Through the first two days, the 2014 U.S. Open has largely been by the numbers, with only a few surprises.
The biggest shock so far is 15-year-old CiCi Bellis upsetting 12th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova in the first round. It was one of the more memorable results you'll see all tournament and proof positive that just about anything can happen in Flushing, New York.
Day 3 has plenty of intriguing matches in store, with second-round play getting underway in some parts of the draws.
You can view the full order of play on the U.S. Open's official website.
|11 a.m. ET|
|Sloane Stephens (21) vs. Johanna Larsson||-|
|Tomas Berdych (6) vs. Lleyton Hewitt||Not Before 1 p.m. ET|
|Maria Sharapova (5) vs. Alexandra Dulgheru||-|
|7 p.m. ET|
|Timea Bacsinszky vs. Venus Williams (19)||-|
|Stan Wawrinka (3) vs. Thomaz Bellucci||-|
|11 a.m. ET|
|Shuai Peng vs. Agnieszka Radwanska (4)||-|
|Marin Cilic (14) vs. Marcos Baghdatis||-|
|Jana Cepelova vs. Simona Halep (2)||-|
|Grigor Dimitrov (7) vs. Ryan Harrison||Not Before 5 p.m. ET|
|11 a.m. ET|
|Feliciano Lopez (19) vs. Ivan Dodig||-|
|Tsvetana Pironkova vs. Jelena Jankovic (9)||-|
|Aliaksandra Sasnovich vs. Caroline Wozniacki (10)||-|
|Kenny De Schepper vs. Ernests Gulbis (11)||-|
Sloane Stephens Will Struggle Against Johanna Larsson
With her win over Serena Williams in the 2013 Australian Open quarterfinals, Sloane Stephens inserted herself into the consciousness of American tennis fans. Aside from a quarterfinal run at Wimbledon in 2013, the 21-year-old hasn't been able to get over the hump and make herself a serious Grand Slam threat.
This could be the year that Stephens breaks through at the U.S. Open, where she's never advanced past the fourth round. She looked great against Annika Beck in the first round, winning 6-0, 6-3.
"It got a little shaky at the end, but I was happy that I pulled through, and I feel good," she said after the win, per Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News. "I’ve got a new coach and things are going really well, so I’m easygoing playing and happy to be back here and competing again."
Johanna Larsson isn't the kind of opponent who will strike fear in the heart of Stephens, but she could give the young American some trouble. She went to a first-set tiebreak against the second-seeded Victoria Azarenka at the Australian Open. At the French Open, she beat Flavia Pennetta before succumbing to Eugenie Bouchard.
Stephens won't breeze by Larsson in the second round. She should dig her heels in for a fight.
Maria Sharapova Will Establish Herself as the Top Competition for Serena Williams
Although Maria Sharapova has struggled at Grand Slams outside of the French Open this year, don't count her out in Flushing. She was helped out massively by the draw. The only time Sharapova could meet Williams is in the final.
In the first round, the 27-year-old labored in the first set against Maria Kirilenko before dominating in the second set. In that second set, Sharapova illustrated how good she can be when she's playing at the peak of her powers.
The match was really only notable for the amount of time Kirilenko spent on the side getting looked at by trainers. Patrick Hruby made the parallel to the end of a basketball game:
This stop-start Sharapova-Kirilenko match is like the last 2 minutes of a close college basketball game, except they don't have timeouts.— Patrick Hruby (@patrick_hruby) August 26, 2014
Reeling off 10 games against her former doubles partner, Sharapova looks to be finding her groove. Even the delays at the end of the second set couldn't throw her off her game, which seemed to happen to Sharapova against Ana Ivanovic in Cincinnati, Ohio, two weeks ago.
Sharapova's played Alexandra Dulgheru, her opponent in the second round, twice before. Neither match came easily. Running through the 25-year-old Romanian would be a nice statement to make to the rest of the competition.
Upset Alert: Lleyton Hewitt over No. 6 Tomas Berdych
Which of the tennis gods did Tomas Berdych upset to draw Lleyton Hewitt in the first round?
Hewitt and Berdych have met three times, with the Australian winning the most recent match, at the 2013 AAMI Classic.
At 33 years old, Hewitt is obviously way past his best. He's still very capable of putting together a great match and knocking off a player like Berdych, or at the very least push his opponent to five sets. In the last two years, he's made it to the third round and fourth round, respectively, at the U.S. Open.
On the other side, Berdych has failed to make it past the third round in any of his last four ATP Tour events. The 28-year-old Czech is stuck in the middle of a slump, which could be the kind of opening that allows Hewitt to pull off the upset.
Tennis broadcaster Ravi Ubha thinks that this match could have a massive impact on how the draw unfolds:
Think the only danger man in Roger's half is Berdych but he's in poor form and may not get a chance to work himself into tourney (1R Hewitt)— Ravi Ubha (@raviubha) August 22, 2014
Roger Federer will be paying attention to the result of this matchup.