For his second match on trot, defending US Open champion and world no.1 Novak Djokovic found the going easier than expected. After the walk-over win over Czech Jiri Vesely, Djokovic didn’t have to play too long against Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny, who retired with the Serb leading 4-2 in the first set itself. Another Russian Andrey Kuznetsov was slaughtered by no.4 seed Rafael Nadal while the third championship contender Andy Murray also progressed to the third round by defeating Spain’s Marcel Granollers. Among women, the Williams sisters Serena and Venus both reached the third round with easy victories over their opponents while no.2 seed Angelique Kerber shattered the Cinderella-run of US teenager Cici Bellis. In Friday’s biggest upset, no.7 seed and 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic was bounced off by USA’s Jack Sock in straight sets. Among others, who marched into the fourth round were; GBR’s Kyle Edmunds and Johanna Konta with France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils.
Despite the injury, Novak Djokovic is moving up comfortably along in this year’s US Open tournament. After dropping a set in the first round, the Serbian world no.1 had only played just six games and he is already in the fourth round. Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny couldn’t even complete the first set as he retired due to some injury. Djokovic’s next opponent will be Great Britain’s Kyle Edmunds, who knocked out US big-server and no.20 seeded John Isner 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 in his third-round match. No.4 seeded Spain’s Rafael Nadal accounted for another Russian Andrey Kuznetsov, whose unforced error count hugely benefitted Nadal in his 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 victory. For his next match, Nadal faces 24th seeded Frenchman Lucas Pouille, who prevailed over Spain’s 15th seeded Roberto Bautista Agut in a five-set battle with a score-line of 3-6, 7-5, 2-6, 7-6, 6-1. Earlier on Thursday, no.2 seed Andy Murray didn’t have to work too hard in beating Spain’s Marcel Granollers 6-4, 6-1, 6-4. Other notable men’s singles winners at the end of Friday’s matches were; French 10th seed Gael Monfils, who defeated Spain’s Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-2, 6-4; Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, a 6-3, 7-6, 1-6, 6-1 winner over USA’s Ryan Harrison and 9th seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who beat South African 23rd seed Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-4, 7-6. In Friday’s biggest upset 2014 champion 7th seeded Croat lost in straight sets 4-6, 3-6, 3-6 against USA’s 26th seeded Jack Sock.
In women’s draw, world no.1 Serena Williams entered the third round on Thursday with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over compatriot Vania King. With that, Serena tied with Martina Navratilova’s 306th Grand Slam singles wins, the most by any woman in history. The 34-year old American is seeking her 23rd win in Grand Slam tournaments after leveling with Steffi Graf at Wimbledon this year. Serena’s sister Venus also sailed into the third round with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Germany’s Julia Gorges. Also joining the Williams sisters in third round were; no.4 seeded Pole Agnieszka Radwanska, who defeated GBR’s Naomi Broady 7-6, 6-3 and no.5 seeded Romanian Simona Halep, a 6-3, 6-4 conqueror over the Czech Lucie Safarova. But Friday’s third round match between no.2 seeded German Angelique Kerber and USA’s 17-year old Cici Bellis had attracted everyone’s attention at the Arthur Ashe stadium. Though the US teenager couldn’t stand up to Kerber and lost 1-6, 1-6, the crowd still rooted for her.
Two years ago, Bellis was just 15, when she had stunned Slovak 12th seed Dominika Cibulkova in her first round match. She had then become an overnight sensation and this year, after coming through the qualifying rounds, she has managed to win her first two matches of the main draw. In first round, the 158th ranked Bellis defeated Switzerland’s world no. 65 Viktorija Golubic 6-2, 6-3 and reached the third round by an even better performance against compatriot Shelby Rogers. The teen lost the first set against Rogers, this year’s surprise French Open quarter-finalist, before hanging on for a 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory to book a place in the third round. But Kerber proved too hot for the young American.
The buzz on the absence of the celebrated Roger Federer refuses to abate. Top seeded Djokovic and no.4 seeded Rafael Nadal both feel that the year’s last Grand Slam tournament is poorer because Federer is missing for the first time since 1999. After his first round victory over Jerzy Janowicz on Monday, Djokovic said it was not the same in the tournament with Roger Federer missing. Nadal echoed Djokovic’s sentiments in an interview after his first-round win over Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin. The Spaniard himself has come into the tournament after a serious wrist problem that had forced him to withdraw from the French Open and Wimbledon.