It was a shame that no fans could be present to watch what might go down as one of the best men’s singles tennis match of the year, but in the empty Arthur Ashe court on Saturday, the shouts of “come on!” and guttural noises echoed for all to see and hear.
When Borna Coric overcame Stefanos Tsitsipas in an epic third-round match at the US Open, the lack of atmosphere did not take anything away from the moment.
Croatia’s 27th seed Coric staged a remarkable Houdini act to stun fourth seed Tsitsipas in a late-night thriller that lasted over four-and-a-half hours. He 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.
Even without the crowd, the return of five-set drama at Grand Slam was welcomed by fans on social media.
Here’s a selection of reactions to the epic battle in New York: