Pegula, the 23rd seed, has been similarly dominant in her past two matches. Following her run to the quarterfinals at the Australian Open in February, she will be looking to match her career result and push herself into the top 20. As these two hardcourt heavyweights meet, it’s hard to say which will persevere.

Louis Armstrong STADIUM | 3 p.m.

Gael Monfils, the 17th seed, struggled at the beginning of 2021, losing in the first round at the Australian Open, but has found his form since then. Monfils recently recorded his 500th ATP Tour win, joining an exclusive club that only contains 10 other active members.

On the other side of the net, the relative newcomer Jannik Sinner has only won 60 professional matches. However, Sinner has already made himself a mainstay near the top of the tour, reaching the finals at the Miami Open to break into the top 20.

ARTHUR ASHE STADIUM | 7 p.m.

Ashleigh Barty, the first seed, has followed an unusual pattern through the first two rounds of play. She has won the first set in both of her matches at ‘6-1’, while needing to win seven games to then finish off the second set and secure victory. Shelby Rogers, ranked No. 43, will need to start brightly in order to push back on the momentum that Barty has begun to build.

ARTHUR ASHE STADIUM | 6 a.m.

Emma Raducanu was ranked No. 338 before this year’s Championships at Wimbledon. After receiving a wild-card into the main draw, the 18 year-old won three matches without dropping a set, catapulting herself up the rankings. Although her hard court preparation this summer was only at challenger level events, she played through the qualifying rounds and her first two matches at the U.S. Open without dropping a set once more, and will look to reach the second week of play on her first attempt at Flushing Meadows.

Sara Sorribes Tormo upset the 22nd seed, Karolina Muchova, in the first round and then skated past Hsieh Su-wei in the second. Her powerful baseline shots are moderated by her clay-court upbringing, making it difficult for opponents to set themselves against a barrage of consistent, deep balls.

Read full article at The New York Times

Novak Djokovic beats Kei Nishikori at US Open after losing first set

USA TODAY 04 September, 2021 - 07:31pm

Novak Djokovic, who lost the first set in the third round of the U.S. Open, said Kei Nishikori’s level of play caught him off guard a bit.

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Novak Djokovic won at Wimbledon. His 20th Grand Slam title tied him with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal atop the all-time list. USA TODAY

NEW YORK — World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is now one game closer to his goal – a calendar Grand Slam – after winning his third-round match against No. 56 Kei Nishikori of Japan, 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3, 6-2.

Entering the match, Nishikori had a 2-17 record against his opponent, his most losses against any opponent in his ATP career, but he put up a good fight, taking the first set from Djokovic 7-6. Djokovic said Nishikori’s level of play caught him off guard a bit and presented a different challenge compared with some of his previous opponents.

“I don’t think I started off very well, I was quite passive,” Djokovic said in an on-court interview after the match. “He was dictating the play and I was still trying to find the rhythm and tempo. He played much quicker and aggressive than my opponents in the opening rounds, so it took me time to adjust to his game. I think in the beginning of the second set I felt like I was getting my rhythm back. I was pleased with my focus. I think at some point I wasn’t at my best, but I was determined, I was focused.”

Djokovic’s ability to stay focused – even when things aren’t going according to plan – has been key in his quest toward a feat that hasn’t been achieved in men’s professional tennis since 1969. The world No. 1 said to ESPN earlier this week that he’s been eyeing the calendar Grand Slam since he won the French Open in 2016, his fourth Grand Slam win in a row (but not all in the same year). He said he feels his mental strength is as important as any forehand or backhand he hits.

“Pressure, we all have it, top guys, especially me here with history on the line,” he told ESPN. “Pressure is huge. But at the same time, I thrive on that. I like that. Because there’s a saying, pressure is privilege, and I truly believe and live by that so it’s an honor to be in this situation. You work for that.”

Djokovic showed that ability to perform under pressure on Saturday, in what ended up being a 3½ hour match. He made 20 unforced errors in the first set, but managed to drop that number to 10½ per set in the last three sets. He broke Nishikori seven times and started to express more emotion as the match went on, pumping his fist and engaging with the crowd.

“Once I adapted to the pace of his ball, I felt better on the court,” Djokovic said in a news conference. “I felt like I'm starting to gain the momentum and control of the match. Served well when I needed to. When I was up, I just kept pushing and kept applying pressure on his service games.

“All in all, I thought it was a high level of tennis. Good quality tennis from both of us. Had to work for this victory, and I'm glad. It feels satisfying to go out from the court with a win against a player who is playing in really great form today.”

With this win, Djokovic moves into the fourth round of the Open for the 14th consecutive year. He’ll face either wild card Jenson Brooksby of the United States or Aslan Karatsev of Russia.

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US Open 2021: Novak Djokovic beats Kei Nishikori to reach fourth round – as it happened

The Guardian 04 September, 2021 - 04:54pm

That’s all for today. Thanks for following along with us and be sure to join us for more minute-by-minute coverage as the tournament moves forward.

“It was a really amazing match to be a part of, a great experience,” Djokovic says. “Big credit to Kei, who played at a very, very high level today. Tough luck for him but he deserves a round of applause. I always knew that he possesses a lot of qualities. He’s been on the tour for quite a few years, but I must say that he did surprise me with his level today. He was playing very quick. It was tough. Even though I won three, three and two (in the) second, third and fourth sets, I felt like all the sets were quite close. A few points really decided the winner today. So a huge congratulations for a great fight to him.”

Asked to assess his level, Djokovic offers a typically thoughttful response.

“I don’t think I started off very well,” he says. “I was quite passive. I was too far back in the court. He was dictating the play. I was still trying to find the rhythm, find the tempo. Obviously he played much quicker and more aggressive than my opponents in the opening rounds did, so it took me a little bit of time to adjust to his game.

“I think beginning of the second set I already felt like I’m getting the groove back, I’m getting that rhythm back. I was very pleased with the focus. Maybe at some points I wasn’t at my best, but overall I was determined, I was concentrated and that’s what matters in the end.”

