Zverev, Barty win at US Open as New York recovers from floods

New York (AFP) –


Tokyo Olympic champion Alexander Zverev and top-ranked Ashleigh Barty rolled into the third round of the US Open on Thursday while New York struggled to recover from a deadly storm and flash flooding.

Remnants of Hurricane Ida struck Wednesday night and killed at least 17 people, triggering a rare state of emergency for the city, flooding subways and turning roads into rivers.

With abandoned cars scattered across streets near the National Tennis Center and many highways shut down, fewer spectators than normal watched in Arthur Ashe Stadium as Australian Barty dispatched Danish teen Clara Tauson 6-1, 7-5 and German fourth seed Zverev ripped 33rd-ranked Spanish left-hander Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-1, 6-0, 6-3.

Zverev, last year's US Open runner-up and a champion two weeks ago at Cincinnati, broke to open the match and took the first set in 22 minutes, the second in 23 and finished in 74 minutes.

"It's great that I'm through in three sets and just over an hour," Zverev said. "I will need that energy. I'll need that power I have for further matches. I'm happy I only lost four games."

Zverev still recalls his loss to Dominic Thiem, sidelined by injury, in last year's US Open final when he was two points from his first Slam crown.

"It was painful," he said. "I still remember it every single time I walk on this court. I use it as motivation."

Reigning Wimbledon champion Barty, seeking her third Grand Slam title, advanced in 90 minutes and kept her cool when Tauson broke to level the last set 5-5.

"I've always been quite a calm person," Barty said. "That's certainly part of my game."

Barty, who next plays American Shelby Rogers or Romania's Sorana Cirstea, seeks her sixth trophy of the year and a first US Open quarter-finals spot.

- Djokovic slam quest -

World number one Novak Djokovic was set to continue his quest for the calendar-year Grand Slam in the night feature on Ashe against Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor.

Djokovic is eyeing the first men's singles calendar Slam since Rod Laver in 1969 if he captures a fourth career US Open crown.

The 34-year-old Serbian is also six wins away from his 21st career Grand Slam crown, which would give him the men's all-time record, one more than the mark he now shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, both absent with injuries.

Swiss 11th seed Belinda Bencic, the Tokyo Olympic women's champion, beat Italy's Martina Trevisan 6-3, 6-1 in windy conditions.

"That was a little bit tricky but after yesterday's bad weather I'm not complaining," Bencic said. "Thanks to everyone for coming. I know it was not easy."

After storms battered the US Open on Wednesday, play resumed under clear blue skies on Thursday with furniture scattered by high winds restored or replaced. High water that flooded plazas the night before had drained away.

Wind-blown rain went under and through the closed roof at Louis Armstrong Stadium on Wednesday, forcing a match to be finished at Ashe, but the swamped venue had players practicing Thursday morning.

"We kept the fans safe and secure while they were here," National Tennis Center chief operating officer Danny Zausner said.

"We evaluated the whole site this morning. There were some branches down but nothing that would impact the tournament or the fans."

Japan's Kei Nishikori, the 2014 US Open runner-up, faces Mackenzie McDonald, seeking revenge for a Washington semi-final loss to the American last month. The winner books a potential third-round matchup against Djokovic.

Either American Maxime Cressy or German Oscar Otte could become the fifth qualifier into the men's third round. There haven't been so many so deep at any Slam since six at the 2011 French Open and not at the US Open since five made it in 1984.

Otte, ranked 144th, plays 92nd-ranked American Denis Kudla while Cressy, ranked 151st, meets 39th-ranked Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia.