Nearly one week into the 2014 U.S. Open, we have seen stunning upsets, dominant performances from the top contenders, a 15-year-old advance to the second round and everything in between.
The fifth day at Flushing Meadows featured a smorgasbord of key names and storylines. Chief among them is Roger Federer, who will play in the nightcap on the men's side—but we want to talk about everything that's gone down from early on Friday.
Here's a look at the results from the afternoon at Flushing Meadows and a closer look at the top stories thus far.
Men's Completed Results
|No. 4 David Ferrer||Walkover|
|No. 7 Grigor Dimitrov||6||6||6|
|No. 14 Marin Cilic||7 (7)||6||6|
|Illya Marchenko||6 (2)||2||4|
|No. 18 Kevin Anderson||6 (6)||6||6||6|
|Jerzy Janowicz||7 (8)||2||1||3|
|No. 19 Feliciano Lopez||6||3||6||7 (7)|
|Tatsuma Ito||4||6||4||6 (4)|
|No. 20 Gael Monfils||7||6||6|
|No. 32 Joao Sousa||4||2||0|
A busy day on the men's side was tame as far as upsets were concerned. The only ranked player to fall in the afternoon session was No. 32 Joao Sousa, who has had a brutal season with an 18-27 overall match record.
Everything else held serve, to use a bad pun. Grigor Dimitrov was impressive in a straight sets win over Dudi Sela that included 28 winners and six aces.
This is already the deepest run Dimitrov has had at the U.S. Open, It's been a banner year for the 23-year-old with three singles titles, an appearance in the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and semifinals at Wimbledon.
Dimitrov's breakout season has come as the result of working with new coach Roger Rasheed, who told Molly Creeden of Vogue that it was all about harnessing the raw skills that were already there.
"What was there was raw talent," Rasheed said. "But he was going to matches with a lot of artillery and not knowing how to use it."
We are seeing the fruits of Rasheed's labor and Dimitrov's effort coming together in glorious fashion. He still has a long way to go before winning the U.S. Open, but this is already a good start.
Another player who keeps winning and flying under the radar is 14th-seed Marin Cilic, who had a little trouble in the first set against Illya Marchenko before finding a groove in the second and third sets.
Even though tournament titles are the main focus for every player, which he's won two of this year, Cilic has been one of the best and most consistent players in 2014. Broadcaster Nick Lester had this stat about the 25-year-old's performance this season:
Marin Cilic wins a 41st match of his year moving into the 3rd round @usopen,only Federer,Nadal and Ferrer have more wins in 2014.— Nick Lester (@nicklester) August 29, 2014
That's pretty good company to be alongside of. If Cilic could find a way to avoid Novak Djokovic, who has beaten him at the French Open and Wimbledon, he might be on the path to winning a major championship.
There are openings to be filled with Federer getting older, Rafael Nadal battling injuries and Andy Murray failing to capitalize on his strong 2013 season. Cilic is entering an age where his physical abilities should be at their peak.
Who knows, with one or two breaks in the draw, we could be talking about a surprise champion when the U.S. Open ends.
Women's Completed Results
|No. 2 Simona Halep||6 (6)||2|
|Mirjana Lucic-Baroni||7 (8)||6|
|No. 6 Angelique Kerber||1||5|
|No. 9 Jelena Jankovic||6||6|
|No. 13 Sara Errani||6||0||7 (7)|
|No. 19 Venus Williams||0||6||6 (5)|
|No. 28 Roberta Vinci||4||3|
While the men's side was mostly chalk on Friday, the women saw upsets all over the place and the end of Venus Williams' brief stint.
Starting with the upsets, No. 2 seed Simona Halep ended the Grand Slam portion of her season with a whimper. After advancing to at least the quarterfinals of the first three majors, the 22-year-old bowed out in straight sets against qualifier Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.
ESPN Tennis' Twitter feed had the perfect reaction shot from Lucic-Baroni following her surprising win:
Joining Lucic-Baroni on the upset train was 17-year-old Belinda Bencic, who pulled off an impressive straight-set defeat of sixth-seeded Angelique Kerber. Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times noted that the teenager was able to save four set points:
And the hits keep coming: 17-yr-old Belinda Bencic saves four set pts and beats No6 Angelique Kerber 6-1, 7-5 to reach fourth round. #usopen— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) August 29, 2014
Which player who pulled off an upset will make the deepest run at the U.S. Open?
This has been a banner week for teenagers at the U.S. Open, particularly on the female side. Cici Bellis, the 15-year-old American, was the talk of the tournament after upsetting No. 12 Dominika Cibulkova.
Looking at the old guard, just when we think Williams has one more big run left in her, the rug is pulled out from under us. She was knocked off by Sara Errani in the third round on Friday, though not for lack of effort with a thrilling third set that could have gone either way.
Errani said after the win that she had nothing but respect for the elder Williams sister, via ESPN.com:
"Even if I won the first set 6-love, she's an amazing player...I was ready to just fight." Errani said.
You can see Errani's fight and passion in this highlight from the match, via the U.S. Open Tennis Twitter feed:
With upsets flying all over the place, the women's side of the U.S. Open bracket looks more wide open than ever. Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova are going to be the focal point of the tournament, but we've seen them hit the banana peel at various times this year.
It's not always a ratings bonanza to see new blood in contention, but it would certainly be good for tennis to develop some new stars instead of the same ones we always talk about before a tournament begins.
The U.S. Open has proven there is no shortage of storylines to watch. You never know what you might see on a given day.
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