Sunny skies during the day and a clear night allowed the U.S. Open to avoid further delays Wednesday, and the last Grand Slam tournament of 2017 got back on track after being slowed by rain earlier in the week.
Memorable wins by Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams highlighted the women's side of the competition, while unseeded Croatian Borna Coric's upset of fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev was a shocking development on the men's side.
Zverev has been viewed as one of the up-and-coming players in men's tennis, and he helped secure that status when he defeated Roger Federer at the Rogers Cup championship match in Montreal earlier this summer. Zverev took the first set relatively easily, but Coric showed tremendous strength in winning the match by a 3-6, 7-5, 7-6, 7-6 margin.
Seeds have been falling with regularity for both the men and the women, and Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are both at risk Thursday.
The third-seeded Federer is scheduled to play a 3 p.m. match against unseeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny at Arthur Ashe Stadium, while the top-seeded Nadal faces Taro Daniel of Japan in a match scheduled for 9 p.m. at Ashe.
ESPN will televise the late afternoon matches and will continue its broadcast through 6 p.m. ET, and ESPN2 takes over at that time and will stay with the U.S. Open through 11 p.m. The Tennis Channel will put on a one-hour wrap-up program at 11 p.m.
Nadal started somewhat slowly in his first-round encounter with Dusan Lajovic, but he picked up steam as the match went along in recording a 7-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory.
Nadal won the French Open earlier this year, and he has risen to the No. 1 spot in the ATP rankings. When he is at his best, and he appears to be quite close to that form right now, he excels at moving his opponents around the court with his accurate forehand shots and ringing backhands to the deep spots on the court.
Nadal is one of the game's more prominent artists, as he regularly plays with a flair that few other players can match. While Nadal has struggled with injuries in recent years, he is healthy now and appears to be set up for a long run in New York.
Daniel showed quite a bit of toughness in winning a five-set match in the first round, but he is now stepping up in a big way against Nadal. The great Spanish champion has a 46-10 record all-time at the U.S. Open.
Federer needed five sets to get past young American Frances Tiafoe Tuesday night, and it was somewhat shocking that the great Swiss champion lost two sets. During his championship run at Wimbledon earlier this year, Federer did not drop a single set.
US Open Tennis @usopen
"This is why I come back to New York, to experience these emotions." @rogerfederer prevails in 5 sets in an epic R1 battle! #USOpen https://t.co/HpWoByBvI22017-8-30 03:59:58
The sight of Youzhny on the opposite side of the net is both a familiar and comfortable one for Federer. The two men have played each other 16 times, and Federer is 16-0 against him.
Eighth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia takes on Kurumi Nara of Japan in a 6 p.m. match. Kuznetsova was pushed hard in the opening round against Marketa Vondrousova before winning a 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 decision, and she has seen top seeds like Simona Halep (No. 2), Caroline Wozniacki (No. 5) and Kristina Mladenovic (No. 14) lose, so she knows she can't take anything for granted against her unseeded opponent.
Kuznetsova won the U.S. Open title in 2004 and reached the final again in 2007. However, she has not been past the fourth round since, and she will have to pick it up if she is going to put together another memorable run.
Here's a look at the schedule of key matches for Thursday night (3 p.m. or later), as well as a link to the full Thursday schedule (h/t ESPN.com).
Match, Time (ET), Predicted Winner
Roger Federer (3) vs. Mikhail Youzhny, 3 p.m., Federer
Roberto Bautista Agut (11) vs. Dustin Brown, 3 p.m., Brown
David Goffin (9) vs. Guido Pella, 3:30 p.m., Goffin
Dominic Thiem (6) vs. Taylor Fritz, 3:30 p.m., Thiem
Rafael Nadal (1) vs. Taro Daniel, 9 p.m., Nadal
Madison Keys (15) vs. Tatjana Maria, 5:30 p.m., Keys
Agnieszka Radwanska (10) vs. Yulia Putintseva, 6 p.m., Radwanska
Svetlana Kuznetsova (8) vs. Kurumi Nara, 6 p.m., Kuznetsova
CoCo Vandeweghe (20) vs. Ons Jabeur, 7 p.m., Jabeur