World No. 2 Rafael Nadal continued to look all the favorite on Thursday night at the US Open, steamrolling Brazil’s Rogerio Dutra da Silva 6-2, 6-1, 6-0 to move into the third round and the first weekend of play.
“I think I play well as the match was going on, I played better and better,” Nadal said. “I am trying to play more aggressive…that’s something that we were trying to improve on, and that’s a more mental thing than a practice thing.”
Also into the third round were Top 10 seeds No. 4 David Ferrer over fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista-Agut 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-2; No. 7 Roger Federer rolled over Argentine Carlos Berlocq 6-3, 6-2, 6-1; No. 8 Richard Gasquet defeating Frenchman Stephane Robert 6-3, 7-5, 7-5; and No. 10 Milos Raonic easing past Pablo Andujar 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.
“I feel at home here, after everything that has happened,” Federer said. “I am happy with my performance today. I am results-orientated now. I don’t mind how I play, as long as I win.” Ferrer will next meet qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin.
Other seeded winners were No. 13 John Isner beating Gael “Force” Monfils in a unique late night match in four sets, No. 18 Janko Tipsarevic, No. 19 Tommy Robredo, No. 22 Philipp Kohlschreiber, No. 23 Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez, and No. 32 Dmitry Tursunov.
Isner in the final night match suffered the wrath of a well liquored-up New York crowd, who seeking an extended match started cheering for Monfils and chanting the Frenchman’s name after Isner went up two sets to love. A shaken Isner took an extended locker room break after losing the third set.
“I’ve never seen anything like this, fans rooting against the top American at the US Open,” said ESPN commentator Brad Gilbert.
Isner faced his post-match interview with class and respect for his adversary.
“I’m so ecstatic right now to be in the third round,” Isner said. “I knew playing against Gael the atmosphere was going to be very electric and that’s what it was…I hope you guys watching had a lot of fun…He gets cheered on wherever he goes and not just in France…It’s good to see him healthy.”
The lone seeded upset on the day was American and No. 26 Sam Querrey falling to Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 7-6(4), 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 6-4. Mannarino will next meet Federer.
Unseeded players of note into the third round were unheralded Brit Daniel Evans defeating Bernard Tomic in four, Ivan Dodig over Nikolay Davydenko, and Jack Sock.
On the women’s side, top-seeded Serena Williams wrapped up her day in a hurry, defeating Kazakhstan’s Galina Voskoboeva 6-3, 6-0.
“I’m just trying to do the best I can,” said the humble Serena. “Just always trying to get a little better.”
Other Top 10-seeded winners were No. 2 Victoria Azarenka strolling past Aleksandra Wozniak 6-3, 6-1; No. 6 Caroline Wozniacki looking sharp in a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Chanelle Scheepers; No. 7 Petra Kvitova defeating Bojana Jovanovski 6-2, 6-4; No. 8 Angelique Kerber struggling past Canadian comer Eugenie Bouchard 6-4, 2-6, 6-3; No. 9 Jelena Jankovic beating Alisa Kleybanova 6-3, 6-2; and No. 10 Roberta Vinci coming from a set down to defeat Lucie Safarova 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.
Azarenka will next meet Frenchwoman Alize Cornet.
“Alize is a great player with a lot of experience,” Azarenka said. “She’s been Top 20 before. It looks like she’s improving much better this year. We had a tough match at the French Open, and I’m really looking forward to play against her again.”
Leading the four seeded upsets on the day was Flavia Pennetta winning the all-Italian match-up with No. 4 Sara Errani 6-3, 6-1.
“I was really aggressive from the beginning, but I think the key was my serve,” said Pennetta, a three-time quarterfinalist in Flushing Meadows. “I was serving really well today and that was the biggest difference…It’s not easy to play one of your friends, but tennis is like this.”
Other upset winners were Japan’s Kurumi Nara ousting No. 19 Sorana Cirstea 7-5, 6-1; Italian Karin Knapp nipping No. 22 Elena Vesnina 6-1, 6-4; and American Alison Riske topping No. 28 Mona Barthel 6-4, 6-2.
Lower seeds into the third round were No. 13 Ana Ivanovic, No. 14 Maria Kirilenko shutting up screamer Michelle Larcher de Brito, No. 16 Sabine Lisicki, No. 21 Simona Halep, No. 24 Ekaterina Makarova straight-setting American Bethanie Mattek-Sands, No. 25 Kaia Kanepi, the No. 26 Cornet, and No. 27 Svetlana Kuznetsova outlasting Shuai Peng in three.
“My tennis is there,” the former No. 1 Ivanovic said about climbing back into the upper echelon of players. “I strike the ball really well. I think I can strike it as well as anybody in the world. It’s just putting it together in the big matches, and doing that over and over again.”
Unseeded American Christina McHale was a three-set winner, but Sachia Vickery lost to Julia Glushko, and Vicky Duval’s dream run was ended by veteran Daniela Hantuchova 6-2, 6-3.
“I think today I couldn’t quite get myself going,” Duval said. “But I’ve had a great experience this whole tournament…and Daniela played really well today. I’m just going to take what I learned here and take it to the other tournaments.”
Highlights Friday when the seeds start to meet in Flushing are (30) Laura Robson vs. (5) Na Li, (1) Novak Djokovic vs. Benjamin Becker, (23) Jamie Hampton vs. (15) Sloane Stephens in an all-American, former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt vs. (6) Juan Martin Del Potro, (1) Serena Williams vs. Yaroslava Shvedova, (3) Agnieszka Radwanska vs. (32) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, American Denis Kudla vs. (5) Tomas Berdych, (24) Ekaterina Makarova vs. (16) Sabine Lisicki, American qualifier Donald Young vs. Florian Mayer, Marcos Baghdatis vs. (17) Kevin Anderson, (25) Kaia Kanepi vs. (8) Angelique Kerber, and (9) Stan Wawrinka vs. “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic.
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