The future of tennis will be on display on Friday at the US Open with a pair of third-round matches showcasing some of the most talented young stars in the sport. Fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas battles No. 27 seed Borna Coric and No. 12 seed Denis Shapovalov squares off against No. 19 seed Taylor Fritz.
Tsitsipas has embraced his role as a top contender to win in New York and powered through his first two rounds without dropping a set. The reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion (d. Thiem) has already surpassed his best result at the US Open and looks to maintain his momentum against Coric. The 23-year-old Croatian made his Grand Slam breakthrough at this event by reaching the second week in 2018 and his win over Dominic Thiem this January at the ATP Cup reaffirmed that he’s capable of beating the world’s best.
Shapovalov holds a flawless 2-0 record in his ATP Head2Head series with Fritz. The 21-year-old Canadian has never lost before the third round in four US Open appearances and his 9-3 record in New York is by far his best at a major championship. He’s aiming to reach the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time since his US Open debut in 2017, when he captivated fans by coming through qualifying before beating Daniil Medvedev and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
“Every year I’ve played here, I’ve had amazing support,” Shapovalov said. “It was a really good start for my career and it’s left such a great feeling for me every time I come back to New York, I always have a little bit of confidence just because I feel like it all kind of started for me in Montreal and New York.”
Fritz seeks his maiden appearance in the second week of a major championship. The American baseliner reached his first ATP 500 final this February in Acapulco (l. to Nadal).
Five years ago, they both won #USOpen junior titles.
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Top seed Novak Djokovic puts his unbeaten (25-0) streak in 2020 on the line when he faces No. 28 seed Jan-Lennard Struff. The three-time US Open champion leads Struff 4-0 in their ATP Head2Head series and convincingly defeated the German last week in the Western & Southern Open quarter-finals, but Struff took a set in their clash at this year’s Australian Open. Djokovic hit 51 winners in a high-quality four-set win on Wednesday against Kyle Edmund and remains the on-paper favourite to lift the trophy next Sunday.
“I don’t feel like energy or recovery is going to be an issue for me. On the contrary, I actually feel very fit,” Djokovic said. “I like my chances [in a] best-of-five [match] on center court at the US Open against anybody in the world. Being an experienced player and playing on big stages so many times helps in these particular situations. I’m just going to do what I know works best for me and hope for the best.”
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Fifth seed Alexander Zverev has consistently improved his US Open results each year and hopes to continue that trend when he meets No. 32 seed Adrian Mannarino. The German leads their ATP Head2Head series 2-0. Although Zverev has struggled with his serve at times this week and hit 16 double faults across his first two matches, the 23-year-old is pleased with his progress and the work he’s put in with his new coach, former World No. 3 David Ferrer.
“The work has been incredible. I enjoyed the practices more than I did in the past few years,” Zverev said. “I think he’s enjoying it, I’m enjoying it, and he said the most important thing is to have fun with what you do.”
Other notable matches on Friday include seventh seed David Goffin taking on No. 26 seed Filip Krajinovic. The Belgian has lost his past two matches to Krajinovic (1-2) in their ATP Head2Head series. Pablo Carreno Busta, the No. 20 seed and 2017 US Open semi-finalist, looks to continue his success in New York against Ricardas Berankis.