Djokovic retires, Barty, Pliskova crash out of U.S. Open
There were major upsets in both men’s and women’s events of the U.S Open yesterday. The top-seeded Novak Djokovic retired while second-seeded Ashleigh Barty of Australia lost to China’s Qiang Wang and the third-seeded Czech star Karolina Pliskova was sent packing by British Johanna Konta.
Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka won the first set 6/4 and it seemed Djokovic would turn around the match when he achieved an early break for 3-0 and a 4-2 lead in the second set. He staved off two break threats in the seventh game but eventually conceded and Wawrinka served to level four games apiece. Wawrinka outlasted Djokovic in rallies and was rewarded with the second set 7/5. Djokovic held serve to lead 1-0 in the third set and Wawrinka levelled 1-all. In the third game, Djokovic did not win a point on serve as he conceded a break for a 2-1 lead. Then the world number one walked up to the umpire to announce his withdrawal on account of a nagging left shoulder injury.
It was the fifth time that Wawrinka defeated Djokovic in their 26 career meetings and four of his victories occurred at Grand Slam events, including the title match in the 2014 U.S. Open.
The second-seeded Barty dropped the first set 2/6 to the 18th seeded Wang and was unable to turn around the match in the second set that ended 6/4. The two players women served brilliantly, both achieving an equal 71 per cent success on first serves and winning the points played after.
However, Wang won almost double the number of points on second serves and broke her opponent’s serve three times out of six opportunities. Barty, however, did not convert any of nine break chances. That made the difference. At the finish line, Wang amassed a total of 66 points to Barty’s 57.
Johanna Konta dropped the first set in a one-sided tiebreak that ended 7-1, but secured a crucial break to take the second set 6/3. The third set was long-drawn, but Konta took the twelfth game for a 7/5 victory. It was her second victory over Karolina, who had won six career match-ups, including the final of the 2019 Rome tournament.
Now that two of the top three women have crashed out, Serena Williams has a great opportunity to achieve her quest of a 24th career Grand Slam. She will have to contend with Naomi Osaka, who defeated her in last year’s final. For the men, Djokovic’s departure puts Federer as the favourite in the upper bracket and might likely meet Nadal in the final.