US Open Day 5: Nadal, Djokovic In Action
Djokovic to face Seppi for fourth-round berth
The third round of the US Open begins on Friday with three players in action who have yet to be broken during the tournament: No. 1 Novak Djokovic (24 service games), No. 10 seed Milos Raonic (36 games) and No. 19 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (26 games). Also on the schedule are two-time champion Rafael Nadal, two-time semi-finalist David Ferrer and ‘13 quarter-finalist Tommy Robredo, who are three of six Spaniards in the third round.
On Ashe, Djokovic takes a near-perfect record against Italian opponents (30-1) into his third-round match with No. 25 seed Andreas Seppi. The 2011 US Open champion is 10-0 vs. Seppi and he’s won 30 consecutive matches against Italians since losing to Filippo Volandri in his ATP World Tour debut at Umag in 2004.
Nadal has also dominated Italians through the years, winning 19 of his past 21 matches against players with “ITA” next to their names. The two losses were to his opponent in tonight’s match on Ashe, No. 32 seed Fabio Fognini, who beat Nadal at Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona earlier this season. No. 8 Nadal has since avenged those losses with a win over Fognini in the Hamburg final. Fognini is 0-17 lifetime against Top 10 opponents on a hard court.
On Armstrong, reigning champion Marin Cilic defends his title against World No. 56 Mikhail Kukushkin, who upset No. 17 seed Grigor Dimitrov in the second round. Cilic has won 16 straight sets at the US Open since his five-set victory over Gilles Simon in the fourth round last year. Kukushkin, on the other hand, had lost in the first or second round of 16 consecutive tournaments before beating Dimitrov in five sets on Wednesday.
Later on Armstrong, Ferrer takes a 7-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head lead into his meeting with No. 27 seed Jeremy Chardy. Out with an elbow injury throughout the summer, Ferrer fought past Filip Krajinovic on Wednesday by winning 85 per cent of his first serve points despite hitting only one ace. At one of the tournaments that Ferrer missed, ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Montreal, Chardy saved nine match points (in two matches) en route to the semi-finals (l. to Djokovic).
On Grandstand, Tsonga continues his quest to reach the only Grand Slam semi-final that has eluded him. The Frenchman faces unseeded Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky, who is bidding for his first fourth-round berth at a major in his 28th Grand Slam appearance. Following that match, Raonic and No. 18 seed Feliciano Lopez meet for the second time in less than three weeks. Lopez beat Raonic at ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati to even their head-to-head at 3-3. The Spaniard, who has never cracked the Top 10, owns 32 career wins against Top 10 players.
On Court 17, No. 26 seed Robredo meets Benoit Paire in a rematch of the Bastad final won by the Frenchman, then No. 14 seed David Goffin of Belgium faces No. 23 seed Roberto Bautista Agut. Goffin is trying to reach his third career Grand Slam tournament fourth round (’12 Roland Garros, ’15 Wimbledon) while Bautista Agut is looking to reach the fourth round at Flushing Meadows for the second straight year.