US Open Tennis: 4 Biggest Takeaways from Wednesday at Flushing
Day 3 at the US Open was yet another exciting event, as players dug tooth and nail to try and live to fight another day.
Nicolas Almagro, the No. 10 seed, served a dismal 49 percent and only broke one time in 13 chances in a straight-set loss to Frenchman Julian Benneteau. On the women's side, American Irina Falconi came back from a set down to win her first career Grand Slam match against a powerful opponent in Dominika Cibulkova.
However, the biggest upset of the day was in men's doubles. Bob and Mike Bryan lost to Ivo Karlovic and Frank Moser in the first round of a slam for the first time since the Australian Open in 2001. Since that tournament, the Bryans had won 11 Grand Slam titles and advanced to numerous finals.
Here are four other storylines that took shape on Wednesday.
1. Venus Williams Diagnosis
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Starting off on a sad note, Venus Williams was forced to withdraw from the tournament with a newly diagnosed illness.
Williams is quoted in the Los Angeles Times, describing the ailment that's plagued her for quite some time.
"I'm really disappointed to have to withdraw from this year's U.S. Open. I have recently been diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease which is an ongoing medical condition that affects my energy level and causes fatigue and joint pain. I enjoyed playing my first match here and I wish I could continue but right now I am unable to. I am thankful I finally have a diagnosis and am now focused on getting better and returning to the court soon."
Williams has been plagued with injuries recently, so it's great that she's finally been able to pinpoint the problem. My best goes out to Venus, and I'm hopeful that she'll find proper treatment for the illness.
2. Americans Came to Play on Wednesday
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Earlier today, I questioned how many American men would advance to the second round. Both the men and women from the red, white and blue came out firing on Wednesday.
Falconi wasn't the only American woman pulling off an upset, as Christina McHale took out No. 8 seed Marion Bartoli in straight sets.
Robby Ginepri won a four-set match against Brazilian Joao Souza, his first win at a major since the 2010 French Open.
Alex Bogomolov Jr. edged out Steve Johnson after trailing two-sets-to-love. The match took nearly four hours, and was a phenomenal Grand Slam debut for Johnson.
Jack Sock knocked off Frenchman Marc Gicquel in four sets, his first ever slam win.
16-year-old Madison Keys took a set and a break lead over No. 27 Lucie Safarova, but was unable to hold on for victory. Still, Keys showed some serious potential for her long future.
John Isner played brilliantly, defeating Marcos Baghdatis in four highly-exciting sets.
In short, the US defended their home courts on Wednesday.
3. Watch Marcos Baghdatis at Grand Slams
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John Isner may have won the match against Marcos Baghdatis, but Baghdatis knows how to play a Grand Slam match on the big stage.
Baghdatis has been involved in some of the best slam matches I've ever seen.
His magical run at the 2005 Australian Open, especially the first two sets of the final against Roger Federer, was tennis gold.
His five-set spectacle against Andre Agassi in the 2006 US Open was one of the best night matches I've ever seen.
Although Baghdatis hasn't won as many slam matches as some may have guessed he would back in 2005 or 2006, it doesn't mean you can count this guy out. He makes spectacular shots, entertains the crowd and, most importantly, loves to be on the court when the match is on the line.
Fun fact: 16 of his 68 slam matches have been five-setters, so roughly one out of every five times you watch the Cypriot at a major, he'll go the distance.
4. The Opening Rounds Are Fun
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Do you like watching matches go the distance?
If your answer is no, then watch Novak Djokovic play the opening rounds. Better yet, go watch some Roger Federer highlights from 2004-2006.
If your answer is yes, I hope you tuned in on Wednesday. Three singles matches for each gender went to the deciding set. At the US Open, a tiebreaker is used to decide the final set, meaning players won't crush their chances in the next round trying to gut out a 20-plus game set.
Just like in the opening rounds of March Madness, there is seemingly always a big point being played during the first few days of the Open. In the early rounds, some unestablished players will do anything to win a point. You don’t always see that kind of passion in the later rounds.
Tune in again on Day 4 to see which matches will catch your eye.