It was a tough day for U.S. upset bids at the US Open as both Shelby Rogers and Tommy Paul saw opportunities slip against the 5th-seed in each respective bracket. Shelby Rogers lost 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 to Ons Jabeur, while Tommy Paul dropped a heartbreaker in an instant classic against Casper Ruud, losing 7-6 (7-3), 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-2), 5-7, 6-0.
While Paul was battling with Ruud, Coco Gauff was cruising to a straight-set victory over Madison Keys, marking the deepest run ever in the US Open for the 18-year-old American star.
With Serena Williams and American qualifier J.J. Wolf both still to come in the night session, day five is shaping up to be one of the better days of the tournament thus far.
Andy Murray’s US Open Ends in Four Set Loss
Andy Murray’s comeback bid came up short on Friday, falling to 13th-seed Matteo Berrettini 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-3. Murray, who missed the US Open in 2019 hadn’t advanced beyond the second round since 2016 before this year. However, his draw hadn’t been entirely difficult as he defeated 24th seeded clay court expert Fernando Cerundolo and American qualifier Emilio Nava, but simply couldn’t hang with the talented Italian on Friday.
Berrettini was off to a strong start to the summer before getting COVID and being forced to miss Wimbledon. He then had an abbreviated hard court circuit but has looked good in his first two matches against Nicolas Jarry and Hugo Grenier. Today, he controlled much of the match, winning 74% of his first serve points and 65% of his points at the net. He hit 55 winners to 51 unforced errors, while Murray hit just 24 winners to 43 unforced errors.
However, there was another key area where Murray suffered. “I served pretty poorly for a large part of the match, which hurt me a lot,” he admitted after the match. Murray was also only able to get 53% of his first serves in, while Berrettini connected on 69%, which was a major difference in the match.
“I’ve got a metal hip,” said Murray. “It’s not easy playing with that. It’s really difficult. I’m surprised I’m still able to compete with guys that are right up at the top of the game. Matches like this, you know, I’m really proud that I have worked myself into a position where I’m able to do that.”
Breakout Run for Jack Draper Ends With Injury
This isn’t the way the 2022 US Open was supposed to end for Jack Draper. The 21-year-old Brit hadn’t lost a set in the first two rounds, including a dismantling of 6th-seed Felix Auger-Aliassime in the second round. He was announcing himself as a future star and seemed all but certain to make a deep run at the US Open until a thigh injury knocked him out in the third round.
Even though things started rough for Draper on Friday, he never panicked. After losing the first set 6-3, Draper reset and won the second set 6-4 and was leading the third set 3-0 before he called a trainer out to look at his thigh.
“It was just the top of my hamstring, like the insertion between the hamstring and the groin,” he explained after the match. “I think I did it 2-Love in the third. I went out to a wide ball and I just felt a twinge. I’ve had problems with it before, and maybe this time it was just a lot of tennis I’ve played in the last seven weeks maybe just caught up a little bit on me.”
Draper continued to battle, taking a 5-2 lead and was just points away from winning the third set, but his body just wouldn’t cooperate. “At this level, you can’t compete if you’re injured, you know. So, yeah, it was a tough one.”
It’s a heartbreaking end and one that Draper will think about for a while, but the young left is in for a long and successful career. “
I think there is a lot of positives I can take from the match, but I think the main thing is that I still need to improve my body. My body is just not ready to go really deep in this tournament. Today at this time, it’s broken down on me. That’s the reality of it. I just need to keep on improving.”
Young Spaniard is Coming into His Own
Lost amidst the big names of the day was a truly stellar match between 39th-ranked Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain and 94th-ranked Daniel Elahi Galan of Colombia.
Galan had stunned fourth-seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the first round and survived a five-set struggle against Australian Jordan Thompson, while Davidovich Fokina had convincingly dispatched Yoshihito Nishioka before surviving a five-setter of his own against Marton Fucsovics.
The 23-year-old Davidovich Fokina was ranked as high as 27th back in April but has struggled on the hard courts this year, going just 4-10 in the lead-up to the US Open. He’s also been inconsistent in the Grand Slams, going 2-3 and not advancing out of the second round in any before today.
The young Spaniard is clearly talented, and played solid tennis today, registering 41 winners but 61 unforced errors, which is an indicator of his enigmatic performance history. But when he is striking the ball well, he is tough to beat and will be a tough fourth round challenge for Matteo Berrettini.
“Against Matteo, we played once, and the week before US Open we practiced together,” said Davidovich Fokina after his match. “We knew each other well, and for sure gonna be a tough battle. He’s playing very good obviously. Now I [have] more confidence than the first day. I’m playing better and, you know, for sure I will enjoy that match against Matteo, because I want it. I want to be there and fight.”
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