Novak Djokovic’s dramatic disqualification headlined the seventh day at the US Open, which will now see a new men’s Grand Slam champion for first time since 2014.

The top seed was dramatically defaulted on Sunday after accidentally striking a lines judge with a ball during his last-16 match, sending shock waves through the tournament. He apologized for hitting the ball in anger after losing his serve to go 6-5 down in the first set to Spain’s 20th seed Pablo Carreno Busta inside Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Watch: World No 1 Novak Djokovic disqualified from US Open 2020 after hitting line judge with ball

Earlier, fifth seed Alexander Zverev bulldozed Spain’s unseeded Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, who struggled with an injury. The German won 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 to reach his first quarter-final at US Open. He will next play Borna Coric.

The Croatian 27th seed, who scripted great escape against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the last match, beat Jordan Thompson 7-5, 6-1, 6-3. This is his first quarter-final at a Major.

Canadian 12th seed Denis Shapovalov also reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final, beating seventh seed David Goffin 6-7 (0/7), 6-3, 6-4, 6-3. He will play Carreno Busta for a place in the semis.

The Spaniard was plaved in a better position in his match against the top seed and was leading 6-5 on serve.

Djokovic appeared to be looking the other way when he pulled the ball from his pocket and smacked it in the direction of the official, it hitting her full toss in the throat. The official cried out and began gasping for air as she collapsed to the ground.

Djokovic rushed over to check on her before she got up and walked off the court looking dazed. But that was it for him in New York. Around ten minutes of discussions then ensued between Djokovic and the tournament referee Soeren Friemel, during which the world No 1 pleaded his case.

The umpire then declared that Carreno Busta had won by default. Djokovic shook hands with his opponent before leaving the court without appearing to shake the umpire’s hand.

He went then directly to his car and left the Flushing Meadows site in New York without speaking to reporters. Djokovic, 33, later posted an apology on Instagram.

The United States Tennis Association said Djokovic had been defaulted under the Grand Slam rules for “intentionally hitting a ball dangerously or recklessly within the court or hitting a ball with negligent disregard of the consequences.”

The body added that he would lose all ranking points and prize money from the tournament.

Referee Friemel said Djokovic told him he should not be defaulted because it was unintentional.

Friemel said he agreed there was no intent but that it was a clear-cut case of Djokovic hitting the ball “angrily and recklessly.” “She was clearly hurt and in pain. There was no other option,” he told reporters.

Djokovic had been the overwhelming favorite to capture a fourth US Open title. His disqualification blows the men’s draw wide open and means it will crown a first-time Grand Slam winner next Sunday.

“Now it gets interesting,” said fifth seed Zverev, who described Djokovic as “very unlucky.”

“It’s going to be one of the young guys,” who wins, Zverev added after becoming the first German to reach the US Open last eight since 2007.


4th rd

Pablo Carreno-Busta (ESP x20) bt Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) 6-5 default

Denis Shapovalov (CAN x12) bt David Goffin (BEL x7) 6-7 (0/7), 6-3, 6-4, 6-3

Borna Coric (CRO x27) bt Jordan Thompson (AUS) 7-5, 6-1, 6-3

Alexander Zverev (GER x5) bt Alejandro Davidovich (ESP) 6-2, 6-2, 6-1

With AFP Inputs