With the 2014 U.S. Open moving into the second and third rounds, matches continue to get tougher for everyone involved.
Seeded players are finally starting to compete against each other to create exciting matches, while the sleepers still alive are starting to see their luck run out.
This second group includes the American men, who saw another player go down as Tim Smyczek was defeated by Roberto Bautista Agut. Only John Isner and Sam Querrey remain for the home nation.
Still, this was just one of a number of intriguing battles that took place on Day 5 in New York City. Here is a look at the latest morning and afternoon results, courtesy of USOpen.org.
|No. 4 David Ferrer||Bernard Tomic||Walkover|
|No. 7 Grigor Dimitrov||Dudi Sela||6-1, 6-2, 6-2|
|No. 20 Gael Monfils||Alejandro Gonzalez||7-5, 6-3, 6-2|
|No. 18 Kevin Anderson||Jerzy Janowicz||6-7(6), 6-2, 6-1, 6-3|
|No. 17 Roberto Bautista Agut||Tim Smyczek||6-3, 6-2, 6-1|
|No. 19 Feliciano Lopez||Tatsuma Ito||6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(4)|
|No. 12 Richard Gasquet||Paolo Lorenzi||7-6(4), 6-3, 6-3|
|No. 14 Marin Cilic||Illya Marchenko||7-6(2), 6-2, 6-4|
|Dominic Thiem||No. 11 Ernests Gulbis||4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3|
|No. 26 Gilles Simon||Federico Delbonis||6-4, 3-6, 7-5, 6-1|
|Teymuraz Gabashvili||Alexander Kudryavtsev||6-1, 6-4, 7-6(4)|
|David Goffin||No. 32 Joao Sousa||6-4, 6-2, 6-0|
|No. 6 Tomas Berdych||Martin Klizan||6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3|
|No. 9 Jelena Jankovic||Johanna Larsson||6-1, 6-0|
|No. 13 Sara Errani||No. 19 Venus Williams||6-0, 0-6, 7-6(5)|
|Shuai Peng||No. 28 Roberta Vinci||6-4, 6-3|
|No. 14 Lucie Safarova||No. 22 Alize Cornet||6-3, 6-7(3), 6-4|
|Mirjana Lucic-Baroni||No. 2 Simona Halep||7-6(6), 6-2|
|Belinda Bencic||No. 6 Angelique Kerber||6-1, 7-5|
|No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki||No. 18 Andrea Petkovic||6-3, 6-2|
No. 13 Sara Errani def. No. 19 Venus Williams; 6-0, 0-6, 7-6(5)
It is rare to see such a dramatic change from set to set, but this match was anything but ordinary.
Everything seemed to go wrong for Venus Williams in the first set, as she was bageled for the first time in a Grand Slam since 2009.
Christopher Clarey of The New York Times provides a detailed look at the ugly first set:
Unsightly 1st set for Venus Williams vs Errani. Loses it 6-0: 30 % 1s 31% 2d serve points won 4 winners 18 unforced errors #ouch— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) August 29, 2014
However, Williams looked like a different person in the second set. She won all five of her points when she went to the net and did not face a single break opportunity en route to her own 6-0 victory.
The third set was much more competitive with both sides playing as well as they had all tournament. Errani came close to defeat, but she came through with a few key points to earn the narrow win in a tiebreak.
"She's playing unbelievable. I really don't know how I won today," Errani said after the match, via Rachel Cohen of The Associated Press.
Despite the strong play, a few mistakes down the stretch hurt Williams, and she was knocked out in the third round or earlier at the U.S. Open for the fourth year in a row.
While she will still be a top competitor in doubles alongside her sister, it is hard to imagine the veteran contending at many more individual tournaments in the future.
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni def. No. 2 Simona Halep; 7-6(6), 6-2
While much of the talk in women's tennis is about the youth movement, 32-year-old Mirjana Lucic-Baroni showcased her skill with the biggest upset so far in the tournament.
Going against No. 2 seed Simona Halep, the Croatian player showed no fear with her aggressive approach.
Lucic-Baroni was excellent defensively, winning 52 percent of her receiving points and doing just enough with her serve to earn the straight-set win.
Of course, she was certainly surprised after the victory:
This was one of a number of big upsets that took place in the early few rounds, including Angelique Kerber going down just before this match:
Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated enjoyed watching the veteran Lucic-Baroni be successful after a long time in the sport:
As she takes a 6-5 lead over Halep…great story = persistence of Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who challenged Steffi Graf in 1999—!— Wimby QFs— Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim) August 29, 2014
Even after knocking out the No. 2 seed, things do not get much easier in the draw with Errani coming up in the next match.
There will also be a seeded player in the quarterfinals no matter who wins. Still, this is already a strong performance to be proud of no matter what else happens.
Dominic Thiem def. No. 11 Ernests Gulbis; 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3
This matchup was interesting because Dominic Thiem and Ernests Gulbis are very close off the court. Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times described the situation earlier in the day:
Ernests Gulbis just told me that, as usual, he warmed up today with his buddy Dominic Thiem. Except today, Gulbis and Thiem play each other.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) August 29, 2014
Through the first two sets, it seemed like Gulbis would cruise to an easy victory as expected. However, Thiem earned one break in five opportunities in the third set, which was all he needed to stay alive.
After advancing to the fourth set, the Austrian player got more efficient with his serve and started to cut down on errors to help him complete the impressive comeback, as described by Sports Illustrated:
This completes a strange year at Grand Slams for Gulbis, who reached the semifinals at Roland Garros but was knocked out in the second round in the other three events.
While fans were hoping for a big jump after his effort in France, it simply has not come.
Meanwhile, Thiem has a chance to keep his run going with a winnable match against Feliciano Lopez. Things could get tougher if he has to face Tomas Berdych in the next round, but this is something he will not have to worry about until it comes.
Regardless, this will likely be a memorable moment for the young player after rallying to beat his friend.
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