Thursday proved to be dangerous for a multitude of the 2014 U.S. Open's ranked players. While the highest-seeded players survived Day 4, several others weren't quite as lucky and suffered early exits from the tournament.
Following the conclusion of Thursday's action, the women's field for third-round action has been revealed, and the men are halfway through second-round play. That just goes to show how early some of the world's top players are being ousted from this prestigious event.
Before Day 5 commences from Flushing Meadows in New York City, let's take a look back at all of Thursday's results, courtesy of USOpen.org, and highlight some notable matches.
|No. 1 Novak Djokovic||Paul-Henri Mathieu||6-1, 6-3, 6-0|
|No. 13 John Isner||Jan-Lennard Struff||7(7)-6(5), 6-4, 6-2|
|No. 10 Kei Nishikori||Pablo Andujar||6-4. 6-1 (retired)|
|No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga||Aleksandr Nedovyesov||6-3, 6-4, 6-4|
|Sam Querrey||No. 28 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez||6-3, 6-4. 6-4|
|No. 22 Philipp Kohlschreiber||Michael Llodra||6-2 (retired)|
|Pablo Carreno Busta||Benoit Paire||6-1, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3|
|No. 23 Leonardo Mayer||Matthew Ebden||6-1, 6-3, 6-4|
|No. 5 Milos Raonic||Peter Gojowczyk||7(7)-6(4), 5-7, 6-4, 7(7)-6(3)|
|Nick Kyrgios||Andreas Seppi||6-4, 7(7)-6(2), 6-4|
|Victor Estrella Burgos||Borna Coric||7(7)-6(2), 4-6, 6-4, 6-2|
|Andrey Kuznetsov||No. 31 Fernando Verdasco||6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3|
|No. 16 Tommy Robredo||Simone Bolelli||5-7, 6(5)-7(7), 6-4, 6-3, 6-2|
|No. 8 Andy Murray||Matthias Bachinger||6-3, 6-3, 6-4|
|No. 16 Victoria Azarenka||Christina McHale||6-3, 6-2|
|No. 1 Serena Williams||Vania King||6-1, 6-0|
|Karolina Pliskova||No. 8 Ana Ivanovic||7-5, 6-4|
|Aleksandra Krunic||No. 27 Madison Keys||7(7)-6(4), 2-6, 7-5|
|No. 3 Petra Kvitova||Petra Cetkovska||6-4, 6-2|
|Nicole Gibbs||No. 23 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova||6-4, 6(6)-7(8), 6-3|
|Elena Vesnina||Marina Erakovic||7-5, 2-6, 6-4|
|Kaia Kanepi||No. 24 Samantha Stosur||3-6, 6-3, 7(10)-6(8)|
|No. 11 Flavia Pennetta||Shelby Rogers||6-4, 6-3|
|No. 15 Carla Suarez Navarro||Coco Vangeweghe||6-3, 6-3|
|No. 29 Casey Dellacqua||Qiang Wang||4-6, 6-4, 6-2|
|Vavara Lepchenko||Mona Barthel||6-4, 6-0|
|No. 17 Ekaterina Makarova||Polona Hercog||6-1, 6-2|
|No. 30 Barbora Zahlavova Strycova||Monica Nicolescu||4-6, 6-4, 6-2|
|Zarina Diyas||Catherine Bellis||6-3, 0-6, 6-2|
|No. 7 Eugenie Bouchard||Sorana Cirstea||6-2, 6(4)-7(7), 6-4|
(1) Novak Djokovic def. Paul-Henri Mathieu; 6-1, 6-3, 6-0
Novak Djokovic defeating the world's 81st-ranked player may not seem like that great of a feat, but there's plenty to take away from this match.
Heading into the tournament, one of the biggest storylines was Roger Federer's chances to win the title—much of that due to Djokovic's recent struggles. However, after a brilliant showing on Thursday, the world No. 1 truly established himself as the favorite to win the 2014 U.S. Open.
