Sep 2, 2015 11:59 PM
Latest on US Open: No. 1 seed Djokovic dances into 3rd round
The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) The latest on the U.S. Open (all times local):
Leave it to Novak Djokovic to engage in some sort of good-natured post-match goofiness on court at the U.S. Open.
Djokovic has entertained spectators in the past with his impersonations of fellow players.
This time, after a second-round victory that ended shortly before midnight under the lights in Arthur Ashe Stadium, he danced a towel-waving jig with a man brought out of the stands as music blared on the arena's speakers.
Novak Djokovic simply does not lose second-round Grand Slam matches.
The No. 1-seeded Serb took a bit of time to get going Wednesday night at the U.S. Open, splitting the opening eight games, before reeling off 14 of the remaining 17 in a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 victory over 52nd-ranked Andreas Haider-Maurer of Austria.
"From the 4-all moment," Djokovic said, "I played really well."
Now there's an understatement.
It was Djokovic's 29th consecutive victory in the second round at a major, a streak that dates to 2008. He owns nine Grand Slam titles, including at the 2011 U.S. Open.
Next for Djokovic is a match against Andreas Seppi of Italy.
Here's the way Bob Bryan summed up the first-round loss at the U.S. Open that means he and twin brother Mike will finish a season without a Grand Slam doubles title for the first time in a decade: "It was bound to happen at some point."
From 2005 to 2014, the Bryans won at least one major title every year, and they own a record total of 16.
But they lost Wednesday to another American duo, Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey.
"Unfortunately," Bob said, "the stars didn't align at the majors this year."
Johnson still thinks the Bryans are the best in the business.
"For those guys, not winning a Slam might be a down year, but they're still No. 1 in the world," Johnson said, as Querrey nodded in agreement, "and they're not going anywhere, anytime soon."
Belinda Bencic explained it simply.
"I'm 18," she said. "My moods are like..." and she made an up-and-down motion.
Bencic was so down in Wednesday's second-round U.S. Open match that she cried on court. She got all the way back up to save triple match point and go on to win in three sets.
The 12th-seeded Swiss teen lost the first set to 88th-ranked Misaki Doi then nearly fell apart in the second after taking a big lead. She twice failed to serve out the set and wasted six set points in another game.
Upset about several line calls, she repeatedly argued with the chair umpire and threw her racket.
"I know I shouldn't have behaved like that," she said. "For sure I know that. But sometimes I just can't control myself right now. I have to be working on that, but I think I'm not the only one who would freak out like this."
Bencic predicted that if she watched video of the match in a few months, her reaction would be: "What was she doing or thinking?"
"I for sure will watch it and I try to calm down a little bit in the next matches," she said. "It's my personality on the court. I am not the player who is the calmest. I'm very emotional. That's just how I am."
Then she added: "I think it can also be interesting, though."
The Bryan brothers will go a year without winning a Grand Slam title for the first time in more than a decade.
The top-seeded twins were upset by fellow Americans Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-3 in the first round of men's doubles at the U.S. Open on Wednesday night. They had won at least one major title in each of the previous 10 years.
The defending champs saved four match points at 4-5 in the second set, but Johnson and Querrey quickly went up a break in the third and held on from there.
The 37-year-old Bryans last lost in the U.S. Open first round in 2011. They have won five titles at Flushing Meadows and 16 Grand Slam championships overall.
Second-seeded Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo also lost in the first round Wednesday.
Venus Williams was the U.S. Open champion in 2000-01, but she hasn't been past the third round since 2010.
She moved closer to the tournament's second week by beating Irina Falconi 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-2 on Wednesday night in an all-American second-round matchup.
Williams got to the semifinals at New York five years ago. Since then, she lost in the first round once, the second round twice, and the third round last year.
The 23rd-seeded Williams could face younger sister Serena in the quarterfinals.
First things first, though. In the third round, Venus will meet 12th-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland.
Belinda Bencic played through the tears to rally from the brink of defeat.
After crying during a changeover and repeatedly arguing with the chair umpire, the Swiss teen faced triple match point in the second set before coming back to beat Misaki Doi 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-3 in the second round at the U.S. Open on Wednesday.
The 12th-seeded Bencic upset Serena Williams 2 1/2 weeks ago on the way to a breakthrough title in Toronto. But she nearly unraveled into an early exit from Flushing Meadows.
At 5-3 in the second, she wasted six set points. Then she was broken by the 88th-ranked Doi while trying to serve out the set.
But once Bencic saved the three match points at 5-6, she took control from there.
Eugenie Bouchard has a winning streak for the first time in nearly six months.
