Stan Wawrinka may be enjoying a naked ice bath Novak Djokovic-style right now, because he’s taking advantage of the 10-minute heat rule after winning the third set 6-3 against Ugo Humbert. The former champion leads by two sets to one. Venus Williams is locked at 3-3 against Camila Giorgi, Milos Raonic is 6-3, 5-3 up on Giles Simon, Borna Coric – who defeated Roger Federer earlier this year – has just completed a 7-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Roberto Carballes Baena, while the exciting young American Claire Liu has been comprehensively beaten, 6-3, 6-1 by the 19th seed Anastasija Sevastova.
A comeback could be on the cards on Court 10 too, where Stefanos Tsitsipas, on the brink at two sets and 4-2 down against his fellow Next Gen star Daniil Medvedev, has won four games on the spin to steal the third set 6-4.
The Arthur Ashe spectators are on their feet after a sensational rally as Sloane Stephens grabs the double break in the second set for 4-6, 3-0. But the American then asks for a medical timeout to get treatment on a nasty looking burst blister on her racket-playing hand.
Venus Williams, at the ripe old age of 38, is under way against Italy’s Camila Giorgi. Williams isn’t even the oldest player in the women’s draw – that honour goes to the 39-year-old Patty Schnyder, who lost to Maria Sharapova last night. Perhaps Williams doesn’t get the credit she deserves for the level of her play given her age, what with Serena grabbing the headlines, but she’ll have a chance to upstage her younger sister in the next round if they both win today. Williams and Giorgi have shared the opening two games for 1-1.
Stan Wawrinka also has the bit between his teeth, coming from a break down in the third set to lead Ugo Humbert 4-1.
So after four very straightforward matches on the women’s side so far (Svitolina def Maria 6-2, 6-3, Azarenka def Gavrilova 6-1, 6-2, Strycova def Arruabarrena 6-0, 6-1 and Mertens def Lapko 6-2, 6-0) we finally have a contest. Stephens recovers well at the beginning of the second set, bringing up two break points at 15-40, and she needs only one. A champion’s response.
… while Kalinina takes aim at Sloane Stephens on Arthur Ashe. The Ukrainian world No 134 has a second set point at 5-4 against last year’s champion. But Kalinina tightens up and it’s deuce. A third set point … Kalinina runs round her backhand, sending an inside-out forehand down the line on the return … and that’s the set! Stephens will have to come from a set down if she’s to continue the defence of her title.
Novak Djokovic’s wife, Jelena, has taken aim at Jimmy Connors on Twitter …
Wawrinka’s racket-smashing, water-dousing antics don’t appear to have done him any good as he’s broken in the opening game of the third set. He managed to marmalise his racket pretty well, I have to say, but it still had nothing on Benoit Paire’s recent meltdown at the Citi Open:
There’s been some change in momentum on Grandstand, where Stan Wawrinka had led by a set and 3-1, before the French qualifier Ugo Humbert broke twice. The 20-year-old’s now serving for the set at 5-4. Wawrinka saves a first set point with a dismissive forehand cross-court swat but is left smashing his racket when Humbert levels at one set all. The Swiss then pours an entire bottle of water over his head.
Azarenka and Stephens could meet in the third round, by the way, but there’s some way to go because Stephens has suddenly slid 4-1 down against Kalinina, who then has points for the double break. Stephens rallies for deuce. But Kalinina charges back with a bullet of a backhand down the line and has another break point. The qualifier gets a little over-excited and wastes the chance with a wild strike. Deuce. Stephens holds after saving three break points but is still behind, trailing 4-2.
“It’s really brutal out here,” Azarenka says. “But today I was really consistent. I hope to continue this way. It’s been a really hard year for me personally so I feel like I’m playing catch-up. I’m so happy to be enjoying tennis. The motivation is different, I’m a mum off the court but I’m still a tennis player and I still have my own personal goals.”
Play is now under way on Arthur Ashe, where Sloane Stephens is continuing her title defence, against Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina. It’s going with serve, Stephens trailing 2-1. And as one grand slam champion begins, another looks set to end her match, with Victoria Azarenka holding three match points against Daria Gavrilova at 6-1, 5-2. Gavrilova’s slice is so subdued it barely reaches the net. The pair have a nice exchange at the net, happy to have a chat despite the extreme heat. It’s the first time Azarenka has reached the third round at Flushing Meadows since 2013.
