Pouille Claims Five-Set Thriller, Joins Cilic In 3R
Pouille refused to succumb to #NextGenATP home hope Jared Donaldson, prevailing 7-5, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4 after three hours and 27 minutes. It was a war of attrition in front of a packed crowd on Court 17, as Donaldson battled back from two sets down and looked to be in prime position to complete the comeback. But Pouille would hold his nerve in the decider, breaking for 5-4 and holding to love to close out the victory.
"The crowd was not really cheering for me, but it was an exciting match and very close," said Pouille. "I just told myself that it's a new match starting at two sets all. I put everything behind me and stayed focused on my serve and I took that opportunity on return."
"There's room for improvement, which is good," Donaldson said. "Such a close match. But the fact that I come off the court and say I know there's things I need to work on is a good thing because if I had nothing left to work on, then I'd be in trouble losing that match. It's obviously disappointing, but there's always tomorrow."
Last year, Pouille stunned Rafael Nadal in a deciding tie-break in front of an electric atmosphere on Arthur Ashe Stadium, reaching the quarter-finals. The 23 year old will look to extend his strong run of form at Flushing Meadows when he faces qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin next.
Meanwhile, fifth seed Marin Cilic notched a comprehensive 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Florian Mayer. The 2014 champion prevailed after one hour and 40 minutes, launching 51 winners, including 18 aces. The Croatian is making his first appearance since finishing runner-up to Roger Federer at Wimbledon, having struggled with an adductor injury in recent weeks.
Cilic will next face 29th seed Diego Schwartzman, a 6-2, 6-4, 7-5 winner over former World No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic. The Argentine is into the third round in New York for the first time in four appearances.
In other action, 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta has not dropped a set en route to the third round, downing qualifier Cameron Norrie 6-2, 6-4, 6-3. Having defeated Evan King in the first round, Carreno Busta will face a third straight qualifier to open the tournament when he clashes against Nicolas Mahut on Friday. Mahut captured back-to-back five set wins over Marton Fucsovics and Albert Ramos-Vinolas, upsetting the 20th-seeded Spaniard 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 in three hours and 27 minutes.