Nishikori falls behind love-15, then 15-40 and double break point down. These are effectively match points and Djokovic needs only one as Nishikori chips in another unforced error off the backhand. Nishikori is broken for the seventh time today and Djokovic will serve for a spot in the last 16 after the change of ends.

Djokovic goes down love-15 on his serve but backs up the break of serve in emphatic fashion, closing out the hold with his 12th, 13th and 14th aces.

Djokovic wins a gruelling 26-shot rally with a backhand winner before Nishikori mixes in a couple of unforced errors to go love-40 down on his serve. Three break-point chances for Nishikori. He saves the first with a big 106mph serve that Djokovic can’t return and the second with a forehand winner directly set up by the serve. But Djokovic converts the third when Nishikori overcooks a running forehand. Could that be the decisive blow?

And Nishikora answers with a stress-free hold of his own, capping it with a crisp backhand winner from the baseline.

Djokovic rolls through his opening service game of the fourth set.

Djokovic races out to 40-love on his serve, but Nishikori answers with his 28th, 29th and 30th winners of the day for deuce. Nishikori then outlasts Djokovic in a 14-stroke baseline rally for break point ... but Djokovic saves it with a backhand winner down the line before jogging around the court and urging the crowd to make more noise. Nishikori then overcooks a volley, but Djokovic follows with a double fault after rolling the dice on a big second serve for deuce again. Now a second straight double fault for Djokovic gives Nishikori another look at a break ... and this time Djokovic sprays an inside-out forehand wide! Djokovic is broken from 40-love up and we’re back on serve in the third!

It’s a second straight drama-free hold of serve for Nishikori, but he will need to make headway on Djokovic’s serve if he hopes to reverse the direction of this one.

Djokovic backs up the break in stress-free fashion. Can Nishikori get his teeth back into this third set?

Nishikori goes down love-30 on his serve, wins a quick point, then double-faults for 15-40. Two break-point chances for Djokovic. Nishikori saves the first with a forehand winner at the net, but flinches on the second with a misfired backhand passing shot. Djokovic noses ahead in the third.

Djokovic holds comfortably to open the third set, crunching his ninth and 10th aces along the way.

With Nishikori serving at 40-30, Djokovic hits crisp forehand winner for deuce. He then rattles off two quick points for the break that gives him the second set. And over on Court 17, Emma Raducanu has won the first 11 games for a remarkable 6-0, 5-0 lead over Sara Sorribes Tormo.

Djokovic race to a love hold in a brisk 58 seconds bookended by aces down the middle of 121mph and 117mph. Nishikori will serve to stay in the second set.

Nishikori is pushed to deuce a few times on his serve but escapes with the hold. Meanwhile, the Raducanu train hasn’t slowed down in the second set: she’s already broken Sorribes Tormo’s serve for a 6-0, 2-0 lead.

Djokovic holds from 15-40 down. It’s the second straight service game where he’s faced a break point but he’s held firm each time.

Nishikori holds comfortably, capping it with a backhand forehand volley winner.

Now Djokovic double-faults to go down 15-40 on his serve, giving Nishikori a couple of break-point opportunities. But Nishikori squanders them both with a pair of unforced errors for deuce. Djokovic then misfires on a forehand to give Nishikori a third look at a break point but Djokovic saves it with a 115mph unreturnable serve. A forehand winner by Nishikori gives him a fourth break chance, but Djokovic saves that one, too. Then a fifth! And finally Djokovic escapes with the hold in a service game that spans 14 points and nearly 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, Emma Raducanu is off to a flying start on Court 17. After breaking Sorribes Tormo for a second time, she’s just held at love to consolidate and leads 5-0 in the opener in under a half hour.

Nishikori falls behind 15-40 on his serve, giving Djokovic a pair of break-point chances. He saves the first but Djokovic converts the second with a perfect backhand passing shot with both players at the net, screaming to the crowd in jubilation.

Meanwhile on Court 17, Emma Raducanu held in her opening service game, then broke Sorribes Tormo in a marathon 16-point second game for a 2-0 lead. Raducanu came up empty on her first two break-point chances but converted on the third with a sharply angled backhand on the 20th shot of a baseline rally that Sorribes Tormo couldn’t get back over the net.

Djokovic breezes to a comfortable hold for 1-all. Both players seem to be hitting a heavier ball in the early stages of the second set.

Nishikori is pushed to 30-all in his opening service game of the second set, but Djokovic follows with yet another unforced error off his backhand side then holds with his 13th winner of the day (against 17 unforced errors).

Djokovic makes his 13th unforced error on the backhand side (out of 20 overall) to go set point down and Nishikori wastes no time, converting it with a tricky 94mph first serve that Djokovic can’t return into play. First set to Nishikori!

After both men hold their serves for the first eight points, it’s Nishikori who finally breaks through with a gorgeous lob winner as Djokovic comes to net that brings the Ashe Stadium crowd to its feet!

Djokovic and Nishikori swing ends having held their serve throughout the first six points of the breaker. Elsewhere on the grounds, the emerging British star Emma Raducanu has just taken Court 17 for her third-round match with Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo. We’ll have an eye on that one and keep you updated.

Nishikori holds at love and the opening set will be settled by a tiebreaker.

Djokovic holds at love, capping it with back-to-back aces of 118mph and 122mph. Nishikori will serve to stay in the first set and force a tiebreaker after the change of ends.

An uncomplicated hold for Nishikori and we’re all square at 5-all in the first.

Another comfortable hold for Djokovic, who’s won 12 of 15 points on his serve since he was broken early in the set.

Nishikori falls behind love-30, then 15-40 on his serve to go double break point down. And he gifts Djokovic the break when he sends an attempted drop shot from the baseline into the net.

Djokovic coasts to another stress-free hold, pounding his third ace along the way.

Nishikori is forced to deuce on his serve, then goes break point down. But he brushes it aside with a 111mph ace down the middle and is finally able to hold after nine and a half minutes and 14 points.

Djokovic flies through a hold at love, cracking his first ace of the day along the way, but still trails by a break as we move forward in the opening set.

