Former US Open Champion and 20th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova fell in a third set 'breaker to Marina Erakovic. Not only is the upset detrimental to my bracket (I had Kuznetsova reaching the quarterfinals), it should also clear the way for a Kvitova/Azarenka match in the fourth round. 32nd seed Shuai Zhang also lost to Mona Barthel (see below for more details). 29th seed Lukas Rosol lost in straight sets to Croatian Borna Coric. In a real shocker, 15 year-old CiCi Bellis knocked off 12th seeded Dominika Cibulkova.
The Royal Box
No, we're not back at Wimbledon, but Roger Federer did have some royalty from another court in his box. His Airness, Michael Jordan, was in Federer's box to watch Federer begin his quest for an 18th Slam title. The two had been collaborating on a special edition Air Jordan 3-esque tennis shoe that Federer debuted during his the match
Grand Slam Losing Streak
Earlier this year, Marinko Matosevic won his first-ever Grand Slam match after going 0-12 in his previous attempts. Matosevic got some company yesterday when the 32nd seeded Shuai Zhang lost to Mona Barthel, running her Grand Slam record to 0-12. If she's like Matosevic, maybe she'll have better luck on her thirteenth try.
Speaking of Marinko Matosevic…
He's quickly climbing up my "players who create bizarre, must see tennis drama" list alongside Fabio Fognini and Gael Monfils. He had some entertaining rants and off-the-wall self-commentary. At one point he even pointed up at Michael Jordan and yelled "I want to be like Mike," causing a stir in the crowd and eliciting a smile from MJ. I'll say this: if Matosevic ever faces off against Fognini, I'll definitely clear my schedule to watch.
Tenth-seeded Kei Nishikori's US Open preparation was virtually non-existent as he recovered from minor surgery to remove a cyst in his toe. Despite a lack of match play leading up to the Open, Nishikori looked good in his straight sets win over Wayne Odesnik. John Isner had a better chance to get ready for New York, but injured his ankle the week prior to the Open while playing a match in Winston-Salem. Like Nishikori, he looked solid and advanced in straight sets.
Earlier this year, Noah Rubin became the first American to win a singles title at junior Wimbledon since Donald Young did so in 2007. Yesterday, the Long Island native played his second match on the main tour and made his first appearance in a Grand Slam main draw. He played a solid match even though he lost, but hopefully a few more years of experience—and some college matches—will yield even better results.
Another young American, CiCi Bellis, had a better result, knocking off the 12th seed Dominika Cibulkova. Bellis, at 15 years old and ranked 1208th in the world, is the youngest woman in the draw. She's also the youngest player to win a US Open match since Anna Kournikova in 1996. That means that there will understandably be plenty of talk about her over the next few days, but it's important to remember that she's only 15. She's shown what she's capable of, but it will be interesting to see how her game develops over the next few years.
Old Dog, New Tricks
Like Noah Rubin and CiCi Bellis, Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic also made his US Open debut yesterday. In striking contrast to Rubin's relative youth, 34 year-old Estrella Burgos is the oldest player ever to make a US Open debut appearance. He moved on with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 win over Igor Sisling.
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