(September 4, 2021) FLUSHING MEADOWS, New York – American Shelby Rogers had never won a match against Ash Barty. The American rallied from 2-5 down in the third set to beat the No. 1 player 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (5). Ash Barty served to win the match at 5-2 and 5-4 but failed to close.
Barty was unsteady in the first set with 17 errors and Rogers took advantage of the Aussie’s mistakes. Barty regained her composure in the second set and dominated, Going up 5-2 in the third, it looked as though Barty would make her way through. But it was not to be.
Rogers is the last American woman left in the singles draw.
“I played a pretty awful first set in the sense where I was erratic, Noted Barty. “I couldn’t quite find the rhythm of how I wanted to play. I found a way back into the match, found a way to turn the match back in my favor, have a couple of opportunities to serve it out and be within a couple of points, disappointing not to get it done.”
“Tough one,” said Barty to media. “It’s never nice when you have a couple opportunities to serve out a match and can’t get it done. Look, a 6 in the third is brutal, it’s a tough one to swallow. But it is what it is tonight. I found a way back into my match. I found a way to really turn it in my favor and just wasn’t able to just quite finish off.
“It’s disappointing but we’ll move on.”
“I came here obviously excited for the last slam of the year, “Rogers said. “I had a great run last year, making the quarterfinals. So it was a different kind of pressure I think than I’ve felt before. I only did it once before at the French. I was definitely very nervous before my first match.
“Had some tough tournaments before, some tough losses as well after starting the season pretty well. Tennis is very up-and-down. I just wanted to try to find my game again here.
“Tennis is funny like that, too. Right when you’re just like, Why can I not hit a ball in the court, then you do something like this and you love the sport all over again.
“I am very thrilled with my first week here. Just got to stay focused and keep going because I don’t want to be done yet.”
“I am stunned. My heart rate is still very much elevated. I’m very excited with that win.
“I think tonight going on the court I told myself I didn’t want to lose the same way I lost the last five times against her. I just tried to do things a little bit differently.
“In the first set I mixed in some high balls, I was super patient with her slice because she’s not going to miss one very often. I know that very well.
“In the second and third, she definitely raised her level, as she does. I mean, she’s the No. 1 player in the world for a reason. But I started wanting to hit the ball a little bit harder, find some winners if I could. That’s the tennis I like to play. That’s what she wants me to do. She wants to redirect and finesse me around the court, wait for me to miss.
“I was just happy and really proud of myself tonight for problem-solving, if you will, maybe doing some things I’m not super comfortable with, like hitting some high balls like I’m back in the 12s, playing defense honestly.
“It ended up working somehow.”
The 28-year-old Rogers will be taking on 18-year-old British woman Emma Raducanu in the fourth round, who demolished Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-0, 6-1.
Novak Djokovic stands four wins away from the Grand Slam. The world No. 1 and 20-time major winner overcame a slow start to beat former finalist Kei Nishikori 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 in the third round during day session in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday. He now has raised his record to 18-2 against the man from Japan. It was his 17th straight win over Nishikori. It’s his 24th straight match won at a major.
The Serbian will be seeking to win the Grand Slam, all four major titles in the same year, The last man to do it was Rod Laver in 1969,
“It was a tough battle,” Djokovic said to media. “So far the toughest match of the tournament for me. The opening two rounds obviously felt well, played good. But the pace of the ball and the speed of Nishikori’s tennis today was just higher than the opening two rounds’ opponents that I had.
“He was standing close to the line. He was not missing much. Usually he plays a high-risk tennis. I know his game pretty well. We played many, many times over the years.
“But I thought he played great. He didn’t give me much time. He wanted to make me uncomfortable and defensive, and he managed to do that I felt like for maybe a set, set and a half.
“Once I adapted to the pace of his ball, I felt better on the court. 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.”
The 34-year-old will be taking on 20-year-old American Jenson Brooksby in the fourth round on Monday who beat No. 21 seed Aslan Karatsev 6-2, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. Brooksby is youngest American man to reach the US Open round of 16 since Andy Roddick in 2002.
“I’m proud of battling my adversity, whether it’s my own head or what’s going on out there on the court,” Brooksby said. “Yeah, I mean, today was a battle obviously. I don’t know how long it was, but I thought I started out solid. Good first set. Still a couple things I could have done better.
“The break in the second. I just lost the mental energy way too much in the second set and third set. That’s not really easy to come back from, but I just told myself to keep staying in the present moment, keep breathing, keep staying positive, focus on what I’m working on out there.”
He joins American men Frances Tiafoe and Reilly Opelka in the round of 16.
On playing Djokovic:
“It will be a great challenge. One of the toughest there can be. But I’m really believing in myself with what I’m showing out there so far. I got a great team around me to help me recover tomorrow. Yeah, I go out there to battle again on I’m sure Ashe probably, I would assume.
“Yeah, I mean, that will be really exciting. I’m sure it will be a full crowd. I’m excited to see how well I can focus, see how well I can play with one of the biggest challenges and with one of the biggest crowds in a court that you can get.”
Also moving on to the sweet 16 in the men’s draw were No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev who advanced when wild card Jack Sock retired in the fourth set with the German up 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 2-1. Sock had injured his left groin after winning the first set.
Other winners:  Matteo Berrettini, Lloyd Harris upset  Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 6-4, 6-4,  Jannik Sinner beat  Gael Monfils in five sets,  Reilly Opelka, and qualifier Oscar Otte.
In the women’s draw other seeds advancing to the fourth round were:  Karolina Pliskova,  Bianca Andreescu,  Iga Swiatek,  Belinda Bencic,  Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and  Maria Sakkari