Nishikori goes down love-15 on his serve, but wins the next four points capped by a 96mph ace out wide to comfortably back up the break.

Nishikori double-faults to start his opening service game. Then levels at 15-all when Djokovic blinks first at the end of a 27-shot baseline rally. Djokovic hits a backhand winner on the next point, then Nishikori makes an error off the forehand side to go double break point down at 15-40. Nishikori saves them both, the second on after a remarkable all-court rally that ends when the Japanese star slots a forehand volley winner. From there Nishikori holds with a pair of service winners.

Hello and welcome to Flushing Meadows for today’s third-round match between Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori. The best player in the world and top seed in the men’s draw is back in Arthur Ashe Stadium as he continues his quest for a record-setting 21st major championship and the first calendar-year grand slam by a men’s player since 1969.

Nishikori scored one of the iconic wins of his career when these two last met at the US Open in the 2014 semi-finals, but the former world No 4 has failed to defeat Djokovic in their 17 meetings since. In all, Djokovic is 17-2 against Nishikori with 16 straight wins – one shy of the longest win streak of his career against an opponent (17 v Gael Monfils).

The players have just emerged from the tunnel on to Ashe for their warm-up and we should be under way shortly.

Bryan will be here shortly. In the meantime here’s his report off last night’s big upset.

US Open 2021: Novak Djokovic beats Kei Nishikori to reach fourth round – as it happened

US Open Tennis Championships 04 September, 2021 - 04:54pm

That’s all for today. Thanks for following along with us and be sure to join us for more minute-by-minute coverage as the tournament moves forward.

“It was a really amazing match to be a part of, a great experience,” Djokovic says. “Big credit to Kei, who played at a very, very high level today. Tough luck for him but he deserves a round of applause. I always knew that he possesses a lot of qualities. He’s been on the tour for quite a few years, but I must say that he did surprise me with his level today. He was playing very quick. It was tough. Even though I won three, three and two (in the) second, third and fourth sets, I felt like all the sets were quite close. A few points really decided the winner today. So a huge congratulations for a great fight to him.”

Asked to assess his level, Djokovic offers a typically thoughttful response.

“I don’t think I started off very well,” he says. “I was quite passive. I was too far back in the court. He was dictating the play. I was still trying to find the rhythm, find the tempo. Obviously he played much quicker and more aggressive than my opponents in the opening rounds did, so it took me a little bit of time to adjust to his game.

“I think beginning of the second set I already felt like I’m getting the groove back, I’m getting that rhythm back. I was very pleased with the focus. Maybe at some points I wasn’t at my best, but overall I was determined, I was concentrated and that’s what matters in the end.”

Nishikori falls behind love-15, then 15-40 and double break point down. These are effectively match points and Djokovic needs only one as Nishikori chips in another unforced error off the backhand. Nishikori is broken for the seventh time today and Djokovic will serve for a spot in the last 16 after the change of ends.

Djokovic goes down love-15 on his serve but backs up the break of serve in emphatic fashion, closing out the hold with his 12th, 13th and 14th aces.

Djokovic wins a gruelling 26-shot rally with a backhand winner before Nishikori mixes in a couple of unforced errors to go love-40 down on his serve. Three break-point chances for Nishikori. He saves the first with a big 106mph serve that Djokovic can’t return and the second with a forehand winner directly set up by the serve. But Djokovic converts the third when Nishikori overcooks a running forehand. Could that be the decisive blow?

And Nishikora answers with a stress-free hold of his own, capping it with a crisp backhand winner from the baseline.

Djokovic rolls through his opening service game of the fourth set.

Djokovic races out to 40-love on his serve, but Nishikori answers with his 28th, 29th and 30th winners of the day for deuce. Nishikori then outlasts Djokovic in a 14-stroke baseline rally for break point ... but Djokovic saves it with a backhand winner down the line before jogging around the court and urging the crowd to make more noise. Nishikori then overcooks a volley, but Djokovic follows with a double fault after rolling the dice on a big second serve for deuce again. Now a second straight double fault for Djokovic gives Nishikori another look at a break ... and this time Djokovic sprays an inside-out forehand wide! Djokovic is broken from 40-love up and we’re back on serve in the third!

It’s a second straight drama-free hold of serve for Nishikori, but he will need to make headway on Djokovic’s serve if he hopes to reverse the direction of this one.

Djokovic backs up the break in stress-free fashion. Can Nishikori get his teeth back into this third set?

Nishikori goes down love-30 on his serve, wins a quick point, then double-faults for 15-40. Two break-point chances for Djokovic. Nishikori saves the first with a forehand winner at the net, but flinches on the second with a misfired backhand passing shot. Djokovic noses ahead in the third.

Djokovic holds comfortably to open the third set, crunching his ninth and 10th aces along the way.

With Nishikori serving at 40-30, Djokovic hits crisp forehand winner for deuce. He then rattles off two quick points for the break that gives him the second set. And over on Court 17, Emma Raducanu has won the first 11 games for a remarkable 6-0, 5-0 lead over Sara Sorribes Tormo.

Djokovic race to a love hold in a brisk 58 seconds bookended by aces down the middle of 121mph and 117mph. Nishikori will serve to stay in the second set.

Nishikori is pushed to deuce a few times on his serve but escapes with the hold. Meanwhile, the Raducanu train hasn’t slowed down in the second set: she’s already broken Sorribes Tormo’s serve for a 6-0, 2-0 lead.

Djokovic holds from 15-40 down. It’s the second straight service game where he’s faced a break point but he’s held firm each time.

Nishikori holds comfortably, capping it with a backhand forehand volley winner.

Now Djokovic double-faults to go down 15-40 on his serve, giving Nishikori a couple of break-point opportunities. But Nishikori squanders them both with a pair of unforced errors for deuce. Djokovic then misfires on a forehand to give Nishikori a third look at a break point but Djokovic saves it with a 115mph unreturnable serve. A forehand winner by Nishikori gives him a fourth break chance, but Djokovic saves that one, too. Then a fifth! And finally Djokovic escapes with the hold in a service game that spans 14 points and nearly 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, Emma Raducanu is off to a flying start on Court 17. After breaking Sorribes Tormo for a second time, she’s just held at love to consolidate and leads 5-0 in the opener in under a half hour.

