Wawrinka, Sharapova Struggle Through; Thurs. Preview at US Open
by Staff | August 28th, 2014, 12:44 am

No. 3 seed Stan Wawrinka in the night match led the Top 10-seeded men’s winners, with a couple minor upsets sprinkled in on Wednesday at the US Open.
Wawrinka in the final match, which stretched until after midnight EST, defeated Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(1).

“I was playing really well, I was really aggressive,” Wawrinka said. “In the fourth set I tried to focus on my game and not what he was doing.”

Other Top 10-seeded winners were No. 6 Tomas Berdych overpowering former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt 6-3, 6-4, 6-3; and No. 7 Grigor Dimitrov beating a hobbled Ryan Harrison 6-2, 7-6(4), 6-2.

“It’s a tough opponent, a big challenge,” said Berdych, who trailed 1-4 in the second set before winning 11 of the next 14 games against Hewitt. “The conditions were extremely tough today. The heat, the wind, and facing Lleyton for the first round, it’s not what you really want to have. But otherwise, when you are prepared and feel good, that’s a perfect start.”

Other seeded winners were No. 11 Ernests Gulbis, No. 14 Marin Cilic, No. 18 Kevin Anderson who edged Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas 7-6 in the fifth, No. 19 Feliciano Lopez who topped Ivan Dodig when the Croatian retied in the fifth set, and No. 32 Joao Sousa who likewise beat Canadian Frank Dancevic 7-6 in the fifth.

Gulbis after his match received extra scrutiny from the press regarding his unorthodox forehand.

“I just pay no attention to it,” Gulbis said. “I play like I feel. Again, the best is when you play from your subconscious and when you don’t think. You cannot think on court. You don’t have time. You just have to react. And, yeah, technique. You can work on certain things, but I definitely didn’t work that my forehand looks specifically or better or worse.”

On the upset tip Wednesday were Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili beating No. 27 Santiago Giraldo in four, and Slovenian Blaz Kavcic rolling No. 30 seed Jeremy Chardy in straights.

On the women’s side, a Top 10 player and two other seeds went out on Wednesday in second-round play.

China’s Peng Shuai, one time touted as a breakthrough player in her early career, without back-up results, on Wednesday defeated No. 4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska in straight sets 6-3, 6-4.

“I told myself to fight, and don’t think about that match,” said Peng, referring to holding match points at the 2011 Australian Open and failing to close the deal. “This is an amazing time for me.”

In other upsets Sweden’s Johanna Larsson topped the fight-challenged American and No. 21 seed Sloane Stephens 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, and Swiss comer Belinda Bencic outlasted Japanese No. 31 seed Kurumi Nara 6-4, 4-6, 6-1.

Stephens led 7-5, 3-0 before the wheels came off.

“Things just got a little shaky,” Stephens said of her inability to close. “She played a solid game, and it was just unfortunate. I had many opportunities, but just couldn’t convert…I’m not going to dwell on it.”

No. 2 seed Simona Halep led the other Top 10 seeds into the third round, defeating Slovak Jana Cepelova 6-2, 6-1, and joined by No. 5 Maria Sharapova weathering Romanian Alexandra Dulgheru 4-6, 6-3, 6-2; No. 6 Angelique Kerber defeating Russian qualifier Alla Kudryavtseva 6-2, 6-4; No. 9 Jelena Jankovic topping Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova 7-5, 6-4, and No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki defeating Belarus qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3, 6-4.

“Just because you come in as a favorite doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed to hold the trophy at the end of the two weeks,” said the No. 5 seed Sharapova, elevating herself to favorite status. “That’s why we play this sport. You start from the first round.”

Other seeded winners were No. 13 Sara Errani, No. 14 Lucie Safarova needing three sets to get by Chinese qualifier Zheng Saisai, No. 18 Andrea Petkovic who beat Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig in a third-set breaker, No. 19 Venus Williams, No. 22 Alize Cornet, No. 26 Sabine Lisicki, and No. 28 Roberta Vinci who came from a set down to beat Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu.