Stefanos Tsitsipas is undoubtedly a future star but it looks like it’s going to be a Greek tragedy for the 20-year-old today. Tsitsipas, who defeated Novak Djokovic in Toronto recently on his way to the final, trails another huge talent, Daniil Medvedev, 6-4, 6-3. Stan Wawrinka, meanwhile, having squeezed through the first set on a tie-break, is surging ahead in the second, leading Ugo Humbert 3-1.
Svitolina is a fine player away from the slams but has failed to progress beyond the quarter-finals at a major. Could this be the tournament where she makes her breakthrough?
Maria slaps a forehand into the net on the third match point, as Svitolina gains revenge for her defeat at Wimbledon, advancing 6-2, 6-3 in front of a virtually empty new Louis Armstrong stadium. There are some fans in the upper seats, which are open to general admission, but very few in the ticketed lower stands. Perhaps it’s because of the sun.
Elise Mertens is the first player through to the third round. The efficient if unspectacular Belgian 15th seed has beaten Vera Lapko 6-2, 6-0 and will next face Barbora Strycova, who didn’t quite manage the double bagel against Lara Arruabarrena, winning 6-0, 6-1. Elina Svitolina is poised to join them in the last 32 because the Ukrainian seventh seed has a second match point against Tatjana Maria – but she can’t take it. It’s 6-2, 5-3 and deuce on Maria’s serve.
Wawrinka has a set point at 6-5 on Humbert’s serve in the tie-break. The first serve is called out … and Humbert double faults on the second! A collective gasp around Grandstand. An anti-climactic end to an intriguing set.
Strong words from the WTA regarding Alize Cornet’s code violation:
What of the men, you say. Stan Wawrinka showed he can still be the man by taking out Grigor Dimitrov in the opening round for the second consecutive slam, but the 2016 champion is not having it all his own way against the 20-year-old French qualifier Ugo Humbert. They’re into a first-set tie-break and it’s 3-3.
Borna Coric and Roberto Carballes Baena are also playing a breaker, while Daniil Medvedev has taken the first set 6-4 against Stefanos Tsitsipas. It’s the 16th consecutive set the rising Russian has won, taking in his title at the Winston-Salem Open last week.
The first set is in the bag for Azarenka, who takes it 6-1 when Gavrilova nets. The former world No 1 is looking in fine form. Elina Svitolina is also a set to the good, leading Tatjana Maria 6-2, 3-1 and Belgium’s Elise Mertens is 6-2, 3-0 up against Vera Lapko of Belarus. Meanwhile they do make a good bagel in New York and Barbora Strycova could be about to serve up a double one on Court 5, she leads Lara Arruabarrena 6-3, 3-0.
Meanwhile Pseudo Fed has been having his say on Twitter:
A victory for common sense. After Alize Cornet was hit with a code violation for changing her shirt on court yesterday, the tournament has released this statement:
Elsewhere: it’s 2-2 between Wawrinka and Humbert, Svitolina leads Maria 4-2 with the break, Tsitsipas and Medvedev are tied at 3-3, as is the young Croat Borna Coric with Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena, while commentators’ nightmare Lara Arruabarrena is 5-0 down to the Czech Barbora Strycova.
Azarenka is quite happily on fire at the moment though. The former finalist has raced into a 3-0 lead against Gavrilova. It’s good to see her playing with a spring in her step now that the custody battle over her son – which prevented her from leaving the US – has been resolved.
It’s already hotter than it was at the same time yesterday. The USTA has announced the extreme heat policy is in effect again, allowing a 10-minute break between the second and third sets for the women and between the third and fourth for the men. So Murray could find himself taking a mid-match, naked ice bath next to Verdasco later.
More seriously though, does the extreme heat policy go far enough? At the Australian Open when the temperature and humidity gets over a certain level play is suspended, with matches continuing only on the show courts under the roof. There’s no indication the US Open would consider closing the roofs on Arthur Ashe and Louis Armstrong today.
