Novak Djokovic sailed into the US Open third round on Wednesday in his quest for a 24th Grand Slam triumph as Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff stayed on a quarter-final collision course in New York.
Djokovic climbed through the gears against 76th-ranked Bernabe Zapata Miralles, winning 13 of the last 15 games to ease through 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 on Arthur Ashe Stadium court.
“At 36 years of age, after 20 years of coming to New York, I still have the hunger to play my best tennis on this court,” said Djokovic, a three-time US Open champion.
Next up for the Serbian star is compatriot and 32nd seed Laslo Djere after Djokovic preserved his record of always reaching at least the last 32 in New York.
Women’s defending champion and world No 1 Swiatek swept past Australia’s Daria Saville 6-3, 6-4.
The Pole is bidding to become the first woman to successfully defend her US Open crown since Serena Williams won a hat-trick of titles from 2012-2014.
“It wasn’t easy but I’m happy I tried to play my game and play aggressively with a lot of intensity and I’m just happy to be in the third round,” said Swiatek, aiming for her fifth Grand Slam triumph.
Swiatek will now play Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan on Friday for a place in the last 16.
Gauff, 19, brushed aside 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva, the youngest player in the draw, 6-3, 6-2 to continue her strong run on hard courts this summer after titles in Washington and Cincinnati.
The sixth seed, viewed as one of the favourites in New York, takes on Belgium’s Elise Mertens for a place in the last 16 after getting the better of Andreeva for the second time in three Grand Slams.
“I just learned to be aggressive, because if you give her something she is going to take advantage,” said Gauff, who overcame Andreeva in three sets at Roland Garros in June.
Historic Zhang upends Ruud
Zhang Zhizhen made history as the first Chinese man to defeat a top-five player, dumping out last year’s runner-up Casper Ruud in five sets.
The 67th-ranked Zhang avenged his loss to the Norwegian fifth seed at the French Open, where he also reached the third round, advancing 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, 0-6, 6-2.
Zhang, 26, will next play Australian wild card Rinky Hijikata. No Chinese man has made the fourth round of a Grand Slam in the Open Era.
Ruud’s exit left just two other top-10 seeds in Djokovic’s half of the draw after Stefanos Tsitsipas’ US Open misery continued.
The Greek crashed out to 128th-ranked Swiss qualifier Dominic Stricker in five sets, and has still not gone beyond round three in six visits to New York.
Tsitsipas served for the match at 5-3 in the fourth set but the 21-year-old Stricker rallied to prevail 7-5, 6-7 (2), 6-7 (5), 7-6 (6), 6-3 in just over four hours.
Dominic Thiem, plagued by injury since his 2020 US Open victory, retired early in the second set against Ben Shelton after losing a tie-break.
Frances Tiafoe, a semi-finalist last year, barged past Austria’s Sebastian Ofner 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 and 14th seed Tommy Paul recovered from two sets down to outlast Russia’s Roman Safiullin.
Two-time runner-up Caroline Wozniacki prolonged her US Open comeback by bundling out 11th seed Petra Kvitova 7-5, 7-6 (5) – her first win over a top-20 player since the 2018 WTA Tour Finals.
“If you’d asked to me three years ago I’d have said, I’ll never be back here playing on this court,” said mother-of-two Wozniacki, playing her first Grand Slam since the 2020 Australian Open.
“But to be back and to beat to the world No 11 feels very, very special.”
Czech 10th seed and French Open finalist Karolina Muchova sailed past Magdalena Frech.
Meanwhile, former Australian Open runner-up Jennifer Brady – sidelined for two years by injury – took down 24th seed Magda Linette.
Results from day three of the US Open at USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center on Wednesday (x denotes seed):
Men’s singles second round
Zhang Zhizhen (CHN) bt Casper Ruud (NOR x5) 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, 0-6, 6-2
Rinky Hijikata (AUS) bt Marton Fucsovics (HUN) 6-1, 6-2, 6-1
Adrian Mannarino (FRA x22) bt Fabian Marozsan (HUN) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-1
Frances Tiafoe (USA x10) bt Sebastian Ofner (AUT) 6-3, 6-1, 6-4
Tommy Paul (USA x14) bt Roman Safiullin (RUS) 3-6, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP x21) bt Juan Manuel Cerundolo (ARG) 6-1, 6-4, 6-3
Ben Shelton (USA) bt Dominic Thiem (AUT) 7-6 (7/1), 1-0 - retired
Aslan Karatsev (RUS) bt Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4)
Dominic Stricker (SUI) bt Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE x7) 7-5, 6-7 (2/7), 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (8/6), 6-3
Benjamin Bonzi (FRA) bt Christopher Eubanks (USA x28) 7-6 (8/6), 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (9/7)
Jakub Mensik (CZE) bt Titouan Droguet (FRA) 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7/1), 6-3
Taylor Fritz (USA x9) bt Juan Pablo Varillas (PER) 6-1, 6-2, 6-2
Borna Gojo (CRO) bt Mackenzie McDonald (USA) 6-3, 6-4, 6-4
Jiri Vesely (CZE) bt Francisco Cerundolo (ARG x20) 7-6 (7/5), 6-2, 3-6, 2-6, 7-6 (10/6)
Laslo Djere (SRB x32) bt Hugo Gaston (FRA) 6-1, 6-2, 6-3
Novak Djokovic (SRB x2) bt Bernabe Zapata Miralles (ESP) 6-4, 6-1, 6-1
Women’s singles second round
Iga Swiatek (POL x1) bt Daria Saville (AUS) 6-3, 6-4
Kaja Juvan (SLO) bt Lauren Davis (USA) 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-3
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT x20) bt Elina Avanesyan (RUS) 6-3, 5-7, 7-5
Bernarda Pera (USA) bt Wang Xiyu (CHN) 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) bt Petra Kvitova (CZE x11) 7-5, 7-6 (7/5)
Jennifer Brady (USA) bt Magda Linette (POL x24) 6-1, 2-6, 6-2
Elise Mertens (BEL x32) bt Danielle Collins (USA) 3-6, 7-6 (9/7), 6-1
Coco Gauff (USA x6) bt Mirra Andreeva (RUS) 6-3, 6-2
Elena Rybakina (KAZ x4) bt Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) - walkover
Sorana Cirstea (ROU x30) bt Anna Kalinskaya (RUS) 6-3, 6-4
Zhu Lin (CHN) bt Victoria Azarenka (BLR x18) 6-3, 6-3
Belinda Bencic (SUI x15) bt Lily Miyazaki (GBR) 6-3, 6-3
Karolina Muchova (CZE x10) bt Magdalena Frech (POL) 6-3, 6-3
Taylor Townsend (USA) bt Beatriz Haddad Maia (BRA x19) 7-6 (7/1), 7-5
Wang Xinyu (CHN) bt Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) 5-7, 6-3, 6-4
Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) bt Rebeka Masarova (ESP) 7-6 (7/0), 6-2