Rafael Nadal’s poor season continued after the eighth seed crashed out of the US Open at the third round after losing a five-set thriller to Italy’s Fabio Fognini on day five at Flushing Meadows.
The two-time US Open champion looked certain to reach the last 16 after racing into a two-set lead but Italian Fognini produced a brilliant comeback he advanced to the fourth round after a 3-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-4 victory over the 14-time grand slam winner.
There was to be no shock exit for world number one Novak Djokovic, as the Serbian marched on into the last 16 after he overcame a tough challenge from Andreas Seppi of Italy with a 6-3 7-5 7-5 straight sets win.
Defending champion Marin Cilic was pushed all the way by Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin as the Croatian edged a five-set thriller to advance to the fourth round after a hard-fought 5-6 (5/7) 7-6 (7/1) 6-3 6-7 (3/7) 6-1 victory.
Seventh seed David Ferrer joined his fellow Spaniard Nadal in a third round exit as he lost out to Jeremy Chardy, as the Frenchman won 7-6 (8/6) 4-6 6-3 6-1 but Feliciano Lopez made it some good news for Spain as he knocked out tenth seed Milos Raonic 6-2 7-6 (7/4) 6-3.
Chardy will be joined in the last 16 by compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as the 19th seed enjoyed a 6-3 7-5 6-2 straight sets win over Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky, while Benoit Paire made it a hat-trick for France after a 7-6 (7/3) 6-1 6-1 victory over Tommy Robredo of Spain.
In women’s action, Serena Williams had to dig deep to book her spot in the fourth round as the Serena Williams had to battle from a set down against fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
Mattek-Sands won the opening set as Williams struggled to find form, but that was a wake up call for Williams who then won the second 7-5 before winning six consecutive games in the third to keep hopes of a calendar grand slam alive with a 3-6 7-5 6-0 victory.
Williams will face another American in the last 16, Madison Keys after the 20-year-old knocked out 15th seed Agnieszka Radwanska with a comfortable 6-3 6-2 win over the Polish player.
It was all too easy for Venus Williams as she enjoyed an easy 6-3 6-4 over Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic, while Ekatarina Makarova is also through to the fourth round after a 6-3 7-5 victory over Ukrainian Elina Stivolina.
Canadian Eugenie Bouchard had to work hard for her spot in the next round after a 7-6 (11/9) 4-6 6-3 win over Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia, while Estonian Anett Kontaveit sent Madison Brengle packing with a 6-2 3-6 6-0 victory over the American.