US Open of Tennis: The 5 Biggest Takeaways from Thursday at Flushing

Tom LoughreyAnalyst IIISeptember 1, 2011

US Open of Tennis: The 5 Biggest Takeaways from Thursday at Flushing

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    Day 4 of the US Open is in the books, and some dominating performances were on display Thursday.

    Arthur Ashe stadium has been the location of some one-sided performances in Flushing Meadows, but there has been some entertainment value in the lopsided wins. Around the rest of the grounds, a handful of seeded players fell victim to the upset bug.

    If you haven't been watching the night matches at the US Open, you're missing out on a variety of entertainment.

    Here's a look at the best happenings on Thursday.

1. Sloane Stephens Has Game

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    Sloane Stephens is a relatively unknown 18-year-old American player.

    However, on Thursday she was the best player in her match against No. 23 Shahar Peer. Stephens showed tremendous athleticism and shot strength en route to a 6-1, 7-6(4) win against the Israeli.

    This was only Stephens' third match in the main event of a major singles draw, but also her second win.

    Stephens is one of many young Americans impressing the New York crowd this tournament. Her next opponent is former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic.

2. Gael Monfils and Juan Carlos Ferrero Are in Good Shape

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    When I initially saw this matchup on the draw sheet, I thought Juan Carlos Ferrero was extremely over-matched.

    Instead, Ferrero showed the world, and me, why he was once ranked No. 1 in the world and why he has a Grand Slam to his name. These two gutted it out for four hours and 48 minutes on Thursday, with Ferrero winning the last two sets to triumph against Gael Monfils.

    Ferrero is 31 years old, but he was able to out-last one of the most physically gifted players the game has ever seen.

    Give credit where credit is due, Ferrero really earned this one, withstanding 81 winners from the racket of Monfils to move to 2-0 against the Frenchman.

3. Being Big Is a Beautiful Benefit

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    It's obvious that having natural height is key in having a dynamic serve.

    John Isner showed off his fastball on Wednesday, and the tour's tall guys came to play again on Thursday.

    Kevin Anderson, at 6'8", and Ivo Karlovic, at 6'10", both bombed their way into the next round in impressive fashion.

    Anderson, with a confidence-building win over Andy Murray a couple tournaments ago, was a force in his second-round defeat of No. 29 Michael Llodra. Karlovic, hot off a win over the Bryan brothers in doubles, upset No. 13 Richard Gasquet in four sets.

    No one wants to see a big server on the other side of the net, but with so many advancing at the Open, they're becoming tougher to avoid.

4. Bernard Tomic Is 18 Years Old

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    Bernard Tomic, who many had already chalked up to face Roger Federer in the third round, could barely keep the ball in the court on Thursday.

    The hype surrounding Tomic went through the roof when the young Australian made a quarterfinal run at Wimbledon, but he really showed his age on Day 4 of the US Open.

    Yes, Marin Cilic is a tough opponent for anyone, but Tomic was off the court after 34 unforced errors and 80 minutes. He was only able to muster three games, and rarely won a point when he didn't get his first serve in.

    Tomic will have to revisit the drawing board after this disappointing loss. He is still a teenager, so he has plenty of time to shrug this loss off.

5. Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams Are the Heavy Favorites

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    No one made tennis look as easy as Novak Djokovic or Serena Williams on Thursday.

    Both players started off their matches with a 6-0 set, and Djokovic actually served up two bagels on the day. After two rounds for both players, they have both dropped only three games.

    Michaella Krajicek was Serena's victim, and she was on and off the court in 49 minutes. Serena converted five of six break chances to thwart her overwhelmed opponent.

    Novak's opponent was Carlos Berlocq, who at one point looked destined for a triple-bagel. Berlocq played quality tennis in the third set, ripping the ball on both wings, but was only able to work two games away from the confident Serbian.

    Dominance thy name is Novak...or Serena. Depends on the gender.