Croatia’s 27th seed Borna Coric staged a remarkable Houdini act to stun fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in a four hours and 36 minutes late-night thriller while Novak Djokovic sailed into the last 16 of the US Open on Friday as off-court intrigue forced the delay of a men’s singles match over issues linked to coronavirus.
Coric appeared to be heading for certain defeat after Tsitsipas, leading by two sets to one, opened up a 5-1 lead in the fourth. But Coric rallied superbly, saving six match points and fighting back to take the set 7-5 to force a decider.
Tsitsipas went a break up once more in the fifth but couldn’t press home the advantage as Coric forced a tie break before clinching a 6-7 (2/7), 6-4, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7/4) win.
Djokovic outclassed Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 in a routine victory for the world number one, who is chasing an 18th Grand Slam singles title.
Far from routine was a last-minute attempt by New York health officials to prevent France’s Adrian Mannarino from playing his last-32 encounter against German fifth seed Alexander Zverev.
The intervention led to a back and forth between tournament organizers and the state government and resulted in the match, which Zverev won in four sets, starting over three hours late.
“It was a weird situation for me,” said Mannarino, one of 11 players put under enhanced safety protocols earlier this week after compatriot Benoit Paire was withdrawn from the tournament after testing positive for coronavirus.
“I was just laying on the sofa still trying to be focused just in case I would go on court,” he said, following Zverev’s 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-2 victory.
Zverev will now play unseeded Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the last 16 while Djokovic will play Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta for a place in the quarter-finals.
Twelfth seed Denis Shapovalov recovered from 5-2 down in the fourth set to pip American number 19 seed Taylor Fritz 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2
Fritz, 22 was within two points of victory before the 21-year-old Shapovalov completed a remarkable comeback.
The Canadian will do battle with seventh seed David Goffin for a place in the quarter-finals after the Belgian brushed aside Serbia’s 26th seed Filip Krajinovic 6-1, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4.
Britain’s involvement in the singles ended on Friday with both Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie exiting.
France’s Corentin Moutet knocked out Evans 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) 7-6 (7/1) as they resumed their second round match that was postponed Thursday because of rain.
Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Jan-Lennard Struff (GER x28) 6-3, 6-3, 6-1
Denis Shapovalov (CAN x12) bt Taylor Fritz (USA x19) 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2
Pablo Carreno-Busta (ESP x20) bt Ricardas Berankis (LTU) 6-4, 6-3, 6-2
David Goffin (BEL x7) bt Filip Krajinovic (SRB x26) 6-1, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4
Jordan Thompson (AUS) bt Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 7-5, 6-4, 6-1
Alejandro Davidovich (ESP) bt Cameron Norrie (GBR) 7-6 (7/2), 4-6, 6-2, 6-1
Alexander Zverev (GER x5) bt Adrian Mannarino (FRA x32) 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-2, 6-2
Borna Coric (CRO x27) bt Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE x4) 6-7 (2/7), 6-4, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7/4)
Corentin Moutet (FRA) bt Daniel Evans (GBR x23) 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/1)
With AFP Inputs