US Open reigning champion and top seed Daniil Medvedev has put the pressure on 22-time grand slam winner Rafael Nadal who he believes is the frontrunner for the Flushing Meadows title.

Medvedev endured a 10pm start time playing on Arthur Ashe Stadium after Serena Williams' three-set win over Anett Kontaveit on Wednesday evening to defeat Arthur Rinderknech 6-2 7-5 6-3 in two hours and 11 minutes in the second round.

The Russian was not happy with his level early in Wednesday's match, admitting he did not adjust seamlessly to the late start time, but said he worked into it.

The win books a third-round clash with Chinese qualifier Wu Yibing but Medvedev was pressed on the favourites for the men's singles title in the absence of Novak Djokovic this year.

Medvedev claimed his maiden major at last year's US Open with victory over Djokovic in the final, while he lost to Nadal in a memorable five-set Australian Open decider earlier this year.

"First of all, I don't want to put pressure on anybody, but I think Rafa is a big favourite also," Medvedev told reporters.

"He won the last time he played here against me actually. He won two slams this year. I think Novak is better on grass, but Rafa didn't play.

"He actually didn't lose in a Grand Slam this year. He retired [in the Wimbledon semi-final against Nick Kyrgios], which is not the same.

"In my opinion Rafa is big, let's call it like this, I don't want to say favourite, big favourite, he's definitely big figure in this tournament.

"Then for sure there are many other good guys. I'm happy to see my name sometimes in the odds or something like this because I'm like, that's great. That means that I play some good tennis.

"Being amongst the favorites just brings me more motivation to try to do well."

Medvedev compared his 2022 form in New York (he beat Stefan Kozlov in the first round in straight sets) to last year's when he won the title, admitting he did not feel he was going as well as 12 months ago at this stage.

"These two matches felt a little bit less good comparing to last year, but at the same time I know I already played a lot of Grand Slams," he said.

"That's not the most important. The most important is to win, to stay in the tournament, to try to get as far as possible, for sure try to raise your level when the opponents go stronger and stronger.

"Finally you're going to play somebody who has a Grand Slam or something like this."

Nick Kyrgios has complained of the smell of marijuana during his second-round US Open victory over Benjamin Bonzi on Wednesday.

The 2022 Wimbledon finalist made the claim to the chair umpire late in the second set of his hard-fought 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 4-6 6-4 win over the Frenchman at Louis Armstrong Stadium.

The chair umpire remarked that the smell could be coming from the kitchen which Kyrgios retorted with "it was f***ing marijuana".

"People don't know I'm a heavy asthmatic," Kyrgios told reporters after the match.

"When I'm running side to side, I'm struggling to breathe, probably not something I want to be breathing in in between points.

"Yeah, US Open, it's a very different vibe to everywhere else. I feel like Wimbledon was so proper. Australian Open, you kind of expect it there, being an Aussie.

"But here, it's just like noisy. Point in, point out, I can't barely hear. Half the time I can't even hear my team because it's so noisy all the time."

The latter half of Kyrgios' second-round match coincided with major drawcard Serena Williams playing on Arthur Ashe Stadium against second seed Anett Kontaveit.

"Ashe was unbelievably noisy," Kyrgios added. "I couldn't hear anything. Constant jitter. Things going off, sirens.

"In Armstrong today, hearing trains and people. For someone that's struggled to focus in my career, I'm really trying hard to put my head down and play point by point, try to dig myself out of some certain situations.

"It's hard because there's a lot of distractions. Obviously a lot of heckling going on as well. People are saying things. I got to be very careful with what I say these days."

Kyrgios' win means he will take on American J.J. Wolf in the third round on Friday and the 23rd-seed Australian, who won August's Citi Open in Washington DC, said he was feeling motivated and more professional than ever.

"This year's been amazing in so many different ways," he said. "For my tennis, I kind of wanted to almost reinvent myself, get back to the top of the game where I know I belong.

"The Wimbledon final was a turning point I think for me mentally. If I won that match, I don't know where my motivation would have been at. Losing it and being so close, it was really tough for me to kind of swallow that.

"Winning Washington, winning so many matches, I just feel like I thought the pressure would be off me after winning Wimbledon. He's a Wimbledon finalist, he's nearly-over-the-hump-type thing.

"I didn't think I'd be putting this amount of pressure on myself. Every day I come in, I watch what I eat, I try and get sleep. Like every practice session I try and have good intent. I almost don't know who I am anymore, to be honest, because that's not me.

"I feel like I'm really professional right now. I never thought that the Wimbledon final would make me that way. I thought it would be the other way, the reverse, almost a bit lax and a bit chilled with it."

Serena Williams says this is the most free she has felt on a tennis court in over 20 years after shocking world number two Anett Kontaveit 7-6 (7-4) 2-6 6-2 to advance to the third round of the US Open.

Williams, 40, found another gear in the deciding set as she rode the wave of momentum that came from the raucous, sold-out Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd.

While Williams rose to the occasion, Kontaveit folded, posting three winners and 11 unforced errors in the third set, allowing the all-time great to secure the victory with a break-to-love.

On the court after the match – after a recorded video message from Oprah Winfrey also aired after Monday's win over Danka Kovinic – Williams said while everyone else may have been surprised by the result, she still has supreme confidence in her abilities.

"Well, I'm a pretty good player," she said playfully. "You know, this is what I do best. 

"I love a challenge. I love rising to the challenge. Yeah, I haven't played many matches, but I've been practicing really well. 

"In my last few matches, it just wasn't coming together. I'm like, this isn't me. The last couple matches here in New York, it's really come together."

Williams admitted that she thought to herself "this could be it" after dropping the second set, but highlighted the fact that this is the first time in over 20 years that she does not feel like she has a target on her back.

"Honestly, I'm just looking at [this run] as a bonus," she said. "I don't have anything to prove. I don't have anything to win. I have absolutely nothing to lose.

"Honestly, I never get to play like this since '98 really. Literally, I've had an 'X' on my back since '99. It's kind of fun.

"I really enjoy just coming out and enjoying it. It's been a long time since I've been able to do that."

Lastly, Williams talked about what it will be like to step back out onto the doubles court with sister Venus Williams on Friday night.

"I'm so excited for doubles," she said. "It's like, it's been so long. We got to play again, we got to bring the reunion back.

"I'm excited to play with Venus, get some more practice – because I could use the matches."

Serena Williams gave the celebrity-laden crowd in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday night a taste of her very best, pulling through in the third set to defeat world number two Anett Kontaveit 7-6 (4-7) 2-6 6-2.

The two-hour-and-27-minute victory sees Williams, who has announced her intention to evolve out of playing tennis after the US Open, move into the third round where she will face Australian world number 46 Ajla Tomjlanovic.

The opening set had Williams' power serving game on full display, winning 89 per cent (24-of-27) of the points when she landed her first serve fair, while producing six break point opportunities in her return game while only facing three.

She could only convert one of those break point chances, going up 5-4 with a chance to serve out the set, before handing the break straight back, leading to a tiebreaker.

Of the 11 tiebreaker points, only one went against the serve, with Williams seizing her opportunity to secure the opening frame.

As Williams' serve fell off in the second set – only winning 50 per cent of her successful first serves – Kontaveit fought her way back into the game, producing a clean set as she hit 13 winners to only three unforced errors, wrapping up the frame in a snappy 36 minutes to take it to a decider.

After holding serve to open the set, Williams then took a 2-0 lead as she was able to convert her third break point chance of the marathon 13-point game. That was followed with a 12-point game where Kontaveit was able to break back, as the 40-year-old American was visibly slowing down the longer the match dragged on.

As Williams' energy reserves began to run low, she tried to compensate with as many one-shot rallies as possible, going for sink-or-swim drives down the line and across the court – resulting in some spectacular winners, but also an increase in unforced errors.

It turned out to be the right strategy as Kontaveit continued to have trouble with Williams' power, giving up the late break again to go down 3-1 before the living legend consolidated her advantage with a hold-to-love, sending the crowd wild as they could see the finish line.

With Tiger Woods in her players' box cheering her on, Williams secured a point from a 19-shot rally as the atmosphere hit fever pitch, and despite the effort required in that point, she was able to repel another break point opportunity to hold and go 5-2 up.

