Zverev falls at the second hurdle
Alexander Zverev’s US Open dream has been ended at the second round stage by Borna Coric
In a thrilling contest between two youngsters destined to have many more intriguing tussles in the future, the tenacious Croatian emerged a 3-6 7-5 7-6(1) 7-6(4) winner.
It’s the sixth Top 10 win of Coric’s career and it was a performance forged in steel. The 20-year-old was resolute on serve, aggressive when necessary and highly efficient in the forecourt.
The Croatian saved 10 of the 11 break-points he faced and his ability to deliver under intense pressure was impressive. He showed great mental fortitude to save three set-points on his own delivery in the 12th game of the fourth set - and he carried the momentum into the tiebreak.
“I just wanted to make first serves as I was struggling physically,” said Coric when asked how he stayed composed at the business end of the fourth set. “I was just trying to make points a little bit shorter and maybe go for a little bit more than I normally do.
“He [Zverev] has had the most unbelievable year so it means a lot to me to win this match.”
Dimitrov extended his winning run to six matches as he eased past qualifier Vaclav Safranek 6-1 6-4 6-2 to begin his campaign.
The watchable Bulgarian, who lifted the biggest title of his career in Cincinnati earlier this month, maintained his recent good form and did not drop serve in the one-sided contest.
“I just had to focus on my side of the court,” said the No.7 seed after a routine victory. “It’s always a little bit tricky to play against a player you’ve never faced before. He already had a few matches under his belt after coming through qualifiers so I had to be respectful of that.
“Right now, I’m just enjoying the process and the game itself. When you do the right things, good things happen for you."
Wet weather in New York on Tuesday meant it took Dominic Thiem two days to score his first victory at the final Grand Slam of the year.
It’s been a disappointing few months for the Austrian powerhouse however he was at his destructive best as he dismissed the youthful Alex de Minaur 6-4 6-1 6-1.
“It was tricky because conditions were completely different today from yesterday,” remarked the No.6 seed. “My opponent was a young guy and he played well, especially in the beginning, so I’m pretty pleased with the performance.
“There are a lot of things I need to improve on hard-courts. I need to be a little bit closer to the baseline as I cannot play my clay game here. I’m trying though, and last year’s Open was not that bad, so I will try and improve my result."
Nick Kyrgios might have impressed in his run to the Cincinnati Masters final, but his stay in the Big Apple is already over.
The inimitable Australian tweaked his right shoulder in the early stages of his contest with John Millman and he cut a disconsolate figure from that point onwards.
Kyrgios, who was given a point penalty at the start of the third set after a pair of code violations, was understandably frustrated at his predicament. He tried to battle through the pain-barrier but the result was never in doubt.
Millman overcame his wounded compatriot 6-3 1-6 6-4 6-1 and admitted afterwards it was a bittersweet success. “I’ve played a few main draw matches at the US Open and come close to a win but haven’t been able to get it done,” he said.
“I know in the back of mind that Nick’s shoulder deteriorated as the match went on and it’s a victory, but it’s slightly hollow because he is a teammate and a great sport on the court. I feel for him, I really do.”
John Isner strolled into the third round after a routine 6-3 6-4 7-5 success over Hyeon Chung. It’s been a wonderful summer for the big-serving American and he has a real opportunity to embark on a deep run at his home major.
“It feels good when you come out and serve as well as I did today,” remarked Isner with a grin. “From the opening game I knew I had a very good rhythm on my serve so I knew at the very least, I was going to reach tiebreaks.
“I played well outside my serve, took my chances when I had them and I’m moving on feeling fresh and ready to go.”
Elsewhere on day three, there were routine wins for Marin Cilic, Kyle Edmund, Tomas Berdych, Gael Monfils, Yuichi Sugita, Guido Pella, Taylor Fritz, Adrian Mannarino, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Damir Džumhur.
Fabio Fognini was upset by his countryman, Stefano Travaglia, Richard Gasquet was upended by Leonardo Mayer and Britain's Cameron Norrie came unstuck against Pablo Carreno-Busta.