Thursday’s Match Recap
With all third-round singles matches contested on Thursday along with second-round doubles, it was a smorgasbord of tennis for fans.
Top seed Carlos Alcaraz and No. 14 Tommy Paul thrilled the Center Court crowd, splitting the first two sets in tiebreaks. The 12th game of the second set lasted 15 minutes and 24 points, with Paul saving three match points to tie the set at 6-all. It was such an enthralling game that the crowd gave the players a standing ovation when it ended. Buoyed by that, Paul reeled off seven straight points to win the tiebreak 7-0 and take it to a third, but Alcaraz regrouped to win the rain-interrupted third set 6-3 to advance to the quarterfinals.
He’ll face qualifier Max Purcell, who continued his inspired run with a defeat of three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka in straight sets just a day after his first ever win over a top 10 player. Purcell is aiming to become only the fourth qualifier to reach the men’s semifinals. Not to be outdone, his Australian countryman Alexei Popyrin became only the fifth lucky loser to ever reach the quarterfinals here when he defeated Emil Ruusuvuori in three sets. He would be the first lucky loser to reach the semifinals. Purcell defeated Popyrin in the final round of qualifying, and they would meet again in the semifinals if they each win their quarterfinal matches.
A day after dropping just one game, top seed Iga Swiatek lost the first set against Qinwen Zheng. So she followed her coach’s advice and employed a surprise strategy – changing her outfit. It proved to be good coaching, because she only lost two games after the wardrobe change to advance to her first Western & Southern Open quarterfinal, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.
Wimbledon winner Marketa Vondrousova is also into her first quarterfinal here after defeating Sloane Stephens 7-5, 6-3. Vondrousova hadn’t won a match here in her three previous appearances but is riding high on confidence from her Wimbledon triumph.
In the men’s draw No. 16 seed Alexander Zverev outlasted third seed Daniil Medvedev in a battle of past champions in front of a packed Grandstand crowd, while Hubert Hurkacz upset No. 4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas. On the women’s side, No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka and No. 7 Coco Gauff won their matches in straight sets.
A pair of Czech countrywomen defeated seeds when Maria Bouzkova upset third seed Jessica Pegula and Karolina Muchova upset eighth seed Maria Sakkari in front of a full Porsche Court crowd. Bouzkova will face Muchova in the first Western & Southern Open quarterfinal for either player. Men’s No. 9 seed Taylor Fritz and Adrian Mannarino both advanced when their opponents retired, as did women’s No. 5 seed Ons Jabeur and qualifier Jasmine Paolini. She is the 10th qualifier to reach the women’s quarterfinals.
After his win Thursday night, Novak Djokovic has now won all 19 of his matches against Gael Monfils making it the most lopsided head-to-head in ATP history, pulling one win ahead of Rafael Nadal’s 18-0 record against Richard Gasquet.
In doubles, two all-American teams scored upsets to the delight of fans. Wild card team Christopher Eubanks and Ben Shelton defeated the fourth seeds, while Alycia Parks and Taylor Townsend saved a set point to upset the fifth seeds and defending champions. Both winning teams advance to the quarterfinals. Zverev is the only player this year to advance to the quarterfinals of both singles and doubles.