US Open Tennis 2011: The 4 Biggest Takeaways from Saturday at Flushing
Day 6 at the US Open did not provide the excitement I'd hoped for, but there were still some quality matches at Flushing Meadows.
Many of the matches that were expected to go down to the wire were very one-sided. Serena Williams and Roger Federer both handled tough opposition without ever really feeling on the edge. Mardy Fish moved on and is still yet to lose a set at the Open.
Francesca Schiavone battled back from a set down to win a three-set match over a heavy underdog in Russian Chanelle Scheepers.
With no major upsets to report, here's a rundown of four things to take away from Saturday's action.
1. Serena Is the Top Dog
The biggest news of the day came when Serena Williams took out the No. 4 seed Victoria Azarenka.
Not only did Serena win the match, she was completely dominant for three-quarters of the match. Under normal circumstances, beating the No. 4 seed doesn't happen easily, especially in third round. However, Serena's injury problems and incredible play immediately after her return make her an anomaly.
As an unseeded participant in the 2007 Australian Open, Serena made her way to the final. When she got there, she put one of the finest displays in women's tennis history, dismantling Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-2. Basically, Serena's not a stranger to coming into a major with no idea what to expect.
Now, as I've said before, you can expect Serena to take the whole tournament.
2. Tomas Berdych's Injury Resurfaces
Tomas Berdych was forced to retire during a warm-up tournament in Cincinnati due to a shoulder injury.
Before the injury began to bother him, he held a lead against No. 1 Novak Djokovic, playing some truly impressive power tennis. After two successful rounds in the US Open, a right-arm injury forced Berdych to withdraw during his third-round match.
Berdych was on the court with No. 20 Janko Tipseravic, who can cause problems for any healthy player, and was trailing 6-4, 5-0 when he called it quits.
Berdych has to be disappointed because his level of play in Cincinnati was incredible. He was in the same quarter as Djokovic, and would have had another shot at the best player in the game today if both players made it that far.
Berdych's injury is just another obstacle in the road for the extremely talented Czech.
3. Roger Federer Dismisses Marin Cilic
Roger Federer was finally tested at Flushing Meadows, but he was able to push past the resurgent Marin Cilic in four sets.
In the set that Federer lost, it was Cilic's impressive play, not Federer's downfall, that was to blame. Federer's next opponent is Juan Monaco, who Fed holds a 2-0 record against, although both matches have been close.
Federer is trying to prove that he's still a legitimate threat at every Grand Slam, and he needs to make his way past Monaco to ensure that he'll get a chance to prove himself.
After Monaco is either Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Mardy Fish, and Tsonga has recorded two straight wins over the Swiss star.
Federer will be constantly trying to prove something each time he hits the court from here on out.
4. Big Men Fall Hard
Tall players with gigantic serves have been booming in this tournament...that is, until Saturday.
Other than John Isner, the tournament giants came to a screeching halt on Day 6, as players with better all-around games were there to take them out.
For Ivo Karlovic, it was Alexandr Dolgopolov that proved too much. Dolgopolov effectively returned Karlovic's bombs, breaking the Croatian six times in the match. Dolgopolov also protected his serve, only facing six break points on the day, two of which turned into breaks of serve.
Kevin Anderson's kryptonite was Mardy Fish, who refused to allow Anderson to steal a set. Fish played well in both the second and third-set tiebreakers, giving Anderson no hope for a comeback.
Isner is the last hope for the big men, and he's in action against Alex Bogomolov Jr. tomorrow.