Djokovic and Wozniacki Solid

2011 US Open
By Hiland Doolittle, September 2nd, 2011

While upsets have dominated the women’s bracket, the men have held form. With Robin Soderling’s late withdrawal, form had held throughout the first round.

On Thursday, the first of the elite ten, number seven seed Gael Monfils, fell to Spain’s Juan Carlos Ferrero in five grueling sets, 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-7 (4),6-4, 6-4 in the 4 hour 53 minute battle of wills. This was a tough loss fro Monfils who has been playing his best tennis for the last month and a half.

In the end, it was Ferrero’s baseline play that persevered. Monfils tried to draw the Spaniard off the baseline but Monfils’ pressing tactics backfired. He was tired and spent by the fifth set. Monfils also built some numbers that are hard to believe.

The Frenchman fired 81 outright winners but also contributed 81 unforced errors. It is difficult to win with that many misfires. But, that is the seven seed’s strategy and he will probably stick with it. However, he may want to do something about his second serve after winning just 53 percent.

The top seed raised his record to 59-2 for the year with a resounding victory over Argentinean Carlos Berlocg, 6-0,6-0,6-2. Djokovic only landed 66 percent of his first serves but he was very efficient on his second serves, winning 66 percent. This mismatch was over early, so Berlocg settled in and enjoyed the moment. The crowds cheered wildly when he won his first and second game sin the third set.

Djokovic will next meet Nikolay Davydenko who can never be taken lightly. Davydenko has made a carrier of over-achieving and upsetting big names. This third round matchup should be interesting.

The day’s most impressive win may have been registered by Croatia’s Marin Cilic. Cilic has had a tough year and his opponent Bernard Tomic is building a good career. The 27th seeded Cilic seemed to be in for a disappointment. But, playing his best tennis of the season, Cilic subdued the young Aussie, 6-1, 6-0,6-2. When Cilic is in form, he can play with the best.

One day after knocking the Bryan brothers out of the doubles, Ivo Karlovic, the 6’10” serving whiz, took out France’s 13th seeded Richard Gasquet. Argentina’s Juan Monaco out lasted Czechoslovakia’s Stepanek who was forced to retire in the third set.

South African fireballer Kevin Anderson eliminated Michael Llorda 6-1, 6-2, 6-2. Llorda was seeded 29th. Another gutsy performance by fierce competitor Tommy Haas earned him a spot in the third round. Haas defeated Alejandro Falla 7-6 (5), 6-1, 7-5. The German will next meet Andy Murray. That is a challenge that normally charges Haas’ battery.

Wozniacki Steadfast

Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki has a different look this week. She is clearly focused and experimenting with a more powerful game. The top seed cruised past Arantxa Rus 6-2, 6-0. Caroline no longer is awed by the Flushing Meadows crowd or scene.

In the third round, Caroline will take on America’s Vania King, who is enjoying a good run of late. Wozniacki will feel the heart of New York when playing King.

Fourth seed Victoria Azarenka, 7th seed Francesca Schiavone, 11th seed Jelena Jankovic, 15th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova and 16th seed Ana Ivanovic all advanced.

Ivanovic advanced by way of an injury suffered by Petra Cetkovska. Azarenka looked sharp. She will have to be. Due to the luck of the draw, Victoria will face the player nobody wants to play, Serena Williams. Williams is a strong favorite to win the tournament. However, Azarenka has given Williams trouble in the past.

Schiavone and Jankovic are playing their best tennis of the year. Jankovic looks solid and Schiavone is still the Ever Ready Girl. She never stops moving. If one is to defeat Schiavone, the opponent had better be ready for extra court time.

10th seed Andrea Petkovic was pressed by China’s Jie Zheng. After dropping the first set and being down 0-3 in the second, the long and strong German settled in. She mixed up her pace a little and even ventured to the net. Andrea won six straight games in the second set and the first 3 games in the third set to squash Zheng’s upset bid.

Petkovic joins two other Germans in Round three as Julia Goerges and Sabine Lisiscki. Any of the German gals can win this tournament. They all have power games and excellent serves.

The young American women keep showing progress. Sloane Stephens, a 19-year old, showed the demeanors, talent and speed in overcoming Shahar Peer, the 23rd seed. The win is the biggest of Stephens’ young career. She will next battle Ivanovic who is having a better year than last but who is beatable.

Serena Williams, Sloane Stephens and Christina McHale have all advanced to the Round of 32. Madison Keys took Lucie Safarova three sets before falling. We will see and hear a lot about the 16-year old Keys in the future.


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