Osaka Passes Kostyuk Test to Reach Round of 16 at US Open, Djokovic Stays Perfect
(September 4, 2020) NEW YORK – No. 4 seed Naomi Osaka of Japan had to fight off 18-year-old Marta Kostyuk 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-2 to earn a berth in the round of 16 at the US Open on Friday.
The win did not come without a struggle, at the end of the second set, Osaka flung her racquet the length of the baseline after she made an error.
The beginning of the third set serving at 1-2, 0-40, Osaka saved five break points, going on to win the next five games to close out the match.
“I feel like that game was very important, and honestly, I’m not sure how it would have went if she won it and I would have had to break her back, but thankfully I don’t have to think about it too much,” Osaka said to media.
“And I think my biggest takeaway from her game is that she didn’t back down from me or from, like, the speed of my ball, which for someone that young is kind of amazing, because I feel like, you know, the first set went that way, and then she could have faded in the second set.
“Of course in the third set towards the end I feel like physically I was better, and I was, of course, more experienced. But, yeah, I feel like she’s definitely going to be dangerous.”
“In the third set I was definitely thinking about being more of the dictator between us two.”
Osaka came onto the court wearing a mask honoring Ahmaud Arbery andwas asked in press about the reaction she’s getting about them. “ I think the responses that meant the most to me are probably people saying thank you. And for me, I don’t know, it always takes me by surprise because I don’t know if I feel like I’m doing anything. But people say thank you and I’m proud of you, and for me that’s something that’s really touching to my heart.
I don’t know. I feel like when I’m in the moment, I’m not aware of how many people are watching, but when I leave the court, then I feel like — I don’t know.”
Osaka will be taking on Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit the 14th seed who had a 6-3, 6-2 win over No. 24 Magda Linette.
Novak Djokovic raised his record this year to 26-0 with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 win over German Jan-Lennard Struff. The World No. 1 needed an hour and 43 minutes to complete the win to reach the fourth round. He’ll play the 20th seed Pablo Carreno Busta for a place in the quarterfinals.
2016 champion Angelique Kerber is also in the round of 16. The German was totally in control in her 6-3, 6-4 win over young American Ann Li.
“I need a little bit time to find my rhythm and to also know what to expect, because I had no idea what really to expect.”
“But she played really well. I think it was a good match, again. And, you know, for me, it was important to stay in the match, especially in the second set to be mental strong and fight for every single point, especially at the end.”
Kerber, the 17th seed will play 28th-seeded Jennifer Brady in the fourth round. The American was a 6-3, 6-3 winner over Caroline Garcia.
“I never played against her, I think,” Kerber said. “So it will be the first match.
“You know, I think I will expect a tough challenge again. I try to play like I played the last matches.
“Of course I know that I have to improve a little bit in few things, but, you know, it’s a next match. It will be not easier. I will just try my best. Yeah, going out there and give everything that I have.”
Sixth seed Petra Kvitova made it to the sweet 16 of Flushing Meadows with a 6-4, 6-3 win over American Jessica Pegula. The two-time major winner will play another American next, Shelby Rogers.
“I’m really glad the fans are not here because otherwise they are cheering against me,” said Kvitova. “That’s a good side of it.
“Anyway, I know Shelby played great in Lexington. She has a great run here so far, as well. She worked hard probably in the lockdown. I know she had some injuries, so it’s really great to see her back playing great.”
” I got to be prepared for everything”
In men’s action, the third round match between No. 5 seed Alexander Zverev and Adrian Mannarino was delayed until past 5pm due to what the USTA said was a “a collaborative dialogue with health officials.”
Adrian Mannarino on the delay 👇 pic.twitter.com/cbzoLXCEcD
— George Bellshaw (@BellshawGeorge) September 5, 2020
Mannarino was part of the group of players that was exposed to Benoit Paire who tested positive for COVID-19 las week. He has since tested negative.
Zverev won 14 of the last 18 games for a 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 win in the match which was delayed for three hours.
On Sunday actually when they told us we were eligible to play the tournament, if we agreed on the new protocol, that we also signed, all the players who were in my situation, we signed the paper from the City Department of Health of New York, I think, giving us some new protocol, what we might call restrictions not to be in contact with all the players. A huge organization has been done around us just to make us allowed to play.
I didn’t know that they could, the State, could take over this decision. I don’t know all the rules. I’m not into that. I’m a tennis player actually. But, yeah, that was a big news to me when it came. I mean, I was ready to go on court. I was warming up, sweating, just focused on my match. All these things happen in a sudden. It was a weird situation for me. Actually, I didn’t know what to think. I was just laying on the sofa still trying to be focused just in case I would go on court.
But, yeah, to answer your question, I didn’t know that in my situation, as I was still in the draw, the situation could change. Obviously for all the players in my situation who lost yesterday, we’ve been told that we would still be able to practice on-site with the new protocol, be able to come on-site if we were still tested every day.
