Defending champion Novak Djokovic on Friday rolled into the US Open fourth round, while Serena Williams and Roger Federer cruised into the last 16 and Kei Nishikori was eliminated.
Djokovic, champion in four of the past five Slams and 16 overall, was less bothered by left shoulder pain that nagged him in the second round in defeating 111th-ranked American Denis Kudla 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.
“That I managed to play almost pain-free, that’s a big improvement from last match, obviously,” Djokovic said.
Djokovic, who needed treatment throughout his second-round triumph, skipped practice on Thursday in favor of shoulder treatment.
The 32-year-old Serbian booked a showdown today with three-time Slam winner Stan Wawrinka, the Swiss 23rd seed who eliminated Italian lucky loser Paolo Lorenzi 6-4, 7-6 (11/9), 7-6 (7/4).
“There’s something with him that when I get into my best game, I know that it’s going to have some big rallies and I’m going to play good tennis,” Wawrinka said.
Djokovic leads Wawrinka 19-5 in their all-time rivalry, but they have not met since Wawrinka beat Djokovic in the 2016 US Open final.
Federer routed Britain’s 58th-ranked Dan Evans 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 in only 80 minutes, blasting 48 winners to just seven for Evans.
“What matters the most is that I’m in the third round after those two sort of slow starts,” Federer said. “I actually can go through three sets in a row playing really good tennis.”
Evans blasted organizers for giving him short rest after a rain-delayed match while his 38-year-old Swiss rival rested after playing on Wednesday under the roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“I actually thought he played pretty much no-error tennis,” Evans said.
Next up for Federer is Belgian 15th seed David Goffin.
Daniil Medvedev said he was working to do “better next time” after his middle-finger gesture angered the crowd during his 7-6 (7/1), 6-4, 7-6 (9/7), 6-4 win over Feliciano Lopez.
The Russian fifth seed received a code violation for angrily snatching the towel from a ballperson, throwing his racket and then covertly raising his middle finger next to his head as he began to walk.
The incident was not seen by chair umpire Damien Dumusois, but was caught on television and shown on video replay inside stadium.
“It was tough. I was in the heat of the moment and started losing the momentum. I don’t really remember, but I paid for it the whole match after,” said Medvedev, who was roundly booed by supporters after a fired-up post-match interview.
“I want all of you to know, when you sleep tonight, I won because of you. The energy you gave. The more you do this, the more I win,” he said.
Medvedev said he apologized to Lopez and his coach after the match, insisting his meltdown was in no way related to his opponent.
Japanese seventh seed Nishikori lost to Australia’s Alex de Minaur 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3. The 20-year-old Aussie, on his deepest Grand Slam run, took his first victory over a top-10 foe in 12 tries.
De Minaur faces Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov next.
In the women’s singles, Williams continued her quest for a 24th career Grand Slam title to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record by crushing 44th-ranked Czech Karolina Muchova 6-3, 6-2 in 74 minutes.
“I had a lot of intensity today, which is really good for me,” said Williams, whose next opponent is Croatian 22nd seed Petra Martic.
Reigning French Open champion Ashleigh Barty, the Aussie second seed, and Czech third seed Karolina Pliskova, chasing her first Slam title, also advanced.
Pliskova outlasted Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, while Barty dispatched Greek 30th seed Maria Sakkari 7-5, 6-3.
“Physically it was quite a tough battle,” Pliskova said. “So pleased to be through.”
Pliskova next plays British 16th seed Johanna Konta, while Barty meets Chinese 18th seed Wang Qiang.
“It’s going to be an incredibly physical match,” Barty said. “I need to make sure I serve well and bring variety in as much as I can.”
Also advancing was Ukrainian fifth seed and Wimbledon semi-finalist Elina Svitolina, who next faces US 10th seed Madison Keys, a 6-3, 7-5 winner over compatriot Sofia Kenin.
In the women’s doubles, second seeds Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova easily saw off US duo Lauren Davis and Maria Sanchez 6-4, 6-1.
The mixed doubles also saw Taiwanese participation, with fourth seeds Latisha Chan and Croatian partner Ivan Dodig overtaking Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez and Neal Skupski of England 6-4, 6-3, while Hsieh and her brother, Hsieh Cheng-peng, exited in the first round after a 6-1, 6-4 defeat at the hands of Brazilian Bruno Soares and American Nicole Melichar.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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