Pure high quality tennis – that’s what has been on display in Flushing Meadows through the first four days of the US Open. The final Grand Slam of the year has been spared from the surprise packages that usually accompanies the early stages of Grand Slams, with most of the matches going along expected lines. The fans have hardly got to see any few surprises so far, with Mahesh Bhupathi, Sara Errani (4), Venus Williams and Samantha Stosur (11) being the few notable names who to bid adieu in early days of the tournament.
Here are the matches to look out for on Day 5 of the US Open:
Lleyton Hewitt vs Juan Martin del Potro:
After a lot of huffing and puffing, Lleyton Hewitt won his first round match against the injury-affected Brian Baker. Though he had to struggle a lot to win the tie, the world knows how difficult a player he can be in the initial rounds of the tournament.
2009 US Open champion del Potro will be vary of his opponent’s pedigree and will look to seal the match off as quickly as possible. In an era where brute strength in shots is the mantra of the day, del Potro is one of the finest exponents of the power baseline game. A player of his calibre, who is widely regarded as the dark horse to win the title, will start as the favourite in today’s third round encounter against Hewitt.
Solane Stephens (15) vs Jamie Hampton (23):
The American second seed Solane Stephens will battle it out with the American third seed Jamie Hampton in an all-American tie at Arthur Ashe stadium on Friday. Adding further intrigue to this is the fact that the winner of the tie will likely take on defending champion and World No. 1 Serena Williams in the next match.
The pair has a head-to-head ratio of 2-1, with Stephens enjoying the advantage. It’s the second time in the year that the pair has been slotted together in a Grand Slam. Solane Stephens won 6-3, 6-3 in their first round match at Wimbledon earlier this year.
Hampton, who is seeded for the first time in a Grand Slam, broke into a wide grin when asked about her match against a player of Stephens’ calibre. She admitted that it’s tough to play someone she knows well.
Stephens, meanwhile, will look to extend her win-loss record against her compatriot and make it to the fourth round. The match promises to be an exciting, hard-hitting affair.
Sabine Lisciki vs Ekaterina Makarova:
Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Lisicki, who stunned the world with a win over Serena Williams on her way to the grasscourt Slam final, will face the 24th-seeded Ekaterina Makarova in her third round match. The common factor between these is that they have both defeated the World No. 1 Serena, with Makarova upsetting Williams at the 2012 Australian Open.
Lisciki, who was off the radar with a wrist injury after Wimbledon, will look to continue with the strong form which she put up at the previous Major, and in the process make a name for herself among the tennis elite.
Makarova, usually a strong big match player, is expected to give a tough fight to the 16th seed.
Other notable matches:
Multiple Grand Slam champions Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray will be in action today, against Benjamin Becker and Leornado Mayer respectively. Both are expected to sail through to the third round with ease.
In the women’s section, defending champion Serena Williams will go up against Yaroslava Shvedova in the evening session, while former runner-up Jelena Jankovic will take on Japanese surprise package Kurumi Nara for a place in the fourth round.