World No. 2 Roger Federer defeated German Andreas in straight sets Thursday.
The real story on Wednesday was the outspoken and humorous Novak Djokovic, and the French, young and old, unseeded, who continue to tear holes in the US Open draw.
Richard Gasquet shocked No. 6 seed Nikolay Davydenko in straights sets, Paul-Henri Mathieu defeated countryman Guillaume Rufin in straights, and veteran Arnaud Clement also moved into the third round when Argentine Eduardo Schwank retired in the second set after injuring an ankle.
Hey, did you know Mardy Fish lost 30 pounds? Of course you do, because every f*****g media outlet mentions it in every story on Fish. The 28-year-old beat Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas 7-5, 6-0, 6-2 on Thursday, taking over the mantle of American favorite after the exit of Andy Roddick.
“This is the spot that I want to be in,” said the No. 19-seeded Fish, who dropped 14 aces on Cuevas. “You want to be the favorite and winning a lot.”
Fish will next face Clement.
“He’s playing unbelievable this tournament,” the Frenchman said of the American. “I know it’s gonna be very difficult. So I have no you know — I was supposed to lose first round here. Now I’m third round and I’m playing Mardy Fish. So it’s just gonna be maybe outsider in this match, and I’m gonna try to do my best. That’s only thing I have to do.”
Unseeded James Blake also advanced, winning from a set down, taking advantage of a cushy draw against Canadian Pete Polansky. Taylor Dent was not so lucky, running up against No. 5 Robin Soderling and losing in straights.
“He’s a dangerous player, especially on faster surfaces like this,” Soderling said of Dent. “But I was really happy with the way I played, and to beat him in straight sets shows that I’m playing good.”
In other matches of note unseeded Kei Nishikori melted down No. 11 seed Marin Cilic 6-1 in the fifth to advance, No. 13 Jurgen Melzer fought off junior star Rich Berankis 7-5 in the fifth, and South African Kevin “Mr.” Anderson edged No. 26 Thomaz Bellucci 7-6 in the fifth.
In the final night match No. 3 seed Novak Djokovic defeated German Philipp Petzschner in three tight sets.
“He’s a very good player, you have to give him credit,” Djokovic said. “He was changing up the pace and not giving me a lot of rhythm.”
Asked by Brad Gilbert in the on-court interview if he had the “tweener” between-the-legs shot like Roger Federer, Djokovic said, “No I have something else between my legs…don’t worry I won’t show it to you tonight.”
Friday’s matches to watch for in Flushing Meadows are (4) Andy Murray vs. Jamaican van-traveling sensation Dustin Brown, (1) Rafael Nadal vs. Uzbek Denis Istomin, Swiss Marco “Chud” Chiudinelli vs. (18) John Isner, (20) Sam Querrey vs. Marcel “Granola” Granollers, last week’s New Haven champion Sergiy Stakhovsky vs. American upstart Ryan “The Racquet Thrower” Harrison, (12) Mikhail Youzhny vs. Dudi “Where’s My Car?” Sela, an all-Spanish encounter in Guillermo “G-Lo” Garcia-Lopez vs. Nicolas Almagro, the resurgent Gilles Simon vs. (29) Philipp Kohlschreiber, and an all-American doubles in the (1) Bryan brothers vs. Bradley Klahn/Tim Smyczek.
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Friday Blogging From Amelia Island