As the first weekend of the 2015 U.S. Open approaches, things are getting murky at the top of the leaderboard with top favorites facing an uptick in competition.
Thursday's action signals the continuance of second-round play, with most of the seeded contenders yet to have a fellow seeded foe across from them on the court. That's not to say some of the top men's and women's players shouldn't be looking out behind them, with competition thirsty to take them down at the year's final Grand Slam.
It's another packed day of tennis in Flushing Meadows, New York, so let's take a look below at the pertinent information.
2015 U.S. Open Viewing Info: Day 4
Date: Thursday, September 3
TV Times (ET): 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. ET on ESPN, 5 p.m. - 11 p.m. ET on ESPN2
Live Stream: ESPN3 (11 a.m. - 11 p.m. ET)
Full schedule available at USOpen.org.
Match of the Day
No. 28 Jack Sock vs. Ruben Bemelmans
|11 a.m.||No. 9 Garbine Muguruza vs. Johanna Konta|
|1 p.m.||No. 5 Stan Wawrinka vs. Hyeon Chung|
|1 p.m.||No. 28 Jack Sock vs. Ruben Bemelmans|
|1 p.m.||No. 11 Angelique Kerber vs. Karin Knapp|
|3 p.m.||No. 3 Andy Murray vs. Adrian Mannarino|
|3:30 p.m.||No. 13 John Isner vs. Mikhail Youzhny|
|5:30 p.m.||No. 5 Petra Kvitova vs. Nicole Gibbs|
|7 p.m.||No. 2 Roger Federer vs. Steve Darcis|
|8:30 p.m.||No. 4 Caroline Wozniacki vs. Petra Cetkovska|
With most of the marquee favorites cruising to easy victories, the early rounds of the U.S. Open are a time to pay more attention to the under-the-radar up-and-comers.
Perhaps Jack Sock is no longer the first of those things, but there's no doubt he's quickly climbing the ranks.
Of course, just now getting to a strong No. 28 seed means the draw is tough for Sock off the bat. That will certainly be the case on Thursday against Belgian challenger Ruben Bemelmans.
Things haven't gone well for Sock with his doubles partner, Vasek Pospisil, as the duo got bounced in the opening round. As for Sock himself, he's peaking after winning his first ATP title in 2015 and advancing to the round of 16 at the French Open—becoming the youngest American to get that far since Pete Sampras.
In Flushing Meadows, it's been more of the same as Sock got things started with a comprehensive win over Victor Estrella Burgos. There was no doubt of his victory as Sock wrapped up the final points, which US Open Tennis showed below:
As tends to be the case with any seed in the dozens, though, Sock has seen the playing field leveled upon facing Bemelmans. While the 27-year-old's best tennis has eluded him over the last few years, he showed his poise with a four-set dispatching of 2008 quarterfinalist Gilles Muller in the opening round on Tuesday.
The seed advantage isn't the only thing Sock has going on Thursday. He'll have his fellow Americans backing him in the grandstands, but that can obviously add extra pressure to a 22-year-old still getting used to the spotlight, as he shared with the Lincoln Journal Star.
“Being an American playing in our home Slam, you can get a little nervous or anxious,” Sock said. “I was able to stay focused. I played well today and didn't give him a whole lot of chances to get in the match, so for me that was pretty big.”
When it comes to American male tennis players today, the U.S. Open stage isn't needed to procure such pressure—it comes naturally with the sport desperate for U.S. star power.
There isn't a more promising candidate than Sock, who could truly put a stamp on his chances of being that with a dazzling display at Flushing Meadows.
If that's the plan, taking care of business on Thursday is in order.