A leader on the tour early in her career, Venus says she is now playing catch-up with sister Serena.

“It’s good to be out here,” said Williams after having a tough time finishing off Swiss Timea Bacsinszky 6-1, 6-4. “Watching Serena last night, she played so well so I tried to do the same thing.”

Matches to look for on Thursday include (16) Victoria Azarenka vs. Christina McHale, (1) Serena Williams vs. Vania King in an all-American, (1) Novak Djokovic vs. Paul-Henri Mathieu, (3) Petra Kvitova vs. Petra Cetkovska in an all-Czech, Sam Querrey vs. (28) Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, American wildcard Nicole Gibbs vs. (23) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 15-year-old American wildcard sensation Catherine Bellis vs. Zarina Diyas, (22) Philipp Kohlschreiber vs. net crusher Michael Llodra, (24) Samantha Stosur vs. upset specialist Kaia Kanepi, (11) Flavia Pennetta vs. American upstart Shelby Rogers, and 2014 WTA grasscourt title winner Coco Vandeweghe vs. (15) Carla Suarez Navarro.

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57 Comments for Wawrinka, Sharapova Struggle Through; Thurs. Preview at US Open

Michael Says:

Wawrinka was literally walking away with the match leading by two sets to love and suddenly Bellucci came alive and took him to the brink by making the match very interesting. Finally, Wawrinka scraped through with minor bruises and was lucky that he finished it in four. Berdych too look promising with his win over a big match player like Hewitt which would have given him some amount of confidence after a disastrous year he has had so far which is the worst in his career.

skeezer Says:

Hewitt went up 4-1 in the 2nd, lookin like he had made some inroads in the match, and then the Birdsh!ted one won a zillion points in a row and ran away with the match.
I still say the Birdsh!t one can go mental, so lets see how he progresses …..to bad Almagro is not playing….he owes this guy one.

Colin Says:

So Murray’s match is not one “to watch for”?
I’d have thought there would be some interest in seeing if he has recovered from the weird cramping episode against Haase.

I imagine Andy will start a bit cautiously, and who could blame him? It depends on what he and his team have been doing since the Haase match, specifically whether they’ve identified the cause of the problem, or even if they THINK they have.

Somebody told me that eating bananas helps to avoid cramp, so we may see Andy scoffing a few. It’s interesting that he does eat them, as he said recently he didn’t like them except mashed, in a bagel. During the Haase match he asked for them specifically. Let’s also hope they have a supply of ice this time!

Polo Says:

Overall, Wednesday was a satisfying day for me. A majority of the ones I want to see win won and those who I’d rather see lose, lost.

funches Says:

In 2005, Peng Shuai beat Clijsters 6-4-6-4 in Los Angeles in a summer when Clijsters won her other four hard court tournaments, including the U.S. Open, and did not drop a set in any of her warm-up tournaments before the Open other than her loss to Peng.

At the time, I remember thinking Peng could be No. 1 in the world if she kept playing like that, and she backed it up with … nothing for nine years until yesterday.

History says no, but if she plays like she did against Radwanska in the next few rounds, Peng will reach the semifinals and finally live up to the promise she showed that day against Clijsters. After that match, Clijsters said she had done nothing wrong, that Peng had just outplayed her, and that’s the way it looked when I watched that match.

Tennis Fan Says:

A pro that didn’t know about banana’s is banans’s :)

RZ Says:

@funches – I remember that, and I remember Clijsters saying that Peng Shuai would be in the top 10 for sure. Sad that it didn’t turn out to be the case.

Giles Says:

What is the matter with Wawa? Has winning one slam gone to his head? Over the last months he is either complaining to or about the umpires or his opponent. Yesterday he told the fans to “shut up”.

Margot Says:

Um…doing a Colin now but, ” a pro that didn’t know about bananas is bananas.”
When in doubt, leave it out.

Polo Says:

The world is a cleaner, more orderly world, with Colin around. He makes people a bit more careful of their grammar and spelling. That’s not bad at all.

Gordon Says:

Murray and Bouchard are the prime time evening matches but they are not ones to watch for, but Querrey, Shelby Rogers and a 15 year old American with a freak upset are huh?

