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Top seed Novak Djokovic advances to fourth round at U.S. Open

Novak Djokovic hits a return during his straight-sets victory over Denis Kudla on Aug. 30.
Novak Djokovic hits a return during his straight-sets victory over Denis Kudla on Friday night.
(Chaz Niell / Getty Images)

Enjoying a respite from recent shoulder pain, No. 1 men’s seed Novak Djokovic won in straight sets for the third consecutive time by defeating American Denis Kudla 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 on Friday at Arthur Ashe Stadium. That put Djokovic in the fourth round against No. 23 Stan Wawrinka, who beat Djokovic in the 2016 U.S. Open final. “We had some great battles over the years, especially here,” said Djokovic, who holds a 19-5 edge head-to-head.

Djokovic declined to specify when he injured his left shoulder. “I did a lot of things in the last few days to be able to play,” said Djokovic, who had received extensive treatment during his second-round match but called it “almost pain-free” Friday.

Wawrinka, who advanced with a 6-4, 7-6 (9), 7-6 (4) victory over Paolo Lorenzi, often practices with Djokovic. “Is always difficult to play. There’s something with him that when I get into my best game, I know that it’s going to have some big rally, I’m going to play good tennis,” Wawrinka said.

Coco Gauff, the 15-year-old American tennis sensation, is already a winner as she prepares to play top-ranked Naomi Osaka at the U.S. Open on Saturday.
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Daniil Medvedev of Russia was roundly booed at Louis Armstrong Stadium after he threw his racket at the umpire, gave the middle finger to the crowd and snatched a towel from a ballboy’s hands during his 7-6 (1), 4-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4 victory over Feliciano Lopez, but he credited fans’ jeers for inspiring him. “Thank you, because your energy gave me the win tonight,” he said. “I want all of you to know when you sleep tonight, I win because of you. The more you do this, the more I will win for you guys.”

Good beginning, end

It’s not usually news when Roger Federer wins in straight sets. But after he lost the first set of each of his first two matches here, it was noteworthy when he rolled to a 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 decision over Daniel Evans on Friday. “You almost tend to forget what happened and you move forward,” the No. 3 seed said after completing the first match of a pleasant day beneath the open roof of Arthur Ashe Stadium. You’re like, ‘I actually can go through three sets in a row playing really good tennis.’”

His fourth-round opponent will be No. 15 David Goffin of Belgium, who won two tiebreakers to get past Pablo Carreno Busta in three sets.

Alex de Minaur of Australia recorded his first victory over a top-10 player when he took out No. 7 Kei Nishikori of Japan, 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3. “I knew that I couldn’t have any lapses of concentration, because obviously Kei, the firepower he has, if he gets things going, then I’m definitely in trouble,” said de Minaur, who will face Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round.

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Etc.

Serena Williams prefers day matches to night contests because they give her more time with her daughter Olympia, who will be 2 years old Sunday. Williams, the No. 8 seed, got extra family time thanks to a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Karolina Muchova on Friday afternoon.

Williams gave the crowd an A-plus but wouldn’t assess her performance. “Just gotta keep playing and believing,” she said.

She will next face No. 22 Petra Martic, who upset No. 12 Anastasija Sevastova in straight sets.

In a battle of Americans, No. 10 seed Madison Keys defeated No. 20 Sofia Kenin 6-3, 7-5. Keys began to feel nauseous in the middle of the first set and called a doctor to the court. “Luckily, I was able to get through it,” she said.


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