Five days full of thrilling tennis have passed at the 2013 U.S. Open, and there's plenty of matches left to play at Flushing Meadows.
While the tournament has failed to live up to the scintillating slew of upsets at Wimbledon that saw Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Serena Williams get the early boot, a top seed—albeit not a star of Nadal or Williams' caliber—has fallen in both brackets to spice up the tournament. The marquee names still stand, but at least that means we get to watch them longer.
Visit USOpen.org for a full list of results.
Hewitt Knocks Out Del Potro
A former U.S. Open champion, Lleyton Hewitt dusted off the time machine and secured an unexpected win over Juan Martin del Potro.
Twelve years removed from his title, No. 66 Hewitt bested No. 6 ranked del Potro in an enduring 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-1 victory. Once Hewitt grinded through the fourth-set tiebreaker, fatigue set in for del Potro, who needed four long sets to sneak past the first round two days earlier.
The match lasted more than four hours and sparked surprised reactions like this one from Deadspin editor Timothy Burke.
Lleyton Hewitt upsets Del Potro. What a match, what a surprise.— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) August 31, 2013
Grantland's Brian Phillips was not as flattering in expressing his congratulations, but come on, who thought the 32-year-old on the verge of losing in the fourth set would rally?
On the list of sentences I didn't think I'd write this week, "Lleyton Hewitt is unstoppable" is the entire list.— Brian Phillips (@runofplay) August 31, 2013
Pennetta Shocks No. 4 Seed Errani
Sara Errani could not hold back tears as fellow Italian Flavia Pennetta pulled off the tournament's biggest upset, much to the No. 4 seed's chagrin.
Losing in the second round is a bummer, especially for a 26-year-old whose star is only rising. Falling to a friend probably doesn't help matters.
Upset Alert: Flavia Pennetta takes the first 63 over No. 4 seed (and her good friend) and 2012 semifinalist Sara Errani. #usopen— Beyond The Baseline (@SI_BTBaseline) August 29, 2013
After cruising past the first round without surrendering a single set, Errani was knocked out in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1.
While Errani is not a household name yet, she stormed to the US Open semifinals last year before running into Serena Williams. Maria Sharapova's withdrawal bumped Errani up to the fourth slot, a large billing that the young player was not ready to handle.
"I think it's the pressure. Everything is very difficult for me. That's it," she said to Brian Costa of The Wall Street Journal. "I don't know why, but I'm not enjoying going on the courts, and that is the worst thing a player can have."
As for Pennetta, she'll take on No. 27 Svetlana Kuznetsova in the third round on Saturday morning.
Stars Bounce Back from Early Wimbledon Exits
Wimbledon's onslaught on gargantuan takedowns is not the norm for a sport dominated by the top stars. The top-ranked players are doing what they do nine times out of 10 early in tournaments: win in convincing fashion.
After an embarrassing first-round knockout, Rafael Nadal entered the US Open with a chip on his shoulder. The King of Clay has excelled on the hard court, where he is now 17-0 on the year, breezing past Ryan Harrison and Rogerio Dutra Silva during the first two rounds.
The other top stars aren't impressed. Roger Federer, who is unaccustomed to ranking outside the top-five, has floored his first two victims as the No. 7 seed. His latest win, according to ESPN Stats & Info, places him ahead of a boisterous legend.
Roger Federer picks up his 66th US Open match win, moving him past John McEnroe for 9th place in US Open history.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 29, 2013
Serena Williams, winner of 16 Grand Slams, is not used to that whole losing thing, so her fourth-round Wimbledon defeat at the racket of Sabine Lisicki stunned the world.
Needless to say, Williams has returned with a vengeance, brutalizing her opponents to the point of seeking consolation from the ball boy.
Forced to wait out the grueling Martin-del Potro match, Williams' third-round match scheduled for Friday carried over into early Saturday morning. But that didn't stop her from setting up a highly-anticipated bout with Sloane Stephens.