An early chance for Azarenka to break on Court 17. The two-time Australian Open champion – at her advantage in the opening game – probes Gavrilova’s backhand, hitting deep into the corner, and eventually the error comes from the Australian No 2. It’s the first game Gavrilova has lost at this year’s US Open. She won her opening match 6-0, 6-0.
Among the early starters: Stan Wawrinka, who’s up against the French qualifier Ugo Humbert; the seventh seed Elina Svitolina, who plays Germany’s Tatjana Maria; Victoria Azarenka, the former world No 1 who faces Australia’s Daria Gavrilova; and there’s also that tasty match between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev. Sloane Stephens, meanwhile, begins on Arthur Ashe in just over 40 minutes’ time.
It’s just past 11am in New York and it’s already over 30C. Which is hard to imagine while sitting in the London office with grey skies and rain threatening outside. The players are completing their warm-ups (not that they probably need warming up in these conditions), and the action is getting under way.
Today’s top three
Murray v Verdasco
Andy Murray has won 13 of their 14 previous meetings but that means little given how early the 2012 champion is into his comeback. If he moves and plays like he did towards the end of his first-round win over James Duckworth, he has a good chance, otherwise Fernando Verdasco may feel he can claim a first win over Murray in nine years. The 34-year-old Spaniard, a former top-10 player and quarter-finalist at Flushing Meadows, has a massive forehand, though he is prone to mental dips. It’s almost impossible to predict this one.
Medvedev v Tsitispas
A glimpse into future of men’s tennis as two Next Gen stars go head-to-head. Both are in fine form. Stefanos Tsitsipas, who has only just turned 20, has been one of the stars of the American hardcourt summer. The Greek reached the Toronto Masters final, defeating Djokovic before losing to Nadal. Daniil Medvedev, meanwhile, won the Winston-Salem title last week. Despite their tender years, these two have history. Today could be spicy.
Williams v Giorgi
Venus Williams, in her 20th US Open, did well to defeat the tricky Svetlana Kuznetsova in three sets in the opening round. It’s been a slightly underwhelming year for the 38-year-old but she’s still more than capable of causing damage at a grand slam. This is a real clash of styles and character between the hard-hitting, composed Williams and the feisty, more defensive Camila Giorgi, who’ll look to grind Williams down. If Williams advances she’ll face a certain S Williams next.
Ouch. Andy Murray’s battle with Fernando Verdasco hasn’t even started yet but he’s already been left with a bloodied nose. Quite literally. He posted this picture on Instagram earlier. At least his daughter didn’t hit him in the hip, I doubt he’d have seen the funny side of that.
Arthur Ashe Stadium 12pm ET (5pm BST): (3) Sloane Stephens (USA) v Anhelina Kalinina (Ukr), Andy Murray (Gbr) v (31) Fernando Verdasco (Spa), (17) Serena Williams (USA) v Carina Witthoeft (Ger), (1) Rafael Nadal (Spa) v Vasek Pospisil (Can)
Louis Armstrong Stadium 11am ET (4pm BST): Tatjana Maria (Ger) v (7) Elina Svitolina (Ukr), Camila Giorgi (Ita) v (16) Venus Williams (USA), (3) Juan Martin Del Potro (Arg) v Denis Kudla (USA), (18) Jack Sock (USA) v Nikoloz Basilashvili (Geo), (12) Garbine Muguruza (Spa) v Karolina Muchova (Cze)
Grandstand 11am ET (4pm BST): Ugo Humbert (Fra) v Stan Wawrinka (Swi), (9) Julia Goerges (Ger) v Ekaterina Makarova (Rus), (11) John Isner (USA) v Nicolas Jarry (Chi), (32) Maria Sakkari (Gre) v Sofia Kenin (USA)
