The fourth and final major of the 2014 tennis season is underway. The players are in New York; the draw has been set; and the fans are watching excellent tennis at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Bad Man Bureau will be with you from first ball to the final trophy presentation, giving you a preview of tennis matches you might want to watch and recaps of some of the action from the prior day’s events.
Day 4 Recap
“Quizner” Makes Short Work of Their Opponents. Sidenote: those two need to team up for doubles again; it’s a nice nickname for the pairing. Isner and Querrey both wasted little time dispatching their opponents in the second round. Isner took on the German Jan-Lennard Struff and was able to put him away in three progressively easier sets with an astonishing thirty aces. It’s the kind of pressure that Isner should be putting on his opponents; keep holding serve, get a break or win the tiebreak to get the set, then eventually the opponent will put too much pressure on himself to keep holding serve. Querrey, who was predicted to win but in a far more difficult manner, took out the 28-seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. Querrey himself served well: he had 16 aces and faced only two break points all match.
Serena Williams Just Wins, Wins, and Wins. Serena Williams demolished fellow American Vania King on Arthur Ashe this afternoon, surrendering just one game to the former two-time major doubles champion. Then during the evening, she teamed with her big sister and knocked out the seventh-seeded doubles team of Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic 7-6(0), 6-7(4), 6-1 before a packed crowd at the Grandstand. But Serena won another way today. Her part of the draw opened up massively after the two biggest threats in her quarter crashed out. Before even Serena took the court, Ana Ivanovic suffered a loss to Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic. Former US Open champion Samantha Stosur, who defeated Serena in the final of that US Open, fell in a third-set tiebreak to the dangerous Kaia Kanepi. With those two gone, can anyone trouble Serena en route to the second weekend?
5 Matches to Watch
(4) David Ferrer versus Bernard Tomic
Third on Arthur Ashe, Day Session
Head-to-Head: Ferrer 2-0 Tomic
Last Meeting: 2012 Miami Second Round, Ferrer defeats Tomic 6-4, 6-4.
At some point David Ferrer has to fall off, right? The little Spaniard that could keeps plugging away, battling and scrapping for every point, refusing to give an inch and refusing to hit backhands, and it keeps translating into win after win. In the second round he’ll take on Bernard Tomic, the Aussie youngster who appeared to be on the cusp of stardom in the sport before immaturity, lackadaisical play, and injuries pulled him back from the spotlight. He’s healthy now, and he’s been winning this summer too, but I don’t think he’s going to be able to beat Ferrer.
Result: Ferrer in three sets.
(5) Maria Sharapova versus (26) Sabine Lisicki
Second on Arthur Ashe, Night Session
Head-to-Head: Sharapova 4-1 Lisicki
Last Meeting: 2013 Madrid Third Round, Sharapova defeats Lisicki 6-2, 7-5.
Lisicki’s one win came on grass at Wimbledon in 2012, but in the other five times they’ve met (four WTA tour stops plus the Olympics in 2012), Sabine has won just two sets to the ten she’s lost. Lisicki hasn’t had a difficult draw thus far to the third round either, but then neither has Maria Sharapova. Maria had to claw her way back from a bad loss in the second round, something we’ve grown accustomed to seeing. Lisicki’s serve is a strong weapon, but Maria Sharapova is one of the best returners in the game.
Result: Sharapova in two sets.
(10) Caroline Wozniacki versus (18) Andrea Petkovic
Fourth on Grandstand
Head-to-Head: Wozniacki 3-1 Petkovic
Last Meeting: 2013 Charleston Second Round, Wozniacki defeats Petkovic walkover.
Petkovic won their first meeting when she stunned then-world number one Wozniacki in Miami three years ago, but since then it’s been all Wozniacki. Petkovic has struggled in her two matches here in New York, being forced to go to three sets against both qualifier Ons Jabeur and stalled-out youngster Monica Puig. Wozniacki herself had to go into a third set in her first round match against Magdalena Rybarikova before the Slovak retired. Caroline has better memories of the US Open, and I think that will help her pull out a win.
Result: Wozniacki in three sets.
(18) Kevin Anderson versus Jerzy Janowicz
First on Court 17
Head-to-Head: Anderson 1-0 Janowicz
Last Meeting: 2013 Monte Carlo First Round, Anderson defeats Janowicz 7-5, 7-6(9).
Expect lots of holds. Expect good serving. Expect short points, and expect Janowicz to employ the dropshot, a weapon he loves to employ at both good and bad times during any given point. It might be a good tactic against Anderson though; the South African slogged his way through a five-set win over Pablo Cuevas. Janowicz should be the more in-form player for this match: he did reach the finals in Winston-Salem and had championship points against Lukas Rosol. Between Anderson’s potential fatigue from his first round and Janowicz’s recent play, it’s a good idea to bet on the Pole.
Result: Janowicz in four sets.
(11) Ernests Gulbis versus Dominic Thiem
Second on Court 11
Last Meeting: First Meeting
This is the first time these two have met in a main draw. They did meet in qualifying back in 2012 in Winston-Salem, which has courts very similar to those in New York. There Gulbis won in straight sets, but it’s important to note that both players have improved immensely since then. These two are hitting partners, so there’s likely to be no deceptive games able to be played on either side of the net. Gulbis didn’t come in with a lot of match wins into the US Open, but he looked comfortable in his first round match. Thiem might be more difficult to deal with than De Schepper, but I think the Latvian advances.
Result: Gulbis in five sets.