US Open 2012: Day 6 Preview
September 1, 2012 · Print This Article
by: Tom Cochrane
Andy Roddick’s impending retirement has been delayed by at least a few more days, the American thrashing young Australian Bernard Tomic in straight sets to progress to the third round of what will be his last-ever tournament.
Day 5 Recap
The prodigiously talented Tomic has struggled for consistency this year, and Roddick imposed himself early on the contest and never looked back, riding his big serve to a convincing victory. Roddick was joined in the third round by compatriot John Isner, while defending champion Novak Djokovic also progressed with ease.
Other winners on the men’s side on Day 5 included seeds Del Potro, Tipsarevic Dolgopolov and Gasquet, while Wawrinka and Kohlschreiber were both pushed to 5 sets but ultimately prevailed.
In the women’s tournament, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova were each at their ruthless best, giving up just 3 games between them. They were joined in the round of 16 by defending champion Sam Stosur, who overcame a valiant challenge from Varvara Lepchenko, Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli and 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.
In the biggest result among the women on Day 5, British teenager Laura Robson backed up her epic win over Kim Clijsters with another fine victory, taking down 2011 French Open champion and ninth seed Li Na in a see-sawing 3-set battle.
Matches of the Day – Day 6
1. Jelena Jankovic vs. Agnieszka Radwanska
As I have said in this column many times before, Jelena Jankovic may have briefly reached the top of the summit as far as rankings go, but to my mind the Serb has never truly contended for a major championship. Her chances of doing so become more remote as each year passes by, with Jankovic’s counterpunching game not enough to take down the world’s very best players.
Radwanska’s game represents an updated model of Jankovic’s, with the Pole possessing great court coverage and awareness, and supreme consistency. Radwanska has already done better than Jankovic in Grand Slam play, having made the Wimbledon final this year, and I think the Pole will have too much game for the Serb in this clash. Radwanska in 2.
2. Ekaterina Makarova vs. Serena Williams
They say beware a woman scorned, and in this case Ekaterina Makarova should be very wary of Serena Williams. The Russian sensationally knocked the American out of this year’s Australian Open, and Williams will have her sights set on making amends for that shock loss.
Williams looked unsure of herself and lacking in match practice in Melbourne, but right now the 14-time major champion is in red-hot form, having taken all before her in recent months. Makarova will compete strongly, and as a leftie poses some problems with her serve, but pencil in a straight sets win to Williams.
3. Roger Federer vs. Fernando Verdasco
After cruising through his opening couple of matches, Roger Federer faces his first true test of this year’s US Open against the Spaniard with the huge forehand, Fernando Verdasco. Verdasco made an impressive run to the 2009 Australian Open semi-finals, where he lost a marathon match against Nadal, and while the Spaniard hasn’t been overly consistent since then, he’s always a dangerous opponent – as he showed in upsetting Nadal in Madrid earlier this year.
Verdasco likes the bouncy, fast-paced Flushing Meadows courts, which give him plenty of chances to tee off on his forehand side, but as a 5-time champion Federer is also pretty handy on this surface. Form favours Federer, of course, but look for Verdasco to challenge valiantly and to press the top seed in at least one set. Federer in 3.
4. Sloane Stephens vs. Ana Ivanovic
Mentored by none other than Serena Williams, rising star Sloane Stephens has achieved some fantastic results on the WTA Tour this year, including impressive showings at Roland Garros and at Wimbledon. The American faces a former world number one in Ana Ivanovic in this clash, with the Serb looking to break back into the world’s top 10.
Ivanovic has the experience but Stephens is a tremendous athlete and will garner plenty of crowd support in New York. I’ll back Ivanovic to be too strong down the stretch, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Stephens push her the whole way. Ivanovic in 3.
5. James Blake vs. Milos Raonic
It wouldn’t be surprising to see James Blake follow the lead of his countryman Andy Roddick and call time on his career at this tournament (or sometime soon). The veteran American is approaching the end of his playing days, but the powerful play of Blake still causes plenty of problems for his opponents, as Spanish seed Marcel Granollers found out in the second round.
At the opposite end of his career is Canada’s emerging star, Milos Raonic. The big-serving Raonic is into the third round at Flushing Meadows for the first time in his career and has the game to make a mark in this tournament. With an impressive all-court game to back up his dynamite serve, Raonic is likely to overwhelm Blake in this clash, but no doubt the American will still have a few tricks up his sleeve. Raonic in 4.
Put your house on: Serena Williams to make amends for her upset loss to Ekaterina Makarova at Melbourne Park earlier this year.
Upset alert: Kei Nishikori, seeded 17, has a good chance of knocking out the number 12 seed Marin Cilic, while American upstart Jack Sock has an outside chance against the eleventh seed Nicolas Almagro.
Likely to go the distance: Pencil in a fifth set in the clash between American Mardy Fish and Frenchman Gilles Simon. I’ll back the raucous crowd to bring Fish home in the fifth.
That’s it for today. Enjoy the tennis and I’ll be back with another serve tomorrow.