Carlos Alcaraz aced his first real test at the US Open on Saturday powering past Britain’s Daniel Evans to move into the fourth round of the year’s final grand slam.
There were also lessons learned about grit under the Arthur Ashe Stadium lights as fifth-seeded Tunisian Ons Jabeur gutted out a 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-3 win over Czech Marie Bouzkova.
Third seed Daniil Medvedev once again worked the US Open graveyard shift on Saturday, beating in-form Sebastian Baez 6-2, 6-2, 7-6(6) to end the Argentine’s 12-match winning streak.
It was the second consecutive match Medvedev started one day and finished it the next, having gone four sets with Australian Christopher O’Connell in a late night battle on Thursday that wrapped early Friday morning.
While not quite yet back to his best, Alcaraz’s form and confidence have been building with each match as he bids to become the first man to defend his US Open title since Roger Federer won five straight from 2004 to 2008.
Against the 26th-seeded Evans the 20-year-old Spaniard mixed moments of brilliance with lapses in focus but was never really threatened on his way to 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win. Alcaraz’s victory contributed to a brutal day for the British contingent with only young gun Jack Draper preventing a third-round wipeout with a 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 win over American wild card Michael Mmoh.
Top seeded Briton, number 16 Cameron Norrie, was dumped out 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 by Italian Matteo Arnaldi while American Peyton Stearns pushed the last British woman Katie Boulter to the exit with a 6-4, 6-3 victory.
In contrast to the British woes, it was another bright day for the home fans as third seed Jessica Pegula led another American push into the last 16, stopping Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.
Joining Pegula were 2017 finalist Madison Keys, a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 winner over 14th seed Liudmila Samsonova.
Romania’s Sorana Cirstea, seeded 30th, defeated 15th seed Belinda Bencic 6-3, 6-3 on Sunday to set up a quarter-final clash with Karolina Muchova.
Vondrousova on track
Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova continued her impressive run, defeating Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2, 6-1 to storm into the fourth round at Flushing Meadows for the first time in five years.
With four American men and the same number of women reaching the fourth round, home fans can dream of a Flushing Meadows trophy sweep no matter how far-fetched that idea might seem.
With Tommy Paul and Ben Shelton also advancing there will four American men in the fourth round at the US Open for the first time since 2011.
In other action, sixth seed Jannik Sinner took down 2017 US Open champion Stan Wawrinka 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 to set up an intriguing fourth-round meeting with 12th-seeded German Alexander Zverev, who was a 6-7(2), 7-6(8), 6-1, 6-1 winner over Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov.
Bopanna in quarters
India’s Rohan Bopanna and his Australian partner Matthew Ebden advanced to the quarter finals of men’s doubles on Sunday. The sixth seeds had a tough outing but finally got past the unseeded British pair of Julian Cash and Henry Pattern 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (10-6).