Ultimately, the cauldron inside the sold-out stadium proved too much for Kontaveit, who could not find winners down the stretch. She posted three winners and 11 unforced errors in the final set, including a double-fault in her final service game as she was broken-to-love to secure the stunning result.

Data Slam: Serena continues to win the big matches

Williams has now won her last 10 grand slam matches against opponents ranked in the top-two, with her last loss coming to Justine Henin 15 years ago at the 2007 US Open.

She has also only lost three of her previous 104 US open matches when she has won the first set, and is 42-0 in the opening two rounds at Flushing Meadows.


Williams – 38/39

Kontaveit – 30/27 


Williams – 11/6

Kontaveit – 5/5 


Williams – 5/12

Kontaveit – 5/11

Andy Murray is a "legend" of the sport who Matteo Berrettini knows he must play his best tennis against in the US Open third round.

Berrettini had to come from behind to beat Hugo Grenier on Wednesday at Flushing Meadows, setting up a fourth career meeting with Murray.

Like Berrettini, former world number one Murray came from a set down to defeat Emilio Nava 5-7 6-3 6-1 6-0.

Berrettini holds a 2-1 lead in his head-to-head series with Murray, who won the first match between the pair in Beijing in 2019.

Murray lost to Berrettini as the Italian went on to win at Queen's Club in 2021, with the Scot going down to the 26-year-old again in the final in Stuttgart earlier this year.

"We played in different conditions. We played 2019 in Beijing, so was hard, but best-of-three. Then twice on grass. All the matches were great fights," Berrettini said in a press conference.

"I think obviously Andy now is in way better shape than he used to be, especially last year. He's a legend of the sport. I think it's going to be a great match, a tough match for me, but feeling confident. I always like to play here, especially in big stages, big matches like the one I'm about to play. Yeah, I think it's going to be a tough one, but I'm ready."

Berrettini also revealed he and Murray have practiced together, though he does not think that will help much in Friday's tie.

He said: "We're friends, but we're not like best friends. A good relationship.

"He had a crazy hip surgery. Everybody saw it. It's not easy to come back, especially when he was number one in the world. Mentally it must have been, like, really tough for him. But I think it's inspiring the will that he has, the love that he has for this sport. I always admired that.

"We often practice together, as well. When I was a kid I was watching him on TV, for me it's still a dream coming true playing against this kind of player.

"I remember 2016 he played against Paolo Lorenzi here. My brother, he played quallies here, the juniors. I was like, Wow, you're playing next to Andy, and now I'm playing against him. It's something that I really appreciate. That's why I'm even happier for the match now I'm going to play.

"But it doesn't matter. When you play Andy Murray, you're playing Andy Murray. You have to play your best tennis."

Andy Murray believes he is in his best physical shape for years after he made the third round of the US Open for the first time since 2016 on Wednesday.

Murray dropped the first set against American wildcard Emilio Nava, but the Scot powered back to win 5-7 6-3 6-1 6-0 in New York.

He will face 13th seed Matteo Berrettini in the last 32 on Friday, and the 35-year-old has his sights set on a lengthy run at Flushing Meadows.

"Physically this is the best I've felt in the last few years," he said. "My movement is by far the best it's been in a long time.

"I'm getting closer to where I want to be and hopefully I can have a deep run here."

Murray reunited with coach Ivan Lendl for the third time earlier this year – a decision he cites for his improved form.

"There's a lot of belief in the relationship because of results we've had in the past," he added.

"I trust that if I play with a game style he wants me to that will bring me success.

"It gives me confidence. He knows what it takes to win and perform well at this tournament. It's great to have him back."

Speaking about his next opponent, Berrettini, Murray said: "He's had a bit of an unlucky year.

"I know he got Covid at the beginning of Wimbledon. When he has been on the court he's done really well.

"We played a tough three-set match in Stuttgart. I'm expecting it to be really difficult but if I play well and my return's on point then I've got a good chance."

The hype around Serena Williams' potential swansong tournament is "the biggest thing I've ever seen in women's tennis", says Torben Beltz, the coach of her next opponent Anett Kontaveit.

Williams has announced she is soon to retire, and the US Open is widely expected to be her final tournament.

The 23-time grand slam champion came through in straight sets in her first-round match against Danka Kovinic to set up a tough meeting with world number two Kontaveit on Wednesday.

Beltz wanted to watch Williams' opening match but could not do so after Arthur Ashe Stadium sold out, with reports of tickets on the secondary market on sale for around $1,000.

And Beltz says he has not seen anything like it, telling the New York Times: "I couldn't get a ticket. 

"This is the biggest thing I've ever seen in women's tennis. I think it's the greatest thing for the sport, and we all have to thank Serena for all she did. Especially right now with the end coming."

While Beltz's charge Kontaveit is favourite for the second-round match, the Estonian's coach knows it will be a tough match against the six-time US Open champion.

"I think her ball speed, serve and return is really up to her prime time," Beltz added.

"I saw her other matches, and it looks like she's improved over the last couple of weeks. She looks in better shape and looks good now.

"For Anett, I think the key is to just go out and try to play her best tennis but also enjoy the moment. It's going to be a big challenge, a great challenge, but I think she wants that challenge and wants to embrace it."

Rafael Nadal was "super happy" to be back on the court after injury, coming from a set down to beat Rinky Hijikata in the first round of the US Open.

Hijikata raced out to a one-set lead against the 22-time grand slam champion to give him hopes of a major upset.

But the 36-year-old Nadal romped back to win the next three sets and secure safe passage into the next round 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-3.

Although Nadal has won the Australian Open and French Open titles this season, he has also suffered with injuries, withdrawing from his Wimbledon semi-final against Nick Kyrgios with an abdominal problem.

That issue meant he had played just once – in defeat to Borna Coric at the Cincinnati Masters – between the previous major at the All England Club and Tuesday's match at Flushing Meadows.

The lay-off prompted doubts in Nadal's mind, and he was therefore relieved to be back in action.

"It's been a long wait," said Nadal in his on-court interview after the match.

"For some time, I thought I may not be able to be back, so I am super happy. I just have to be humble and accept the process, day after day in practices and matches, and stay positive.

"I think I started not that bad the first couple of games, but then I had some opportunities that I was not able to make.

"I think I didn't play a good game with my serve. Then he had the break. Then I was a little bit nervous. First match here in New York after three years, a night session, it's always exciting. Yeah, I went through this tough moment.

"It's always the same story: things are not perfect when you are not competing very often, when you come back from injury. I am able to play again in two days, and I hope to play better."

Rafael Nadal believes he is treated the same as any other player in terms of shot-clock violations – even if John McEnroe suggests otherwise.

Nadal became engaged in a slightly awkward exchange with a reporter following his first-round win at the US Open on Tuesday.

After beating Rinky Hijikata 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-3, it was put to the Spaniard that there are "different rules for Rafael Nadal than there are for everybody else".

The reporter referred to comments from McEnroe, who has asked why Nadal was not punished for taking more than 25 seconds to serve.

Nadal was amused by both the question and McEnroe's comments, replying: "Yeah, I think it's a joke.

"I went through a lot of warnings under my tennis career – never for breaking a racquet, never for doing a mess on court, but yes, for the time clock.

"I have a problem that I am sweating a lot. When you are playing during these very humid conditions, we have a biggest problem today, that is we don't have the ballboys bringing the towel to you for the last couple of years. You have to go to the farthest place of the court to take the towel.

"The problem for players like me that are sweating that much, you know when you go to pick up the towel, you're going to be in trouble with the time. So I am not going very often.

"I don't think I have a different treatment from the umpires at all.

"I never said that [there should be different rules for Nadal]. I am following the rules. If I am having more than 25 seconds, I receive a warning every single time.

"If not, check the clock. I don't know if you want to create [something].

"I don't think I'm receiving a different treatment at all. I don't understand why John can say that on the TV. But I'm going to have a chat with him later."

Naomi Osaka suffered another early major exit at the US Open on Tuesday and reflected on a difficult season.

Osaka is a four-time grand slam champion, winning twice at Flushing Meadows in 2018 and 2020.

