Day-3. 2016 US Open

Day-3 of the US Open featured huge wins from Americans Ryan Harrison and Cici Bellis. Ryan took-out World #6 Milos Raonic, while Cici advanced to the 3rd-Round of a Grand Slam for the first time. Here on Ashe – Petra Kvitova, Caroline Wozniacki and Gael Monfils all found Round-3; Novak Djokovic advanced without even taking the court, while Rafael Nadal and the new roof took center-stage during the final match of the session.

[14] Petra Kvitova (CZE) def Cagla Buyukakcay (TUR)

Final: 7-6(2), 6-3. Petra Kvitova is a two-time Wimbledon Champion. Cagla Buyukakcay is a Turkish rock-star. Remarkably, Petra is now a 4-time Fed Cup Champion, with a chance to make it FIVE this November. Earlier this year at Roland Garros, Cagla played through qualifying and became the first woman from Turkey ever to win a Grand Slam main-draw match. In August, she became the first Turkish female tennis player ever to compete at the Olympic Games. Cagla battled in the first-set, and found herself up 2-0 in the tie-break…but Petra got hot, won seven consecutive points, and stole the first set, robbing the the wind from Buyukakcay’s sails. The World #16 advanced to Round-3 in straights, setting-up her fifth career clash with Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina. Petra’s won their last 3-matches, including a Quarterfinal win at the Olympic Games in Rio just three weeks ago (6-2, 6-0).

Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) def [9] Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS)

Final: 6-4, 6-4. Down 0-4 in the first-set, this one was on the verge of becoming an embarrassing beat-down for Caroline Wozniacki. Something snapped. Remarkably, the two-time US Open Finalist won the next six games and took the first set 6-4. In the second, Caroline broke Kuznetsova at love to go up 4-2. At 5-3, serving for the match, Wozniacki got a case of the yips and couldn’t close the door on the 2004 US Open Champion. Kuznetsova had the edge during longer rallies; Caroline simply lacked the power needed to shorten the points. Down 0-30 in the next game, Caroline benefited from three unforced errors to earn match point…then finally asserted herself, delivering an unreturnable forehand up the line to earn a spot in Round-3.

[10] Gael Monfils (FRA) def [Q] Jan Shatral (CZE)

Final: 7-5, 6-4, 6-3. What an opportunity for Jan Satral. With Jiri Vesely’s retirement, Tournament Referee Brian Early moved Jan’s match with Gael Monfils to Ashe – the sport’s biggest stage. Satral had already enjoyed a week of firsts. After a successful run through qualifying, he made his Grand Slam main-draw debut on Monday – defeating American Wildcard MacKenzie MacDonald in a thrilling 5-setter; a big win, considering Satral was down 2-sets-to-love. He battled respectably with the World #12, but got the yips serving to stay in sets 1 and 2. Monfils then ran-off with the win in the third. There was plenty of showmanship from the Frenchman Wednesday, and thankfully, all of Arthur Ashe Stadium’s court-side scoreboards remained in-tact…Gael’s had an impressive Summer: He hoisted his first ATP-500 trophy in Washington DC, reached the Semifinals at the Masters-1000 event in Toronto and represented France at the Olympic Games in Rio. He’s never made it past the Quarterfinals here in Flushing.

Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) def [3] Garbine Muguruza (ESP)

Final: 7-5, 6-4. With a US Open win, Garbine Muguruza actually had a chance to overtake the World #1 ranking. Instead, she crashed out in Round-2 to the World #48. Anastasija Sevastova is playing some of the best tennis of her career after returning from an 18-month “retirement” from the sport last year. She appeared in her second and third career Finals earlier this year in Mallorca and Bucharest, and has now advanced to Round-3 of a Grand Slam for the first time. She was up 4-0 in the second, but got tentative, opening the door for the World #3. While Muguruza managed to get within striking distance, she got tentative herself, serving to stay in the match. Unforced errors handed Sevastova the match 7-5, 6-4. Garbine’s never been past the Second Round here in Flushing. In 2012, she fell to Sara Errani in Round-1. Qualifiers Lucic-Baroni (’14) and Konta (’15) eliminated her in Round-2.

[4] Rafael Nadal (ESP) def Andreas Seppi (ITA)

Final: 6-0, 7-5, 6-1. Rafael Nadal’s already made history at this year’s Open. Not only was he the first to practice under a closed roof in Arthur Ashe Stadium. He was the first to win a point…and ultimately a match in an enclosed Ashe. He is also – thanks to ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi’s request – the first to try and whack the closed roof with a ball…unsuccessfully. Rafa put on a clinic Wednesday night, as he did with Seppi in Round-2 of the Olympic Games in Rio. It took Andreas 55-minutes just to put a game on the board. The roof remained open until 3-all in the second when intermittent showers began to spit on the court. 10-minutes later the roof was closed, play resumed and Nadal marched into Round-3 for the 10th time. Last year, he fell to Fabio Fognini in the 3rd-Round. Friday, he’ll face Andrey Kuznetsov – who’s never defeated Rafa in their three previous matches.

  • [1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) scored an extra two-days of rest. Jiri Vesely (CZE) retired from the tournament with a left forearm injury just a few hours before their Round-2 match. Vesely’s Round-1 win was exhausting. He pulled it out over Saketh Myneni (IND) in the 5th: 7-6(5), 4-6, 2-6, 6-2, 7-5. Oddly enough, Novak’s been struggling with his left forearm since injuring it while practicing in Rio.
  • Ryan Harrison (USA) def [5] Milos Raonic (CAN) 6-7(4), 7-5, 7-5, 6-1. HUGE. That’s Ryan’s first top-10 win of 2016; but let’s not forget his wins over Marin Cilic (Acapulco) and John Isner (Toronto) this year, too. Cramping in the high-humidity seemed to be Raonic’s biggest issue, but he also received treatment on his left wrist and left quadriceps during the match.
  • 17-year-old Cici Bellis (USA) is into Round-3 of a Grand Slam. She took-out Shelby Rogers (USA) on Wednesday 2-6, 6-2, 6-2, improving on her Second-Round run as a Wildcard two-years-ago, defeating Dominka Cibulkova in the Opening Round.
  • Rohan Bopanna (IND) and Frederik Nielsen (DEN) def Radek Stepanek (CZE) and Nenad Zimonjic (SRB) 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-3. The tandem of Stepanek and Zimonjic looked like a dream-team. Radek won the Doubles title in 2013 with Leander Paes. Zimonjic is a legend. This is a huge Opening Round win for the Bopanna and Nielsen, with obviously impressive pedigrees of their own.
  • Nicholas Monroe (USA) and Donald Young (USA) def [2] Ivan Dodig (CRO) and Marcelo Melo (BRA) 7-5, 7-6(2). It’s one thing to take out the #2-seeds. It’s another to send ’em packing in straight-sets. ‘Merica!