(Update 2: changes headline, adds Zverev-Sock match)
New York, US, Sep 4 (EFE).- American world No. 43 Shelby Rogers pulled off a shock comeback on center court at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday night with a three-set 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (5) win over world No. 1 Australian Ashleigh Barty.
Rogers, who is playing her 8th US Open, reached the fourth round for the second consecutive year after she achieved her best ranking by reaching the quarterfinals of the tournament last year.
The 28-year-old American, who faced reigning Wimbledon champion Barty for the sixth time, had lost all five previous meetings.
Rogers, in the two hours and eight minutes that the match lasted, hit 18 winners to 20 unforced errors, compared to 37 and 39, respectively, by Barty, who committed eight double faults and struck six aces.
“I was just trying to stay in the point longer than Ash,” Rogers said after the match.
“She was handling my pace really well tonight, I feel like the harder I hit the ball, the better she hit, so I tried to throw in some high ones. That is definitely not the way I like to play, but it’s what I needed to do tonight. So I was happy with myself for problem-solving.”
Rogers’ fourth round opponent will be British teenager Emma Raducanu, world No. 150, who thrashed Spain’s Sara Sorribes 6-0, 6-1.
Barty’s elimination comes a day after world No. 3 and defending champion, Japan’s Naomi Osaka, lost in three sets to Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez, ranked 73rd.
Earlier, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic kept his hopes of a calendar-year Grand Slam alive with a 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Kei Nishikori in the third round of the US Open.
After dropping the first set, the 34-year-old recovered to win the next three and extend his dominance over Japan’s Nishikori, who has lost 17 straight matches to the Serb.
Nishikori, a US Open finalist in 2014, rattled Djokovic with an aggressive approach and the 2021 Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon champion trophies finished the opening set with 20 unforced errors.
But the Serbian settled down after that, aside from a brief lapse in the third set, and moved on to the fourth round for the 14th time.
A triumph at Flushing Meadow would make Djokovic the first man to win the calendar-year Grand Slam since Australian legend Rod Laver in 1969.
He would likewise be the first man to win 21 Grand Slam trophies. Currently, Djokovic, Swiss great Roger Federer and Spain’s Rafael Nadal are tied at 20 Slams apiece.
“Really amazing match to be a part of,” Djokovic said afterward on the court. “Great experience. Big credit to Kei who played on a very, very high level today.”
Later, fourth-seeded German Alexander Zverev came back after losing the first set in his third-round match against American Jack Sock to roll into the Round of 16.
Sock, who played some incredible tennis to take the first set, retired with the score at 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 2-1 in Zeverev’s favor due to an upper right-leg injury that prevented him from maintaining that level.
“Jack is an incredible player. He’s been Top 10, he’s beaten me multiple times, he’s beaten top players multiple times. He’s a Masters 1000 champion and he showed it in the first set,” Zverev said in his on-court interview.
“He hit three-thousand winners and zero unforced errors in that first set, so when he’s playing like that, I’ve actually never seen that before. I’ve never played against anybody who was playing at that level, so I hope he can get healthy again and he’ll be at the top of the game very soon.”