Nadal, Roddick, Sharapova Return; Will the Blowouts Continue on Ashe?
After 24 hours of blowouts on Arthur Ashe center court, things should get a little more interesting today at the US Open, especially on the outer courts.
Yesterday, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic both easily advanced, hardly breaking sweats against Dudi Sela and Carlos Berlocq, respectively.
“I have been playing this well for a while this year,” Djokovic said after crushing the hapless Carlos Berlocq 6-0, 6-0, 6-2. “I’ve played some matches when I’ve felt like I can’t miss a ball. Any athlete or tennis player will tell you when you’re playing perfectly, everything seems so good and you’re so happy. That’s exactly where you want your game to be, at the highest possible level. I’m working hard each day and this is a tournament where I want to perform my best. I’m not underestimating any opponent and I’m taking seriously every match I play.”
Marin Cilic also posted a surprisingly easy win over Bernard Tomic. JW Tsonga, Mardy Fish, Tomas Berdych and Ivo Karlovic were also winners.
In the match of the day, birthday boy Gael Monfils was outlasted by former No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero. The Spaniard, who lost Andy Roddick in the 2003 US Open final, was the fitter man taking out the Frenchman in nearly five hours 7-6, 5-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4.
“For me it is a fantastic victory,” Ferrero said. “I played with injuries the whole year and now this will give me confidence to go forward in the tournament.”
Said Monfils, who did his fair share of diving around the court during the loss, “I think some things just switch off in my mind. I just see the ball and I’m like, ‘Well, you have to do it’, and then I dive. Every time you’re like, ‘Oh, no’. I know the dive is so good for two seconds. Then you’re like, ‘Oh, @!#%’, it’s still hard.”
With this top guys coming through we are set up for some tasty weekend matches with Federer v. Cilic, Djokovic v. Nikolay Davydenko and Tsonga v. Fernando Verdasco.
But today should also be good. James Blake will try to keep his record perfect against David Ferrer, and I give him a real good chance to upset the Spaniard who is coming off a hand injury.
I think Andy Murray will get tested a little by Robin Haase. If the Dutchman can make it through the match injury-free I think he can and will keep it close.
A trio of former champions are also in action. Nadal, who was out of sorts in his opener, has Nicolas Mahut. Juan Martin Del Potro collides with countryman Diego Junqueira and tonight Jack Sock makes his big match debut against fellow Nebraskan Andy Roddick.
In what could be the best match, veterans David Nalbandian and Ivan Ljubicic lock up with a likely spot on the line to play Nadal on Sunday.
As for the women, the blonde Marias, Sharapova and Kirilenko, are on Ashe along with countrywoman Vera Zvonareva.
Tennis Channel again has coverage at 11am with ESPN2 taking over at 1pm.
US OPEN FRIDAY SCHEDULE
Arthur Ashe Stadium 11:00 AM Start Time
Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) v. Vera Zvonareva (RUS)
Not Before:1:00 PM
Flavia Pennetta (ITA) v. Maria Sharapova (RUS)
Nicolas Mahut (FRA) v. Rafael Nadal (ESP)
Arthur Ashe Stadium 7:00 PM Start Time
Christina McHale (USA) v. Maria Kirilenko (RUS)
Andy Roddick (USA) v. Jack Sock (USA)
Louis Armstrong Stadium 11:00 AM Start Time
Monica Niculescu (ROU) v. Lucie Safarova (CZE)
Robby Ginepri (USA) v. John Isner (USA)
Robin Haase (NED) v. Andy Murray (GBR)
Nadia Petrova (RUS) v. Samantha Stosur (AUS)
Grandstand 11:00 AM Start Time
Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) v. Diego Junqueira (ARG)
Shuai Peng (CHN) v. Julia Goerges (GER)
Irina Falconi (USA) v. Sabine Lisicki (GER)
David Ferrer (ESP) v. James Blake (USA)
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Scheduling Could Further Cramp Nadal’s US Open Hopes; Federer v. Tsonga Tonight
Player Revolt? Nadal, Roddick, Murray Voice Their Unhappiness at US Open Scheduling