Nishikori falls behind 15-40 on his serve, giving Djokovic a pair of break-point chances. He saves the first but Djokovic converts the second with a perfect backhand passing shot with both players at the net, screaming to the crowd in jubilation.

Meanwhile on Court 17, Emma Raducanu held in her opening service game, then broke Sorribes Tormo in a marathon 16-point second game for a 2-0 lead. Raducanu came up empty on her first two break-point chances but converted on the third with a sharply angled backhand on the 20th shot of a baseline rally that Sorribes Tormo couldn’t get back over the net.

Djokovic breezes to a comfortable hold for 1-all. Both players seem to be hitting a heavier ball in the early stages of the second set.

Nishikori is pushed to 30-all in his opening service game of the second set, but Djokovic follows with yet another unforced error off his backhand side then holds with his 13th winner of the day (against 17 unforced errors).

Djokovic makes his 13th unforced error on the backhand side (out of 20 overall) to go set point down and Nishikori wastes no time, converting it with a tricky 94mph first serve that Djokovic can’t return into play. First set to Nishikori!

After both men hold their serves for the first eight points, it’s Nishikori who finally breaks through with a gorgeous lob winner as Djokovic comes to net that brings the Ashe Stadium crowd to its feet!

Djokovic and Nishikori swing ends having held their serve throughout the first six points of the breaker. Elsewhere on the grounds, the emerging British star Emma Raducanu has just taken Court 17 for her third-round match with Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo. We’ll have an eye on that one and keep you updated.

Nishikori holds at love and the opening set will be settled by a tiebreaker.

Djokovic holds at love, capping it with back-to-back aces of 118mph and 122mph. Nishikori will serve to stay in the first set and force a tiebreaker after the change of ends.

An uncomplicated hold for Nishikori and we’re all square at 5-all in the first.

Another comfortable hold for Djokovic, who’s won 12 of 15 points on his serve since he was broken early in the set.

Nishikori falls behind love-30, then 15-40 on his serve to go double break point down. And he gifts Djokovic the break when he sends an attempted drop shot from the baseline into the net.

Djokovic coasts to another stress-free hold, pounding his third ace along the way.

Nishikori is forced to deuce on his serve, then goes break point down. But he brushes it aside with a 111mph ace down the middle and is finally able to hold after nine and a half minutes and 14 points.

Djokovic flies through a hold at love, cracking his first ace of the day along the way, but still trails by a break as we move forward in the opening set.

Nishikori goes down love-15 on his serve, but wins the next four points capped by a 96mph ace out wide to comfortably back up the break.

Nishikori double-faults to start his opening service game. Then levels at 15-all when Djokovic blinks first at the end of a 27-shot baseline rally. Djokovic hits a backhand winner on the next point, then Nishikori makes an error off the forehand side to go double break point down at 15-40. Nishikori saves them both, the second on after a remarkable all-court rally that ends when the Japanese star slots a forehand volley winner. From there Nishikori holds with a pair of service winners.

Hello and welcome to Flushing Meadows for today’s third-round match between Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori. The best player in the world and top seed in the men’s draw is back in Arthur Ashe Stadium as he continues his quest for a record-setting 21st major championship and the first calendar-year grand slam by a men’s player since 1969.

Nishikori scored one of the iconic wins of his career when these two last met at the US Open in the 2014 semi-finals, but the former world No 4 has failed to defeat Djokovic in their 17 meetings since. In all, Djokovic is 17-2 against Nishikori with 16 straight wins – one shy of the longest win streak of his career against an opponent (17 v Gael Monfils).

The players have just emerged from the tunnel on to Ashe for their warm-up and we should be under way shortly.

Bryan will be here shortly. In the meantime here’s his report off last night’s big upset.

US Open 2021: Novak Djokovic beats Kei Nishikori to reach fourth round – as it happened

CNN 04 September, 2021 - 04:54pm

That’s all for today. Thanks for following along with us and be sure to join us for more minute-by-minute coverage as the tournament moves forward.

“It was a really amazing match to be a part of, a great experience,” Djokovic says. “Big credit to Kei, who played at a very, very high level today. Tough luck for him but he deserves a round of applause. I always knew that he possesses a lot of qualities. He’s been on the tour for quite a few years, but I must say that he did surprise me with his level today. He was playing very quick. It was tough. Even though I won three, three and two (in the) second, third and fourth sets, I felt like all the sets were quite close. A few points really decided the winner today. So a huge congratulations for a great fight to him.”

Asked to assess his level, Djokovic offers a typically thoughttful response.

“I don’t think I started off very well,” he says. “I was quite passive. I was too far back in the court. He was dictating the play. I was still trying to find the rhythm, find the tempo. Obviously he played much quicker and more aggressive than my opponents in the opening rounds did, so it took me a little bit of time to adjust to his game.

“I think beginning of the second set I already felt like I’m getting the groove back, I’m getting that rhythm back. I was very pleased with the focus. Maybe at some points I wasn’t at my best, but overall I was determined, I was concentrated and that’s what matters in the end.”

Nishikori falls behind love-15, then 15-40 and double break point down. These are effectively match points and Djokovic needs only one as Nishikori chips in another unforced error off the backhand. Nishikori is broken for the seventh time today and Djokovic will serve for a spot in the last 16 after the change of ends.

Djokovic goes down love-15 on his serve but backs up the break of serve in emphatic fashion, closing out the hold with his 12th, 13th and 14th aces.

Djokovic wins a gruelling 26-shot rally with a backhand winner before Nishikori mixes in a couple of unforced errors to go love-40 down on his serve. Three break-point chances for Nishikori. He saves the first with a big 106mph serve that Djokovic can’t return and the second with a forehand winner directly set up by the serve. But Djokovic converts the third when Nishikori overcooks a running forehand. Could that be the decisive blow?

