Elliott: Best seeds return to enterprise at U.S. Open up

Many thanks to a blast of sunshine and energetic cleanup endeavours, a tickling wind and a couple puddles ended up all that remained at the Billie Jean King Countrywide Tennis Center as reminders of the vicious storm that swept through the New York City region Wednesday night time and flooded streets, highways, and subway stations.

Other than a little delaying the commence of Thursday’s matches for gamers who bought caught in snarled targeted visitors, it was back again to company as normal at the U.S. Open up. For No. 1 women’s seed Ash Barty, small business as common intended a 6-1, 7-5 acquire in excess of 18-yr-old Clara Tauson of Denmark. For No. 1 men’s seed Novak Djokovic, it intended keeping his calendar Grand Slam hopes alive with a 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 rout of Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands, who gave absent 120 spots in the rankings.

“I arrived out on the court with the proper depth, with the right focus,” Djokovic mentioned. “I’m as enthusiastic as at any time to do nicely.”

Djokovic, who’s seeking to win a men’s-file 21st Slam singles title and break his tie with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal — each lacking right here because of to harm — was scientific against Griekspoor. Enthusiasts at Arthur Ashe Stadium tried to back again the underdog but their sympathy wasn’t almost adequate to assist Griekspoor grow to be aggressive.

Djokovic shaped his strategy immediately after watching Griekspoor’s initial-round victory above Jan-Lennard Struff. “He was serving actually properly,” Djokovic claimed. “So I knew that the keys of the match, one of the major keys, is my return, seeking to make him enjoy, trying to make him go. He’s not the best mover on the court. I tried to give him often a diverse search.

“All in all quite fantastic, incredibly great. I’m incredibly delighted with the degree of my tennis. All is likely in the correct way.”

Djokovic needs five wins to develop into the initial person to win all four Grand Slam singles titles in one particular 12 months considering that Rod Laver did so in 1969. Following up for him is Kei Nishikori of Japan, who outlasted former UCLA star Mackenzie McDonald 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-7 (5), 2-6, 6-3. Djokovic has a 17-2 file against Nishikori, like a decline in the 2014 U.S. Open up semifinals.

“He’s a person of the quickest and most talented gamers that I’ve found in my life span, in my occupation,” Djokovic claimed. “I consider it’s vital for me to serve nicely and check out to just take off the rate a little little bit due to the fact he likes the rate. He likes to hit the ball early, secure the line. I look ahead to a excellent problem.”

Ashleigh Barty in a 2nd round match versus Clara Tauson in the U.S. Open up on Thursday.

(Elise Amendola / Associated Push)

Nishikori looks considerably less eager about the matchup. “It’s not anything I enjoy to enjoy all the time because, I indicate, certainly he’s the hardest opponent, one or two. I fairly have another person rank decreased,” Nishikori stated. “I indicate, I generally enjoy the obstacle. Even although I had a lousy report, I always check out to be good. I’m absolutely sure it is heading to be challenging just one, but I do my finest.”

Barty calmly found methods when Tauson pushed back again in the next set on Thursday, notably by using her slice to handle the tempo. Barty’s skill to change speedily and intelligently are important property as she pursues a initially Slam singles title in a hardcourt event she prevailed on clay at the 2019 French Open and on grass at Wimbledon this calendar year.

“I don’t come into this tournament with any expectation of myself to truly feel entitled to go deep into the event or gain the event or what ever it may well be,” Barty stated. “I just have to enjoy each and just about every match as I would just about every other match and be prepared to participate in my very best tennis as very best I can on that supplied day towards my opponent.”

Without the need of Federer, Nadal and Serena Williams — who has a torn hamstring — the U.S. Open up has shed a large chunk of its star ability. But their absence has provided young gamers an opening, and some on Thursday seemed poised to capitalize: No. 4 men’s seed Alexander Zverev missing only 4 game titles in his second-round earn in excess of Albert Ramos-Vinolas, and No. 11 women’s seed Belinda Bencic shed four online games in defeating Martina Trevisan. No. 6 Bianca Andreescu of Canada, slowed by injuries because she gained below in 2019, served six aces and broke Lauren Davis’ provide 6 situations for a straight-sets earn that set her into the 3rd spherical.

Unseeded Amanda Anisimova virtually upset No. 4 Karolina Pliskova in a thriller prior to Pliskova outslugged her 7-5, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (7).

Acquiring again to business enterprise as normal was a reduction immediately after Wednesday’s weather conditions-driven chaos. Djokovic and Barty every single took care of their business enterprise convincingly.