Tsitsipas rides after another long toilet break at the US Open

New York (AFP)

Stefanos Tsitsipas took another long bathroom break, then credited him with qualifying for the third round of the US Open on Wednesday as a storm hitting New York City forced an indoor match to be suspended .

The 23-year-old Greek third seed was booed after taking more than eight minutes between the third and fourth sets, but dominated after his long trip to the bathroom to flush the toilet of Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 6-0 at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“I think take a break and go change – I was completely wet – I was refreshed,” Tsitsipas said when asked what the key was to sweeping the last set in 30 minutes.

“I was much more capable of delivering good tennis in the fourth set. I was able to stay resistant on every point.”

Tsitsipas, who tied his deepest run at the US Open, was ridiculed by Andy Murray and Alexander Zverev for extended bathroom breaks considered a game.

French Open finalist Tsitsipas, who says he is just following ATP rules which have no time limit for bathroom breaks, shot career-high 27 aces, five more than his previous best, winning his 50th game of the year, the best ATP.

“I felt very loose on my serve,” Tsitsipas said. “My pitch was very consistent. It helped me find a place and score points on my serve.”

High winds and water flooded the pitch and wind blown rain entered through openings in the upper corners under the closed roof of Louis Armstrong Stadium to suspend a second round match between South African Kevin Anderson and the Argentinian Diego Schwartzmann.

The remnants of the deadly Hurricane Ida would close the cover court after interrupting the game twice, with the National Weather Service issuing tornado and flash flood warnings for the area.

Anderson and Schwartzman took over from Ashe after Tsitsipas’ victory.

– Kick for Osaka –

Defending champion Naomi Osaka moved forward by forfeit while Russia’s second seed Daniil Medvedev advanced to the third round against Germany’s Dominik Koepfer 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.

Osaka reached the third round when 20-year-old Serbian qualifier Olga Danilovic retired due to illness.

“I haven’t been feeling well the past few days with a viral illness unrelated to covid,” Danilovic said on social media.

Osaka, in search of her fifth Grand Slam title and her third US Open crown in four years, will then face 73rd Canadian Leylah Fernandez.

The 23-year-old Japanese third seed could become the first repeat winner of the US Open as Serena Williams, missing with a hamstring tear, earned her third consecutive spot in 2014.

Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open winner who could meet Osaka in the fourth round, defeated 21st seed Coco Gauff 6-4, 6-2 in an all-American showdown.

“I’m really happy with the way I played,” Stephens said.

Medvedev, who won last month in Toronto, also beat Koepfer en route to the 2019 US Open final, which he lost to Rafael Nadal.

“Excellent level on my part,” said Medvedev. “There were a few tight moments in the game and I managed to play them well. I’m happy to be done in under two hours.”

Russian fifth seed Andrey Rublev defeated Spaniard Pedro Martinez 7-6 (7/2), 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-1. He then faces the American Frances Tiafoe, 50th, who warns: “I’m chasing him”.

– Muguruza, Azarenka wins –

Two-time Grand Slam winners Victoria Azarenka and Garbine Muguruza booked a third round showdown.

Spain’s ninth seed Muguruza, winner of Roland Garros 2016 and winner of Wimbledon 2017, defeated Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 6-2, earning her first victory in four tries against the German.

She will then face Azarenka, two-time Australian Open champion and three-time US Open finalist, the 18th seed from Belarus who beat Italy’s Jasmine Paolini 6-3, 7-6 (7/1).

“The next round is going to be exciting for both of us,” said Azarenka.

Azarenka and Muguruza have shared four career dates.

“It will be a very difficult game. She is still playing very well here,” Muguruza said. “She’s one of the best players there.”

Romania’s 12th seed Simona Halep, 2018 Roland Garros champion and 2019 Wimbledon champion, eliminated Slovakian Kristina Kucova 6-3, 6-1. After an injury-ridden season, this is Halep’s deepest run at the US Open since 2016.

“I feel better. I am more confident,” Halep said. “Before the tournament I was a little worried about injuries.”

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