Title favorites Rafael Nadal and Iga Swiatek both managed to fight their way through to the third round of the US Open, while another big name crashed out in the women’s draw.
For the second game in a row, Nadal overcame a poor start, dropping the opening set of his match against Italian Fabio Fognini, and faced the prospect of dropping two sets to love when trailing 2-4 in the second set.
However, the Spaniard would display all of the fighting qualities that defined his nearly two-decade career, winning the last four matches to win it 6-4 and level the match at one set apiece.
From then on, the 36-year-old lost just three more games as he cruised to a four-set victory, demanding revenge for a painful loss to the Italian in 2015, in which he lost a two-set lead and lost in five for the first (and so far only) time at a Major.
His four-set victory came despite 37 unforced errors and, by his own admission, “one of the worst starts, probably ever.”
It should be noted, however, that Nadal has had worse starts before, once losing the first set of a Wimbledon final 6-0 to Roger Federer in 2006; that year ranks as the Swiss maestro’s most dominant seasons.
(Photo by TPN/Getty Images)
The king of clay’s next task is to face French veteran Richard Gasquet, against whom he is a perfect 17 out of 17, including twice at the US Open, in the first round in 2009 and in the semi-finals in 2013. .
Earlier in the day, another Spaniard with similar traits to Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz, bulldozed his way into the third round with another outright victory, this time over Federico Coria.
After Alcaraz came through the first two sets for the loss of just three games, the 19-year-old with bright prospects was challenged in the third, being stretched at 7-5 but still winning in straight sets in two hours and 12 minutes. .
He will next face unseeded American Jenson Brooksby in the third round and remains on course to face 2014 champion Marin Cilic in the fourth round, and his childhood idol Nadal in the semi-finals.
While it was a successful day for the two Spaniards separated by age of almost 17 years, that was not the case for women’s fourth seed Paula Badosa, who capped off a dismal year at the Majors after being beaten by Croatian Petra Martic in three sets.
The 24-year-old won the first set in a tiebreaker but was only able to play three games after that, meaning she is yet to get past the second round at Flushing Meadows.
It is also the sixth consecutive Major in which she has failed to reach the quarter-finals, and her departure also came 24 hours after second seed Anett Kontaveit and third seed Maria Sakkari were bombed on day 3.
Martic progresses to face 26th seed Victoria Azarenka, while former Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic and former world number one Karolina Pliskova staged a tantalizing third-round clash with victories over Sorana Cirstea and Marie Bouzkova , respectively.
Although there was disappointment for Badosa, another Spaniard, Garbine Muguruza, continued her strong run through the draw with a straight-set loss to Czech qualifier Linda Fruhvirtova to advance to the third round. for the second consecutive year.
She will next face fellow two-time Major champion Petra Kvitova, seeded 21st, after the 32-year-old was knocked out in the third round when her opponent Anhelina Kalinina withdrew due to illness.
Sixth seed Aryna Sabalenka came back from the brink in her match against Estonian veteran Kaia Kanepi, coming from 2-6, 1-5 down and 2-5 in the second set tiebreaker, and saving two match points to win a miraculous three sets. victory, 6-4 in third.
Previously, there had been no such problems for top seed Iga Swiatek, who dismissed 2017 champion Sloane Stephens at Arthur Ashe Stadium and is now the highest remaining seed in her section of the draw. .
(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
The defending French Open champion will next face another American, Lauren Davis, who was bageled in the first set but came back to defeat Ekaterina Alexandrova in three sets, earning victory in the final set super tie-break, 7 -6 (10-5).
There were also victories for American pair Jessica Pegula and Danielle Collins, the latter backing up her triumph over two-time champion Naomi Osaka with another straight win over Spanish qualifier Cristina Bucsa.
Not only will we see the first clash of the top seeds when the third round kicks off this morning (AEST), but it promises to be a huge day for those lucky enough to secure a ticket to Arthur Ashe Stadium for the sessions. day or night.
2012 champion Andy Murray is the first to face Italy’s 13th seed Matteo Berrettini, before an all-American clash between Madison Keys and Coco Gauff brings the curtain up on another big night featuring outgoing favorite Serena Williams.
It’s Croatian-turned-Australian Ajla Tomljanovic who faces the toughest task of her career as she takes on the game’s greatest player in front of nearly 30,000 fans at the world’s biggest tennis stadium.
She has faced Victoria Azarenka, Ashleigh Barty and Garbine Muguruza in the past, beating the latter in Indian Wells last year, but Williams will be the most skilled opponent she has ever faced.
The highest seed remaining in the bottom half of the draw, Ons Jabeur, takes on Barty’s third-round conqueror from last year, Shelby Rogers, in the opener at Louis Armstrong Stadium, while Bianca Andreescu and Nick Kyrgios will feature in the night-time session.
The other Australian remaining in the draw, 18th seed Alex de Minaur, will face 12th seeded Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta on the stand, this match will be played at dusk.
Matches to follow on day 5
Arthur Ashe Stadium
Day session – from 12:00 p.m. (2:00 a.m. AEST)
Andy Murray (GBR) against  Matteo Berrettini (ITA)
 Madison Keys (USA) vs.  Coco Gauff (USA)
Night session – from 7:00 p.m. (9:00 a.m. AEST)
Ajla Tomljanovic (Australia) vs Serena Williams (USA)
 Daniil Medvedev (RUS) against Yibing Wu (CHN)
Louis Armstrong Stadium
Day session – from 11:00 a.m. (1:00 a.m. AEST)
 Ons Jabeur (TUN) vs  Shelby Rogers (USA)
 Tommy Paul (USA) vs.  Casper Ruud (NOR)
 Alison Riske-Amritraj (USA) vs. Wang Xiyu (CHN)
Night session – from 7:00 p.m. (9:00 a.m. AEST)
Bianca Andreescu (CAN) against  Caroline Garcia (FRA)
 Nick Kyrgios (Australia) vs. JJ Paul (USA)
Not before 5:00 p.m. (7:00 a.m. AEST)
 Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) against  Alex de Minaur (Australia)