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US Open Tennis: 5 Things to Watch for on Day 3

Tom LoughreyAnalyst IIIAugust 31, 2011

US Open Tennis: 5 Things to Watch for on Day 3

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    NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 29:  Venus Williams of the United States returns the ball against Vesna Dolonts of Russia during Day One of the 2011 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 29, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Q
    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    The 2011 US Open kicks into full gear Wednesday with a mixed bag of first- and second-round at Flushing Meadows.

    The featured televised matches today star Vera Zvonareva, Andy Murray and Venus Williams. However, if that's not enough for you, usopen.org is streaming live coverage of action on the outer courts throughout the tournament.

    The most shocking upsets to date at the US Open have been Alexandra Dulgheru's stunning straight-set win over Wimbledon-champion Petra Kvitova and Alejandro Falla's comeback against Viktor Troicki.

    Here are some things to watch for on Day 3 at the US Open.

1. Somdev Devvarman Tests Andy Murray

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    WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 04: Somdev Devvarman of India returns a shot to Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus during the Legg Mason Tennis Classic presented by Geico at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center on August 4, 2011 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Matthew
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Since turning pro in 2008, Somdev Devvarman has only collected 38 wins. However, 18 of those wins have come this season, as Devvarman is above .500 on the year despite a six-match losing streak on clay and grass.

    Devvarman is most famous for his back-to-back NCAA singles championships, one coming against John Isner, while he was a member of the Virginia Cavaliers. Earlier in the year, Devvarman made a run to the Round of 16 at Indian Wells, before falling to Rafael Nadal in two tight sets. 

    Andy Murray's tendency to sit back and play defense can get him into trouble against players he doesn't know, so Devvarman might get ahead early. From then on out, it's on Devvarman to try and test the young Scot, who is a trendy pick to win the whole tournament.

    Devvarman may not win a set against Murray, but he'll certainly make Murray sweat a little more than some people expect.

2. Venus Williams Eliminated in Second Round by Sabine Lisicki

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    NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 30:  Sabine Lisicki of Germany serves against Alona Bondarenko of Ukraine during Day Two of the 2011 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 30, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of
    Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

    Venus Williams is the more well-known player in her second-round match with Sabine Lisicki, but Lisicki will prevail against the seven-time Grand Slam champion.

    Lisicki, the No. 22 seed, is looking to follow up her semifinal run at Wimbledon, where she also made the finals in doubles action. In a US Open tune-up in Dallas, Lisicki surrendered only 13 games in 5 matches en route to a title. She is ten years younger than her opponent, and age may play a factor in this contest.

    Venus comes into the match with little success to speak of this season. She was forced to pull out of the Australian Open with a hip injury that kept her out for just under six months this season. She'll be looking to overpower the German, but Lisicki has the shots and fitness to deliver blows back to the American.

    Lisicki will surprise the world, or at least just the USA, with a three-set win over one of the game's all-time bests.

3. Marcos Baghdatis vs. John Isner

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    When the draw came out, this was one of the first-round matches I instantly noticed.

    John Isner is coming off a title at Winston-Salem, where he beat Marcos Baghdatis along with Andy Roddick. After losing the first set 6-1 to the Cypriot, Isner battled back to win the match.

    Baghdatis spent the offseason working on his fitness. Isner looked extremely sluggish in the Atlanta final against Mardy Fish, and that was only his fourth match of the week in a three-set format. Isner has given up on too many matches in the past for me to believe that he's ready to break through.

    He holds a 3-0 record against Baghdatis, but the two have never squared off in a major. If Isner wins the first set, he could win in three or four. If Baghdatis takes the first or pushes it to five sets, he'll come out on top.

4. Maria Sharapova Turns It Around in the Second Round

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    Maria Sharapova had 14 unforced errors, while smacking only eight winners as she lost the first set of her tournament to relatively unknown Heather Watson.

    Even though Sharapova committed 44 more unforced errors in the match, she was able to get by Watson and advance to the next round. Her performance is causing many naysayers to foresee an early exit for the Russian.

    However, anyone that's followed Sharapova in the last few years knows that she's susceptible to performances like this. In last year's US Open, she had a similar first-round battle, but it took world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki to knock her out of the tournament in the Round of 16.

    Sharapova's brand of high-risk, high-reward tennis can be a problem sometimes, but she'll right the course in the second round against Anastasiya Yakimova. 

    With Petra Kvitova knocked out of her quarter already, Sharapova should be gearing up for a semifinal run.

5. How Many American Men Will Remain?

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    So far, three of the six Americans that have competed have advanced to the second round.

    Eight more American men are in action today, but there are two all-American matches, meaning the highest number that can advance is six. The USA is looking for someone to follow deep into the tournament, but they need to get out of the opening round first.

    Here are the Americans in action today:

    Alex Bogomolov Jr. vs. Steve Johnson: Bogomolov is the far more experienced player, and will advance in straight sets.

    Robby Ginepri vs. Joao Souza(BRAZIL): Ginepri could be in some serious trouble here. He's nowhere near the form that carried him to the 2005 US Open semis.

    John Isner vs. Marcos Baghdatis(CYPRUS): (Discussed in the fourth slide)

    Andy Roddick vs. Michael Russell: America better hope Andy can get through this one. If Russell pulls the upset, he won't make it very far, whereas Roddick has an outside shot at making a run.

    Jack Sock vs. Marc Gicquel(FRANCE): Sock, the USTA Boys' 18s national champion will be in over his head in this match. At best, Sock will take a set.

    Ryan Sweeting vs. Denis Istomin(UZBEKISTAN): Sweeting has a good chance to defeat Istomin, but I wouldn't say he's the favorite. Expect Istomin to give him fits in a four-set victory.

     

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