It was an eventful night at the U.S. Open on Day 5 as former champion Rafael Nadal lost for the first time in his career, in a grand slam match, after leading by two sets. It was the third time in 2015 that the 2010 & 2013 champion Nadal had lost to the Italian no. 32 seed Fabio Fognini as it also ended Nadal’s run of 10 consecutive years winning at least one grand slam title. Fognini, who was down 2 sets and a break of serve, came back strongly winning 3-6,4-6,6-4,6-3,6-4. Nadal was broken nine times in the match and at one stage in the fifth set there were 7 consecutive service breaks from 1-1. Fognini broke decisively at love in the ninth game before serving out the match to 30.
Novak Djokovic extended his perfect record against the Italian Andreas Seppi to 11 wins as he won 6-3,7-5,7-5 and next faces the Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut who advanced when David Goffin of Belgium joined the growing list of injury pullouts and conceded his match trailing 1-3 in the fourth set. Goffin had won the first two sets before Agut claimed the third set.
The defending champion Marin Cilic of Croatia had to fight all the way against the 27 year old Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin before winning the four hour plus battle 6-7(5),7-6(1),6-3,6-7(3),6-1. There was a surprise loss for Nadal’s compatriot David Ferrer who lost to the in-form Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in four sets.
Another Spaniard, Feliciano Lopez, though caused another major upset by beating Canada’s Milos Raonic 6-2,7-6(4),6-3. There were good wins for two other French players in action as Jo Wilfred Tsonga won in straight sets against the Russian Sergiy Stakhovsky and Benoit Paire took out the veteran Spaniard Tommy Robredo, also in straight sets. Paire had sensationally beaten last years finalist Kei Nishikori on the Opening Day of the final grand slam of the year.
The list of round of 32 matches on Day 6 in the bottom half of the men’s draw with my pick mentioned first :-
Andy Murray (3) v. Thomaz Bellucci (30)
Kevin Anderson (15) v. Dominic Thiem
Victor Troicki (22) v. Donald Young
Stanislas Wawrinka (5) v. Ruben Bemelmans
Tomas Berdych(6) v. Guillermo Garcia Lopez (31)
Richard Gasquet (12) v. Bernard Tomic (24)
John Isner (13) v. Jiri Vesley
Roger Federer (2) v. Phillipp Kohlschreiber (29)
In the women’s section of the draw Serena Williams fought back from the brink of defeat against fellow American Bethanie Mattek Sands, ranked 101 in the WTA rankings. She dropped the first set 3-6, and despite serving for the second set at 5-3 lost her serve as Sands leveled at 5-5. That was when Serena found top gear and reeled off eight consecutive games to keep her calendar slam hopes alive as she won 3-6,7-5,6-0. Venus Williams defeated the Swiss Belinda Bencic who is only the second player after Petra Kvitova to have beaten Serena in 2015. The elder sibling Venus, a two time winner at the Flushing Meadows won 6-3,6-4.
There was a good win for another American Madison Keys who upset Poland’s Agnieska Radwanska 6-3,6-2, while another American Madison Brengle lost to Annett Kontaveit 2-6,6-3,0-6. Kristina Mladenovic and Ekaterina Makarova advanced in straight sets, while the other seeded winners, Eugene Bouchard of Canada and the Italian Roberta Vinci took three sets to move in to the last 16.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]