Methinks staff has a certain bias towards the home country.

Polo Says:

Will somebody explain to me why Wawrinka would stay closer to the baseline on his opponent’s first serve but move farther back on the second serve? Isn’t the other way around a more efficient way of returning serves?

Okiegal Says:


As everyone knows I’ve never played tennis, but last night I noticed that very thing and I almost posted that same exact question……please, would an accomplished club tennis player answer this question? That very thing is always discussed by the commentators……just curious….

Sirius Says:

May be wawa wants to hit a return winner on the second serve i guess

Ben Pronin Says:

Wawrinka never takes cuts at the first ball. It’s easier to block a ball on the rise than to stand back and wait for it.

With a second serve, he takes his sweet time winding up which would require more space. It sounds counter intuitive but it does work this way.

Polo Says:

You can’t be Sirius! How can you hit a return winner from so far down the baseline?

Okiegal Says:

Thanks Ben and Sirius for the feedback!

jatt Says:

With regards to polo’s question, i think it was easy for wawrinka to just block the incoming first serve and use its pace to return it back whereas for the second serve, he stood way behind the baseline to neutralize the kick serve and return it better.

Tennis Fan Says:

Wawrinka’s mentality has been to play too defensively at times … and this is part of the reason he has been getting into trouble recently. That and trying to end some of his points too quickly by trying to hit an immediate winner.

Federer has shown that standing in closer on second serves is the way to go to put pressure on the opponent. I mean Wawrinka is one of the few guys with the power to hit a winner while he is backed up against the wall … but it is not the formula for winning consistently. I wish Federer could explain to him what his coach apparently is not driving home. Don’t fade back … stand up.

Humble Rafa Says:

Weird things in NY:

Apparently, there is a New York minute.

One Spanish minute=15 minutes, bigger than any other city-minute.

Sirius Says:


no idea. Just had that thought and posted it

Sirius Says:


i don’t think i deserve thanks. Ben’s and jatt’s posts make more sense than mine!

Polo Says:

Sirius, I like your name and thought it was the perfect time to play with it and interject it in McEnroe’s famous line. I have no idea either why Wawrinka chose to return serves from those positions.

Humble Rafa Says:

Does the Arrogant One get the “Senior Schedule”? I wish I could get one.

Beat up midget, rest two days preparing for the next midget, and so on. Good life, better than watching lesser souls win while you are recuperating.

RZ Says:

HR – the Senior Schedule isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It means playing more matches within a shorter timeframe in the later part of the tournament.

Ben Pronin Says:

Wawrinka clearly got the best schedule.

Okiegal Says:


I just now read Jatt’s post…..I will take my thanks back since their answers were better than yours…wink wink! LOL Kidding of course…I was glad someone read my post and commented!!

BT Says:

Another grand slam another epic Stosur choke. *sigh*

jane Says:

it’s not looking like robredo is going to make the semis at this rate. he’ll have to come back from 2 sets down to win today anyhow.

meanwhile nick kyrgios is playing seppi. it’ll be interesting to see if he can keep go further.

RZ Says:

@Jane – I should have include Sam Stosur as another player I hate to love. Another great opportunity for her = another early round loss. (As least she grabbed the biggest opportunity she ever had on a tennis court).

Polo Says:

It remains a mystery to me how Stosur beat Serena at a US Open final, no less. It is an extreme aberration from Stosur’s norm.

BT Says:

When to Stosur is on. She is amazing. 2011 USOpen she strung enough of that consistency together. Lack of Consistency and mental strength are always her downfall.

jane Says:

ana ivanovic is one for me. she was wonderful back in 2008 when she reached the finals of the australian and then won the french to take number 1, but then things derailed for her and she’s never been the same since. this season, however, she’s shown wonderful resolve at times, beating serena at the australian, or that win over sharapova 10 days ago in cincy, where she choked but nevertheless held it together, kept fighting and eventually took the win. she was clearly wiped in the final unfortunately. anyhow she really has a wonderful game when she’s confident and things are flowing, but all of these coaching changes certainly can’t help. maybe it’s all hotsauce’s fault? : /

jane Says:

robredo is coming back after all. he’s taken the 3rd set and is up a break in the 4th, so i am assuming he’ll win the 5th now.

