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June 28 • 12:40
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American Update: 4 men left, 1 woman (guess who)



September 04, 2011
The changing winds didn't make light work for most of the winners today.

Federer had to work through a rough patch which cost him the 2nd set 4-6 and could have cost him the 3rd (when he couldn't get a 1st serve in, Cilic was on the verge of breaking him 3 times in a row). Rog played fine tennis thoughout most of the match, serving well within himself, and converting 72% of 32 net approaches. Rog's next opponent, unseeded Juan Monaco, needed 4 sets to dispatch 33 year old Tommy Haas.

Serena lost her serve for the first time this week with the match on her racquet at 6-1, 5-4 against 4th seed Azarenka. Victoria raised her game throughout the 2nd set, taking their tennis to a level seldom seen lately in women's tennis by both players.

The other two American women in the 3rd round took the spotlight in Ashe from Serena (relegated to Armstrong for the day). First up was 22 year old Vania King against Wozniacki. She managed to break serve a few times, but lost her own 6 times in a somewhat routine 6-2, 6-4 exhibition that took little more than 90 minutes. The night session was opened by 18 year old Sloane Stephens facing former #1 (now #15) Ivanovic. Ana fired forehand winners early in enough rallies to get the jump on opponent, but Sloane showed impressive hustle and big serves and forehands of her own. Unfortunately, she also lost serve 6 times in losing 3-6, 4-6 in 74 minutes.

Schiavone overcame a match point in her 2nd set with Chanelle Sh-sh-sh-Scheepers to take another long battle, 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-3, and clinch 'Player of the Day' honors for an Italian woman for the second straight day. Maybe she and Falvia are a bit competitive? Got to love the Italians...

In other action:

- Mardy Fish won in a tense 3 sets over #34 Kevin Anderson (6'8"): 6-4, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3). Mardy had trouble closing out the final set after holding match points on serve at 5-4, but composed himself to finish it off and save energy - important for the man who's played more matches than anyone else this summer.

- #11 Tsonga rolled over #19 Verdasco in 3 sets, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4.

- #22 Dogopolov equaled Ivo Karlovic in serving the most aces of the day (22), and beat him in the process: 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-4, 6-4.

- Jack Sock (NCAA doubles champ) took the court in mixed with Melanie Oudin and beat Bob Bryan and Liezel Huber, who between them hold over 110 doubles titles.

Two who did have an easy time of it today were helped by forces beyond the wind. One of the topics of the day was the record number of retirements from the singles in the first week: 17 in 6 days, 10 men, 7 women. Today Berdych retired against Tipsarevic after dropping a set and trailing 0-5. This was not a shocker as he'd retired with a sore shoulder in his last match before the Open against Joker. The other beneficiary, 30 year old Ferrero, who'd played 8 hours and 10 sets of tennis in his first two matches, got a break when Granollers retired after only a set and half.

On the women's side, Venus was the most notable dropout in the 2nd round, and though the reason was shocking, she'd dropped out of her last two events before playing a match. Wickmayer (#20 seed) also retired (injury) in the 2nd round after winning only 1 game in 10.

Aside from some lucky winners, what seeds have benefitted most from drop-outs?

Those in the bottom half of the women's draw:

- #22 seed Lisicki got the walkover from Venus, but her next opponent #2 seed Zvonareva certainly benefits as well.

- #27 seed Safarova was in a bracket without another seed, thanks to Wickmayer's retirement and Radwanska's loss, but Lucie lost to unseeded Monica Niculescu who plays unseeded Angelique Kerber. Seeds remaining in that quarter are Peng (#13) and Pennetta 9#26).

In that half it is worth watching #26 Pennetta along with Kirilenko (#25) and Lisicki (#27) as candidates for reaching their first final, with only #7 Stosur and #2 Zvon seeded above them.

In women's action tomorrow:

- Lisicki plays Zvonareva (look for an 'upset')

- Stosur plays Kirilenko (ditto, or else Sam proves she's confident again)

- Pennetta plays Peng (Go Italy?)

- Niculescu (#68) plays Kerber (#92) (toss-up)

The women's top half is filled with relative heavy weights playing each other in the 4th round (on Monday), including two of the remaining 3 top 8 seeds plus Serena:

#1 Wozniacki v. #15 Kuznetsova

#10 Petkovic v. Suarez-Navarro

#16 Ivanovic v. #28 Serena

#17 Pavlyuchenkova v. # 7 Schiavone

In men's action tomorrow's, the other four remaining Americans take the court:

- #28 seed John Isner plays Alex Bogomolov

- #21 seed Roddick takes on Benneteau

- Donald Young plays #24 Chela

Among top seeds:

- Rafa plays Nalbandian - I expect it won't be much closer than we'll have seen tonight between another former top 5 player, Davydenko, and Joker. After losing the 1st set 6-3, Davy isn't getting any younger...

- Murray plays #25 Lopez (the Spanish serve-and-volleyer has only won 1 set from Andy in 5 attempts, losing most recently in the quarters at Wimbledon, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4)

- #18 seed Del Potro plays #12 seed Simon (the Argentine should win this baseline battle)

- #5 Ferrer plays #26 Florian Mayer (if Ferrer keeps taking care of business, he is may be headed toward another show-down with a sub-par Rafa in the quarters)

Rick

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