No. 4 seed Novak Djokovic, who last year bad-mouthed Andy Roddick after beating the American (following Roddick making fun of Djokovic’s numerous injury time-outs to the media) at the US Open, took another step to again befriending the New York fans by nullifying the big-serving Carsten Ball 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.
“I haven’t been introduced to his game. So I didn’t know what to expect,” Djokovic said. “I knew he’s a big guy with a big serve, lefty. So, you know, I haven’t watched it. So it’s always dangerous in these positions. But that’s why I needed to really stay focused and try to read his game and try to be able to recognize the positions and his disadvantages.”
In the night match No. 5 seed Andy Roddick battered Frenchman Marc Gicquel 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.
Other Top 10-seeded winners were (8) Nikolay Davydenko over Jan Hernych in straights, and (10) Fernando Verdasco dropping only six games against Florent Serra 6-3, 6-0, 6-3, setting up a meeting against Tommy Haas.
The lower seeding went according to plan on Thursday, as (12) Robin Soderling, (14) Tommy Robredo, (15) Radek Stepanek, (20) Tommy Haas, (21) James Blake, (22) Sam Querrey, and (23) Philipp Kohlschreiber all advanced.
“I don’t feel like I’m that far off from where I was when I was Top 10,” said Blake after defeating Olivier Rochus in four sets.
Unseeded Americans continued their success Thursday in Flushing as two Floridians put “W”s on the drawsheet. The towering John Isner dispatched of Turkish qualifier Marcel Ilhan in straight sets, and Jesse Witten won only his second pro-level match in his five-year career, defeating Maximo Gonzalez 6-7(3), 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 to move into the third round.
“I was able to, the first two sets, get that one break I needed,” said Isner, who won the third set in a tiebreak, and lines up a meeting with Roddick. “Also got it in the third. But credit to him, he kept fighting back. He broke back. But I know if I went to a tiebreaker in the third set, I was really confident because I’ve been playing really well in them.”
Witten again used the big crowd support to his advantage.
“My sister and my mom made it in this morning,” Witten said. “So I mean, I had a good crowd, and they pulled me through it because I think they were really getting the other guy down and really got in his head a little bit. It gave me more energy, because it was hot out there and a long match. I definitely used that, and to my benefit.”
Highlights of Friday’s play in Flushing are Chilean Paul Capdeville vs. (2) Andy Murray, German veteran Nicolas Kiefer vs. (3) Rafael Nadal, (6) Juan Martin Del Potro vs. Jurgen Melzer, (32) Nicolas Almagro vs. Robby Ginepri, Spain’s Ivan Navarro vs. Taylor Dent, and (16) Marin Cilic vs. American Jesse Levine.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Anyone else sick of those Kim Cattrall voice-over intros on ESPN? Are those all next week too?…
The WTA LA/Carson tournament will move to the La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, Calif., in 2010…
Better option on ESPN’s men’s match night coverage, keeping Pat Mac on the desk and pairing brother John with Tirico. The Mac brothers not quite in sync in the booth together?…
James Blake on how he broke his toe at Davis Cup and had to take some time off: “I walked into a bag. It’s foolish. I was in Croatia after my first match. Lights were off in my room. I’m a bit of a slob, so there’s bags thrown everywhere. I walked into the side of one of those roller bags that’s all hard plastic. I guess I just hit it on the exact wrong angle, right on the weak spot on my pinky toe, and broke it. Then probably didn’t help that I played a three-and-a-half-hour match with [Marin] Cilic with a broken toe. When I came off there, probably two or three sizes too big, black and blue, pretty gross. That’s when I figured there might be something wrong with it…I think it’s actually my karmic punishment for making fun of my brother doing the exact same thing three or four years ago.”…
John Isner will debut in the Top 50 on the ATP Rankings following the US Open…
Yaroslava Shvedova on upsets and inspirations, after beating Jelena Jankovic: “It’s like this year, I see how many, like, players, like, doing this [upsets]. Like big changing starts now. Like [American Melanie] Oudin, I told her after my match, I came in the locker room, she was preparing I think for doubles, and I told her, like, ‘You inspired me.’ She played before me. I was watching her game, waiting for my match. I said, like, ‘Thanks, you inspire me.’ We are good girls today.”…
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