defending champion Iga Swiatek eliminated; Novak Djokovic joins a garrison of Americans in the quarter-finals

Jelena Ostapenko (left) shakes hands with Iga Swiatek, whom she just beat in the round of 16 at the US Open, in New York on September 3, 2023.

This is called a blockage. For the fourth time in four games in her career against Jelena Ostapenko, world number one Iga Swiatek lost Sunday, September 3, against the Latvian, 21e world player. Double trouble: with this setback conceded in the round of 16 of the US Open, the Pole abandons her crown won on the courts of Flushing Meadows last year and will lose, at the end of the tournament, her place at the top of the hierarchy of women’s tennis, in favor of the Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka.

Swiatek presented herself at 22 as the main favorite in New York where she was aiming for a fifth Grand Slam title after Roland-Garros (2020, 2022 and 2023) and the US Open 2022.

But Ostapenko, 26, didn’t just control the power of the Pole, she outpaced her. “I knew it would be difficult, but I also knew I had to play my game and be aggressive because she doesn’t like it”commented the Latvian, real pet peeve of Swiatek.

After losing the first set 6-3, Ostapenko equalized by winning the next set by the same score. At 5-0 in the last act, the Latvian served for the match but on a winning return, Swiatek redid one of her three late breaks. On the next service game from the Polish, Ostapenko managed to conclude the game with a winning forehand.

Ostapenko had won Roland-Garros in 2017, reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2018, the quarter-finals at the Australian Open this year, but had never ped the third round at Flushing Meadows.

Coco Gauff stops the adventure of the ghost Wozniacki

She will face Coco Gauff (6e) for a place in the semi-finals. The young 19-year-old American put an end to the adventure of the 33-year-old comeback, the Danish Caroline Wozniacki.

“I grew up watching her on TV, so being on the court with her was an honour”commented Gauff. “As she hands over all the balls, you have to be mentally strong and know how to seize your chances”.

Former world number one Wozniacki had retired after being eliminated in the third round of the Australian Open in 2020. After three and a half years during which she married and gave birth to two children, she announced his return to the circuit last June. Dropped to 623e rank of the WTA, she received an invitation to play at Flushing Meadows where she ped three rounds with victories in particular against Petra Kvitova (11e) and Jennifer Brady, semi-finalist in New York in 2020.

And for Coco Gauff, dismissing Wozniacki was not easy. He had to fight for three sets to finally win 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.


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The other quarter-final at the top of the women’s table will oppose the Czech Karolina Muchova (10e), finalist of the last Roland-Garros, to the Romanian Sorana Cirstea (30e) who respectively beat the Chinese Xinyu Wang (53e), 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 and Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic (13e), 6-3, 6-3.

Quiet Djokovic

In the men’s draw, Novak Djokovic continues his journey to a 24e Grand Slam title: the Serb quietly eliminated Croatian Borna Gojo (105e and from qualifying) 6-2, 7-5, 6-4.

“We had never faced each other on the main circuit, but I watched his games in qualifying and this week and I could see he was physical and hitting hard. I had to neutralize his serve.analyzed Djokovic.

For his thirteenth quarter-final at Flushing Meadows – like Andre Agi and Roger Federer but still four lengths behind Ivan Lendl – he will face the American Taylor Fritz (9th). The latter stopped the Swiss from qualifying Dominik Stricker (128e) 7-6 (7/2), 6-4, 6-4.

“The match ended in three sets, but it really came down to a few points, and I was able to raise my level at those times”commented Fritz.

At 25, he will play the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam tournament for the second time in his career after Wimbledon in 2022. He had never ped the third round in his national Major in seven appearances.

Three Americans in the quarterfinals

There will be three Americans in the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows this year: Frances Tiafoe, semi-finalist last year, and Ben Shelton accompany Fritz, but will compete for a place in the last four.

Shelton (47e) beat compatriot Tommy Paul (14e) 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. The young American hopeful (20 years old) signs his second Grand Slam quarter for his first full year on the ATP circuit, after the Australian Open in January, where he had just been eliminated by Paul. In Australia, “I learned how to be mentally strong”, he explained after his victory. He said he now has ” the faith “ in his ability to win matches and go far in major tournaments.

Tiafoe (10e), he logically beat the Australian Rinky Hijikata (110e) 6-4, 6-1, 6-4.

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The World with AFP

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