Wog boy Says:

Kyrgios is two sets up and he is playing really well, with this game he can do a lot of damage to just about any player and he is only 19 years of age. Very mature and clean game, so far.

Polo Says:

I will always love Ana, even if she often breaks my heart each time she loses.

BT Says:

Kyrgios up 2 sets to love over Seppi. Looking good.

jane Says:

yep, nick is cruising, just got a break in the third set too.

meanwhile raonic lost the second set.

can’t figure out why but tsn are showing… verdasco. in its entirety. this when murray and milos are both playing matches. weird.

Polo Says:

Is it safe to watch Murray now?

BT Says:

Great win for Nick. Very solid closing game. So cool and calm (most of the time)… take note Stosur. That’s two very respectable wins against quality opponents.

jane Says:

polo i think so. andy’s draw opened up a little bit more: first steps and now verdasco is out too. kuznetsov upset ferrer at wimbledon but then lost the next round in straights.

jane Says:

yes, impressive from kyrgios

jane Says:

even though i can’t watch, andy’s stats look very good: high first serve percentage and good winners to errors.

Polo Says:

No wonder tennis tv ratings are low. They choose to show matches of no interest to tennis lovers. US TV prefers to show unknown, unranked, unintereting players as long as there is an American player instead of the more interesting big narme matches. They keep hyping American players who you never hear from again in subsequent tournaments. Brainless programmers.

jane Says:

totally agree polo. >:(

Eric Says:

This Bachinger guy is really pretty good. How have I never heard of him before? Weird.

Humble Rafa Says:

American tennis players…really. LOL.

Dinosaurs are the only extinct species that interests Humble Highness.

Humble Rafa Says:

Who is this silly billy? She looks 10.

Polo Says:

Jane, as per your advice, I watched the Murray match. Luckily for me, I can get ESPN3 online which shows several ongoing matches. Glad to report that watching Murray tonight was painless. Thumbs up for Murray!

the DA Says:

That was more like it. Andy found his form again and everything was working beautifully. His net play in particular was fabulous, winning nearly 90% of the points there. It was windy too and of course we all know he excels in those conditions. Very happy. Interesting that Verdasco was knocked out. That’s 2 projected opponents who haven’t shown up. All the angst over the draw was for nothing.

Polo Says:

That Belies girl is the latest possible American flash-in-the- pan flavor-of-the-month who the American tennis TV commentators are tripping all over themselves in heaping over the top platitudes.

the DA Says:

^ Possibly. From what I’ve seen she has incredible potential. Maybe it’s youth but she hits all the shots with confidence. She has a great BH, big FH and isn’t afraid of the net. So many positives. Time will tell.

Ben Pronin Says:

Bellis is absolutely incredible. I am extremely impressed. I don’t know how she generates as much pace as she does but as she actually grows and puts some real muscle on, she’ll be even better. Right now she tries to play smart, working the point until she gets the setup for a winner. Her coach must be amazing.

Wog boy Says:

I am impressed with Zarina Diyas, just for staying so composed and her fighting spirit in not quite friendly atmosphere. She looks very exotic too.
To early to say anything about future of Bellis, maybe it was too early to throw her in, maybe not. She has strong legs that gives her strenght to run around and hit the ball with extra strenght, very lean and very fit body, maybe too fit for 15 years old girl. Time will tell.

jane Says:

i like bouchard’s outfit – the back of the top is great and the blue suits her.

Hippy Chic Says:

Another American girl named Gibbs beat Pavleychenkova yesterday,i dont know if anyone noticed?

Tennis Fan Says:

TSN is trying to find the worst match of the day to run on their primetime … why? … because you can pick up the game on their streaming feed by paying extra money to your internet provider for using up the bandwidth. This is what happens when your telephone provider also owns the TV stations broadcasting the games.

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