Court 4 11am ET (4pm BST): Jonathan Erlich (Isr) & Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi (Pak) v Austin Krajicek (USA) & Tennys Sandgren (USA), Jennifer Brady (USA) & Asia Muhammed (USA) v (8) Nicole Melichar (USA) & Kveta Peschke (Cze), (9) Pierre-Hugues Herbert (Fra) & Nicolas Mahut (Fra) v Nicholas Monroe (USA) & John-Patrick Smith (Aus), Simone Bolelli (Ita) & Fabio Fognini (Ita) v Kevin Krawietz (Ger) & Maximilian Marterer (Ger)
Court 5 11am ET (4pm BST): (23) Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (Cze) v Lara Arruabarrena (Spa), (25) Milos Raonic (Can) v Gilles Simon (Fra), Ana Bogdan (Rom) v (8) Karolina Pliskova (Cze), (28) Denis Shapovalov (Can) v Andreas Seppi (Ita)
Court 6 11am ET (4pm BST): Lesley Kerkhove (Ned) & Lidziya Marozava (Blr) v (12) Alicja Rosolska (Pol) & Abigail Spears (USA), Christopher Eubanks (USA) & Donald Young (USA) v (14) Robin Haase (Ned) & Matwe Middelkoop (Ned), Alison Riske (USA) & Taylor Townsend (USA) v (10) Hao-Ching Chan (Tpe) & Zhaoxuan Yang (Chn), Nadiia Kichenok (Ukr) & Anastasia Rodionova (Aus) v Magda Linette (Pol) & Ajla Tomljanovic (Aus), Bradley Klahn (USA) & Daniel Nestor (Can) v Christian Harrison (USA) & Ryan Harrison (USA)
Court 7 11am ET (4pm BST): Catherine McNally (USA) & Whitney Osuigwe (USA) v Monique Adamczak (Aus) & Desirae Krawczyk (USA), Dalila Jakupovic (Slo) & Irina Khromacheva (Rus) v Anabel Medina Garrigues (Spa) & Arantxa Parra Santonja (Spa), Marcelo Demoliner (Bra) & Santiago Gonzalez (Mex) v Hugo Nys (Fra) & Benoit Paire (Fra), Kaia Kanepi (Est) v Jil Belen Teichmann (Swi)
Court 8 11am ET (4pm BST): Romain Arneodo (Fra) & Luke Bambridge (Gbr) v (11) Ivan Dodig (Cro) & Marcel Granollers (Spa), Eri Hozumi (Jpn) & Veronika Kudermetova (Rus) v Samantha Stosur (Aus) & Shuai Zhang (Chn), Filip Krajinovic (Ser) & Viktor Troicki (Ser) v Matthew Ebden (Aus) & Jack Withrow (USA), Radu Albot (Mol) & Malek Jaziri (Tun) v Kenneth Skupski (Gbr) & Neal Skupski (Gbr)
Court 9 11am ET (4pm BST): (8) Raven Klaasen (Rsa) & Michael Venus (Nzl) v Lukas Lacko (Svk) & John Millman (Aus), Marcus Daniell (Nzl) & Wesley Koolhof (Ned) v Max Mirnyi (Blr) & Philipp Oswald (Aut), Kirsten Flipkens (Bel) & Alison Van Uytvanck (Bel) v (2) Timea Babos (Hun) & Kristina Mladenovic (Fra), Sorana Cirstea (Rom) & Sara Sorribes Tormo (Spa) v Lyudmyla Kichenok (Ukr) & Laura Siegemund (Ger)
Court 10 11am ET (4pm BST): Daniil Medvedev (Rus) v (15) Stefanos Tsitsipas (Gre), Qiang Wang (Chn) v Irina-Camelia Begu (Rom), Cameron Norrie (Gbr) v Dusan Lajovic (Ser), Vania King (USA) v Rebecca Peterson (Swe)
Court 11 11am ET (4pm BST): (20) Borna Coric (Cro) v Roberto Carballes Baena (Spa), (10) Feliciano Lopez (Spa) & Marc Lopez (Spa) v Patrick Kypson (USA) & Danny Thomas (USA), Caroline Dolehide (USA) & Christina McHale (USA) v Varvara Lepchenko (USA) & Bernarda Pera (USA), (14) Raquel Atawo (USA) & Anna-Lena Groenefeld (Ger) v Michaella Krajicek (Ned) & Pauline Parmentier (Fra)
Court 12 11am ET (4pm BST): Nao Hibino (Jpn) & Oksana Kalashnikova (Geo) v Belinda Bencic (Swi) & Kateryna Kozlova (Ukr), Peter Gojowczyk (Ger) & Purav Raja (Ind) v Nikola Mektic (Cro) & Jurgen Melzer (Aut), (15) Rohan Bopanna (Ind) & Edouard Roger-Vasselin (Fra) v Marcos Baghdatis (Cyp) & Mischa Zverev (Ger), Lorenzo Sonego (Ita) v (27) Karen Khachanov (Rus)
Court 13 11am ET (4pm BST): Vera Lapko (Blr) v (15) Elise Mertens (Bel), Claire Liu (USA) v (19) Anastasija Sevastova (Lat), Taylor Harry Fritz (USA) v Jason Kubler (Aus), Guido Pella (Arg) v Paolo Lorenzi (Ita)
