New York: Stan Wawrinka is on a collision course with reigning US Open champion Novak Djokovic after the Swiss star returned to the fourth round Friday for the first time since capturing the 2016 title.
The 34-year-old Wawrinka, seeded 23rd in New York, beat Italian lucky loser Paolo Lorenzi 6-4, 7-6 (9), 7-6 (4) and will meet either world number one Djokovic or American Denis Kudla in the last 16.
"It was a tough match for sure," said Wawrinka, who smacked 64 winners against 135th-ranked Lorenzi.
"I'm happy to get through and am just trying to focus on my game. I wasn't at my best level but am happy with the fight and win."
Wawrinka needed five sets to come through his opener against Italian qualifier Jannik Sinner and was then made to play on consecutive days after rain disrupted the schedule, his victory over Lorenzi coming 24 hours after he beat Jeremy Chardy in four sets.
"Physically I feel really good after back-to-back matches. The most important thing is to get through those matches," he said. Wawrinka, who slipped out of the world's top 250 last year after months of struggles with knee injuries, said the long road back taught him to savor playing on the biggest stages even more. "It's amazing, it's great. I won here in the past which was something really special for me," he said. "The reason I came back from injury was to get these matches, these emotions." SERENA, BARTY ADVANCE Serena Williams continued her quest for a 24th career Grand Slam title to equal Margaret Court's all-time record by crushing 44th-ranked Czech Karolina Muchova 6-3, 6-2 in 74 minutes. "I had a lot of intensity today, which is really good for me," said Williams, whose next opponent is Croatian 22nd seed Petra Martic.
Through to Week 2⃣!@serenawilliams roars her way into R4 of the #USOpen, defeating Karolína Muchová 6-3, 6-2. pic.twitter.com/ERvB5KAFsY — US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 30, 2019
The 37-year-old American, six times a US Open champion, has been a runner-up in three of the past five Slams, falling to Naomi Osaka in last year's US Open final.
She last won a Slam crown at the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant and hasn't won the US Open title since 2014.
Reigning French Open champion Ashleigh Barty, the Aussie second seed also reached the last 16. Barty dispatched Greek 30th seed Maria Sakkari 7-5, 6-3.
Barty and Pliskova are battling top-ranked defending champion Osaka to be world number one at the end of the Flushing Meadows fortnight.
Barty has the inside track because Osaka has so many points to defend. The Japanese 21-year-old must win the title to have any chance at staying on top while Pliskova must reach at least the semi-finals.
DE MINAUR DOWNS NISHIKORI
Japanese seventh seed Nishikori was dispatched by the 20-year-old De Minaur 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3. The Aussie, on his deepest Grand Slam run, will next face Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov or Polish lucky loser Kamil Majchrzak.
"This is where I feel like my game's at. I want to be pushing second weeks of Grand Slams and putting myself out there. So very happy," De Minaur said. "Hopefully I can just keep it rolling."
It was the first victory over a top-10 foe in 12 tries for De Minaur, who squandered a two-set lead over 2014 US Open winner Marin Cilic in last year's Open third round.
"I had a little bit of a thriller last year versus Cilic and was two sets to love up," De Minaur said. "I was glad I could finally get the win."
Dominik Koepfer (GER) bt Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO x17) 6-3, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-1
David Goffin (BEL x15) bt Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) 7-6 (5), 7-6 (9), 7-5
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) bt Kamil Majchrzak (POL) 7-5, 7-6 (8), 6-2
Elina Svitolina (UKR x5) bt Dayana Yastremska (UKR x32) 6-2, 6-0
Madison Keys (USA x10) bt Sofia Kenin (USA x20) 6-3, 7-5
Johanna Konta (GBR x16) bt Zhang Shuai (CHN x33) 6-2, 6-3
Petra Martic (CRO x22) bt Anastasija Sevastova (LAT x12) 6-4, 6-3
Wang Qiang (CHN x18) bt Fiona Ferro (FRA) 7-6 (1), 6-3