US Open: Alcaraz and Medvedev surge into last 16 as Jabeur wins thriller

Defending men's champion impresses in four-set win over Evans and will face Arnaldi in the fourth round

Carlos Alcaraz is aiming to become the first male player since Roger Federer in 2008 to retain the US Open title.
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World No 1 Carlos Alcaraz and third seed Daniil Medvedev surged into the last 16 of the US Open on Saturday as Tunisia's Ons Jabeur kept her dream of a first Grand Slam title alive with victory in a three-set thriller.

Alcaraz, looking to become the first man to successfully defend the title since Roger Federer in 2008, produced a flurry of magical shots en route to dispatching British 26th seed Dan Evans 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

It was another stylish victory for the 20-year-old Spaniard, who will face Italy's Matteo Arnaldi in the fourth round on Monday.

Alcaraz, who will surrender his No 1 ranking to Novak Djokovic at the end of this tournament, admitted he was motivated to match Federer in defending his crown.

"Obviously defending the title is a goal for me," he said. "I'm looking for that. Nobody's done it here since Roger so I'd love to be part of tournament history with him."

Alcaraz's win keeps him on track for a repeat quarter-final against Italy's Jannik Sinner, a year after the two men duelled in an epic five-hour five-setter that finished at 2.50am, the latest finish in US Open history.

Sixth seed Sinner did his part to keep the rematch on course Saturday with a stylish 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 win over Swiss veteran Stan Wawrinka.

Alcaraz's last-16 opponent Arnaldi, meanwhile, advanced after upsetting 16th-seeded Briton Cameron Norrie, winning 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in just under two hours.

There was better luck for another member of Britain's US Open contingent elsewhere though, with Jack Draper reaching the last 16 of a Grand Slam for the first time with a 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 victory over American world No 89 Michael Mmoh.

Draper will face eighth-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev on Monday for a place in the quarter-finals.

Rublev, a quarter-finalist at last year's tournament, defeated France's Arthur Rinderknech 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, 7-5 to advance.

Meanwhile Russia's 2021 US Open champion Medvedev made it safely into the last 16 in a late-night 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 victory over Argentina's Sebastian Baez.

Daniil Medvedev was too strong for Sebastian Baez. AFP

Jabeur advances from 'tough' clash

Arguably the match of day six came in the women's draw, where popular Tunsian fifth seed Jabeur overcame a courageous display by injured opponent Marie Bouzkova to advance.

Czech No 31 seed Bouzkova started strongly to win the opening set against Jabeur, who has been laid low by flu since the start of the championships.

But the momentum changed midway through the second set when Bouzkova suffered what appeared to be a thigh injury, severely hampering her mobility thereafter.

Despite grimacing and wincing in pain, she somehow managed to keep on playing as Jabeur dug deep to complete a 5-7, 7-6, 6-3 in 2hr 56min on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court.

"This is a tough sport. You always don't want to give up. I really respect her for that," Jabeur said.

Ons Jabeur will face Zheng Qinwen in the fourth round. AFP

Jabeur, who faces China's Zheng Qinwen in the last 16 on Monday, is chasing a first Grand Slam title after suffering agonising defeats in three major championship finals in the past two seasons.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka maintained her dominant start to the tournament with a 60-minute demolition of France's Clara Burel, winning 6-1, 6-1.

The Belarusian will play Russia's 13th seed Daria Kasatkina on Monday in the last 16. Kasatkina booked her place in the fourth round with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Belgium's Greet Minnen.

Meanwhile 17th seed Madison Keys became the second American woman into the last 16 after Coco Gauff with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 win over Russian 14th seed Liudmila Samsonova, and will play compatriot and third seed Jessica Pegula in the last 16.

Pegula outfought Ukraine's 26th-ranked Elina Svitolina 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 to reach the fourth round.

Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova wasted no time in sweeping into the last 16, taking just 56 minutes to dismantle Russia's Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2, 6-1. Vondrousova plays US youngster Peyton Stearns in the next round.

Updated: September 03, 2023, 6:18 AM