NEW YORK, August 31, 2018
Third round action in the top half of the US Open men’s draw on Friday featured World No. 1 and reigning champion Rafael Nadal, who overcame Russia’s Karen Khachanov on Arthur Ashe Stadium, 5-7, 7-5, 7-6(7), 7-6(3) in four hours and 23 minutes.
“I am very happy to be through in a very tough situation,” Nadal told Brad Gilbert of ESPN during his post-match interview. “There were some tough moments during the match, but he played aggressive. There are things to work on for the next round, but the good thing is I have a chance to improve.”
Nadal will next take on Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia, who edged out Argentine Guido Pella 6-4, 6-3, 1-6, 7-6(4).
Dominic Thiem closed out a four-set win over US-American youngster Taylor Fritz on Grandstand 3-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-4.
In the women’a draw, Elise Mertens continued her breakthrough season by reaching the US Open fourth round with a 6-3, 7-6(4) victory over No. 23 seed Barbora Strycova. The 22-year-old Belgian had never won a match at Flushing Meadows until this week. Mertens has now completed a full set of career-best showings at each Grand Slam tournament in 2018. She reached the semi-finals at the Australian Open, the fourth round at the French Open and the third round at Wimbledon.
“She played a great game today,” Mertens told the media, after the match. “I think I stepped up in the first set, a little more aggressive. Of course, she comes to the net a lot. But, not a lot of mistakes; in the rallies, if it came back shorter, I tried to make the point.”
Mertens will next play defending champion Sloane Stephens, who edged out wild card entry Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-3, 6-4.
“Very happy to be through,” Stephens said, during her post-match press conference. “Obviously, a little rocky in the second set. I started off well and I played a solid match, so I was happy with that. The fight was good throughout.”
The case “Lahyani”
Umpire Mohamed Lahyani went “beyond protocal” in trying to help Nick Kyrgios in his match on Thursday but will continue to officiate at the US Open, tournament organizers have announced.
A statement from the US Open read: “After a comprehensive review conducted by US Open officials, including US Open tournament director David Brewer, tournament referee Brian Earley and others, the US Open determined that chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani’s conduct during Thursday’s second-round match involving Nick Kyrgios and Pierre-Hugues Herbert went beyond protocol.
“Lahyani was advised to adhere to proper protocols in all matches that he officiates moving forward.
“Lahyani will continue to officiate during the 2018 US Open. His performance will continue to be evaluated, as will that of all chair umpires throughout the course of the US Open.”
Louis Armstrong Stadium roof closes for the first time
The retractable roof on the new Louis Armstrong Stadium was activated for the first time during Friday’s third round men’s singles match between Denis Shapovalov and Kevin Anderson.
Play stopped at 4:25:17 PM ET and play resumed at 4:33:25 ET (total stoppage of play was 8 minutes, 8 seconds). The roof closed in 4 minutes and 30 seconds. The closing occurred while Anderson was serving at 15-0, leading 4-2 in the second set. Shapovalov won the first set, 6-4.