2015 US Open – Day 5

Day-5 Eye Openers:

  • Fabio Fognini. Records his 3rd win of 2015 over Rafael Nadal…at 1:28am
  • Serena Williams. Records her first US Open comeback-win from a set down since 2001
  • Madison Keys. Finally got that monkey off her back. In her fifth try, finally defeated Agnieszka Radwanska to advance to the US Open Round of 16 for the first time
  • Jeremy Chardy. Huge win over World #7 David Ferrer in 4-sets. In their nine career matches, that’s the first time Chardy’s beaten Ferrer since 2009
  • Eugenie Bouchard. She’s decided to start winning. Her win over Cibulkova today to reach the Round of 16 was most likely the most important win of her career in quite some time
  • Eugenie Bouchard and Nick Kyrgios. They’re in the mixed doubles draw. Interesting choice. Perhaps THIS was the most important win of Genie’s career?
  • Mikhail Kukushkin. First, he took out World #17 Grigor Dimitrov. Today, he took the defending US Open Champion Marin Cilic the distance: 7-6(5), 6-7(1), 3-6, 7-6(3), 1-6. Though he didn’t win, Kukushkin had a hell of a week in Flushing
  • Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey. The fellas need too play together more often. Today, they took-down Leander Paes and Fernando Verdasco in Round-2
  • Michael Russell. Not retired yet. He and Donald Young advanced to the 3rd-Round in doubles with a win over [14] Cabal / Farrah

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Round-3 here in Arthur Ashe Stadium:

[13] Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) def. [17] Elina Svitolina (UKR) – White visor. Red visor. Makarova and Svitolina are quite familiar with each others’ game. They’ve played twice before this year alone – in Sydney and Miami. Ekatrina won both matches, and despite cramping late in the second, she delivered her third consecutive win over the Ukranian. Up a break (5-3), the southpaw Makarova battled through a hard-hitting deuce duel to serve out the first set. Makarova than broke Elina to start the second; but at 3-2, Svitolina broke back. Up 4-3, Makarova took a medical time-out to receive a rub-down on her wrapped right thigh, then scored a very timely break to go up 6-5. Despite wasting two match points with a double fault and wild forehand long, Makarova served out the match before cramping could claim her focus: 6-3, 7-5. On Sunday, Makarova will take-on Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic in her third consecutive Round of 16 US Open appearance. Last year, Makarova defeated Bouchard and Azarenka before falling to eventual champ Serena Williams in the semifinals.

[23] Venus Williams (USA) def. [12] Belinda Bencic (SUI) – After two tough three-set matches to reach the 3rd-Round, no doubt Venus was pleased with her efficient thumping of World #12 Belinda Bencic. She ended the match on an ace at the 1:18-mark, defeating the Swiss phenom 6-3, 6-4; an encouraging result knowing that Bencic defeated sister Serena to claim the Toronto tile just a few weeks back. Venus will face Estonian Anett Kontaveit in the Round of 16 on Sunday, with hopes of facing Serena in the Quarterfinals. The truth is, Venus is still a relevent contender with power and poise. After the match, she told ESPN’s Pam Shriver she’d rather go down taking chances and going for her shots than tentatively hoping to secure a win. Her comeback after the diagnosis of Sjogren’s syndrome has been nothing short of remarkable.

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) def. [25] Andreas Seppi (ITA) – Andreas Seppi is one of those dangerous mid-round opponents who hovers just outside the top-15 in the ATP World Tour rankings. Playing Seppi is like hitting against a chipped-up brick wall: You can always count on the ball coming back, but at what angle? He’s a true talent. It’s just that Novak, Roger, Rafa and Andy cast incredibly long shadows. Up 6-3, 7-5, 5-4, Novak served for the match, but Seppi wasn’t done. Novak fell behind love-30, 15-40, then double-faulted to level the set at 5-all. Pissed at himself, Djokovic broke right back to go up 6-5. Though he fell behind 15-40 again, the World #1 would erase two break points and claim his spot in the Round of 16. After the match, Novak had nothing but positives to shower on his opponent’s quick playing style and exemplary placement, proud of himself for “hanging in there” on every point and capitalilzing on key opportunties. Then the 2011 champ cut-loose as US Open Music Director Dieter Ruehle pumped out Galantis’ “Peanut Butter Jelly” at Brad Gilbert’s request. Just another day at the Open.

[1] Serena Williams (USA) def. Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) – Serena hasn’t won a US Open match from a set down since 2001. Tonight, she had to dig her way out of a hole against Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who’s been playing inspired, agressive tennis to reach the 3rd Round of the US Open for the first time. Bethanie broke early and quickly captured the first set 6-3. At 3-all in the second, Serena found another gear. She served to go up 4-3. In the next game, Bethanie faced some unlucky bounces. Serena pounced to go up 5-3. But hold everything…As Serena served for the set, up 30-Love, Mattek-Sands got in the game at 30-15. Serena then double faulted, boosting Bethanie’s confidence. Mattek-Sands would win the next two points and erase the break. Up 6-5, Serena finally had enough. She ripped several returns past Bethanie, had triple set point, then converted on set point to level the match. That was it. Serena found her groove and plowed through Bethanie 6-0 in the third. She was unstoppable, and thankful for an early-round Friday night test that can only help her mentally moving forward. The quest for the Calendar Slam is still alive. Should she defend her title, remarkably, this will be Serena’s seventh US Open title.

[32] Fabio Fognini (ITA) def. [8] Rafael Nadal (ESP) – These two have faced each other three times this year alone…all on clay. Fognini won their semifinal match in Rio, then their Round of 16 match in Barcelona. Last month, Nadal finally defeated the fiery Italian in the Hamburg Final – and he appeared to be in complete control Friday night, up 2-sets to none. Ohhhh, but we were far from done. Down 1-3 in the third, Fabio launched into one of his prototypical tirades with chair umpire Cedric Mourier – a tactic he’s used for years to light a fire under his own ass. Tonight, it worked. Fabio would only allow Rafa one more game in the set to extend the match. In the fourth, Nadal jumped out to an early 2-0 lead. Fabio then broke after the first sit-down and won four of the remaining five games, earning the set 6-3. Past midnight, at 2-all in the fifth, the two traded breaks. Fans launched into a “Let’s Go Rafa” chant, but it didn’t help. Fognini broke again to go up 4-3. At 5-4, 1:25am, Fabio served for the match, dismissing the two-time US Open Champion 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 in 3-hours and 46-minutes. This is the first time in ten years that Nadal will finish the season without winning a Grand Slam title.

Clearly, the 2015 US Open officially started with Friday’s Night Session.

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Round-3. Arthur Ashe Stadium: Day-6 Schedule.

  • [DAY] [32] Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) vs. [5] Petra Kvitova
  • [DAY] [29] Philipp Kohlschreiber vs. [2] Roger Federer (SUI)
  • [DAY] [20] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) vs. [11] Angelique Kerber (GER)
  • [NIGHT] Shelby Rogers (USA) vs. [2] Simona Halep (ROM)
  • [NIGHT] [30] Thomaz Ballucci (BRA) vs. [3] Andy Murray (GBR)