First set: Djokovic 5-4 Berrettini* (*denotes next server)
Serving at 30-love, Djokovic pounds his fifth ace of the match but follows it with his third double fault for 40-15. Berrettini then beats his foe on a net approach with a backhand passing shot winner for 40-30, but Berrettini nets a backhand on the next point as Djokovic holds. As this opening set officially enters its second hour, Berrettini will serve to stay in it after the changeover.
First set: *Djokovic 4-4 Berrettini (*denotes next server)
Berrettini follows an unreturnable serve with his fourth ace for 30-love. Djokovic pulls one back but Berrettini rattles off two quick points for his first uncomplicated hold of serve tonight.
First set: Djokovic 4-3 Berrettini* (*denotes next server)
Djokovic goes down love-15 on his serve, rattles off two quick points for 30-15, but gets pinned back by Berrettini during an extended rally for 30-all. Djokovic then misses on a lob winner attempt to give Berrettini his second look at a break tonight at 30-40. Djokovic saves it emphatically with a 118mph ace, his fourth of the night. Berrettini then hits a massive forehand winner to stake another break-point chance … and Berrettini botches an elementary forehand that surely would have given him the break! Back to deuce for a second time. The Italian will surely rue that chance if this opening set doesn’t go his way! From there Djokovic follows a 84mph second-serve service winner followed by a backhand winner to hold and stay on serve in this marathon 51-minute (so far) first set.
First set: *Djokovic 3-3 Berrettini (*denotes next server)
Serving at 15-all, Berrettini blinks first during a greulling baseline exchange to give Djokovic an opening at 15-30. Djokovic flubs an elementary forehand that would have pushed it to 15-40 but instead it’s 30-all. But a Berrettini unforced error on the next point gives Djokovic the break-point chance anyway at 30-40. Berrettini brushes it aside, however, with a 132mph serve down the middle for deuce. Another lengthy game ensues as Berrettini can’t convert on his second, then third, then fourth game points. Djokovic, persistent as ever. Finally on the 15th point of the game, a Berrettini unforced error gives Djokovic his first break-point chance of the game but the Italian saves it with a heavy 134mph serve to the body. Berrettini falters again on his fifth game point as Djokovic slots a forehand winner for deuce number seven. Finally, on the 20th point of a game that spans more than 12 minutes, Berrettini escapes with the hold. Just brutal. Only six games in and the players have been on court for 43 minutes.
First set: Djokovic 3-2 Berrettini* (*denotes next server)
Another taut game. Serving at 30-all, Djokovic pounds his third ace of the night for 40-30 but a sharp Berrettini backhand pushes it to deuce. A seesaw game from there is finally sorted when Djokovic comes to net on his third game point and puts away a forehand volley winner.
First set: *Djokovic 2-2 Berrettini (*denotes next server)
Berrettini falls behind 15-30 on his serve and is made to work hard for the hold, finally getting out of the 12-point service game with his fifth winner of the night.
First set: Djokovic 2-1 Berrettini* (*denotes next server)
Djokovic follows his wobbly opening service game with a far more straightforward hold at love. On serve early in the first.
First set: *Djokovic 1-1 Berrettini (*denotes next server)
Berrettini double-faults then makes an unforced error off his forehand side to quickly go love-30 down on his serve, but follows with a 117mph ace out wide and a 132mph service winner for 30-all. He crunches his second ace of the game, another 117mph number for 40-30, then holds with a sharply angled forehand that Djokovic can’t get back into play.
First set: Djokovic 1-0 Berrettini* (*denotes next server)
Djokovic, serving first, opens with a 124mph ace down the middle. He follows with a forehand unforced error for 15-all, but wins the next two points by hitting a backhand volley winner and outlasting Berrettini over a 19-shot baseline rally for 40-15. Djokovic then follows with another unforced error followed by a double faults and he’s pushed to deuce on his opening service game. They seesaw from there until another Djokovic unforced error – already his fifth of the game – gives Berrettini an early break-point chance. Djokovic saves it with a sizzling 122mph ace down the middle. He gets it to game point thanks to a Berrettini unforced error at the net, but then makes his second double fault of the game for deuce. Djokovic rattles off two quick points from there for the hard-won hold in a service game spanning 14 points and more than eight minutes.
Next up, it’s Novak Djokovic and Matteo Berrettini for the final men’s semi-final berth. It’s a rematch of their French Open quarter-final and Wimbledon final meetings from earlier this summer, both won by the world No 1 in four sets. Here’s what Djokovic said about his Italian foe on Monday following his fourth-round win over Jenson Brooksby:
Hammer of tennis. Next to Del Potro, probably the hardest hitter of serve and forehand. He’s got the lethal-serve-plus-one game. He’s already established as a top player. Without a doubt, he played a couple of I think semi-finals here couple years ago, finals in Wimbledon. That was a tough four-setter.