And Nishikora answers with a stress-free hold of his own, capping it with a crisp backhand winner from the baseline.

Djokovic rolls through his opening service game of the fourth set.

Djokovic races out to 40-love on his serve, but Nishikori answers with his 28th, 29th and 30th winners of the day for deuce. Nishikori then outlasts Djokovic in a 14-stroke baseline rally for break point ... but Djokovic saves it with a backhand winner down the line before jogging around the court and urging the crowd to make more noise. Nishikori then overcooks a volley, but Djokovic follows with a double fault after rolling the dice on a big second serve for deuce again. Now a second straight double fault for Djokovic gives Nishikori another look at a break ... and this time Djokovic sprays an inside-out forehand wide! Djokovic is broken from 40-love up and we’re back on serve in the third!

It’s a second straight drama-free hold of serve for Nishikori, but he will need to make headway on Djokovic’s serve if he hopes to reverse the direction of this one.

Djokovic backs up the break in stress-free fashion. Can Nishikori get his teeth back into this third set?

Nishikori goes down love-30 on his serve, wins a quick point, then double-faults for 15-40. Two break-point chances for Djokovic. Nishikori saves the first with a forehand winner at the net, but flinches on the second with a misfired backhand passing shot. Djokovic noses ahead in the third.

Djokovic holds comfortably to open the third set, crunching his ninth and 10th aces along the way.

With Nishikori serving at 40-30, Djokovic hits crisp forehand winner for deuce. He then rattles off two quick points for the break that gives him the second set. And over on Court 17, Emma Raducanu has won the first 11 games for a remarkable 6-0, 5-0 lead over Sara Sorribes Tormo.

Djokovic race to a love hold in a brisk 58 seconds bookended by aces down the middle of 121mph and 117mph. Nishikori will serve to stay in the second set.

Nishikori is pushed to deuce a few times on his serve but escapes with the hold. Meanwhile, the Raducanu train hasn’t slowed down in the second set: she’s already broken Sorribes Tormo’s serve for a 6-0, 2-0 lead.

Djokovic holds from 15-40 down. It’s the second straight service game where he’s faced a break point but he’s held firm each time.

Nishikori holds comfortably, capping it with a backhand forehand volley winner.

Now Djokovic double-faults to go down 15-40 on his serve, giving Nishikori a couple of break-point opportunities. But Nishikori squanders them both with a pair of unforced errors for deuce. Djokovic then misfires on a forehand to give Nishikori a third look at a break point but Djokovic saves it with a 115mph unreturnable serve. A forehand winner by Nishikori gives him a fourth break chance, but Djokovic saves that one, too. Then a fifth! And finally Djokovic escapes with the hold in a service game that spans 14 points and nearly 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, Emma Raducanu is off to a flying start on Court 17. After breaking Sorribes Tormo for a second time, she’s just held at love to consolidate and leads 5-0 in the opener in under a half hour.

Nishikori falls behind 15-40 on his serve, giving Djokovic a pair of break-point chances. He saves the first but Djokovic converts the second with a perfect backhand passing shot with both players at the net, screaming to the crowd in jubilation.

Meanwhile on Court 17, Emma Raducanu held in her opening service game, then broke Sorribes Tormo in a marathon 16-point second game for a 2-0 lead. Raducanu came up empty on her first two break-point chances but converted on the third with a sharply angled backhand on the 20th shot of a baseline rally that Sorribes Tormo couldn’t get back over the net.

Djokovic breezes to a comfortable hold for 1-all. Both players seem to be hitting a heavier ball in the early stages of the second set.

Nishikori is pushed to 30-all in his opening service game of the second set, but Djokovic follows with yet another unforced error off his backhand side then holds with his 13th winner of the day (against 17 unforced errors).

Djokovic makes his 13th unforced error on the backhand side (out of 20 overall) to go set point down and Nishikori wastes no time, converting it with a tricky 94mph first serve that Djokovic can’t return into play. First set to Nishikori!

After both men hold their serves for the first eight points, it’s Nishikori who finally breaks through with a gorgeous lob winner as Djokovic comes to net that brings the Ashe Stadium crowd to its feet!

Djokovic and Nishikori swing ends having held their serve throughout the first six points of the breaker. Elsewhere on the grounds, the emerging British star Emma Raducanu has just taken Court 17 for her third-round match with Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo. We’ll have an eye on that one and keep you updated.

Nishikori holds at love and the opening set will be settled by a tiebreaker.

Djokovic holds at love, capping it with back-to-back aces of 118mph and 122mph. Nishikori will serve to stay in the first set and force a tiebreaker after the change of ends.

An uncomplicated hold for Nishikori and we’re all square at 5-all in the first.

Another comfortable hold for Djokovic, who’s won 12 of 15 points on his serve since he was broken early in the set.

Nishikori falls behind love-30, then 15-40 on his serve to go double break point down. And he gifts Djokovic the break when he sends an attempted drop shot from the baseline into the net.

Djokovic coasts to another stress-free hold, pounding his third ace along the way.

Nishikori is forced to deuce on his serve, then goes break point down. But he brushes it aside with a 111mph ace down the middle and is finally able to hold after nine and a half minutes and 14 points.

Djokovic flies through a hold at love, cracking his first ace of the day along the way, but still trails by a break as we move forward in the opening set.

Nishikori goes down love-15 on his serve, but wins the next four points capped by a 96mph ace out wide to comfortably back up the break.

Nishikori double-faults to start his opening service game. Then levels at 15-all when Djokovic blinks first at the end of a 27-shot baseline rally. Djokovic hits a backhand winner on the next point, then Nishikori makes an error off the forehand side to go double break point down at 15-40. Nishikori saves them both, the second on after a remarkable all-court rally that ends when the Japanese star slots a forehand volley winner. From there Nishikori holds with a pair of service winners.

Hello and welcome to Flushing Meadows for today’s third-round match between Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori. The best player in the world and top seed in the men’s draw is back in Arthur Ashe Stadium as he continues his quest for a record-setting 21st major championship and the first calendar-year grand slam by a men’s player since 1969.

