On a day when two-time defending women’s champion Serena Williams, top two seeds Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Scotsman Andy Murray all had their schedules deferred to another time, the major news makers were women’s 4th seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, French Open women’s champion Maria Sharapova of Russia and Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland. While Radawanska fell as an easy victim to China’s Peng Shuai, Sharapova and Wawrinka had to overcome second round threats from their lesser known opponents.
In the US Open’s biggest upset so far, Radawanska lost to world no. 50 Peng Shuai. It was literally a tame 3-6, 4-6 surrender by the 4th seeded polish woman, who has not had any significant success in 2014. The Chinese woman avenged her loss to the former Wimbledon finalist to whom she had lost at the 2011 Australian Open after holding two match points against the Pole. It was Radawanska’s ninth US open appearance and she had never gone past the last 16 on any occasion.
No. 5 seeded Russian Maria Sharapova found it hard to book her third round entry at the US Open as she faced world no. 95 Romanian Alexandra Dulgheru in her second round encounter. The Russian lost the first set in the wind-swept conditions at the famed Arthur Ashe stadium and had to fight back against her little-known opponent. Sharapova made her own task difficult by a wayward display that included a whopping 46 unforced errors. Taking three sets for victory has almost become a trend with Sharapova’s game on the WTA tour this year. She came to the court in bright sunshine and after almost two and half hours, when the floodlights came on she finished her match with a score-line of 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. Sharapova thus recorded her 17th three-set win this season, a dubious record for any woman tennis player.
Like Sharapova, Switzerland’s third seeded player Stan Wawrinka also had tough time in his second round match. Up against Wawrinka was the left-handed world no.92 Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil. When the match began, it seemed as if Wawrinka would have a cakewalk of a victory as the Swiss comfortably took two sets from Bellucci. But suddenly, the Brazilian came back into the game to win the third set 6-3. Then Bellucci broke Wawrinka’s serve to go up 2-1 in the fourth set and it required some effort before Wawrinka could break back to make it 3-3. Wawrinka raised his game and led 5-4 on Bellucci’s service. The Brazilian yielded two match points to Wawrinka but the Swiss couldn’t convert any of them. Instead, the set went to the tie-break, where superior service delivery from Wawrinka settled the issue in his favor. The match lasted for 2 hours 36 minutes with a 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 win for Wawrinka.
In other matches on Wednesday, five-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams reached the third round with a 6-1, 6-4 win against Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky; Romania’s World No 2 Simona Halep made short work of Slovakian Jana Cepelova with a 6-2, 6-1 win; Germany’s no.6 seed Angelique Kerber defeated Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia 6-2, 6-4; men’s no.6 seed Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic quickly ended Lleyton Hewitt’s 62nd Grand Slam appearance with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 victory; Bulgarian seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov defeated Ryan Harrison of US 6-2, 7-6, 6-2; South Africa’s Kevin Anderson took four hours and five sets to beat Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas; Croatian Marin Cilic sailed into the third round as Cyprus’ Marcos Baghdatis was forced to retire and Spain’s Feliciano Lopez similarly had a walk over against Croatia’s Ivan Dodig.
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