Aslan Karatsev and Karolina Pliskova saved match points in their respective clashes to advance to the third round of US Open on Thursday.
Pliskova fired a tournament record 24 aces to defeat 2019 French Open semifinalist Amanda Anisimova, 7-5, 6-7(5), 7-6(7) in the second round.
The Czech’s 24 aces are the most by a woman at the US Open since the stat was recorded in 1998.
Take a bow, ladies.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 3, 2021
“I thought without my serve, tonight would not be possible,” Pliskova said.
“I suppose also because I put so much pressure on my serve with her, I think she also needed to serve this way. I thought we kind of pushed each other with the serve, so that’s why we hold.
“For women’s tennis, normally there is break, break, break, break. That’s quite impressive I think.”
In the men’s draw, Karatsev surged back from two sets down to thwart Jordan Thompson’s upset bid in the second round.
The Russian won 3-6, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(9), 6-1 in four hours and 44 minutes.
“It was really important mentally, (it means) you’re getting tougher,” Karatsev said. “Especially when I had the last losses in the Grand Slams – Roland Garros, Wimbledon – and the US tournaments, so I think it’s really important to my confidence.”
Karatsev survived the two match points during an 18-minute fourth-set tie-break before pulling clear in the fifth set to win a second match in succession for the first time since Rome in May.
He won 73 per cent of first-serve points, and finished with 57 winners and 54 unforced errors. It was a victory he hoped would become the launching pad to another deep run at a major.
“We will see. I have to push myself, I have to do my best every day,” he said. “There are no easy matches.”
Djokovic, Zverev through
Novak Djokovic moved closer to completing his Grand Slam dream on Thursday evening by dismissing Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 in the second round of the US Open.
The World No. 1 won the season’s first three majors at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon. The Serbian kept his hopes of lifting the trophy at Flushing Meadows after one hour and 39 minutes.
Alexander Zverev continues to shape up as the man most likely to disrupt Novak Djokovic’s quest for the Grand Slam at the US Open after powering into the third round Thursday with a crushing 6-1, 6-0 6-3 win over Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas.