Djokovic apologises while Osaka cruises into US Open quarter-finals

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Novak Djokovic’s sensational disqualification from the US Open dominated proceedings on Sunday night.

Djokovic hit a line judge with a ball and was thrown out of the tournament, but women’s number two seed Naomi Osaka enjoyed a much more stress-free outing as she booked her place in the last eight.

Here, the PA news agency looks back at day seven at the US Open.

Picture of the day

Novak Djokovic checks on the condition of a line judge after he hit her with a ball. The world number one was sensationally disqualified (Seth Wenig/AP)

Shock of the day

The stunning turn of events on Arthur Ashe Stadium where Djokovic’s hopes of winning a 19th grand slam went up in smoke is not only the biggest shock of the day, but the biggest in the sport for years. The world number one had just been broken in the first set by Pablo Carreno Busta and hit a ball out of annoyance that hit a line judge at the back of the court in the throat. After a lengthy discussion with tournament officials Djokovic, despite his strong pleas, was thrown out of the tournament.

The beneficiaries

As well as Carreno Busta, Alexander Zverev, Denis Shapovalov and Borna Coric must all be inwardly thrilled at Djokovic’s demise as it opens up their half of the draw and one of those four men will now make a grand slam final for the first time. Carreno Busta and Zverev meet in the last eight and Zverev takes on Coric with the prospect of possible glory in their sights.

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Djokovic’s exit means that there will be no former grand slam champions in the last eight for the first time at any slam since 2003 Wimbledon.

Quote of the day

I‘m extremely sorry to have caused her such stress. So unintended. So wrong. I apologise to the US Open tournament and everyone associated for my behaviour.

Meanwhile, Naomi Osaka underlined her status as US Open favourite as she demolished Anett Kontaveit on her way to the quarter-finals.

The Japanese star, who is seeded fourth, is the woman to beat at Flushing Meadows and showed exactly why as she hit Kontaveit off the court in a 6-3 6-4 win on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Osaka hit 21 winners and showed no signs of the hamstring injury which saw her withdraw from the final of last week’s Western & Southern Open.

The 2018 champion now meets Shelby Rogers in the last eight and will have her eyes on a third grand slam title.

“For me I haven’t played her in a while, she is a great player,” Osaka said. “I am just going into it very optimistic. I feel like I would be the under dog having never beaten her. I am happy to be still here.

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“My leg felt better, I felt like I was moving well so I am happy about that.”

Jennifer Brady swatted aside former US Open champion Angelique Kerber to reach the quarter-finals of a grand slam for the first time.

The 25-year-old American enjoyed a fine start to the year and has kept that going following the resumption of the tour, winning her first WTA title in Lexington last month.

She went into the tournament as a dark horse and has fully justified that, winning all her matches in straight sets, the latest a 6-1 6-4 victory over 2016 winner Kerber.

Brady is good friends with Sofia Kenin, who took many people by surprise by winning the Australian Open title, and sees no reason why she cannot became the latest in a string of first-time women’s slam champions.

“I think right now the women’s game is so deep,” she said. “Anybody can win a major. It’s just a matter of how the draw really pans out.

“I think seeing the younger players or other players winning majors and not just the same person, I think it brings a different fire or fuel for other players. They see that and they’re like, ‘OK, if they win, I can also win’.”

Jennifer Brady celebrates beating Angelique Kerber (Seth Wenig/AP)
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In the last eight, Brady will play another first-time New York quarter-finalist in 23rd seed Yulia Putintseva, who defeated eighth seed Petra Martic 6-3 2-6 6-4.

Rogers set her date with Osaka with a battling three-set win over sixth seed Petra Kvitova.

The American had to save four match points before eventually triumphing 7-5 (5) 3-6 7-6 (6).

Meanwhile, Timea Babos has spoken of her devastation and anger after she and doubles partner Kristina Mladenovic were forcibly withdrawn from the tournament on Saturday.

Mladenovic had been operating under increased restrictions following contact with Benoit Paire, who tested positive for Covid-19 last weekend, but the intervention of public health officials moved the goalposts.

Adrian Mannarino was allowed to play his singles match on Friday after lengthy discussions but Mladenovic and Babos were prevented from playing their second-round match the following day.

Writing on Instagram, Babos said: “I got home. I’m sitting here in my kitchen and crying.

“I haven’t really had time for anything so far, so now I’m just starting to realise what happened and I just don’t understand. It’s terribly unfair all over, I don’t see any acceptable reason why this should have been the case.”

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