Federer, Williams sail on but Nishikori ousted | The Daily Star
06:56 AM, August 31, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 07:05 AM, August 31, 2019

Federer, Williams sail on but Nishikori ousted

Roger Federer and Serena Williams, the all-time leaders in Grand Slam titles, cruised into the fourth round of the US Open on Friday while 2014 US Open runner-up Kei Nishikori was ousted by Australian Alex de Minaur.

Federer routed Britain's 58th-ranked Dan Evans 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 in only 80 minutes, blasting 48 winners to just seven for Evans, whose effort was hampered by an 18-hour turnaround between matches.

"I really enjoyed myself," Federer said. "I was able to adjust and take care of business so it was good."

After dropping the first set in his first two matches, Federer was solid from start to finish.

"What matters the most is that I'm in the third round after those two sort of slow starts," Federer said. "I actually can go through three sets in a row playing really good tennis."

Evans blasted organizers for playing him first on limited rest after a rain-delayed match on Thursday while his 38-year-old Swiss rival, a 20-time Slam champion, rested after playing Wednesday under the roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

"I was fatigued," Evans said. "I thought it was pretty tough I was first up after playing yesterday, if I'm being brutally honest, so it was a bit disappointing.

"Just to try and beat him feeling tired, stiff, playing four sets yesterday, it's near on impossible, but I actually thought he played pretty much no-error tennis."

Next up for Federer is Belgian 15th seed David Goffin.

Williams continued her quest for a 24th career Grand Slam title to equal Margaret Court's all-time record by crushing 44th-ranked Czech Karolina Muchova 6-3, 6-2 in 74 minutes.

"I had a lot of intensity today, which is really good for me," said Williams, whose next opponent is Croatian 22nd seed Petra Martic.

The 37-year-old American, six times a US Open champion, has been a runner-up in three of the past five Slams, falling to Naomi Osaka in last year's US Open final.

She last won a Slam crown at the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant and hasn't won the US Open title since 2014.

Japanese seventh seed Nishikori was dispatched by the 20-year-old De Minaur 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3. The Aussie, on his deepest Grand Slam run, will next face Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov or Polish lucky loser Kamil Majchrzak.

"This is where I feel like my game's at. I want to be pushing second weeks of Grand Slams and putting myself out there. So very happy," De Minaur said. "Hopefully I can just keep it rolling."

It was the first victory over a top-10 foe in 12 tries for De Minaur, who squandered a two-set lead over 2014 US Open winner Marin Cilic in last year's Open third round.

"I had a little bit of a thriller last year versus Cilic and was two sets to love up," De Minaur said. "I was glad I could finally get the win."

Barty, Pliskova advance

Reigning French Open champion Ashleigh Barty, the Aussie second seed, and Czech third seed Karolina Pliskova, chasing her first Grand Slam title, also reached the last 16.

Pliskova, the 2016 US Open runner-up, outlasted Tunisia's Ons Jabeur 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 while Barty dispatched Greek 30th seed Maria Sakkari 7-5, 6-3.

"Physically it was quite a tough battle," Pliskova said. "It was important to win so it doesn't matter how I feel. So pleased to be through."

Pliskova will play British 16th seed Johanna Konta for a quarter-final spot while Barty, a possible Williams quarter-final foe, next meets Chinese 18th seed Wang Qiang.

Barty and Pliskova are battling top-ranked defending champion Osaka to be world number one at the end of the Flushing Meadows fortnight.

Barty has the inside track because Osaka has so many points to defend. The Japanese 21-year-old must win the title to have any chance at staying on top while Pliskova must reach at least the semi-finals.

Top-ranked defending champion Novak Djokovic, who has won four of the past five Slam titles and 16 overall, was set to play a night match against 111th-ranked American Denis Kudla, who has never beaten a top-10 rival in 10 tries.

The 32-year-old Serbian, a three-time US Open winner, has been no worse than a US Open semi-finalist since a third-round exit in 2006.

Should Djokovic win, he will face three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka in the fourth round. The Swiss 23rd seed eliminated Italian lucky loser Paolo Lorenzi 6-4, 7-6 (11/9), 7-6 (7/4).

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