Tennis.com called Djokovic's win "ruthless":
Paul-Henri Mathieu couldn't dream of keeping up with a surging Djokovic, as the tournament's top seed rattled off 13 aces while winning 88 percent of his first-serve points while holding steady up at the net.
After his victory, Djokovic exuded plenty of confidence when reflecting on his form during a press conference, via USOpen.org:
Since I have nothing to complain about, I wanted to get my job done as quick as possible. I don't feel like I need to play long matches to get into the groove. I mean, I feel that I'm hitting the ball very well. Second match even better than the first one. Under the circumstances I think I came up with a very good performance. Stayed mentally tough and not allowed myself to get frustrated because of the wind and conditions that were obviously very tough for both of us.
This high level of confidence is extremely important for Djokovic going forward. He'll have a very difficult test in Round 3 against Sam Querrey, who upset No. 28 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez on Thursday.
The tournament is far from over, but Djokovic has begun about as well as he could have hoped.
Karolina Pliskova def. (8) Ana Ivanovic; 7-5, 6-4
On a day in which No. 1 Serena Williams won while only giving up one game to her opponent, many were wondering who would emerge as a viable challenger. After a glowing first-round performance, No. 8 Ana Ivanovic figured to be one candidate for such a role.
That thought was quickly dashed on Thursday, when Ivanovic was ousted from the tournament after suffering a loss in consecutive sets to unranked Karolina Pliskova.
Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times tweeted the repercussions of Ivanovic's loss:
Pliskova powers past No8 Ivanovic 7-5, 6-4. Another great lead-up fizzles at a Slam for Ana this year. Opens up Serena's quarter. #usopen— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) August 28, 2014
The No. 8 seed proved to be her own worst enemy on Day 4, tallying seven double faults and 29 unforced errors on her way to a 5-7, 4-6 loss. She spoke of her troubles during a press conference, via USOpen.org:
"It was very tough out there for me today. I really struggled to find my rhythm and made way too many unforced errors. Yeah, it was just really bad day. She served well, and she played good at important points, but I think I just did not play as well as I did."
Ivanovic will have to wait another year to attempt a run at the U.S. Open. Of the four majors, this has been her biggest Achilles' heel, as she's failed to get past the quarterfinals at all during her career.
Pliskova will continue her run in Round 3 against No. 29 Casey Dellacqua, who took three sets to defeat Qiang Wang on Thursday.
No. 13 John Isner def. Jan-Lennard Struff; 7(7)-6(5), 6-4, 6-2
No. 13 John Isner proved why he gives America the best chance to win the major tournament played on its home soil on Thursday, defeating Jan-Lennard Struff in consecutive sets.
Isner boasted a serve that featured great accuracy despite maxing out at a blistering 138 mph. The American totaled an incredible 30 aces in Round 2 while keeping 73 percent of his first serves in play.
ESPNTennis noted Isner's dominance so far:
Although, while Isner's serve was brilliant, much of the rest of his game faltered. He wasn't stellar on the return, winning just 26 percent of his first-serve return points, and he struggled when aggressive, taking only five of 14 net points.
Isner seemed confident when speaking of his next match against No. 22 Philipp Kohlschreiber during a press conference, via USOpen.org:
I have beaten him more times than he's beaten me overall. But he's beaten me here. No matter where I play him I know the match is going to be tough because he's an extremely good player. Very good. I thought, you know, our matches the last two years have been pretty high quality. I remember last year I wasn't disappointed with how I played. You know, he just played better than me. Simple as that. In a few days' time I'm just gonna have to try to be better than him.
Currently, Isner holds a career 4-2 record over Kohlschreiber. However, when Isner meets Kohlschreiber in Round 3, he'll need more than a blazing serve to gain the win. On Thursday, the 22nd seed earned a decisive victory, as he took the first set by a score of 6-21 before Michael Llodra retired.