New York (dpa) – After renewed fuss over the Corona case, Dominic Thiem has kept his shot at his first Grand Slam title at the US Open. The Austrian Australian Open finalist reached the last sixteen with a 6: 2, 6: 2, 3: 6, 6: 3 against former tournament winner Marin Cilic from Croatia.
There Thiem faces a wonderful duel with the young Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, who has made a strong impression in New York so far.
“He has great star potential,” said the world’s number three of his next opponent, who was only 20 years old, while standing in front of the microphone wearing a face mask in the almost empty tennis stadium. “I have to improve if I want to go far, especially now against Felix. He is in top form. I am not 100 percent satisfied with the way I play.” Shooting star Auger-Aliassime is number 21 in the world and is in the round of 16 of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time. In the second round, he ended the comeback of Scots Andy Murray.
Thiem gave the former top ten player Cilic no chance in the first two sets, but then had to overcome a small phase of weakness. “In the third and fourth set he increased his level considerably. That’s why sets three and four were very difficult,” said the 27-year-old Austrian. Thiem is one of the most promising challengers for Serbian top favorite Novak Djokovic in the battle for the title.
For his third round match, the disqualification of number one women’s doubles Kristina Mladenovic / Timea Babos made headlines on the sixth day of the tournament. The duo were excluded from the further course of the tournament because of the contact between the Frenchman Mladenovic and Benoit Paire, who was infected with the corona virus. The American tennis association USTA referred in its announcement to the regulations of the health authorities of Nassau County, New York, where most of the players live.
Mladenovic was one of those who spent longer in touch with the player who tested positive for the virus, the USTA statement said. On Friday, Mladenovic’s fellow countryman Adrian Mannarino took on Germany’s number one Alexander Zverev for the third round.
In the women’s competition, in addition to top star Serena Williams, Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin and former world champion Victoria Asarenka reached the last sixteen. 21-year-old American Kenin defeated Tunisian Ons Jabeur 7: 6 (7: 4), 6: 3. Kenin is the highest placed player in the field after Karolina Pliskova’s early exit.
Two-time Grand Slam winner Asarenka beat Polish Iga Swiatek 6: 4, 6: 2. The Belarusian underlined her top form last week with the title at the tournament that was moved from Cincinnati to New York. In the final she took advantage of the fact that her Japanese opponent Naomi Osaka did not participate due to an injury.
Williams did not let her compatriot Sloane Stephens stop her in the hunt for her 24th Grand Slam title. The 38-year-old American won her match in the third round against the US Open winner 2: 6, 6: 2, 6: 2.