Look, if he serves well, which is his biggest weapon, he’s tough. He’s tough on any surface to play against. I’ve had some really close matches with him in French Open and Wimbledon recently.
We’re going to play the third grand slam in a row against each other. Hopefully the result will be the same like the previous two.
“I trusted my serve, but now I’m going to trust it even more,” Sakkari says. And why not? The 26-year-old from Greece never faced a break point and won all but eight of the 49 points on her serve. That includes a remarkable 24 of 26 first-serve points won, a torrid 92% clip.
After having never made it past the fourth round in 20 appearances at major tournaments, Sakkari reached the French Open semis in June and has matched that showing here in Queens.
Now she advances to a showdown with British qualifier Emma Raducanu tomorrow night for a place in Saturday’s US Open women’s singles final.
Sakkari wins 6-4, 6-4 to reach US Open semi-finals!
Second set: Plíšková 4-6, 4-6 Sakkari
Sakkari opens with an unforced error off her forehand and she’s behind on her serve for the first time since her opening service game. But she answers with two quick points followed by a 110mph service winner down the middle for a pair of match points. She lets the first slip away with a mishit forehand, then the second with a unforced error on a poorly hit drop shot. Deuce, and for the first time all night on the Sakkari serve. Plíšková then makes another unforced error off the forehand at the end of a 15-shot rally, giving Sakkari a third match point. And this time she converts, crushing a backhand winner to secure her place in the last four!
Second set: Plíšková 4-6, 4-5 Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
A stress-free hold for Plíšková, who pounds her fourth, fifth and sixth aces along the way. But Sakkari will serve for the match and a place in the semi-finals after the change of ends.
Second set: *Plíšková 4-6, 3-5 Sakkari (*denotes next server)
Sakkari opens with a 111mph ace down the middle, then outlasts Plíšková in an 11-shot rally for 30-love. A backhand winner by Sakkari pushes it to 40-love before Plíšková finally wins a point with a forehand winner at the net. 40-15. But Sakkari slams the door shut and consolidates the break from there with a 91mph second serve to the body that Plíšková can’t get back into play. Plíšková to serve to stay in the tournament.
Sakkari breaks in seventh game of second set!
Second set: Plíšková 4-6, 3-4 Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
Another opening for Sakkari as Plíšková falls behind 15-30 on her serve. Plíšková wins the next point for 30-all but follows with an unforced error off her backhand for 30-40, giving Sakkari a break-point chance. Plíšková saves it with an 108mph unreturnable, but follows with another error on the next point to give Sakkari another break oppportunity. This time Sakkari converts when Plíšková nets a forehand early in the point. Could that be the decisive moment? With the way Sakkari is serving it may well be.
Second set: *Plíšková 4-6, 3-3 Sakkari (*denotes next server)
Another love hold for Sakkari, her sixth in eight service games on the night. Simply remarkable. She’s won 95% of her first-serve points (19 of 20) and 81% of the seconds (13 of 16).
Second set: Plíšková 4-6, 3-2 Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
Plíšková goes down love-15, then 15-30 on her serve, and there’s a little bit of an opening for Sakkari. But Plíšková slams it shut with three quick staccato points (all on second serves) to hold.
Second set: *Plíšková 4-6, 2-2 Sakkari (*denotes next server)
Sakkari opens her service game with back-to-back winners for 30-love. She’s now hit twice as many winners (16) as unforced errors (eight). Sakkari then hits a 97mph second-serve service winner for 40-love and closes out (yet another) love hold with an 87mph first serve that Plíšková can’t get back into the court.
Second set: Plíšková 4-6, 2-1 Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
A much-needed straightforward hold for Plíšková. Still on serve early in the second.
Second set: *Plíšková 4-6, 1-1 Sakkari (*denotes next server)
Sakkari races out to 30-love, extending the streak of consecutive points won on her serve to a remarkable 22. Plíšková finally snaps the run when Sakkari misfires on a backhand. Sakkari wins another quick point for 40-15, double-faults for 40-30 before winning the next point to hold her opening service game of the second set.
Second set: Plíšková 4-6, 1-0 Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
Another complicated service game for Plíšková to open the second set. She immediately goes down love-15 with an unforced error early in the point. Sakkari goes on to push it to 30-all with a forehand winner, then another Plíšková double fault gives Sakkari an early break-point chance. Sakkari squanders it with an unforced error off the forehand side, then stakes a second break chance with a drop-shot winner. Plíšková saves that one, too. From there Plíšková noses ahead with a lovely forehand passing shot winner at the end of a 15-stroke rally followed by a 98mph service winner to escape with the hold.
Sakkari wins first set, 6-4!
First set: Plíšková 4-6 Sakkari
Sakkari gives Plíšková no quarter, rattling off four quick points to hold at love once more and serve out the opening set in drama-free fashion. A remarkable serving performance by the No 17 seed: she’s won the last 20 points on her serve in succession since falling behind love-30 in her opening service game.
