Defending champ Hubert Hurkacz edges towards center stage after Karatsev battle – Tennis Magazine

Still, the 25-year-old has been relegated to the side courts to begin his title defense, even if such up-close access delighted the Grandstand crowd as he won his second straight match on that court: a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 win over No. 29 seed Aslan Karatsev.

Hurkacz was far from his typically amiable self at points throughout the two hour and 22-minute encounter, especially as Karatsev broke ea…….

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Still, the 25-year-old has been relegated to the side courts to begin his title defense, even if such up-close access delighted the Grandstand crowd as he won his second straight match on that court: a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 win over No. 29 seed Aslan Karatsev.

Hurkacz was far from his typically amiable self at points throughout the two hour and 22-minute encounter, especially as Karatsev broke early in the second set and threatened to open the decider in similar fashion. Perhaps taking a tact from two-time champion Andy Roddick, the Pole’s racquet smashes were decidedly less unbridled, and he punctuated the win by vertically launching a ball towards the sky. No throats or shins were indeed harmed in the making of Monday’s match.

In fact, the only sore spot came from Karatsev himself, who took a sudden medical timeout to address a hip/thigh issue a game from the match’s conclusion. Even umpire Aurélie Tourte expressed uncharacteristic shock to exclaim, “It’s 5-3, [Hurkacz] is serving for the match, and [Karatsev] is taking a medical timeout.”

Boos reverberated about the court—one of the rare times a Russian has incurred a crowd’s wrath, even in the wake of the country’s invasion into Ukraine—as the 6’5” Hurkacz haplessly lumbered about, both to stay warm and to shake off obvious frustration.

It would all be for naught as Hurkacz’s serve, which had already produced four aces in one game and 24 in total, would help him ultimately edge back into the Round of 16. South African Lloyd Harris stands between “Hubi” and a return to the last eight.

In a quarter with top seed Daniil Medvedev, the Pole could keep Medvedev from reclaiming the No. 1 ranking from Novak Djokovic by beating him in the quarterfinals. More importantly, another deep run at the Hard Rock Stadium would almost certainly guarantee him permanent booking on Stadium court—and earn him the respect he already deserves.

Source: https://www.tennis.com/news/articles/defending-champ-hubert-hurkacz-edges-towards-center-stage-after-karatsev-battle

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