However, the former world number one has not been able to contend in 2022, winning only two matches at majors – both at the Australian Open.

In fact, Osaka has not been beyond the third round at a slam since her most recent title in Melbourne at the start of 2021.

Tuesday's 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 defeat to Danielle Collins was just the 22nd Tour-level match Osaka has played this year.

"This year hasn't really been a great year," she said, adding: "I feel like everyone deals with injuries. I would say, for me, it's been more prominent this year.

"But I think it's something that I can learn [from]. I learned a lot more about my body, I learned what's weak, what I can do to prevent it.

"I would say the sport is definitely very physical, but it's my job to stay on top of it."

Given her fitness troubles, Osaka was just relieved to be able to play a competitive match against Collins, even if it was a fourth defeat in a row – her worst run since 2018.

"Honestly, the main goal was just to have fun," she said. "I don't know. I think that was kind of accomplished.

"Of course, it's more fun to win more rounds. We're just kind of winging it."

Emma Raducanu tried to focus on the positives after seeing her US Open defence ended at the first hurdle, suggesting "the target will be off my back" as she prepares to tumble down the WTA rankings.

The teenager sensationally won at Flushing Meadows in 2021 without dropping a set, yet that remains her sole Tour-level title a year on.

And any hopes of a remarkable repeat were swiftly dashed by first-round opponent Alize Cornet, who brushed the 11th seed aside 6-3 6-3 on Tuesday.

But Raducanu is relishing the opportunity to build her career again without her status as a reigning major champion.

"[It is] obviously really disappointing, [I am] really sad to leave here," Raducanu said afterwards. "It's probably my favourite tournament.

"But also, in a way, [I am] happy, because it's a clean slate. I'm going to drop down the rankings, climb my way back up.

"Yeah, in a way, the target will be off my back slightly. Yeah, I just have another chance to claw my way back up there.

"I've been doing some really good work in the last six weeks especially. [I am] just looking forward to putting more of those weeks together consistently, then we'll see what happens."

Indeed, Raducanu claimed her 2022 season might have been considered a success had she not set such a high standard in New York last year.

She has played two quarter-finals this year, losing to Iga Swiatek in Stuttgart and Liudmila Samsonova in Washington D.C.

"It is a clean slate. I can just start again," Raducanu said. "I don't know what my ranking will be – probably pretty low down.

"With perspective, actually as a 19-year-old, I've had not a bad year. To be top 100, if you told me that a year ago, I'd take it.

"But I think it would be nice in a way to just start over, start fresh. Off the court, I don't think it will make much of a difference, to be honest."

She added: "I actually think, for me, the most exciting thing is trying to do well at each of the different tournaments.

"Regardless of what it is – it sounds weird – [as] US Open defending champion, obviously it would have been great to defend the title, but I want new experiences.

"In a way, I've kind of done that [winning the US Open], so I want another tournament.

"It doesn't really matter what it is. I think any player would be happy to win a tournament. I think it makes a massive difference, no matter what the level is."

Naomi Osaka's difficult run of form continued in the opening round of the US Open on Tuesday, going down against Danielle Collins 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 in the final match of the night.

Osaka was the unseeded party as she went up against the world number 19, but she appeared to have things clicking early as she collected an early break of serve to rattle off the first three games of the match.

But as would be a theme in the back-and-forth contest, Collins fought right back, taking the next three games to even things up.

Collins' serve was not sharp throughout the clash – committing all nine of the match's double faults – but she found a couple of crucial first serves in the tiebreaker to come away with the first set.

Just like the first set, it was Osaka nabbing the early break in the second, but that advantage was again wiped out instantly as Collins fought back to level, before breaking again to go up 5-3 with a chance to serve it out.

Osaka had two break points in the final game, but could not extend the contest as Collins saved five out of six break opportunities in the second set, while taking two of her three chances.

Data Slam: Osaka's yearly grand slam streak comes to an end

This will be the first year since 2017 that Osaka has not won a grand slam, after her two Australian Open victories in 2019 and 2021 and two US Open crowns in 2018 and 2020.

She has now lost four matches in a row for the first time since 2018, and six of her past seven.


