It has been a year since Super Saturday has made way for a regular schedule followed at all four majors, but the first Saturday of this year’s Open brought the tournament to life as Juan Martin Del Potro, Andy Murray, Stanislas Wawrinka and among the ladies Serena Williams produced vintage tennis to advance to the second week at the Flushing Meadows in New York.
For the third time in the tournament, the 2009 champion Del Potro who has missed the event last two years, produced breath taking tennis to beat the veteran Spaniard David Ferrer in straight sets 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-2 on Louis Armstrong stadium. He will next play the Austrian Dominic Thiem on Labor Day in the round of sixteen.
The Argentine who claimed a wild card for the event, won 17 of the last 23 games and is 9-0 in three matches played at the Open this year. The eighth seeded Thiem recovered from a miserable start to defeat Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain 1-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 in two hours and fifty minutes on the Grandstand court.
Andy Murray who is widely considered as the player to beat at the Open following his Wimbledon and Olympic wins, recovered, after splitting the first two sets, to finish strongly with a 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 win over the Italian Paolo Lorenzi on Arthur Ashe stadium. The match lasted three hours and sixteen minutes and he now goes on to meet the somewhat resurgent Grigor Dmitrov of Bulgaria who had a 6-4, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 win over Joao Sousa of Portugal.
In what was the most enthralling match of the tournament so far, third seeded Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka ended the gallant run of David Evans of Britain after a marathon four hour two minute match on Louis Armstrong stadium for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-7(6), 7-6(8), 6-2 win to enter the fourth round for the fifth consecutive year in New York.
The top Swiss, in the absence of Roger Federer, has been a winner of the Australian Open 2014 and in Roland Garros last year and seems to be striking ominous form going into the second week of the Open. He will meet the little known Ukrainian Illya Marchenko who advanced after the last remaining Australian, the no. 14 seeded Nick Kyrgios retired trailing 1-2 in sets, citing hip injury.
The line up in the bottom half of the draw has been completed by the 2014 finalist Kei Nishikori of Japan and the in-form veteran Ivo Karlovic of Croatia. Nishikori defeated the Frenchman Nicolas Mahut, better known for his doubles play, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2; while Karlovic ended the hopes of the local lad Jared Donaldson with a 6-4, 7-6(3) ,6-3 win hitting 54 winners in the match. The 37 year old Karlovic ranked 23rd in the world is the oldest player left in the draw.
The following is the list of matches to be played in the men’s section of the draw with my pick mentioned first :-
Rafael Nadal (4) v. Lucas Pouille (24)
Gael Monfils (10) v. Marcos Baghdatis
Novak Djokovic (1) v. Kyle Edmund
Jack Sock (23) v. Jo Wilfred Tsonga (9)
Serena Williams is now tied with Roger Federer with 307 wins in grand slam singles all time matches won after a 6-2, 6-1 demolition of Sweden’s Johanna Larsson in sixty minutes on Arthur Ashe stadium. She followed her possible quarter final opponent Simona Halep of Romania who earlier withstood a tremendous fightback from the Hungarian Timea Babos 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 in the first match of the day.
There were straight sets wins for the elder sibling Venus, the Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro, the fourth seeded Agnieska Radwanska of Poland, Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova and Karina Pliskova of the Czech Republic. Little known Ana Konjuh of Croatia, ranked 92nd in the world, ended the hopes of American Varvara Lepchenko 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 in one hour and thirty six minutes.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: email@example.com]