Seedings mean nothing.

That, more than anything has been the story of the US Open so far, with Thursday further solidifying that notion.

For several of the game’s leading lights, day 4 was in essence a game of “championship chicken”. Far from their best, Roger Federer and Karolina Pliskova endured near misses against unlikely opponents, while for Grigor Dimitrov and Svetlana Kuznetsova, the result was them ultimately crashing out. Four seeds, all comfortably ensconced in the upper echelon of the game, all reduced to slugging it out with the rank and file – so much for this being the straightforward part of the tournament.

Moving to Friday and the start of third round action, it’s hard to see how the mania stops now. Read on for our three to see on day 5 of the US Open.

Petra Kvitova (CZE) [13] vs Caroline Garcia (FRA) [18] – 1st on Arthur Ashe

About as intriguing a third round matchup as you could ask for, Kvitova v Garcia has all the makings of a serious nailbiter. On the surface that might seem a strange notion given one of these women is a two-time Wimbledon champion, and the other is best known for beefing with her Davis Cup teammates, but the two have the makings of a fascinating rivalry. Playing four times in their careers, the two have split the head-to-head two matches apiece, with Kvitova taking the first two, but Garcia evening it up with wins in Cincinnati ’15 and the ’16 Fed Cup finals. More than most, Garcia has proven she can handle the Czech’s pace and even turn the tables from close to the baseline, and that means the Czech will have to be at her best to survive this one.

Diego Schwartzmann (ARG) [29] vs Marin Cilic (CRO) [5] – 1st on Grandstand

Having been sidelined by injury since his finals run at Wimbledon, Cilic hasn’t earned much consideration at the tournament where he won his sole major title, but considering the chaos around him, you’d have to give him a chance. That said, the continually improving Diego Schwartzman should prove an interesting test, as he plays the exact sort of doggedly defensive game that loves to absorb pace and elongate rallies, and given the Croat’s iffy health, a highly mobile, side-to-side affair is exactly what he doesn’t need. In any case, it should be a highly entertaining affair with serious upset potential.

Denis Shapovalov (CAN) vs Kyle Edmund (GBR) – 2nd on Arthur Ashe (not before 1:00pm)

If you’re still looking for proof of Shapovalov’s burgeoning star status, the fact his match against a fellow unseeded youngster is on Ashe says a lot. The thing is, for all his talent, Shapovalov is still an 18-year-old with little major experience, and Edmund will be ready to capitalise should there be any letdown from his win against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Adding to that, Edmund will come in knowing he can trouble the Canadian, his big hitting having taken him to three sets in Queens in June, and seen him lead two sets and a break in a February Davis Cup tie before Shapovalov decided to call it a day by launching a ball into the umpire’s face. Expect similarly staunch resistance from Edmund here, meaning it’ll be a tough day at the office for El Shapo.


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