Many of the top players in the world were in action at the 2014 U.S. Open, and for the most part they showed why they are ranked so high.
There were certainly a few upsets, but top seeds Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic cruised to easy victories on Day 4. Crowd favorites Victoria Azarenka and John Isner also had no problem in their second-round matchups.
On the other hand, this deep tournament continues to feature surprises that are keeping all of the fans on their toes. Here is a look at the latest matches in New York along with a full breakdown of the most notable results from Thursday.
|No. 1 Novak Djokovic||Paul-Henri Mathieu||6-1, 6-3, 6-0|
|No. 8 Andy Murray||Matthias Bachinger||6-3, 6-3, 6-4|
|No. 13 John Isner||Jan-Lennard Struff||7-6(5), 6-4, 6-2|
|No. 5 Milos Raonic||Peter Gojowczyk||7-6(4), 5-7, 6-4, 7-6(3)|
|No. 10 Kei Nishikori||Pablo Andujar||6-4, 6-1, ret.|
|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. 16 Tommy Robredo||Simone Bolelli||5-7, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-3, 6-2|
|No. 22 Philipp Kohlschreiber||Michael Llodra||6-2 ret.|
|Nick Kyrgios||Andreas Seppi||6-4, 7-6(2), 6-4|
|Andrey Kuznetsov||No. 31 Fernando Verdasco||6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3|
|No. 23 Leonardo Mayer||Matthew Ebden||6-1, 6-3, 6-4|
|Victor Estrella Burgos||Borna Coric||7-6(2), 4-6, 6-4, 6-2|
|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||7-6(4), 2-6, 7-5|
|No. 3 Petra Kvitova||Petra Cetkovska||6-4, 6-2|
|Nicole Gibbs||Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova||6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3|
|Elena Vesnina||Marina Erakovic||7-5, 2-6, 6-4|
|Kaia Kanepi||No. 24 Samantha Stosur||3-6, 6-3, 7-6(8)|
|No. 11 Flavia Pennetta||Shelby Rogers||6-4, 6-3|
|No. 13 Carla Suarez Navarro||Coco Vandeweghe||6-3, 6-3|
|No. 29 Casey Dellacqua||Qiang Wang||4-6, 6-4, 6-2|
|Varvara Lepchenko||Mona Barthel||6-4, 6-0|
|No. 17 Ekaterina Makarova||Polona Hercog||6-1, 6-2|
|No. 7 Eugenie Bouchard||Sorana Cirstea||6-2, 6-7(4), 6-4|
|Zarina Diyas||Cici Bellis||6-3, 0-6, 6-2|
No. 8 Ana Ivanovic Goes Down
Ana Ivanovic was considered one of the few players capable of knocking Serena Williams out of this tournament, but she will not get a chance after her second-round exit at the hands of Karolina Pliskova.
The Czech player lost in the first round of her only other appearance at the U.S. Open, but Pliskova was impressive in the second round this year with her solid receiving play. She prevented Ivanovic from getting any easy points and then came through when needed to earn a straight-set win.
Ivanovic spoke about her struggles after the match, via Lynn Zinser of The New York Times:
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.
It’s very disappointing. It’s never easy, you know, to finish, and especially this early. I was really hoping I can make a good run.
Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times explains why this is even more disappointing for Ivanovic based on her recent performances:
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
Still, this becomes an opportunity for Pliskova to build on her best showing ever at a Grand Slam.
CiCi Bellis Fights Hard but Comes up Short
After becoming the youngest player in almost 20 years to win a match at the U.S. Open, 15-year-old CiCi Bellis earned quite a following heading into the second round.
Unfortunately, Zarina Diyas was unimpressed as she jumped out to a first-set win thanks in part to 22 unforced errors by Bellis. This just led to a thrilling comeback as the American dominated the second set to pull even.
Along the way, she had some impressive shots in the first two sets, captured by U.S. Open Tennis:
Still, Diyas was able to get back on track in the final set with some great serving. She won 17 of her 23 service points in the third set to come away with a 6-3, 0-6, 6-2 win.
Despite the loss, Bellis showcased plenty of her ability and gained more fans along the way, including Grantland's Brian Phillips:
CiCi Bellis is 15 and hits forehands that leave you unsure how her arm is still attached to her shoulder. Whatever happens here, she wins.— Brian Phillips (@runofplay) August 29, 2014
Although she is still an amateur, it is clear the young player has a bright future.
Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams Easily Advance
Although Novak Djokovic had a few disappointing performances leading into the U.S. Open, he has looked the part of the No. 1 seed through the first two rounds.
After losing just seven games in a straight-set victory to start off his tournament, Djokovic improved upon this result with 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 win over Paul-Henri Mathieu. The Serbian was incredibly efficient, totaling 13 aces to zero double faults while also gaining 33 winners to just 16 unforced errors.
The top seed was dominant in every phase of the game, keeping up an impressive streak as noted by ESPN's John Buccigross:
Novak Djokovic has not lost before the quarterfinals at any Grand Slam since 2009 French Open— John Buccigross (@Buccigross) August 28, 2014
Meanwhile, Serena Williams had an even easier day, losing just one game in a 6-1, 6-0 victory that ended in under an hour. This continued her own streak:
Serena Williams improves to 15-0 in the @usopen 2nd Round, losing a total of 6 games in her last 6 matches.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 28, 2014
Williams struggled a bit with her accuracy, but Vania King could not handle the pure power of the No. 1 seed. The top seed also won nine of her 11 points at the net, a strategy that could help her later on in this tournament.
Each of these players will have tougher matches in the future, but it is hard to imagine anyone beating them any time soon.
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