Daniil Medvedev completed a perfect Week One at the US Open with a third consecutive straight-sets win, with the 2019 finalist beating American neophyte JJ Wolf 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday.
The Russian needed less than two hours to get the job done for a fourth-round spot.
“It’s good that I managed to win in three sets; after six months of not playing tennis, it’s not easy to recover from playing five or four-set matches,” Medvedev said.
“With a day off and just a three-setter to play, I’m feeling good.”
Medvedev tuned up for the no-fans major being played at a locked down Flushing Meadows venue by reaching the semi-finals of the “Cincinnati” Masters held here last week under similar conditions.
The winner of two Masters 1000 titles ended with a miniscule 10 unforced errors.
Medvedev said his situation between 2019 and 2020 could not be more different here.
“Coming to the US Open (2019) I had two finals and one Masters title, my first.” he said.
“It’s completely different here. We played the Cincinnati tournament but in New York, in the same place, it was kind of a warmup for a Slam, which of course
everybody played till the end.
“I’ve played three good matches, won all of them in straight sets against not easy opponents. Talking about my game, I feel confident right now.”
Wolf, making his Grand Slam debut, was never able to trouble the third seed,who broke seven times in the dominating performance.
Fellow Russian Andrey Rublev, the tenth seed, was ruthless against Salvatore Caruso, hammering the Italian 6-0 6-4 6-0 in 86 minutes with 17 aces and eight breaks of his 100th-ranked opponent.
” I was quite happy with my performance today, I was quite focused,’ Rublev said. “I didn’t really give my opponent a chance to come back.
“I was trying to win, I didn’t want any more comebacks from him.
“To be honest, I won three matches in three sets but I think I was a little bit lucky – it just happened this way.
“Sometimes it will be the opposite, I will need five sets to win. In the end the most important thing is the result.”
Italian seventh seed Matteo Berrettini had a faithful fan from his 2019 semi-final days cheering from just outside his boundary court inside the locked-down tennis venue in Queens.
Berrettini delivered the goods to his fellow Italian Giovanni Bartocci, owner of the Manhattan restaurant where the player dined nearly every night a year ago during the Grand Slam run of his career, beating Norway’s Casper Ruud 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.
He next plays Rublev, whom he has beaten three of four times.
“It’s going to be a rematch, same round (as 2019) But different conditions and a different US Open – but I think we are two different players now.
“We’ve both improved a lot. He started the year like crazy – he won two tournaments in a row.
“He’s been improving every day, every week. It’s going to be really tough.”
Spain-based Australian Alex De Minaur shocked 11th seed Karen Khachanov 6-4, 0-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, an upset effort lasting for a shade over three hours, with the underdog producing a crosscourt winner on match point.
.De Minaur joined compatriot and friend Jordan Thompson in the fourth round.
It is the first time in almost two decades – Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt in 2001 – that a pair of Aussies made the second week of a major.
De Minaur had to snap out of a meltdown as he lost the second set to love, with Khachanov earning five consecutive service breaks and winning eight straight games to take a two-sets-to-one lead.
“I’m sorry to everyone out there watching. It’s not the way I want to conduct myself on the tennis court,” the winner said of his blow-up.
“It’s not something that’s normal for me, I’m very disappointed in myself and the attitude I had.
“I’m happy that I got through it, and I managed to turn things around. It’s something that just can’t happen – and won’t happen again.”
Spanish eighth seed Roberto Bautista Agut headed for the exit after a 7-5, 2-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 loss to Vasek Pospisil.
In the 29 Grand Slams he has played, the 30-year-old Canadian has only once – Wimbledon 2015 – been this far at a major with almost two dozen first and second round losses littering his record.
Victory was the second upset in three days for the Canadian ranked 94th; he knocked out countryman Milos Raonic, the weekend “Cincinnati” finalist here, on Thursday.
Pospisil produced a massive 70 winners to post his first victory against his Spanish opponent after three losses; the Canadian now stands 11-5 for this curtailed season.