NEW YORK — Alexander Zverev is finally hanging around for the third round of the U.S. Open.
The No. 4 seed beat Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 on Thursday, winning a second-round match for the first time in his four trips to Flushing Meadows.
The German leads the ATP Tour in wins this year, has already won three ATP Masters 1000 titles and at 21 is the popular pick as the young star most likely to have a Grand Slam breakthrough and the end the stranglehold veterans such as Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have had on the majors.
Maybe it will come during these two weeks. Zverev — perhaps benefiting from a tame early draw that started with two lucky losers — hasn’t dropped more than four games in a set thus far.
Federer and Djokovic were also in action on another hot day, the third in a row with an extreme heat policy in effect. Men were permitted a 10-minute break between the third and fourth sets of their singles matches, while the break came after the second set for the women.
Federer had an afternoon match against Frenchman Benoit Paire, looking to improve to 18-0 in second-round matches at the U.S. Open. The No. 2 seed has won all six meetings, though Paire had two match points in their last matchup in June in Germany before the five-time U.S. Open champion won 9-7 in a third-set tiebreaker.
He would next face No. 30 seed Nick Kyrgios, who beat France’s Pierre-Hughes Herbert 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-3, 6-0 in a match that featured controversy, when umpire Mohamed Lahyani climbed down from his chair to urge the Australian to give a better effort while trailing 0-3 in the second set.
Djokovic was scheduled to face American Tennys Sandgren at night. Marin Cilic, the No. 7 seed and the 2014 U.S. Open champion, was to face qualifier Hubert Hurkacz.
Angelique Kerber, the 2016 champion and No. 4 seed, and sixth-seeded Caroline Garcia both were pushed to third sets, with Kerber beating Johanna Larsson 6-2, 5-7, 6-4, and Garcia outlasting Monica Puig 6-2, 1-6, 6-4. No. 5 Petra Kvitova had an easier time, beating Yafan Wang in straight sets.