The 2014 U.S. Open continues on Wednesday as the first round comes to a conclusion and the second round gets underway. Although there have been some notable upsets in both draws, the season's final Grand Slam event is still awaiting its first true shocker.
CiCi Bellis, a 15-year-old American making her major debut, provided the biggest surprise so far by defeating Dominika Cibulkova. The inconsistent veteran had one of her off days, and the rising star took advantage to score the biggest win of her career by a wide margin.
Now, it's time to look ahead to Day 3 in New York. Let's check out all of the important details for catching the action either on television or via live stream. It's followed by a closer look at a trio of players worth watching on Wednesday.
|11 a.m. - 7 p.m.||Tennis Channel||Rounds 1-2|
|1 p.m. - 6 p.m.||ESPN||Rounds 1-2|
|6 p.m. - 11 p.m.||ESPN2||Rounds 1-2|
Top Players to Watch
The elder Williams sister is enjoying a summer resurgence. The highlight was a run to the final in Montreal, which featured wins over Angelique Kerber and sister Serena. Her strong play has led to renewed hope she can advance beyond the fourth round in a major for the first time since 2010.
She edged Kimiko Date-Krumm in the opening round and has another winnable match against Timea Bacsinszky as part of Wednesday's night session. The 34-year-old American isn't getting ahead of herself, however, stating during an interview posted by the event's official site she isn't sure what to expect.
"If I would tell you every win that I have had, it took something a little bit different to win that tournament. So unfortunately there is no magic formula besides you better play really well and you better figure it out somehow," she said. "That's my whole thing, is like I don't know what's gonna happen, but I've got to figure out how I'm going to play well."
Williams dealt with some health issues over the past few years. Now that she seemingly has those under control, her play has improved markedly. It's reached a point where she can compete with anybody again, as illustrated by her victory over Serena.
Bacsinszky was actually trailing her first-round match when Kiki Bertens was forced to retire, so it's almost like she's been given a second chance in the event. Williams has to take control early to make sure she isn't able to gain renewed confidence and turn it into a tight contest.
Berdych has never enjoyed much success in New York. This year's tournament marks his 12th appearance, and he's advanced beyond the fourth round just once. That said, he's on the easier side of the draw, which opens up intriguing possibilities should he get on a roll.
Despite the favorable overall draw, he didn't get lucky with his first assignment, as he'll face off with 2001 U.S. Open champion Lleyton Hewitt. The weather is also going to play a role, as pointed out by Brad Gilbert of ESPN:
Going to be a hot one low 90's and humid + breezy in the afternoon =very tricky conditions for the players and fans— Brad Gilbert (@bgtennisnation) August 27, 2014
Hewitt's skills have diminished over the years, and his results in majors have also faded, but you still won't find a player who fights harder on the court. And in a match where the weather is a factor, he's the type of player who can grind out a strong showing to challenge the No. 6 seed.
If Berdych can survive the immediate test, he should be in good shape until at least the fourth round. That said, his lack of success in the U.S. Open along with the playing conditions are a mental hurdle. It will be interesting to see if he can jump it.
Halep received a brief scare in the first round as she dropped the first set to unheralded American Danielle Collins before winning the next two to advance. The match should serve as a wake-up call, as that level of play wouldn't keep her around for much longer.
Which of these players is in the most danger on Day 3?
The level of competition definitely goes up in her second match. Jana Cepelova is a strong defensive player who committed just three unforced errors in a three-set win over Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor. Halep had 33 errors in her win.
Cepelova is going to chase down a lot of shots and force Halep to hit clean winners. If the second seed is misfiring as often as she did against Collins, she'll definitely be in for another long afternoon, and an upset isn't out of the question.
Halep is enjoying a breakout season that included quarterfinal appearances in the other three majors. Making it four in a row is certainly doable given her draw, but she needs to show some progress on Wednesday after a sluggish start to the event.