Tennis

Back to the drawing board for Barty, Djokovic advances

Top-ranked Ashleigh Barty crashed out of the US Open in the third round yesterday morning (Singapore time), disappointed but ready to "reset" .

The reigning Wimbledon champion won 11 of 14 games after dropping the first set, was then broken twice while serving for the match and eventually lost 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (7/5) to American Shelby Rogers.

"It's never nice when you have a couple opportunities to serve out a match and can't get it done," Barty said. "Six in the third is brutal, It's a tough one to swallow."

The 25-year-old Australian won titles this year at Miami, Melbourne, Stuttgart and Cincinnati as well as her second Grand Slam crown, despite being away from her homeland since February.

She was one round shy of matching her deepest US Open run. It's the only Slam where she hasn't reached the semi-finals.

Barty added: "We reset now. We go back to the drawing board, work out what we want to do for the rest of the season."

Shelby, who had lost her five previous encounters with Barty, took inspiration from a 41-year-old video of former men's world No. 3 Vitas Gerulaitis, who had stunned Jimmy Connors in the semi-finals of the January 1980 Masters.

Gerulaitis had previously lost 16 times to his fellow American.

"This morning I was watching a video of Vitas Gerulaitis when he said, 'Nobody beats me 17 times in a row'. I was only at six, so..." Rogers, the only American left in the women's draw, said in her post-match interview on court before breaking into laughter.

Rogers, 28, will next face 18-year-old Briton Emma Raducanu, who continued her stunning US Open debut by beating 24-year-old Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-0, 6-1.

In the men's draw, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic reached the fourth round with a 6-7 (4/7), 6-3 6-3, 6-2 win over Kei Nishikori to stay on course for a record 21st Major title that would complete the calendar Grand Slam.

Fourth seed Alexander Zverev also advanced after Jack Sock retired with a thigh injury while trailing 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 2-1.

Zverev had looked to be headed for a long night against the big-hitting American, who convincingly won the opening set and refused to surrender until he was broken in the fourth set.

"I would have been planning my holiday in the south of France if Jack continued the way he played in the opening set," said Zverev. - REUTERS

Tennis