Nishikori scored one of the iconic wins of his career when these two last met at the US Open in the 2014 semi-finals, but the former world No 4 has failed to defeat Djokovic in their 17 meetings since. In all, Djokovic is 17-2 against Nishikori with 16 straight wins – one shy of the longest win streak of his career against an opponent (17 v Gael Monfils).

The players have just emerged from the tunnel on to Ashe for their warm-up and we should be under way shortly.

Bryan will be here shortly. In the meantime here’s his report off last night’s big upset.

US Open 2021: Novak Djokovic beats Kei Nishikori to reach fourth round – as it happened

US Open Tennis Championships 04 September, 2021 - 04:54pm

That’s all for today. Thanks for following along with us and be sure to join us for more minute-by-minute coverage as the tournament moves forward.

“It was a really amazing match to be a part of, a great experience,” Djokovic says. “Big credit to Kei, who played at a very, very high level today. Tough luck for him but he deserves a round of applause. I always knew that he possesses a lot of qualities. He’s been on the tour for quite a few years, but I must say that he did surprise me with his level today. He was playing very quick. It was tough. Even though I won three, three and two (in the) second, third and fourth sets, I felt like all the sets were quite close. A few points really decided the winner today. So a huge congratulations for a great fight to him.”

Asked to assess his level, Djokovic offers a typically thoughttful response.

“I don’t think I started off very well,” he says. “I was quite passive. I was too far back in the court. He was dictating the play. I was still trying to find the rhythm, find the tempo. Obviously he played much quicker and more aggressive than my opponents in the opening rounds did, so it took me a little bit of time to adjust to his game.

“I think beginning of the second set I already felt like I’m getting the groove back, I’m getting that rhythm back. I was very pleased with the focus. Maybe at some points I wasn’t at my best, but overall I was determined, I was concentrated and that’s what matters in the end.”

Nishikori falls behind love-15, then 15-40 and double break point down. These are effectively match points and Djokovic needs only one as Nishikori chips in another unforced error off the backhand. Nishikori is broken for the seventh time today and Djokovic will serve for a spot in the last 16 after the change of ends.

Djokovic goes down love-15 on his serve but backs up the break of serve in emphatic fashion, closing out the hold with his 12th, 13th and 14th aces.

Djokovic wins a gruelling 26-shot rally with a backhand winner before Nishikori mixes in a couple of unforced errors to go love-40 down on his serve. Three break-point chances for Nishikori. He saves the first with a big 106mph serve that Djokovic can’t return and the second with a forehand winner directly set up by the serve. But Djokovic converts the third when Nishikori overcooks a running forehand. Could that be the decisive blow?

And Nishikora answers with a stress-free hold of his own, capping it with a crisp backhand winner from the baseline.

Djokovic rolls through his opening service game of the fourth set.

Djokovic races out to 40-love on his serve, but Nishikori answers with his 28th, 29th and 30th winners of the day for deuce. Nishikori then outlasts Djokovic in a 14-stroke baseline rally for break point ... but Djokovic saves it with a backhand winner down the line before jogging around the court and urging the crowd to make more noise. Nishikori then overcooks a volley, but Djokovic follows with a double fault after rolling the dice on a big second serve for deuce again. Now a second straight double fault for Djokovic gives Nishikori another look at a break ... and this time Djokovic sprays an inside-out forehand wide! Djokovic is broken from 40-love up and we’re back on serve in the third!

It’s a second straight drama-free hold of serve for Nishikori, but he will need to make headway on Djokovic’s serve if he hopes to reverse the direction of this one.

Djokovic backs up the break in stress-free fashion. Can Nishikori get his teeth back into this third set?

Nishikori goes down love-30 on his serve, wins a quick point, then double-faults for 15-40. Two break-point chances for Djokovic. Nishikori saves the first with a forehand winner at the net, but flinches on the second with a misfired backhand passing shot. Djokovic noses ahead in the third.

Djokovic holds comfortably to open the third set, crunching his ninth and 10th aces along the way.

With Nishikori serving at 40-30, Djokovic hits crisp forehand winner for deuce. He then rattles off two quick points for the break that gives him the second set. And over on Court 17, Emma Raducanu has won the first 11 games for a remarkable 6-0, 5-0 lead over Sara Sorribes Tormo.

Djokovic race to a love hold in a brisk 58 seconds bookended by aces down the middle of 121mph and 117mph. Nishikori will serve to stay in the second set.

Nishikori is pushed to deuce a few times on his serve but escapes with the hold. Meanwhile, the Raducanu train hasn’t slowed down in the second set: she’s already broken Sorribes Tormo’s serve for a 6-0, 2-0 lead.

Djokovic holds from 15-40 down. It’s the second straight service game where he’s faced a break point but he’s held firm each time.

Nishikori holds comfortably, capping it with a backhand forehand volley winner.

Now Djokovic double-faults to go down 15-40 on his serve, giving Nishikori a couple of break-point opportunities. But Nishikori squanders them both with a pair of unforced errors for deuce. Djokovic then misfires on a forehand to give Nishikori a third look at a break point but Djokovic saves it with a 115mph unreturnable serve. A forehand winner by Nishikori gives him a fourth break chance, but Djokovic saves that one, too. Then a fifth! And finally Djokovic escapes with the hold in a service game that spans 14 points and nearly 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, Emma Raducanu is off to a flying start on Court 17. After breaking Sorribes Tormo for a second time, she’s just held at love to consolidate and leads 5-0 in the opener in under a half hour.

Nishikori falls behind 15-40 on his serve, giving Djokovic a pair of break-point chances. He saves the first but Djokovic converts the second with a perfect backhand passing shot with both players at the net, screaming to the crowd in jubilation.

Meanwhile on Court 17, Emma Raducanu held in her opening service game, then broke Sorribes Tormo in a marathon 16-point second game for a 2-0 lead. Raducanu came up empty on her first two break-point chances but converted on the third with a sharply angled backhand on the 20th shot of a baseline rally that Sorribes Tormo couldn’t get back over the net.