Court 14 11am ET (4pm BST): Shuko Aoyama (Jpn) & Ying-Ying Duan (Chn) v Aliaksandra Sasnovich (Blr) & Galina Voskoboeva (Kaz), Philipp Petzschner (Ger) & Tim Puetz (Ger) v Jonathan Eysseric (Fra) & Marton Fucsovics (Hun), Timea Bacsinszky (Swi) & Vera Zvonareva (Rus) v Irina Bara (Rom) & Alize Cornet (Fra), MacKenzie McDonald (USA) & Yoshihito Nishioka (Jpn) v Mirza Basic (Bih) & Damir Dzumhur (Bih)
Court 15 11am ET (4pm BST): Sander Arends (Ned) & Antonio Sancic (Cro) v (6) Jean-Julien Rojer (Ned) & Horia Tecau (Rom), Darija Jurak (Cro) & Xenia Knoll (Swi) v Su-Wei Hsieh (Tpe) & Aryna Sabalenka (Blr), (1) Barbora Krejcikova (Cze) & Katerina Siniakova (Cze) v Kateryna Bondarenko (Ukr) & Aleksandra Krunic (Ser), (1) Oliver Marach (Aut) & Mate Pavic (Cro) v Leonardo Mayer (Arg) & Joao Sousa (Por)
Court 17 11am ET (4pm BST): Victoria Azarenka (Blr) v (25) Daria Gavrilova (Aus), (9) Dominic Thiem (Aut) v Steve Johnson (USA), Jeremy Chardy (Fra) v (5) Kevin Anderson (Rsa), Lucie Safarova (Cze) v (18) Ashleigh Barty (Aus)
Hello and welcome to the furnace that is day three of the US Open, where the ice towels and ice baths are already, erm, on ice, and the players are probably cramping just thinking about what awaits them in the second round. The weather forecast is similar to yesterday, when temperatures of 37C and humidity levels of more than 50% caused five retirements, led to the implementation of the extreme heat policy in the men’s draw for the first time and prompted Novak Djokovic to ask for a sick bucket – before he enjoyed a naked, mid-match ice bath alongside his opponent Marton Fucsovics. Djokovic said it felt like “everything was boiling” in his body and Fucsovics added: “I was dying after each point. It was too hot for tennis. It’s dangerous.”
While Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal will play in the night session today for the second consecutive round, Andy Murray has been afforded no such luxury and will be thrown into the heat of the battle at around 2pm New York time (7pm BST) against the Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco. In the past Murray would have almost relished grinding his opponent down in these conditions, such was his level of fitness, but he’s unlikely to feel the same today given this is only his second grand slam match in 14 months. Though it will be a good measure of where he’s at physically in his long road back from hip surgery. Every cloud … (even though there aren’t any in New York today).
Murray will be on Arthur Ashe after Sloane Stephens continues her title defence against the unseeded Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina. Over on Louis Armstrong, it’s the seventh seed Elina Svitolina, followed by Venus Williams against the fiery Italian Camila Giorgi (Venus will meet Serena in the third round if they both advance today), and then the 2009 champion Juan Martín del Potro.
There are plenty of other names in action on day three, including the revitalised Stan Wawrinka, last year’s runner-up Kevin Anderson, John Isner, Dominic Thiem, Milos Raonic, Garbiñe Muguruza, Simona Halep’s conqueror Kaia Kanepi, Victoria Azarenka, Ashleigh Barty and the young talents of Denis Shapovalov, Karen Khachanov, Borna Coric, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev. The last two face each other in what could be one of the matches of the day. And there’s also the British No 2 Cameron Norrie to throw into the mix too. Phew. It’s going to be hard to catch breath, and that’s before even factoring in the stifling heat.