But I heard this morning that actually they would have to stay in their hotel room for the rest of their quarantine. I knew that things have been changed for their conditions. Yeah, if I just think about it, I could realize that things could be changed in my situation, too. I was not really thinking about it. As you know, I was trying to prepare a really tough match. I was just focused on that, warming up, eating, being ready, so…
Yeah, many things happened today. But me, I was just thinking about the match actually.
Novak Djokovic was asked about this situation in his news conference:
Yes, I was aware of what was happening with Adrian Mannarino. I was actually contacted by his coach during that process. I was communicating with his coach for a few hours actually, trying to help. I was speaking with ATP, trying to get more information from the tour managers.
I was also trying to get to the people that are in the highest positions in New York state through some of the contacts, trying to get to the governor of New York. I understood that he was the only one that could actually make the decision to revert the decision that Mannarino was withdrawn from the tournament.
In the end, to be honest, I don’t know what exactly happened. They just told me that finally Adrian was allowed to play and he was on the court, which I was very pleased to see. I know that the tour manager, Thomas, told me they were working on that for many hours. They also see a lot of inconsistencies.
Unfortunately it’s not in many cases up to ATP and USTA and WTA to make these decisions, make these calls, but on the New York health department. We knew that coming into States. We knew there is a high probability that situations like this might occur.
I am not happy with the way these kind of circumstances and this situation with the French players was managed. I am not happy to see that Dellien and Pella were in a very similar situation and were withdrawn from the tournament. They had to be quarantined in their room.
Then a very similar situation happened with the French guys, that obviously Benoit was positive. We don’t even know if it was a false positive because after a few days he was negative.
That’s another thing that needs to be addressed, of course. There have been a lot of false positive tests as I’ve been hearing in sport, also in general. But in sport I think it was an NFL team or somebody, or a baseball team here, that had seven or eight players positive, but then they actually determined in the second test it was a false positive.
That hasn’t been cleared up here with Benoit. He’s quarantined. He’s out of the tournament. Then all the other guys that were close to him maybe during this time, they were allowed to play. Pella and Dellien were not allowed to play. They had a very similar situation. A lot of inconsistency.
Communication-wise, look, it’s not I think ideal. It can be better. But at the same time I also understand that the ATP and USTA don’t hold the decision-making process in their hands. Sometimes they have to just execute what the health department of New York and the City of New York orders them to do, otherwise the tournament might be compromised and canceled.
It’s not easy. I mean, sometimes I don’t want to be in the skin of people who were in the midst of this. At the same time, players I think are left with very little information, very little power to express themselves or to fight for their own right to play and to travel back home. It’s very, very strange, I must say. Although these are strange times, very unpredictable what tomorrow brings. Obviously not just here in the States but in the world altogether.
I’m hoping this can be improved. I’m hoping this is only this year and only this tournament, but it doesn’t seem like that. What I’ve been hearing from Rome and Paris is maybe even tougher circumstances than here. We’ll most likely have to experience the bubble in Rome and Paris as we are experiencing here.
Then you have the second hotel here where a lot of players are staying where you have weddings happening, where regular people can come in, and half of the hotel or more is open for public. How is that a bubble? It’s very complicated issue that we are discussing here.
I’m just hoping that we will all learn from this more and be stronger I think as players specifically because the players association that has been formed a week ago is exactly supposed to live and is supposed to exist because of these kind of circumstances and because of the situation.
We need to have support of the players. We need to stand by the players that are not treated in a right way. We have to do it all together. This is the whole point. Yes, we want to play. Yes, we want to compete. But sometimes when it’s really not fair and someone is treated in a way that you don’t want to be treated, you have to stand by him. This is the right thing to do.
Hopefully the association can grow stronger and we can have that power to actually give the support in the future to the players.
Men reaching the round of 16 include No. 7 David Goffin, No. 12 Denis Shapovalov, No. 20 Pablo Carreno Busta, Jordan Thompson and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
Shapovalov was four points away from losing in the fourth set, when Taylor Fritz was serving for the match, but the Canadian rebounded to win 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6, 6-2.
“It was definitely an up-and-down match,” said the Canadian. “I feel like throughout the match there was a lot of momentum switches. I was down first, then up in the second and third, then he came back, then I broke back. It was a little bit of a seesaw there.
“Felt like he kind of ran with it at the beginning of the fourth. I felt like I was getting good looks on his serve games, so I just wanted to stay with him. I know it’s never easy serving out a match like that, so I’m getting a little bit tight. Just tried to make him play as much as possible.
“I felt like we both played a really good tiebreak, both served really well. I just got a little bit lucky. I guessed the right direction on set point. I was able to hit a good forehand.
“In the fifth set, I felt I had the experience the last two years losing in five sets. Felt like my opponents really raised their game, stepped up their level and intensity in that fifth set. I tried to do the same today. I felt like getting that early break, getting that good start, was critical.
“I’m really happy I was able to get the win.”
The last match of the day, was the match of the day. No. 27 seed Borna Coric came back from 1-5 down and six match points in the fourth set to beat No. 4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7(2), 6-4, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(4) to make the round of 16. The match lasted four hours and 36 minutes and ended after one o’clock in the morning on Saturday in New York.