Djokovic breezes to a comfortable hold for 1-all. Both players seem to be hitting a heavier ball in the early stages of the second set.

Nishikori is pushed to 30-all in his opening service game of the second set, but Djokovic follows with yet another unforced error off his backhand side then holds with his 13th winner of the day (against 17 unforced errors).

Djokovic makes his 13th unforced error on the backhand side (out of 20 overall) to go set point down and Nishikori wastes no time, converting it with a tricky 94mph first serve that Djokovic can’t return into play. First set to Nishikori!

After both men hold their serves for the first eight points, it’s Nishikori who finally breaks through with a gorgeous lob winner as Djokovic comes to net that brings the Ashe Stadium crowd to its feet!

Djokovic and Nishikori swing ends having held their serve throughout the first six points of the breaker. Elsewhere on the grounds, the emerging British star Emma Raducanu has just taken Court 17 for her third-round match with Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo. We’ll have an eye on that one and keep you updated.

Nishikori holds at love and the opening set will be settled by a tiebreaker.

Djokovic holds at love, capping it with back-to-back aces of 118mph and 122mph. Nishikori will serve to stay in the first set and force a tiebreaker after the change of ends.

An uncomplicated hold for Nishikori and we’re all square at 5-all in the first.

Another comfortable hold for Djokovic, who’s won 12 of 15 points on his serve since he was broken early in the set.

Nishikori falls behind love-30, then 15-40 on his serve to go double break point down. And he gifts Djokovic the break when he sends an attempted drop shot from the baseline into the net.

Djokovic coasts to another stress-free hold, pounding his third ace along the way.

Nishikori is forced to deuce on his serve, then goes break point down. But he brushes it aside with a 111mph ace down the middle and is finally able to hold after nine and a half minutes and 14 points.

Djokovic flies through a hold at love, cracking his first ace of the day along the way, but still trails by a break as we move forward in the opening set.

Nishikori goes down love-15 on his serve, but wins the next four points capped by a 96mph ace out wide to comfortably back up the break.

Nishikori double-faults to start his opening service game. Then levels at 15-all when Djokovic blinks first at the end of a 27-shot baseline rally. Djokovic hits a backhand winner on the next point, then Nishikori makes an error off the forehand side to go double break point down at 15-40. Nishikori saves them both, the second on after a remarkable all-court rally that ends when the Japanese star slots a forehand volley winner. From there Nishikori holds with a pair of service winners.

Hello and welcome to Flushing Meadows for today’s third-round match between Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori. The best player in the world and top seed in the men’s draw is back in Arthur Ashe Stadium as he continues his quest for a record-setting 21st major championship and the first calendar-year grand slam by a men’s player since 1969.

Nishikori scored one of the iconic wins of his career when these two last met at the US Open in the 2014 semi-finals, but the former world No 4 has failed to defeat Djokovic in their 17 meetings since. In all, Djokovic is 17-2 against Nishikori with 16 straight wins – one shy of the longest win streak of his career against an opponent (17 v Gael Monfils).

The players have just emerged from the tunnel on to Ashe for their warm-up and we should be under way shortly.

Bryan will be here shortly. In the meantime here’s his report off last night’s big upset.

Djokovic lets loose, finds groove in 3rd-round win

ESPN 04 September, 2021 - 04:44pm

No teams in your favorites yet.

NEW YORK -- Novak Djokovic did not seek to keep his thoughts to himself on court Saturday, the way he mostly did through his first two US Open matches. Instead, he let it all out, slapping his chest or sneering with a fist raised to celebrate success, pointing to his ear to ask the crowd for noise.

This was the Djokovic everyone is so accustomed to seeing -- yes, winning on the Grand Slam stage, of course, as he's done in this magical season, but also animated and into it, encouraging the spectators to join him for the ride on his path toward tennis history.

Taking another step in his bid to complete the first calendar-year Slam by a man in more than a half-century, Djokovic moved into the fourth round at Flushing Meadows for the 14th consecutive appearance, coming back to beat Kei Nishikori 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3, 6-2.

"I don't plan to have those kind of emotional moments on the court, whether good or bad. It just happens,'' Djokovic said. "In the heat of the battle, when you feel like the moment is very important ... you just want to get those things out of yourself, out of your system -- try to, I guess, ride on that energy wave that you create, whether it's with yourself, whether it's with the crowd.''

Djokovic, the 34-year-old from Serbia who is ranked No. 1, is now 24-0 in the sport's four most important events this season, having won the Australian Open in February, the French Open in June and Wimbledon in July. The last man to go 4 for 4 at the majors was Rod Laver in 1969; Steffi Graf was the last woman, in 1988.

Win four more matches next week, and Djokovic also would earn his 21st career Slam trophy, breaking the men's mark he currently shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

"I would not be honest fully if I told you I don't think or I don't believe or I don't visualize that I can win every single Grand Slam that I play in,'' Djokovic said. "I'm not surprised when I win Slams and big tournaments because that's always a goal."

It was in the fourth round last year that Djokovic's US Open run ended, defaulted late in the first set for hitting a ball after ceding a game and inadvertently hitting a line judge in the throat. In 2019, an injury ended his trip to New York in the fourth round, too.

Next up will be a match against 20-year-old American wild-card entry Jenson Brooksby.

Other players advancing on a sunny Saturday included Wimbledon runner-up Matteo Berrettini and No. 13 Jannik Sinner -- they gave Italy a pair of men in the US Open's Round of 16 for the first time in the event's 140-year history. Tokyo Games men's champion Alexander Zverev was scheduled to play in the night session.

After eliminating a couple of inexperienced opponents ranked 121st and 145th, Djokovic faced someone with a far better resume in Nishikori, who was the runner-up at the 2014 US Open and has been as high as No. 4. Here, though, was the problem for Nishikori heading into this encounter: He'd lost his last 16 matches against Djokovic.

And while Nishikori, to loud roars from the stands in Arthur Ashe Stadium, stole the first set, the march to No. 17 in a row was soon in progress.

