There were no major casualties barring the loss of two lower seeds, as defending champion Rafael Nadal, 2009 champion Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina, last year’s runner up Kevin Anderson of South Africa advanced into the round of 32 after scoring comprehensive straight sets wins on Wednesday. The top seeded Nadal, a three time winner in New York in 2010, 2013 and 2017, defeated Vasek Pospisil of Canada 6-3,6-4,6-2, while third seeded Del Potro was a 6-3,6-1,7-6(4) winner over the local hope Denis Kudla. Anderson breezed past the Frenchman Jeremy Chardy with a surprisingly easy 6-2,6-4,6-4.
The world’s number one ranked player who won his first round match against compatriot David Ferrer after the latter retired due to a calf injury midway through the second set, was barely tested by the 88th ranked Pospisil in the second match of the night session. The Austrian Dominic Thiem, seeded ninth ended the hopes of another American Steve Johnson after coming from 1-2 down in sets to win 6-7(5),6-3,5-7,6-4,6-1.
There were mixed results for Americns as the 11th seeded John Isner beat the Chilean Nicolas Jarry, also after erasing a 1-2 deficit in sets before coming through 6-7(7),6-4,3-6,7-6(2),6-4. The 18th seeded Jack Sock continued his recent decline after bowing out to the Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4,3-6,2-6,6-7(3). The Russian Daniil Medvedev who won the warm up event in Winston Salem last week upset the fast rising Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, seeded 15th, 6-4,6-3,4-6,6-3.
Other seeded players to advance were the 25th seeded Milos Raonic of Canada and the 28th seeded Denis Shapovalov. Both advanced in contrasting fashion, while Raonic was a 6-3,6-4,6-4 winner over the Frenchman Gilles Simon, a former career high 6th ranked player, but who has slipped to 40th in the rankings. The left handed Shapovalov also had to bounce back from a 1-2 deficit in sets against the Italian Andreas Seppi, before winning 6-4,4-6,5-7,7-6(2),6-4. The Croat Borna Coric, seeded 20th beat the Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena 7-6(4),6-2,6-3. Nadal will next go on to meet the Russian Karen Khachanov, seeded 27th in a repeat of their semi final clash in Toronto after the 22 year old Khachanov beat the lucky loser Lorenzo Sonego 7-5,6-3,6-3.
Nadal’s compatriot Fernando Verdasco, seeded 31st eliminated the 2012 champion Andy Murray who is making a comeback after hip injury sustained at last year’s Wimbledon and is playing on protected ranThe remaining four winners emerged from matches involving unseeded players, the most famous among those was the 2016 champion Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland who beat the French qualifier Ugo Humbert 7-6(5),4-6,6-3,7-5.
Guido Pella of Argentina beat the Italian Paolo Lorenzi, the conqueror of 16th seeded Briton Kyle Edmund, 7-5,6-0,6-2. Dusan Lajovic of Serbia beat another Briton Cameron Norrie 6-2,2-6,6-4,6-4, while the American Taylor Fritz advanced after the Australian wildcard entrant Jason Kubler retired with scoreline reading 6-3,3-6,6-3.
Following is the list of matches in the bottom half of the men’s draw with my pick mentioned first :-
Roger Federer (2) v. Benoit Paire (-)
Nick Kyrgios (30) v. Pierre-Hugues Herbert (-)
Hyeon Chung (23) v. Mikhail Kukushkin (-)
Fabio Fognini (14) v. John Millman (-)
Pablo Carreno Busta (12) v. Joao Sousa (-)
Lucas Pouille (17) v. Marcos Baghdatis (-)
Richard Gasquet (26) v. Laslo Djere (-)
Novak Djokovic (6) v. Tennys Sandgren (-)
Alexander Zverev (4) v. Nicolas Mahut (-)
Matthew Ebden (-) v. Philipp Kohlschreiber (-)
Kei Nishikori (23) v. Gael Monfils (-)
Diego Schwartzman (13) v. Jaume Munar (-)
David Goffin (10) v. Robin Haase (-)
Julien Benneteau (-) v. Jan-Lennard Struff (-)
Frances Tiafoe (-) v. Alex de Minaur (-)
Marin Cilic (7) v. Hubert Hurkacz (-)
The six time champion Serena Williams headlined the evening session as she dispatched the little known 23 year old German Carina Witthoeft 6-2,6-2 before the defending champion Sloane Stephens, seeded third outlasted Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina 4-6,7-5,6-2. Another Ukrainian, Elina Svitolina, seeded 7th, beat the German Tatjana Maria 6-2,6-3. Sixteenth seeded Venus Williams, a five time champion, seeded 16th, beat the Italian Camila Giorgi 6-4,7-5.
In a surprise result, two time grand slam winner Garbine Muguruza of Spain, seeded 12th, lost to Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic 6-3,4-6,4-6. Ninth seeded German Julia Goerges beat the Russian Ekaterina Makarova 7-6(10),6-3. Former world number one Victoria Azarenka upset the 25th seeded Australian Daria Gavrilova 6-1,6-2. Little known 20 year old Sofia Kenin of the U.S.A. outlasted Maria Sakkari of Greece, 4-6,6-1,6-
Other winners included the 18th seeded Australian Ashley Barty, eighth seeded Karolina Pliskova and 23rd seeded Barbara Strycova of the Czech Republic, China’s Qiang Wang, Rebecca Peterson of Sweden, Elise Mertens of Belgium, 19th seeded Anastasija Sevatsova of Latvia. Giant killing run of Estonian Kaia Kanepi continues as she took out the Swiss Jil Teichmann 6-4,6-3 just two days after her stunning upset of the world number and reigning French Open champion Simona Halep of Romania. The remaining winners were the former champions Maria Sharapova, seeded 22nd over Patty Schnyder of Switzerland 6-2,7-6(6). Fourteenth seeded Madison Keys, last year’s beaten finalist was a 6-4,6-4 winner over the French hope Pauline Parmentier.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@]