New York (AFP)

Who could stop Novak Djokovic from winning his 18th Grand Slam title at the US Open?

A few hours ago, probably no one.

But it is yet another player who will lift the cup because the world No. 1 was disqualified in the round of 16 Sunday on a gesture of humor.

"Because he was disqualified, Djokovic will lose all ATP points earned at the US Open and will be fined the amount of his prize money in addition to any other fine that may be decided based on the incident," he said. specified the USTA.

End of the first set against Pablo Carreno (27th).

A ball hit by the Serbian without looking down the court will hit a linesman in the throat.

The judge screams and collapses, Djokovic rushes towards her.

She gets up, he goes to sit down.

But the rules are final: any player guilty of this type of gesture, even involuntarily, is excluded.

Grand Slam disqualifications are rare.

But that of John McEnroe at the Australian Open 1990 had already marked the spirits.

Djokovic had had a first gesture of temper a few points before, when he had violently struck a ball against a railing.

His nerves were strained as he led 5-4 and had three balls to win the set 6-4 on Carreno's serve, but the Spaniard managed to save them and tie it at 5-5.

And the Serbian lost his throw-in in the process, which provoked his unfortunate gesture.

"It's really bad luck, commented Alexander Zverev, who was at the press conference at the same time. There is a rule for that. I think the supervisor is doing his job. But it's really bad luck for Novak. ".

- Minimal probability -

In an empty stadium due to the closed session, the likelihood of Djokovic's ball hitting someone was particularly low.

In the absence of his main rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, the Serbian who is considered the best hard player and who had been undefeated since the start of the year with 26 wins in as many games, seemed on track to win his 18th Grand Slam title.

The US Open 2020 will therefore be the first Major to have a winner other than one of the members of the Big 3 since its 2016 edition won by Stan Wawrinka.

Even more so there will be in New York this year a brand new Grand Slam winner.

Zverev will play the quarterfinals.

The German had already reached the quarterfinals of a Major, but it was at Roland Garros and Australia (where he even went to semi this year), never at the US Open.

It is now done after his demonstration (6-2, 6-2, 6-1) against the Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (99th) who was playing his first US Open.

Zverev ruled without resistance, inflicting 18 aces, 38 winning strokes and converting 7 of his 10 break points.

For her part, Jennifer Brady (41st) outclassed the German Angelique Kerber (23rd) 6-1, 6-4.

Unfortunately, she injured her adductors and if she was able to finish her match victoriously, the injury could hamper her in the long run.

- Babos is crying -

"I had a great first set," she said.

"In the second, I focused on every point and I was frustrated to feel that pain. I'm very happy to have won in 2 sets," she commented.

At 25, she will play a Grand Slam quarter-final for the first time, against Kazakhe Yulia Putintseva (35th).

In addition, out of the New York bubble, the Hungarian Timea Babos displayed her distress after her eviction from the doubles tournament on Saturday following the ban on her partner Kristina Mladenovic to leave her room for health reasons.

"I'm at home. I'm sitting in my kitchen and crying… I'm just starting to realize what happened and I don't understand. It's terribly unfair, I don't see any reasonable reason. so that it turned out like this, ”she wrote on social media.

Associated with Mladenovic, Babos won the Australian Open in 2018 and Roland Garros in 2019.

Following Benoît Paire's positive coronavirus test, 7 players, including Mladenovic, were subjected to a reinforced protocol providing in particular for almost total isolation and which should allow them to play the US Open as long as they remained negative.

© 2020 AFP