Wednesday's weather delays were a thing of the past 24 hours later, as the world's best tennis players went through a full day at the 2013 U.S. Open uninterrupted.
A mid-afternoon downpour pushed back seven second-round matches on the women's side Wednesday, making for a jam-packed schedule at Flushing Meadows a day later. Top-seeded Serena Williams finally got her crack at unseeded Galina Voskoboeva, breezing through to the third round.
Second-seeded Victoria Azarenka, fourth-seeded Sara Errani and sixth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki were also in action.
Spoiler alert: One of them won't see the weekend.
Elsewhere on the women's side, first-round darling Victoria Duval saw her tournament end at the hands of Daniela Hantuchova. The 17-year-old American became one of the Open's most heartwarming stories after defeating Sam Stosur in the first round. Despite the defeat, Duval, who overcame multiple obstacles in her life to get to this point, made her presence as an up-and-comer known.
On the men's side, there were no heartwarming stories, but a ton of notable names will be moving forward. Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer both pulverized their opponents en route to a third-round berth, and David Ferrer will also be playing this weekend after a hard-fought win over Roberto Bautista Agut.
How did the rest of the day play out? Here is a complete breakdown of all the notable Day 4 scores and results, along with a couple of the evening's biggest storylines.
2013 U.S. Open Results - Day 4
Check out the remainder of Day 4's results at the U.S. Open's official website
Flavia Pennetta Shocks No. 4 Sara Errani
It took four days, but finally one of the world's biggest names fell at Flushing Meadows. In a surprisingly dominant performance, Pennetta thrashed her countrywoman 6-3, 6-1 to advance to the third round.
The 31-year-old Italian seemed from the outset dead-set on destruction. She overpowered Errani with a series of high-speed serves—at an average of 103 mph, her average first serve was 25mph faster than her counterpart's—and aggressive winners. Pennetta allowed the always-accurate Errani to win only 38 percent of her first-serve points, including an embarrassing 3-of-11 effort in the second set:
While it's been quite a while since Pennetta was a top-10 player, she does have some history of success at the U.S. Open. She is a three-time quarterfinalist in the event, having done so three times, most recently in 2011. The U.S. Open is the only Grand Slam event in which Pennetta has gone deeper than the fourth round.
Expected to take her place among the world's best at Flushing Meadows, Thursday's loss was a major disappointment for Errani. She came into the tournament ranked No. 5 in the world, a career peak she's reached at multiple points in the 2013 season.
After the match, Errani was visibly upset. She openly sobbed in her post-match news conference, baring her deepest thoughts for the reporters on-hand. Lynn Zinser of the New York Times reported that the 26-year-old acknowledged that the pressure of being among the world's best caused her to crack Thursday.
"I feel that I am not fighting good because of too much pressure," Errani said. "Because I don’t want to go on the court. I don’t want to play. I don’t want to stay there on the court. I feel very bad. So that is the problem for me. I have to find the way to find the motivation to go there."
Pennetta now holds a 4-2 record against Errani. She advances to play No. 27 Svetlana Kuznetsova on Saturday.
World's Best Keep On Keepin' On
They always say there is one exception that proves a rule. At the 2013 U.S. Open, Sara Errani is that exception. Four days down at the year's final Grand Slam championship, and only one of the tournament's top 10 seeds has been ousted.
The dominance exuded by the world's top players continued Thursday, as a majority of the most notable names in action made slight work of their opposition.
Serena Williams defeated Galina Voskoboeva 6-3, 6-0, forcing 19 unforced errors and winning 15 of the Kazakhstani's 22 second-serve points. The world's top-ranked player is looking to atone for a disappointing showing at Wimbledon and repeat her U.S. Open crown from a year ago:
Williams has won four times in New York, but never in back-to-back years. Yaroslava Shvedova, another Kazakhstani, stands in her way Friday evening.
Victoria Azarenka kept her hopes of meeting Williams (or anyone else) in the finals alive Thursday with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Aleksandra Wozniak. The match lasted about the length of an episode of Breaking Bad, as Azarenka watched her opponent commit 35 unforced errors and essentially gift her both sets. She lost in the final last year to Williams, a fact that's likely not lost on either woman.
Caroline Wozniacki, Jelena Jankovic and Petra Kvitova also advanced without incident. Wozniacki was particularly impressive, needing only 67 minutes to defeat Chanelle Scheepers.
Over on the men's side, the results were almost a perfect mirror of uneventfulness. Considering no top-10 seed even sniffed an upset Thursday, one could even argue that side of the bracket took a complete backseat as the evening progressed.
Roger Federer was the star of the mid-afternoon show, defeating unseeded Carlos Berlocq in straight sets. The 32-year-old Swiss star showed notable flashes of aggression, attacking the net with ferocity as Berlocq seemed resigned to his fate before the match even started. First serves again proved Federer's best friend, with the world's seventh-ranked player winning on three-quarters of his attempts that found their way inside the lines.
Following a second-round ouster at Wimbledon and holding his worst world ranking in over a decade, Federer's dominance through the first two rounds should help quell some of the whispers about his future.
Second-seeded Rafael Nadal's excellent tournament continued as he defeated Rogerio Dutra Silva in a straight-sets snoozer. Nadal has been nothing short of excellent this week, and his form looks more than good enough to come away with a second career U.S. Open championship.
The only top player on the men's side who saw any sign of struggle was David Ferrer, and the use of "struggle" may be stretching it. He defeated countryman Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-2, giving up a winnable second set and cruising in the other three.
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