NEW YORK — Caroline Wozniacki, Iga Swiatek and Novak Djokovic survived a US Open fright and moved into the fourth round.
Djokovic battled back from two sets down to tame fellow Serb Laslo Djere 4-6 4-6 6-1 6-1 6-3.
Wozniacki won the battle of US Open comeback queens by rallying to beat Jennifer Brady 4-6 6-3 6-1 and move into the fourth round at the season’s final Grand Slam.
Karolina Muchova moved into the women´s fourth round with a 7-6 (0), 6-3 victory over Taylor Townsend.
Swiatek didn´t hold back against close friend Kaja Juvan, defeating the Slovenian qualifier 6-0, 6-1, in just 49 minutes to move into the US Open´s fourth round.
The top-seeded defending champion from Poland has dropped only nine games so far in the tournament. She’s handed her opponents 19 6-0 sets on the WTA tour this year.
“I didn´t like the fact I was kind of winning against my best friend,” Swiatek told the crowd in Louis Armstrong Stadium afterward according to AP. “Playing her is like playing a sister. … I don´t have many friends but she´s my best friend.”
In the first match of the day in Arthur Ashe Stadium, 14th-seeded American Tommy Paul moved into the fourth round at Flushing Meadows for the first time, defeating No. 21 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain 6-1, 6-0, 3-6, 6-3. Paul served up the last of his 15 aces to close out the match
“I felt like I served a lot better, came to the net and played full-court tennis,” said Paul, who reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open this year.
Muchova, who reached the final of this year´s French Open, equaled her best showing at Flushing Meadows by pushing the serve-and-volleying American off the net and onto the baseline.
The 132nd-ranked Townsend won just 23 of 70 baseline points and had 39 unforced errors.
Muchova came into the US Open with a career-high ranking and momentum after reaching the final of last month´s tuneup event in Cincinnati, losing to American Coco Gauff in straight sets.
She next faces Xinyu Wang of China, a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 winner over Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia.
Later matches include No. 6 Gauff against 32nd-seeded Elise Mertens, and a matchup of two players who recently returned to tennis, Caroline Wozniacki and Jennifer Brady.
No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic will be in action at night in Arthur Ashe Stadium against fellow Serbian Laslo Djere, the No. 32 seed. Djokovic is chasing his 24th Grand Slam title and the departures of three high seeds in his half of the draw – No. 4 Holger Rune, No. 5 Casper Ruud and No. 7 Stefanos Tsitsipas – could help clear his path.
Elsewhere, Wozniacki and Brady have been the feel-good stories at Flushing Meadows and their storylines converged on a sun-kissed Arthur Ashe Stadium court with the 33-year-old Dane continuing her dazzling return by reaching the last 16.
It seemed improbable just weeks ago that ex-world number one Wozniacki, back playing competitive tennis’s after a three-year break to raise a family, and Brady, rising star and Australian Open finallist in 2021 but sidelined for two years with knee and foot injuries, would face each other at a major.
But 28-year-old Brady, just four tournaments into her comeback, and Wozniacki, playing in her third, looked as if they had never been away by treating fans to some quality tennis that at times had the crowd on their feet.
However it was Wozniacki, twice a US Open finallist, who showed more fitness and a little less competitive rust, winning 11 of 12 games after dropping the opening set.
Having traded early breaks, the opener was decided when Wozniacki, serving at 4-5 and trying to extend the set, suddenly found herself in a 0-40 hole and took out her frustration on her racket by repeatedly smashing it onto the court.
Brady added to that irritation with a quick break to snatch the opener.
Going down a break in the second to trail 2-0, Wozniacki appeared in deep trouble but dug in to easily win the second set and race to 5-0 lead in the third.