US Open Day 5: Naomi Osaka wins tough battle, honors Ahmaud Arbery; American Catherine McNally scores upset

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Naomi Osaka, of Japan, returns a shot to Marta Kostyuk, of the Ukraine, during the third round of the US Open tennis championships, Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Naomi Osaka battled through a tough third-round matchup against Marta Kostyuk. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The 2020 US Open returned to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center this week with no fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s a roundup of the fifth day of action.

Naomi Osaka survives tough test

Naomi Osaka defeated Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk on Friday to advance to the fourth round of the US Open.

The 2018 US Open champion cruised early in the 6-3, 6-7 (7-4), 6-2 win. But she missed multiple chances to break Kostyuk in the second set before the Ukrainian took control, breaking Osaka for the first time to take a 4-3 lead. Osaka responded three games later, breaking Kostyuk to keep the set alive at 5-5 and eventually force a tiebreak.

Osaka won the first two points of the tiebreak. But Kostyuk reeled off four straight points from there, prompting Osaka to slam her racket to the court. Osaka won the next two points, but Kostyuk closed out the set with the final three points of the tiebreak to force a decisive set.

Osaka appeared to be in trouble early in the third, trailing 40-0 on her serve in the fourth game. But she saved five break points to tie the third set at 2-2 and broke Kostyuk in the next game to take a 3-2 lead. She would not lose another game as she controlled the rest of match to secure her spot in the fourth round.

Osaka, the No. 4 seed, will face No. 14 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia next.

Osaka honors Ahmaud Arbery

Prior to the match, Osaka wore a mask honoring Ahmaud Arbery, the Black man murdered in February while jogging through a suburban Georgia neighborhood. Osaka has honored victims of racial violence for every match at the US Open, previously wearing masks with the names of Breonna Taylor and Elijah McClain.

Novak Djokovic cruises into fourth round

Top-seeded Novak Djokovic made quick work of No. 28 seed Jan-Lennard Struff on Friday, posting a 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 win that took 1:43 to complete. The win is the 29th straight for the world’s No. 1 player as he remains the favorite to secure his fourth US Open title.

Djokovic will face No. 20 seed Pablo Carreno Busta in the fourth round.

American Catherine McNally pulls off upset

Unseeded 18-year-old American Catherine McNally scored an early upset on Friday, beating No. 21 Ekaterina Alexandrova 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-2).

After dropping the first set, she dominated the second and forced a tiebreak in the third, where she cruised to a 6-1 lead before securing the 7-2 victory. McNally’s win continues a trend of success for American women at the US Open, which saw 11 U.S. women advance to the third round, the most since 1989 and the most at any Major since 1994 at Wimbledon.

McNally, ranked 124th in the world, advances to the third round to face No. 16 seed Elise Mertens of Belgium.

Denis Shapovalov rallies to stun Taylor Fritz

Canada’s Denis Shapovalov completed a stunning rally on Friday in a top-20 matchup with American Taylor Fritz to advance to the fourth round.

Down two sets and trailing 5-2 in the fourth, No. 12 seed Shapovalov looked done. But he won four out of the next five games against 19th-seeded Fritz to force a tiebreak, which he won, 7-5. After that, Fritz didn’t have much in the tank for the fifth as Shapovalov secured a 3-5, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 victory.

Shapovalov advances to face No. 7 seed David Goffin of Belgium in the fourth round.

Stefanos Tsitsipas upset by Borna Coric

Stefanos Tsitsipas said it was the “saddest and funniest” thing that has ever happened in his career. After the 4-seed took two of the first three sets from 27-seed Borna Coric, Tsitsipas, 22, dropped the final two sets during a shocking loss in the US Open.

Tsitsipas grew frustrated in the third set, yelling at his coach and father Apostolos, who was sitting in the stands.

Tsitsipas went on to win that set before dropping the final two.

With the win, Coric, 23, will advance to fourth round, where he’ll take on Australia’s Jordan Thompson.

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