US Open 2015: Raonic and Verdasco go toe-to-toe

published: Sep, 02, 2015

by: Tom Cochrane

by: Tom Cochrane

Roger Federer underlined his credentials for a sixth US Open title on Day 2, the Swiss star demolishing Leonardo Mayer in straight sets in one hour and 17 minutes.

Day 2 Recap

Second seed Federer was lucky to escape defeat against Mayer in Shanghai last year, but their battle in New York was a different story, with Federer dominating from the outset and dropping just five games for the entire match. Andy Murray dropped his first ever set against wild child Nick Kyrgios but ultimately progressed in 4 sets, whilst there were wins on Day 2 for seeds Isner, Wawrinka and Berdych.

Teenager Frances Tiafoe was defeated but far from disgraced against Viktor Troicki, whilst Richard Gasquet survived a scare from Thanasi Kokkinakis to progress to round 2. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez overcame Janko Tipsarevic in 5 sets, as Bernard Tomic set up a second round clash with veteran compatriot Lleyton Hewitt. Gilles Simon was the biggest casualty in the men’s draw on Day 2, the French seed squandering a 2 sets to love lead against American Donald Young, who made a startling comeback much to the delight of the New York crowd.

In the women’s tournament, Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitova all recorded commanding straight sets victories. Simona Halep also advanced to the second round, courtesy of a second set retirement by Marina Erakovic, whilst other winners on Day 2 included Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza and German Angelique Kerber. Flavia Pennetta and Andrea Petkovic were both forced to 3 sets but ultimately prevailed, but there was no such luck for French Open finalist Lucie Safarova. The Czech seed exited the tournament on Day 2, alongside fellow seeds Alize Cornet and Timea Bacsinszky.

Matches of the Day – Day 3

1. Milos Raonic vs. Fernando Verdasco

Veteran Fernando Verdasco is playing in his thirteenth US Open and is a two-time quarter-finalist at Flushing Meadows. The former top 10 player is still capable of producing top-level tennis, as he showed with a win over countryman Nadal in Miami earlier this year. Verdasco outlasted fellow veteran Tommy Haas in 5 sets on Day 1, and I think that win will have taken a lot out of the Spaniard.

Tenth seed Milos Raonic has made the round of 16 in New York the last three years, and I’m sure the Canadian will be looking to go further in the tournament this time around. As usual, the match will largely revolve around how well Raonic serves. If Raonic can serve well and keep Verdasco’s killer forehand away from his weaker backhand wing, I think he will progress to the round of 32. Raonic in 4.

2. Mardy Fish vs. Feliciano Lopez

American veteran Mardy Fish is playing in his last US Open and provided the New York fans with plenty to cheer about on Day 1 with a win over the Italian Cecchinato. A former US Open quarter-finalist, Fish is still capable of matching it with the best despite having barely played in the last few seasons as a result of his well-documented health problems.

Lopez isn’t having quite as good a season as last year, but the Spaniard achieved a career high ranking of 12 earlier this year and remains inside the world’s top 20. I think his far greater match fitness will ultimately give him the edge in this clash, but look for Fish to give it his absolute all and for the crowd to soak up every minute of it. Lopez in 5.

3. Eugenie Bouchard vs. Polona Hercog

After losing her opening round matches at the French Open and Wimbledon earlier this year, Eugenie Bouchard gained a welcome confidence boost with a first round win over American Alison Riske on Monday. Bouchard has dropped from world number 5 to world number 25 courtesy of her poor 2015 season but, with Jimmy Connors now guiding her in an informal capacity, the Canadian will be looking to salvage something of the season in the year’s final major.

Hercog is a steady and experienced player but this is exactly the sort of match that Bouchard should win. The Slovenian is ranked 64 in the world and, if Bouchard is playing with the confidence and aggression that defined her 2014 season, I can’t see Hercog causing too many problems for the Canadian. Bouchard in 2.

4. Marin Cilic vs. Evgeny Donskoy

Last year’s shock winner of the US Open men’s singles event has had an injury-interrupted season in 2015, but don’t be surprised if Marin Cilic makes another strong run at Flushing Meadows this year. The ninth seed made the semi-finals in Washington DC in the lead-up to the US Open and the fast-paced, bouncy courts at Flushing Meadows suit the Croat’s game to a tee. If he gets his serve functioning as well as it was in New York last year, he’ll be very difficult to beat.

Donskoy made surprise third round appearances at the Australian Open and the US Open in 2013, but has failed to win a Grand Slam main draw match since his run to the round of 32 in New York in 2013. Currently languishing outside the world’s top 100, I can’t see the Russian putting up much of a fight in this one. Cilic in 3.

5. Grigor Dimitrov vs. Mikhail Kukushkin

There has been plenty of off-court drama for Grigor Dimitrov since Wimbledon, with the Bulgarian seed splitting with high-profile Australian coach Roger Rasheed after Wimbledon this year, being linked with Ivan Lendl (who has apparently turned down an offer to coach Dimitrov) and recently ending his relationship with WTA Tour superstar Maria Sharapova.

With all of these changes occurring, I suspect Dimitrov will be firmly focused on producing his best tennis and ensuring that the headlines are once again related to his formidable tennis playing abilities. Kukushkin is a hard-working professional but the Kazakh doesn’t possess the firepower or the shot-making artistry of his opponent today. Dimitrov in 3.

Put your house on: Novak Djokovic. Given the hot and humid conditions in New York at present, the top seed will be looking to spend as little time on court as possible against Austria’s Andreas Haider-Maurer.

Upset alert: Big-serving Aussie Sam Groth has a good chance at upsetting veteran Spanish seed Tommy Robredo in their second round clash today.

Likely to go the distance: I expect that Slovakia’s Martin Klizan will push French seed Jeremy Chardy all the way when the pair meet at Flushing Meadows today.

That’s it for today. Enjoy the tennis and I’ll be back with another serve tomorrow. In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter: @satelliteserve.

Tom Cochrane

I like to work the angles around the tennis court. Not afraid to take the pace off the ball, I also have an affinity with the occasional cheeky drop shot.

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