It’s been a sultry, sunny and very much sensational start for several men to kick off this 2014 US Open, and as the weekend approaches, we’re learning a whole lot en route to Finals Weekend.
Top seeds Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are sailing along in straight-sets fashion – not unexpected. Yet what about Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the No. 9 seed who was one of the first to make the third round? The Frenchman made short work of Aleksandr Nedovyesov in the Grandstand on Thursday, showing the form that helped him beat both Djokovic and Federer at the Rogers Cup in Toronto a few short weeks ago. No. 6 Tomas Berdych did what last year’s No. 6, Juan Martin del Potro, couldn’t do: beat former Open champ Lleyton Hewitt in the early rounds. He did so emphatically, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.
Thirteenth-seeded John Isner has had his share of tiebreak sets and it’s only Day 4 of the tournament, but a set win is a set win and he’s six-for-six in the early going. Set perfection also applies to No. 10 Kei Nishikori and No. 23 Leonardo Mayer, who will play one another next. And if you want to look for a compelling longshot, heed unseeded Victor Estrella Burgos: A 34-year-old journeyman from the Dominican Republic, who had never played in a Grand Slam main draw before 2014, is among your advancers to the third round after beating the youngest man in the draw, 17-year-old Borna Coric.
So who will you choose as your “best man?” USOpen.org asks you to sound off: Which men’s player has impressed you the most? Tomorrow, we'll take the best comments and highlight them when we reveal your top choice.
Novak Djokovic: Two wins notched, and the Serb’s serve has been broken just twice in the early going against opponents Diego Schwartzman and Paul-Henri Mathieu. Throw in 20 aces thus far and it’s been a whole lot of grinning and post-match dancing for Djokovic.
Roger Federer: The Swiss had a trickier-than-usual first-round opponent in Marinko Matosevic, a former Top 40 player with a strong serve and a high-motor style of play. Federer’s 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win was closer than the score would indicate, yet he came through with timely passing shots to the delight of friend Michael Jordan and a packed Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd.
Tomas Berdych: Matosevic attempted to do what only Berdych himself has ever done, and that’s beat Federer under the lights on Ashe. The victory over Hewitt was complete and neat, and more of the same will be needed when Berdych faces top-ranked Slovak Martin Klizan next.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: Tsonga has the blemish of dropping a set to former Top 10 player Juan Monaco in the first round, but he’s otherwise been a dominant force. He’s muscled up – offering a fluid serving and topping out near 140 mph – while roughly halving his unforced error count from the first round against Monaco (49) to Thursday’s match against Nedovyesov (27). A winnable match against Pablo Carreno Busta awaits.
John Isner: The lanky Yank wowed the crowd with a 30-ace performance against Jan-Lennard Struff. Next will be another German, No. 22 Philipp Kohlschreiber, who has stopped Isner in the third round here twice before, in 2012 and 2013. He’s playing well after coming into the tournament with some ankle injury concerns.