Sinner on course for Alcaraz US Open rematch, Murray out

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Jannik Sinner is two wins away from a potential meeting with defending champion Carlos Alcaraz. (AP pic)

NEW YORK: Italian sixth seed Jannik Sinner remained on course for a US Open quarterfinal rematch with Carlos Alcaraz on Thursday as former champion Andy Murray tumbled out.

Sinner, who lost to Alcaraz in a five-hour, five-set epic in the last eight at last year’s tournament, eased into the third round with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 win over compatriot Lorenzo Sonego.

It means the talented 22-year-old is just two wins away from a potential meeting with defending champion Alcaraz, who plays South Africa’s Lloyd Harris in a night game on the Arthur Ashe Stadium later Thursday.

Sinner overpowered Sonego with a dominant service game, conceding a meagre 10 points on serve and not giving his opponent a single break point throughout the two-hour encounter.

“We work a lot, me and my team, trying to push myself forward and I feel like my game has improved,” Sinner said afterwards.

“I’m more comfortable at the net and this is a new thing of mine. Hopefully I can show this in the future.”

Sinner will play either 2016 US Open champion Stan Wawrinka or Tomas Etcheverry in the third round on Saturday, with Germany’s 12th seed Alex Zverev possibly lurking in the last 16 before any meeting with Alcaraz.

Alcaraz, meanwhile, will face Harris on the Arthur Ashe main court later looking for match practice after his tournament opener was cut short on Tuesday.

The Spanish world number one advanced to the second round with an abbreviated 6-2, 3-2 win on Tuesday after opponent Dominik Koepfer retired with an ankle injury.

Murray slump

In other early round action Thursday, Britain’s 2012 US Open champion Murray slumped to a 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 loss to Bulgarian 19th seed Grigor Dimitrov.

Former world No 3 Dimitrov, who saved three match points in the opening round, meets 2020 runner-up Zverev for a place in the last 16.

While Murray slid out, fellow Britons Jack Draper and Katie Boulter both advanced to the third round in contrasting fashion in their second-round matches.

Draper upset Polish 17th seed Hubert Hurkacz 6-2, 6-4, 7-5 to set up a third-round meeting with American wildcard Michael Mmoh, who defeated John Isner 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, 7-6 (10/7).

Boulter, who reached the third round of Wimbledon earlier this year, matched that achievement after coming from behind to beat China’s Wang Yafan 5-7, 6-1, 6-4.

“I’m super happy, I’m really proud of myself. I had to dig really deep,” Boulter said.

“I had to battle and go for it at the same time. I got a bit tight in the first set and managed to loosen up in the second,” added the world number 61, who faces American Peyton Stearns in the last 32 on Saturday.

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