NEW YORK (Reuters) – Fans of Carlos Alcaraz will get another chance at a proper prime time performance from the number one seed on Thursday, after the Spaniard’s opener under the lights was cut short.
The defending champion is one of the biggest attractions at Flushing Meadows but ticket holders trudged to the subway early on Tuesday when his opening round affair ended in the second set as his opponent retired with injury.
The Wimbledon title holder kicks off the evening schedule on Arthur Ashe Stadium, where he will feed off the energy of loyal fans against second-round foe Lloyd Harris of South Africa.
“We try to bring good vibes to the crowd, to the people. I try to be myself all the time. I think the people love that part of me. (I’m) always happy, smiling,” Alcaraz told reporters.
Top American Jessica Pegula plays Romanian Patricia Maria Tig after on Ashe, as the third seed hopes to be the first woman from the United States to hoist the trophy on the New York hard courts since Sloane Stephens in 2017.
Across the plaza, Russian Daniil Medvedev will feature in the late night match on Louis Armstrong Stadium against Australian Christopher O’Connell, who he has beaten in both of their previous meetings including at Doha earlier this year.
The third seed has played second fiddle to Alcaraz and 23-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic at Flushing Meadows but put the field on notice with a first-round demolition of Attila Balazs.
Ukrainian Elina Svitolina closes out the dayside agenda on Armstrong, facing Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova as she hopes to continue her impressive 2023.
The 2019 semi-finalist has a 10-2 record in Grand Slam matches since returning from maternity leave in April, reaching the quarter-finals at Roland Garros and the Wimbledon semis.
Pavlyuchenkova, who also reached the quarters at the clay court major this year, is unlikely to make things easy for the 26th seed, who had to miss Cincinnati with a foot injury.
“Two weeks ago, it would be like a normal thing (to win a Grand Slam match),” Svitolina told reporters after beating German Anna-Lena Friedsam in the first round.
“But because I didn’t play in Cincinnati, was … struggling with my health a little bit, today this win and the form that I showed is a good day and a good win because, yeah, I was a bit concerned about my health.
“But any win on the Grand Slam is a happy, happy day.”
(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Ken Ferris)