While most top stars stayed on course on day 4 at the Flushing Meadows, day 5 had intriguing results. While No. 8 seed Ana Ivanovic was the only notable casualty on Thursday, the next day opened exit doors for women’s no.2 seed Romanian Simona Halep, German 6th seed Angelique Kerber, two-time US Open champion and no.19 seed American Venus Williams, men’s 15th seed Italian Fabio Fognini and men’s 11th seed Latvian Ernest Gulbis.
Day 4 was almost a normal day at the US Open, when the top men and women top stars won their second round matches. Men and Women’s top seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams easily sailed into the third round with straight set victories. While Djokovic brushed aside Paul-Henri Mathieu of France without breaking sweat 6-1, 6-3, 6-0, Serena Williams scored an even easier 6-1, 6-0 win against compatriot Vania King. Also advancing into the third round on day 4 were; Scotsman Andy Murray, American John Isner, Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios, Japanese Kei Nishikori, Canadian Milos Raonic and Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Victors on women’s side included; Bulgarian Victoria Azarenka, Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, Wimbledon champion and no.3 seed Czech Petra Kvitova and American Madison Keys. However no.8 seed Serbian Ana Ivanovic was shocked 7-5, 6-4 by an unknown Czech girl Karolina Pliskova. Many thought Ivanovic as the one player, capable of upsetting Serena Williams but she was out-of-sorts against the little known Czech, who played impressively and didn’t allow Ivanovic to control the match at any stage.
19-year old Nick Kyrgios continued with his great form to beat Italian veteran Andreas Seppi 6-4, 7-6, 6-4 in dominating style. Kyrgios served 22 aces and avoided any service break against him in the match. The Australian will next meet Spanish 14th seed Tommy Robredo on Saturday. In his second round match on Thursday, Robredo had to fight for five sets before coming through against unseeded Italian Simone Bolelli. It may be recalled that Robredo had beaten Roger Federer in the US open last year. Kyrgios, who had a great Wimbledon outing a few weeks ago, will soon, replace Lleyton Hewitt as Australia’s No.1 singles player. However, Kyrgios’s compatriot in women’s singles, Samantha Stosur had a second round exit on day 4. Stosur, the 2011 champion at the US open, was on the verge of victory against the unseeded Estonian Kaia Kanepi but she blew up two match points to lose 6-3, 3-6, 6-7, after she led 4-1 in the third set tie break. USA’s 15 year old Cici Bellis, who had shocked Dominika Cibulkova on day 2, lost her second round match to Zarin Diyas of Kazakhstan but not before she stretched her opponent to three sets.
On day 5, several seeded players tumbled out of the tournament. It all started with Switzerland’s teenager Belinda Bencic handing out a shock 6-1, 7-5 defeat to 2011 semifinalist and no.6 seed Germany’s Angelique Kerber. Making her maiden US open appearance, the 17-year old Swiss girl played like a champion in the first set to surprise the 26-year old Kerber. Then in the second set, Bencic saved 5 set points and reeled out the last five games on the trot. Bencic now takes on No.9 seed Serbian Jelena Jankovic of Serbia for a place in the quarterfinals. In another big upset on Friday, Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic-Baroni defeated No.2 seed Romanian Simona Halep 7-6, 6-2. It was a match, in which the turnaround came suddenly and just as Halep prepared to take the first with a 5-2 lead. Much as the Romanian looked unassailable, Lucic-Baroni broke her serve to bounce back brilliantly in the match. The Croat applied pressure and took the first set to the tie-breaker. Caught unawares, Halep double-faulted in the tie-break and lost the first set. Having found the foothold, Lucic-Baroni ran through the second set to win the match 7-6, 6-2. Italy’s Sara Errani cut short Venus Williams dream of another US open title by beating the two-time champion 6-0, 0-6, 7-5.
In men’s second round matches on day 5, David Ferrer has a walk over Australian Bernard Tomic; 7th seed Grigor Dimitrov eneterd the third round with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Dudi Sela of Israel; Marin Cilic defeated Ilya Marchenko 7-6, 6-2, 6-4; 20th seed Gael Monfils beat Alejandro Gonzalez 7-6, 6-2, 6-4 and No.2 seed Roger Federer beat Australian Sam Groth 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. Czech Republic’s no.6 seed Tomas Berdych had a tough match against Slovak Martin Klizan before winning in five sets 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. But the Latvian 11th seed Ernests Gulbis lost his match to his training partner Dominic Thiem after commanding a 2-0 set lead. The final score for Thiem was 4-6 3-6 6-4 6-3 6-3. No. 15 seed Fabio Fobnini lost 3-6, 4-6, 1-6 in his second round match to the unseeded Frenchman Adrian Mannarino. In a women singles third-round match, No.5 seed Maria Sharapova played a powerful game to dispose of Sabine Lisicki of Germany 6-2, 6-4.
Saturday at Flushing Meadows is eagerly awaited as the day 6 features tournament top seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams. More excitement is expected as the star cast will also include; Stanislas Wawrinka, Andy Murray, John Isner, Petra Kvitova, Victoria Azarenka, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Eugenie Bouchard, Milos Raonic, Flavia Pennetta and Sam Querrey.
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