Serena Williams applied the most head-averting-inducing beatdown on Monday, but the Italians stole the show in term of upsets on Labor Day Monday at the US Open.
No. 20 seed Roberta Vinci walked off with the biggest upset of the day, in a match-up of two players who couldn’t hit their way out of a paper bag, but used precise placement to run each other ragged, toppling No. 2 seed Aggie Radwanska 6-1, 6-4.
Also into the quarterfinls was Italian No. 10 seed and this year’s French Open runner-up Sara Errani, showing she is far from limited to claycourts by countering the power of hot-handed 2012 riser and No. 6 seed Angie Kerber 7-6(5), 6-3.
“We are also very friends outside the court,” said Errani of her doubles partner Vinci, who she will face in the quarters. “This is one thing that helps very much on the court…but also because we are playing both very good. I think this year we are playing very good tennis.”
The No. 4-seeded Serena Williams’ blowout was definitive, 6-0, 6-0 over Czech Andrea Hlavackova. The Czech’s father is a Czech beer brewmaster back in the homecountry, and Hlavacova no doubt drowned her sorrows in a few barley pours on Monday night.
“I honestly don’t think I started out strong in the tournament,” Serena said. “I feel like today I’m getting more comfortable with the court and comfortable with the conditions. I’m getting back to more my game, which is good. I felt like I hit better today than I had in my other matches. You know, I like to play better during the second week. Hopefully I can do that.”
Former French Open champ and No. 12 seed Ana Ivanovic was the other blowout Monday, defeating Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova 6-0, 6-4.
“In the first set I didn’t do much wrong,” said Ivanovic, whose forehand will need to be working when she next meets Serena. “I felt like everything was going my way. In the second set she started a little more aggressive and was missing a little less — and I did have a few more errors off my forehand side. That’s what probably made the difference between the first and second sets.”
Pironkova was treated for a neck injury during the match.
On tap and ready to pour for Tuesday at the US Open on the women’s side are some blockbuster quarterfinals: (1) Victoria Azarenka vs. defending champion (7) Sam Stosur, and the screaming (3) Maria Sharapova vs. the fidgety (11) Marion Bartoli.
On the men’s side, American Mardy Fish became the story of the day when he pulled from his match against world No. 1 Roger Federer, citing “health concerns.”
“We are not 100 percent sure what the issue is, and if it is related to his previous [heart arrhythmia] issues,” his agent said.
Federer said in a statement, “I am really sorry for Mardy. I just want to wish him a speedy recovery. We all want to see him back on tour soon. It will be a tough [next] match against Tomas [Berdych]. We have played many times in the past and he has always been a tough opponent. I will have to continue to serve well and dictate the points.”
The No. 6 seed Berdych was a straight set winner over No. 11 Nicolas Almagro.
[Berdych quote deleted due to lack of personality].
No. 12 Marin Cilic advanced in straight sets, wearing down Martin Klizan of the Slovak Republic 6-0 in the third set. The 23-year-old Cilic is through to his first Grand Slam quarterfinal in more than two years.
“The last two seasons since playing the semis at the Australian Open, I’ve been having lack of results at the Grand Slams,” Clic said. “This just shows I had a really good summer, [playing] consistently. I think what helped me the most was playing a lot of matches. I won two titles. Just kept me pushing, going and going after that kind of a game. But I was even working in the beginning of the season. Now just happy that I’m in the quarters.”
In the quarters Cilic will face the winner of the Monday late match, Olympic gold medal winner Andy Murray, whose returns trumped the big serving of Canuck Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.
“I hit my passing shot very well tonight,” Murray said in the on-court interview. “I was just trying to react quickly. Sometimes you get your racquet on it, and sometimes it goes right by you. He has a massive serve, a very loose arm. He has one of the best [serves] for sure.”
Murray registered a sparkling +19 differential (winners to unforced errors) for the match.
On the men’s side Tuesday at Flushing Meadows will be (2) Novak Djokovic vs. (18) Stan Wawrinka, (4) David Ferrer vs. (13) Richard Gasquet, (8) Janko Tipsarevic vs. (19) Philipp Kohlschreiber, and in the featured night match (7) Juan Martin Del Potro vs. (20) Andy Roddick.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES & BARBS
The John Isner-Philipp Kohlschreiber match that ended at 2:26 a.m. on Monday morning tied the record for the latest match at the US Open, first set in 1993 by the Mats Wilander-Mikael Pernfors meeting…Rafael Nadal’s diagnosed partially-torn patella tendon in his left knee will keep him out of action for at least two months, forcing him to miss the Spain vs. U.S. Davis Cup semifinal. “I have missed the Olympics and the US Open in the last few weeks, two of the most important tournaments of the year and that I really wanted to play,” Nadal said. “I really want to be back competing and enjoying the tennis tour, but I have many years in front of me and my knee needs some rest.” Nadal could possibly return in time for the year-end ATP championships on Nov. 5..It’s been four years since Ana Ivanovic has been in a Slam quarterfinal, the first time since she won the French Open…Brian Battistone needs to send a check to the USTA for all the pub he’s received for his two-handled freak racquet, receiving a wildcard into the mixed doubles draw after winning the US Open National Playoffs tournament…Props to the US Open (and Slams) for not doing third-set tiebreaks in doubles like the ATP, turning the sport into a coin flip…Priceless: ESPN’s John McEnroe and Brad Gilbert on set staring at Hannah Storm with expressions on their face like, “Stop talking.”…Enough Redfoo, OK? One Redfoo is enough Redfoo…Serena Williams looks fit as hell, and her leg is still as thick as Venus’ waiste — which one is adopted?…John Isner didn’t make it past the third round in a Slam this year, and all four of his Slam losses this year were in five sets. Ouch….Andy Murray has reached the quarterfinals in eight straight Grand Slams. Roger Federer has done it in 34 straight Grand Slams. Novak Djokovic will try to do it in 14 straight Grand Slams. Get the picture?…Meanwhile, when will Milos Raonic, Bernard Tomic, Ryan Harrison or Grigor Dimitrov breakout? Or maybe they never will…ESPN’s John McEnroe delcared tonight that Milos Raonic’s serve is the greatest in the history of tennis. Andy Murray promptly broke that thing four times….Serena Williams has has won five career double bagels. Serena as also won 20 straight games at the US Open…Roger Federer has been granted four walkovers at Grand Slams during his career, two this year…All seven matches on Monday ended in straight sets. Thrilling…Is Brad Gilbert the next Michael Buffer? No…Who will return to tennis first, Mardy Fish or Rafael Nadal?
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