Bouchard, the 2014 Wimbledon runner-up, has been going through a rough season, and her 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-3 victory over Polona Hercog of Slovenia in the U.S. Open's second round Wednesday represented the first time since March at Indian Wells, California, that she won twice in a row.
"I know. It's like a huge deal," the 25th-seeded Canadian said when a reporter mentioned how long she'd gone without consecutive victories.
Before arriving at Flushing Meadows, Bouchard had lost 14 of her previous 17 matches.
She spent time last week working in New York with Jimmy Connors ahead of the U.S. Open.
"I kept the confidence up and the belief. Tried to keep myself going energy-wise. Those are all things that I think helped today," Bouchard said. "Those are all things that I didn't do so well in past matches where I've lost. As long as I'm taking a step in the right direction, I'm happy with that and I can't ask for more."
Rafael Nadal got past the second round at this Grand Slam tournament.
The 14-time major champion was pushed Wednesday by 74th-ranked Diego Schwartzman of Argentina but was able to pull out the victory in straight sets on a humid day. He won 7-6 (5), 6-3, 7-5 in 2 hours, 41 minutes.
Nadal, who was upset by 102nd-ranked Dustin Brown in the second round at Wimbledon, trailed 5-3 in the first-set tiebreaker but won the last four points.
"To take the first set was very, very important," he said in an on-court interview.
Milos Raonic was lying on his stomach on the court, face resting on his hands, wincing as a trainer kneaded his lower back.
The 10th-seeded Canadian received treatment in each of the last three sets of his 6-2, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (1) win over Fernando Verdasco in the second round of the U.S. Open on Wednesday.
"There were sometimes doubts should I keep going or not?" he said later. "The worst part was it was sort of getting worse and worse."
Raonic said his back had been bothering him since before the Masters event at Montreal in early August. He missed the French Open after surgery on his right foot and said he hasn't played pain-free since the first couple months of the year.
"It's tiring," he said. "When you wake up every morning you're sort of asking yourself, Am I going to be better today?"
Raonic will face 18th-seeded Feliciano Lopez, who played a five-set match Wednesday.
"That mental fortitude today is what has gotten me through, and it's what's going to give me a chance in my next match as well," Raonic said. "I just have to keep plugging away and trying to be better and better each match."
The fans at Louis Armstrong Stadium were thoroughly enjoying CoCo Vandeweghe's racket demolition. So was her opponent.
"I was cracking up on the sideline there," Bethanie Mattek-Sands said after beating her fellow American in the second round of the U.S. Open on Wednesday.
After Vandeweghe fell behind 5-0 in the first set, she smashed her racket on her chair, then slammed it on the court three more times. Finally, Vandeweghe raised her arms to the crowd and smacked it once more.
"I was down 5-0 and I definitely had a lot of nervous energy, pent-up frustration, and I let it rip," Vandeweghe said later.
"I thought she was done," Mattek-Sands recalled, "and she just kept going. I was like, Go big or go home. You might as well destroy it."
Vandeweghe acknowledged that she was thinking ahead to her potential next opponent: Serena Williams.
"It's just unfortunate that I was thinking that way," she said.
Instead, she leaves the U.S. Open with a viral video. Other players were telling her in the locker room that the clip was already all over the Internet and TV.
Serena Williams' bid for a true Grand Slam is safe, despite an uneven performance in the U.S. Open's second round.
Overcoming 10 double-faults and two dozen other unforced errors, Williams emerged with a 7-6 (5), 6-3 victory over 110th-ranked qualifier Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday.
Williams got broken to fall behind 2-1 early, and Bertens served for the opening set at 5-4 before getting broken for the first time.
Then in the tiebreaker, Williams trailed 4-0, before turning things around, helped by shaky play from Bertens, who only once has made it to the third round at a major tournament in 14 appearances.
Williams has won the past four major titles, a streak that began at last year's U.S. Open, and is trying to complete the first calendar-year Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988.
Serena Williams got off to a rough start in her second-round U.S. Open match, before pulling out the opening set in a tiebreaker against Kiki Bertens, a qualifier from the Netherlands ranked 110th.
Williams, bidding for tennis' first true Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988, got broken by Bertens to trail 2-1, then was down 5-4. But with Bertens serving for the opening set, Williams earned her first break point of the match and converted it.
Then in the tiebreaker, Williams fell behind 4-0, only to turn things around to grab that first set 7-6 (5).
Williams began the second set better, just breaking to go ahead 2-1.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands has finally reached the third round at her home Grand Slam tournament in her 13th try.