First set: Plíšková 4-5 Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
Plíšková follows an unforced backhand error with her second double fault of the night to go love-30 down and within two points of losing the first set. But she responds with a 97mph service winner, a forehand winner to cap a 15-stroke rally and a pair of unreturnable serves to hold. Now Sakkari will try to serve out the opener after the change of ends.
First set: *Plíšková 3-5 Sakkari (*denotes next server)
Serving at 15-love, Sakkari hits back-to-back aces followed by a backhand pasasing shot winner for yet another hold at love. That’s 16 straight points on her serve – and she’s only lost one point all night when getting her first serve in. Plíšková to serve to stay in the opener.
First set: Plíšková 3-4 Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
Plíšková pounds her third ace before Sakkari answers with a forehand winner for 15-all. From there Plíšková goes unreturnable, forehand winner, unreturnable for the stress-free hold. But she still trails by a break and will need to make some headway on Sakkari’s serve soon if she hopes to salvage this opening set.
First set: *Plíšková 2-4 Sakkari (*denotes next server)
Sakkari fires a 114mph ace down the middle then rattles off three more quick points for her second straight hold at love. She’s now won 12 straight points on her serve after dropping the first two.
First set: Plíšková 2-3 Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
Plíšková goes down love-15 on her serve when Sakkari settles a 12-shot rally, longest of the match so far, with a nifty drop-shot winner. Sakkari pushes it to 30-all before Plíšková pounds a 116mph first serve down the middle that Sakkari can’t handle for 40-30. Sakkari answers with a clean forehand winner for deuce, but Plíšková then rattles off a quick point followed by her second ace of the night to nail down the somewhat nervy hold.
First set: *Plíšková 1-3 Sakkari (*denotes next server)
Sakkari doesn’t mince about in backing up the break, holding at love. Plíšková contributes to the cause with her fourth and fifth unforced errors of the night (against just the one winner).
Sakkari breaks in third game of first set!
First set: Plíšková 1-2 Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
With Plíšková serving at 15-all, Sakkari slots a forehand winner at the net for 15-30 and the first pressure point of the match. Then a Plíšková unforced error hands Sakkari a pair of break-point opportunities. She needs only one of them, converting the break when Pliskova dumps a forehand into the net early in a baseline exchange.
First set: *Plíšková 1-1 Sakkari (*denotes next server)
Sakkari makes a couple of unforced errors to quickly fall behind love-30 in her opening service game. But she does well to hold from there, going forehand winner, unreturnable, forehand winner before coming to net and forcing Plíšková into a miscue.
First set: Plíšková 1-0 Sakkari* (*denotes next server)
Plíšková, serving to start, races out to 40-love before making a unforced error off the forehand followed by a double fault for 40-30. But before things can get dicey, she crunches a 102mph ace for the hold. Plíšková was already the tournament’s aces leader with 58 coming into tonight. Make it 59.
Plíšková and Sakkari have taken the court for tonight’s first quarter-final. Gorgeous 76F (24C) conditions on Ashe for this one. Chair umpire Alison Hughes has taken her perch. We should be under way shortly.
Tonight’s quarter-final marks the third career meeting between Plíšková and Sakkari. They’ve split the previous two: Plíšková won 6-4, 6-4 in the 2019 Rome semi-finals en route to the title, while Sakkari won 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 at the same tournament one year earlier in the second round.
Here’s what Plíšková had to say about the matchup following her fourth-round win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Monday:
Of course, she’s a tough player. We’ve actually practiced once here before the tournament started. I mean, she’s a fighter. She actually I think really improved her game. She’s playing more aggressive than she used to play. She’s quite dangerous, beat good players this week. Also in Paris she played well. I think she’s having great year. I think she’s confident. It’s going to be difficult. I think I can be the one more aggressive in this match.
Emma Raducanu will be watching tonight’s first match with great interest. After all, the 18-year-old from Kent, who confessed today that she’d booked a flight home for the end of the qualifying tournament, is set to face the winner on Thursday night with a spot in the US Open final on the line.
Radacanu’s $675,000 cheque (£489,000) for reaching the last four more than triples her career winnings to date, but the rewards have already transcended the financial. For starters, getting name-checked by Liam Gallagher.
Hello and welcome to Arthur Ashe Stadium for tonight’s US Open quarter-final twin bill. First up it’s fourth-seeded Karolína Plíšková and No 17 Maria Sakkari, who face off for the final women’s semi-final berth and the opportunity to meet surprise package Emma Raducanu tomorrow night. Then top-seeded Novak Djokovic will continue his pursuit of a record-setting 21st major singles title and the first calendar-year grand slam in men’s tennis in more than a half-century against the sixth seed Matteo Berrettini in a rematch of this year’s Wimbledon final.
Plíšková and Sakkari will be taking the court for their warm-up about 20 minutes from now.