"I don't think I started off very well. I was quite passive. I was too far back in the court. He was dictating the play,'' Djokovic said. "He played much quicker and more aggressive than my opponents in the opening rounds did.''

One key stat: Djokovic made 20 unforced errors in the first set, then reduced that to an average of 10 1/2 per set over the last three. Here's more: Djokovic came up with a high-for-him 15 aces and dropped serve a total of twice, while breaking Nishikori seven times.

"I couldn't break the wall,'' Nishikori said. "He's very tough 'til the end.''

And Djokovic reacted to vital moments with joy, eliciting similar displays from fans, who were barred from the tournament in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The crowd was involved. It was loud. It was nice,'' Djokovic said. "I thrived on that.''

When he broke to lead 2-1 in the second set by winning a fantastic point that ended with both men near the net, he spun around and yelled, mouth agape. In his guest box, his wife, Jelena, stood and shouted, "Come on!'' When Djokovic saved a break point in the third set, he indicated he wanted louder cheers by reaching for his right ear, then wagging his fingers. When he broke to go up 5-3, he pursed his lips to say, "Ooh!'' In the next game, he reacted to a netted drop shot by tapping himself on the head with his racket three times, then screamed when he took that set, first toward one side of the stands, then another.

Djokovic described his improved play as the match wore on, stretching past 3 1/2 hours, as "getting that groove back and getting that rhythm.'' In other words, he might just be hitting his stride heading into Week 2 on the hard courts. He certainly looked comfortable in the moment Saturday.

"Maybe,'' Nishikori said, "he's feeling that inside -- a lot of pressure -- but I couldn't see that during the match."

Djokovic lets loose, finds groove in 3rd-round win

Tennis TV 04 September, 2021 - 04:44pm

No teams in your favorites yet.

NEW YORK -- Novak Djokovic did not seek to keep his thoughts to himself on court Saturday, the way he mostly did through his first two US Open matches. Instead, he let it all out, slapping his chest or sneering with a fist raised to celebrate success, pointing to his ear to ask the crowd for noise.

This was the Djokovic everyone is so accustomed to seeing -- yes, winning on the Grand Slam stage, of course, as he's done in this magical season, but also animated and into it, encouraging the spectators to join him for the ride on his path toward tennis history.

Taking another step in his bid to complete the first calendar-year Slam by a man in more than a half-century, Djokovic moved into the fourth round at Flushing Meadows for the 14th consecutive appearance, coming back to beat Kei Nishikori 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3, 6-2.

"I don't plan to have those kind of emotional moments on the court, whether good or bad. It just happens,'' Djokovic said. "In the heat of the battle, when you feel like the moment is very important ... you just want to get those things out of yourself, out of your system -- try to, I guess, ride on that energy wave that you create, whether it's with yourself, whether it's with the crowd.''

Djokovic, the 34-year-old from Serbia who is ranked No. 1, is now 24-0 in the sport's four most important events this season, having won the Australian Open in February, the French Open in June and Wimbledon in July. The last man to go 4 for 4 at the majors was Rod Laver in 1969; Steffi Graf was the last woman, in 1988.

Win four more matches next week, and Djokovic also would earn his 21st career Slam trophy, breaking the men's mark he currently shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

"I would not be honest fully if I told you I don't think or I don't believe or I don't visualize that I can win every single Grand Slam that I play in,'' Djokovic said. "I'm not surprised when I win Slams and big tournaments because that's always a goal."

It was in the fourth round last year that Djokovic's US Open run ended, defaulted late in the first set for hitting a ball after ceding a game and inadvertently hitting a line judge in the throat. In 2019, an injury ended his trip to New York in the fourth round, too.

Next up will be a match against 20-year-old American wild-card entry Jenson Brooksby.

Other players advancing on a sunny Saturday included Wimbledon runner-up Matteo Berrettini and No. 13 Jannik Sinner -- they gave Italy a pair of men in the US Open's Round of 16 for the first time in the event's 140-year history. Tokyo Games men's champion Alexander Zverev was scheduled to play in the night session.

After eliminating a couple of inexperienced opponents ranked 121st and 145th, Djokovic faced someone with a far better resume in Nishikori, who was the runner-up at the 2014 US Open and has been as high as No. 4. Here, though, was the problem for Nishikori heading into this encounter: He'd lost his last 16 matches against Djokovic.

And while Nishikori, to loud roars from the stands in Arthur Ashe Stadium, stole the first set, the march to No. 17 in a row was soon in progress.

"I don't think I started off very well. I was quite passive. I was too far back in the court. He was dictating the play,'' Djokovic said. "He played much quicker and more aggressive than my opponents in the opening rounds did.''

One key stat: Djokovic made 20 unforced errors in the first set, then reduced that to an average of 10 1/2 per set over the last three. Here's more: Djokovic came up with a high-for-him 15 aces and dropped serve a total of twice, while breaking Nishikori seven times.

"I couldn't break the wall,'' Nishikori said. "He's very tough 'til the end.''

And Djokovic reacted to vital moments with joy, eliciting similar displays from fans, who were barred from the tournament in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The crowd was involved. It was loud. It was nice,'' Djokovic said. "I thrived on that.''

When he broke to lead 2-1 in the second set by winning a fantastic point that ended with both men near the net, he spun around and yelled, mouth agape. In his guest box, his wife, Jelena, stood and shouted, "Come on!'' When Djokovic saved a break point in the third set, he indicated he wanted louder cheers by reaching for his right ear, then wagging his fingers. When he broke to go up 5-3, he pursed his lips to say, "Ooh!'' In the next game, he reacted to a netted drop shot by tapping himself on the head with his racket three times, then screamed when he took that set, first toward one side of the stands, then another.

Djokovic described his improved play as the match wore on, stretching past 3 1/2 hours, as "getting that groove back and getting that rhythm.'' In other words, he might just be hitting his stride heading into Week 2 on the hard courts. He certainly looked comfortable in the moment Saturday.

"Maybe,'' Nishikori said, "he's feeling that inside -- a lot of pressure -- but I couldn't see that during the match."

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