The 101st-ranked American routed countrywoman CoCo Vandeweghe 6-2, 6-1 on Wednesday at the U.S. Open. It was an especially impressive performance considering the 45th-ranked Vandeweghe was coming off a breakthrough run to the Wimbledon quarterfinals and upset 29th-seeded Sloane Stephens in the first round.
The 30-year-old Mattek-Sands, who got in with a wild card, had been 0-5 in U.S. Open second-round matches.
"You know what? Thirty is the new 21," she said in an on-court interview.
Best known for her colorful fashion statements and doubles accomplishments, Mattek-Sands will get more time to focus on her singles run here. She and Lucie Safarova were seeded second after winning the Australian and French Opens this year, but Safarova had to pull out because of a strained abdominal muscle. Mattek-Sands' next opponent could be Serena Williams.
It was a disheartening end to the summer for Vandeweghe. After she fell behind 5-0 in the first set, she smashed her racket on her chair, then cracked it on the court three more times. Finally, Vandeweghe raised her arms to the crowd and slammed it once more.
Defending champion Marin Cilic is taking a quick and quiet trip through this year's U.S. Open draw so far.
The ninth-seeded Cilic, whose only appearance in a Grand Slam final came at Flushing Meadows in 2014, reached the third round by beating Evgeny Donskoy of Russia 6-2, 6-3, 7-5 on Wednesday.
Cilic has won all six sets he's played this week.
Mardy Fish and Feliciano Lopez are both 33 and have now played each other nine times.
Lopez paid tribute to his American counterpart after beating him in the last match of Fish's career Wednesday at the U.S. Open.
Fish had a chance to serve out the match in the fourth set, then was hobbled by severe leg cramps in the fifth as Lopez finally eked out the victory.
"I was lucky that I won the fourth set," the 18th-seeded Lopez said in an on-court interview. "And then in the fifth set, he was not feeling well. He was cramping and he was so tired. I think he really deserved the win today."
Fish returned to the tour this summer after struggling with anxiety disorder and announced the U.S. Open would be the final tournament of his career.
"It's been many years together. ... We played many times. He beat me a couple times," Lopez said. "I have to say, he was the better player, normally, when we played. And he was a great player, had a good career. It was very sad what was happening the last two, three years with this illness, and it's great to have him back at least for a few weeks."
Mardy Fish's career ended with his legs cramping badly in a fifth set at the U.S. Open.
The 33-year-old American had a chance to serve out an upset of 18th-seeded Feliciano Lopez in the fourth set of their second-round match Wednesday, but nerves took over. He had three straight unforced errors then double-faulted to be broken at love, and Lopez quickly won the next two games as well to force the deciding set.
Fish, whose career was derailed by anxiety disorder, hung in there in the fifth on a hot, humid day, but his legs were clearly cramping more and more and he was able to move less and less. Finally when he was serving at 3-4, his leg seized up in the middle of a point. Lopez, who was dealing with nerves of his own in the final set, broke then closed out the 2-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory after 3 hours, 11 minutes.
Fish, a former top-10 player, decided to end his career here to try to make some new memories at Flushing Meadows. In 2012, what should have been one of his best moments turned into the worst, when he withdrew because of a panic attack before his fourth-round match against Roger Federer.
Daria Kasatkina is a lucky winner.
The 133rd-ranked Russian teen lost in U.S. Open qualifying Friday, but when third-seeded Maria Sharapova withdrew Sunday because of an injury, Kasatkina was suddenly in her first Grand Slam main draw as a "lucky loser."
She proceeded to upset 38th-ranked Daria Gavrilova in the first round the next day, then won again Wednesday to become the first lucky loser to reach the women's third round since 1993.
Kasatkina defeated 79th-ranked Ana Konjuh 6-4, 6-4. In a quarter of the draw full of upsets, she will face yet another unseeded player in the next round, 40th-ranked Kristina Mladenovic or 98th-ranked Bojana Jovanovski.
Young American Madison Keys has reached the third round at the U.S. Open for the first time.
The 19th-seeded Keys needed just 54 minutes to beat 100th-ranked Tereza Smitkova of Czech Republic 6-1, 6-2 on Wednesday in a matchup of 20-year-olds.
Keys has now advanced to at least the third round at every major this year, which started with her breakthrough run to the semifinals at the Australian Open.
Keys, who didn't face a break point Wednesday, could meet Serena Williams in the fourth round. Before that, she could play 15th-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, who beat her in three sets in the Wimbledon quarterfinals. Radwanska takes on a fellow Polish player, 91st-ranked Magda Linette, later Wednesday.