Osaka – 25/19

Collins – 23/24


Osaka – 8/0

Collins – 1/9


Osaka – 2/8

Collins – 3/5

Rafael Nadal survived an early scare against world number 198 Rinky Hijikata, steadying after dropping the first set to run away with a 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-3 victory.

The first set saw the 21-year-old Australian play out of his skin in the biggest match of his life, hitting 11 winners in the frame, before only being able to muster a combined 15 winners in the next three sets.

Nadal also left the door open, with one of his two double faults in the match leading to Hijikata's only break point opportunity from the first three sets, and he took full advantage before serving it out.

From that point on, it would be all Nadal as he found his footing, winning the points from 14 out of his 15 accurate first serves in the second set, before his second serve lifted in the third frame, taking 11 of those 13 opportunities.

A competitive fourth set meant Nadal had to save three break points, but only after he had already secured a break of his own and was cruising towards the finish line. 

He needed five match points to finish off the determined Aussie, but he got the job done after three hours and 12 minutes of action, booking his place against Italy's Fabio Fognini in the second round.

Data Slam: Nadal's uncharacteristic start

The last time Rafael Nadal lost the opening set of a grand slam match against an opponent ranked outside of the top-100, it was five years ago at the 2017 US Open against Taro Daniel. It was a similar story on that day, as the Spaniard then rattled off the next three sets 6-3 6-2 6-2 without issue.


Nadal – 43/22

Hijikata – 27/33


Nadal – 9/2

Hijikata – 7/4


Nadal – 5/10

Hijikata – 1/4

Reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu has been eliminated in the first round after going down in straight sets 6-3 6-3 against Alize Cornet on Tuesday.

Raducanu struggled with both her serve and her ground strokes early on against her French opponent.

She won just 40 per cent (10-of-25) of her service points in the opening set, while committing 18 unforced errors with seven winners as she had her serve broken three times.

After footage emerged of Raducanu distressed during a recent training session due to blisters and hand issues, it was no surprise to see her call for a medical timeout between the sets, needing some running repairs and fresh band-aids.

The women traded breaks of serve continuously throughout the match, with four breaks from the first five games of the second set, but every time Raducanu gained any momentum, Cornet would answer immediately.

For the match, Raducanu only held serve twice from nine attempts. Cornet will meet Katerina Siniakova in the second round.


Data Slam: Raducanu hits cold stretch at the worst time

It was not a great preparation for her maiden grand slam title defence, with Raducanu now collecting four straight-sets losses from her past six matches.

The 19-year-old has had a disappointing season, and has not won three matches in a row since last year's US Open.


Raducanu – 15/30

Cornet – 22/22


Raducanu – 2/2 

Cornet – 1/9


Raducanu – 4/6

Cornet – 7/10

Venus Williams says she is "focused" on her US Open women's doubles pairing with sister Serena following her first round exit to Alison Van Uytvanck on Tuesday, adding that she couldn't turn down "the boss" one more time.

The seven-time grand slam singles champion saw her solo stint at Flushing Meadows come to an early end following a 6-1 7-6 (7-5) straight sets loss to the Belgian at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Following younger sister Serena's announcement earlier this year that she intended to step back from top-level tennis following the conclusion of the final tennis major of the year, many had wondered if Venus would follow suit.

But speaking after her defeat, Williams eschewed questions on her future, simply stating: "Right now, I'm just focused on the doubles."

The return of the Williams sister pairing – the only duo to have won the Career Golden Slam in women's doubles – has added a further degree of excitement to Serena's farewell tour.

When asked how their on-court reunion came about, Venus stated it was her sibling who got the ball rolling, adding: "It was Serena's idea.

"She's the boss, so I do whatever she tells me to do! I don't think we have played since 2016, but I might be getting that wrong. We have had some great wins. It would be nice to add some more."

Former world number one Williams made her 91st grand slam main draw singles appearance with her match against Van Uytvanck, a record for both the men's and women's game.

It is a testament to her longevity that 58 players in the main draw had not been born when she made her grand slam debut at the 1996 French Open – including this year's Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, who also suffered a first round loss to the unseeded Clara Burel.

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