Djokovic Continues Slam Hunt As New York Recovers From Flash flooding

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Serbia’s Novak Djokovic prepares to throw tennis balls to fans after winning his 2021 US Open Tennis tournament men’s singles first round match against Denmark’s Holger Rune during their at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on August 31, 2021. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP)

 

Australia’s top-ranked Ashleigh Barty rolled into the third round of the US Open on Thursday while New York struggled to recover from a deadly storm and flash flooding.

Remnants of Hurricane Ida killed at least eight people and triggered a rare state of emergency for the city, flooding subways and turning roads into rivers.

With abandoned cars scattered across streets near the National Tennis Center and many highways shut down, only a smattering of spectators watched in a cavernous Arthur Ashe Stadium as Barty dispatched Danish 18-year-old Clara Tauson 6-1, 7-5.

Barty send a backhand long to surrender a break in the 10th game of the second set while serving for the match but held her nerve, broke back and held again to win in 90 minutes.

“I’ve always been quite a calm person,” Barty said. “That’s certainly part of my game.”

Barty, who next plays American Shelby Rogers or Romania’s Sorana Cirstea, seeks her third career Grand Slam title, her second in a row after Wimbledon, and her sixth trophy of the year as well as her first US Open quarter-finals appearance.

World number one Novak Djokovic was set to continue his quest for the calendar-year Grand Slam in the night feature on Ashe against Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor.

Djokovic is eyeing the first men’s singles calendar Slam since Rod Laver in 1969 if he captures a fourth career US Open crown.

The 34-year-old Serbian is also six wins away from his 21st career Grand Slam crown, which would give him the men’s all-time record, one more than the mark he now shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, both absent with injuries.

Swiss 11th seed Belinda Bencic, the Tokyo Olympic champion, beat Italy’s Martina Trevisan 6-3, 6-1 in windy conditions.

“That was a little bit tricky but after yesterday’s bad weather I’m not complaining,” Bencic said. “Thanks to everyone for coming. I know it was not easy.”

Above the US Open grounds, there were sunny blue cloudless skies. Outdoor furniture scattered by high winds had been restored or replaced. High water that flooded plazas the night before had drained away.

Wind-blown rain went under and through the closed roof at Louis Armstrong Stadium, forcing a match to be finished at Ashe, but the swamped venue had players practicing Thursday morning.

“Thank you for your patience with last night’s events and we hope that you are safe,” the tournament tweeted.

“The safety of our fans, players and staff is of the utmost importance,” said a statement from the US Tennis Association, which delayed outer court starts by an hour to allow extra time for cleanup.

– Pizza stop for Sloane –

Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open winner, tweeted a warning on Wednesday night as she departed, saying, “This weather is scary. Please be careful.”

Later she shared a photo of a huge pizza, tweeting, “We’ve been stuck in flooding and stand-still traffic for more then 2 hours so we decided to stop and make the most of it.”

Massive traffic jams in the region, emergency conditions and calls by authorities for people to stay at home appeared set to limit attendance on the fourth day of the year’s final Grand Slam.

Germany’s fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev, the Tokyo Olympic champion and last year’s US Open runner-up, has the second match on Ashe against 33rd-ranked Spanish left-hander Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Czech fourth seed Karolina Pliskova faces American Amanda Anisimova after Djokovic is finished.

Japan’s Kei Nishikori, the 2014 US Open runner-up, faces Mackenzie McDonald, seeking revenge for a Washington semi-final loss to the American last month. The winner books a potential third-round matchup against Djokovic.

Either American Maxime Cressy or German Oscar Otte could become the fifth qualifier into the men’s third round. There haven’t been so many so deep at any Slam since six at the 2011 French Open and not at the US Open since five made it in 1984.

Otte, ranked 144th, plays 92nd-ranked American Denis Kudla while Cressy, ranked 151st, meets 39th-ranked Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia.

AFP

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