Murray, Nadal, Nalbandian Face Tough Tests Today at US Open; Clijsters v. Ivanovic Also
The matchups really start to get interesting today at the US Open in both the men’s and women’s brackets. In men’s third round action it’s Stan Wawrinka v. Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal v. Gilles Simon, Fernando Verdasco v. David Nalbandian and Sam Querrey v. Nicolas Almagro.
The women’s ticket is highlighted by a fourth round clash between two No. 1s, Ana Ivanovic and Kim Clijsters. Venus Williams also faces Shahar Peer and Francesca Schiavone meets the surging Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
First to yesterday, which turned out to be a relatively routine day with very little in the way of surprise and suspense. Mardy Fish’s win over Arnuad Clement was the only 5-set match of the session. Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Robin Soderling, Jurgen Melzer and even Gael Monfils who beat Andy Roddick’s injured ouster, Janko Tipsarevic, all won handily.
The only “downer” was Kei Nishikori. Two days after his epic 5-hour win over Marin Cilic, Nishiroki was forced to retire with a groin injury against Alberto Montanes. It’s hard to recall a 20-year-old having more injury issues than Nishikori who can’t seem to go a month or two without incurring some sort of ailment.
For the women, the clock struck 12 for 18-year-old American Beatrice Capra who was fed the dreaded double bagel on Arthur Ashe by a merciless Maria Sharapova. Top seed Caroline Wozniacki also rolled dropping just one game. The two tennis princesses now collide Monday afternoon in an absolutely salivating matchup.
The lone upset on the day was Jelena Jankovic’s dismissal by Kaia Kanepi.
As for Sunday, it should be a terrific afternoon of tennis – sorry, I’m not enthralled by the night session.
Thus far Nadal hasn’t looked to me like a guy who can win this tournament. I thought he was pushed in both early round matches against Gabashvilli and Denis Istomin, two lower tier players. Today, the World No. 1 gets Gilles Simon who has a win over Rafa. But Simon is probably not in the same form as he was a few years ago when he beat Nadal in Spain (there are few players who have wins over Rafa in his home country, Gilles in one of them!). Plus the Frenchman’s mind may be elsewhere after becoming a father just yesterday. Congrats to Gilles.
While Nadal has looked vulnerable at times, Murray hasn’t. The Scot has taken care of business with brisk ease so far but I think that comes to an end today against Wawrinka. Murray leads their series 5-3 having won three straight including a most recent 5-set win at Wimbledon last year. I still think Murray gets through but this could go the distance as the pressure begins to build again on Murray.
In the match of the day (what a great match for Grandstand), Verdasco and Nalbandian tangle in a battle of two of the most streaky, hot-and-cold guys on the planet. And while Nalbandian seemed to resurrect his game over the summer, Verdasco’s faded. But the lefty has played well this week in New York and he did beat Nalbandian in their only meeting four years ago at Wimbledon. However, I’m liking David in this one. The US Open is arguably his best Slam – he won the juniors and was inches from reaching the final in 2003 – and he usually rises up to meet tough challenges like the one before him today.
Querrey and Almagro is another tough tussle, but I’ll take the American and I like John Isner over Mikhail Youhzny in four, maybe five sets. I’ll also pick Michael Llodra and Feliciano Lopez to win.
On the women’s side, I think Ivanovic pushes Clijsters but it’s still the Belgian in straight sets while Venus, Dementieva win and I’ll take AP to upset Schiavone.
Again today, the US Open is televised on CBS which did a good job yesterday. Tennis Channel will have the two night matches.
SUNDAY US OPEN SCHEDULE
Arthur Ashe Stadium 11:00 AM
Ana Ivanovic(SRB) vs. Kim Clijsters(BEL)
Shahar Peer(ISR) vs. Venus Williams(USA)
Rafael Nadal(ESP) vs. Gilles Simon(FRA)
Mikhail Youzhny(RUS) vs. John Isner(USA)
Samantha Stosur(AUS) vs. Elena Dementieva(RUS)
Louis Armstrong Stadium 11:00 AM
Francesca Schiavone(ITA) vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova(RUS)
Sam Querrey(USA) vs. Nicolas Almagro(ESP)
Andy Murray(GBR) vs. Stanislas Wawrinka(SUI)
Grandstand 11:00 AM
David Nalbandian(ARG) vs. Fernando Verdasco(ESP)
Feliciano Lopez(ESP) vs. Sergiy Stakhovsky(UKR)
Tommy Robredo(ESP) vs. Michael Llodra(FRA)
Also Check Out:
Unseeded Serena Williams, Clijsters to Meet Early at Rogers Cup
WTA Previews: Henin, Clijsters in Brisbane; Auckland No Top 10
Roddick, Harrison Make Statements, Clijsters Retires at Indian Wells
Scary Nadal Faces Former Clay King Ferrero; Djokovic v. Nalbandian in Monte Carlo
Henin Reaches Brisbane Final in First Event Back, Meets Clijsters