I thought the fun would be over for the top seeds this weekend, I didn’t think it would happen literally! Yesterday at the US Open we saw another flurry of stunning upsets. Melanie Oudin, the story of the tournament, shocked 2005 US Open champion Maria Sharapova. Then it was another Georgian’s turn, 6-foot-9 John Isner, who won a 5-set tiebreak nailbiter over 2003 champ Andy Roddick.
Also in the day session both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic struggled and at times appeared to be heading for the exits. Early on Lleyton Hewitt had a lot of chances but lost in four, and the same for Jesse Witten who quickly captured the American crowd going up and early set on Djokovic but the Serb managed to scrap out a very tough four-set win.
In the evening both favorites fell. James Blake was bundled out in straight sets by Tommy Robredo and Dinara Safina finally went down, losing a third set tiebreak to Petra Kvitova. (Dinara Safina will remain No. 1 following the US Open! So too will Roger Federer.)
And I haven’t even gotten to the five set win by Fernando Verdasco over Tommy Haas and Sam Querrey’s four-set loss to Robin Soderling.
What a remarkable day, question is will be get another? My guess is no.
Today the Williams sisters and Rafael Nadal take over on Ashe center court and I like both Serena and Venus to come out in front – Venus beating Kim Clisjters in the best match of the day.
Nadal should get past fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagaro and at night I think Andy Murray beats my new favorite player, Taylor Dent.
Also today I like Gilles Simon over Juan Carlos Ferrero and his countrymen Jo Tsonga and my man Gael Monfils to join him in the fourth round advance. And I think we can put Juan Martin Del Potro in the win column as I don’t see Daniel Koellerer upsetting the Argentine.
The best match on the men’s side is probably Fernando Gonzalez v. Tomas Berdych. I think I picked Gonzalez into the semifinals at the start so on the fast court and given Berdych’s history of coming up short in big matches I’ll stick with the Chilean.
Back to yesterday, first looking at the women’s draw in the top section one of the following will be in the US Open semifinals: Kvitova, Wickmayer, K. Bondarenko, Dulko. Incredible! And that lucky player will meet in that semifinal maybe Kuznetsova, Oudin or Wozniacki (sorry Petrova!). That’s a great opportunity especially for Oudin who could easily end up in the final here if she stays composed – does anyone actually think Petrova or Kuznetsova could keep their wits against the 17-year-old from Georgia? No way!
And despite her loss Safina will hang on to No. 1 even if Serena wins the title (remember Serena won a year so she is defending all those points), and that’s complete rubbish if it plays out that way.
For the men, how many more tough losses can Roddick digest? There was the Federer epic at Wimbledon, Del Potro got the American twice over the summer (once in a third set tiebreak) and now this. Four heartbreaking losses in a span of 60 days or so. That’s going to weigh on him, it has to.
And full credit to Isner who didn’t shy away or back down from taking it to Roddick. Isner kept serving bombs, kept rolling the dice as Roddick said and it came up big in the end.
Federer’s poor play is starting to gain attention, luckily the Swiss only has Robredo tomorrow. Djokovic will also need to improve his game otherwise Stepanek will take him out tomorrow.
So I’ll say today we an catch our breath and then maybe Monday we can look forward to more upsets!
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