US Open 2014: Day 3 round-up and Day 4 picks

As American fortunes continue to fluctuate in the city that never sleeps, the spectacle rolls on with aplomb. More big names exited and already some ‘stars of this year’s Open’ are beginning to etch their image into our collective psyche.

The women provided the main talking points: Agnieska Radwanska compounded her disappointingly inconsistent season with a tame 6-3, 6-4 loss to the experienced double-handed forehand playing Peng Shuai. The Pole has always been the last word in dependability but something has been missing this year, all too often – despite such wins as the one in Montreal only a few weeks ago – it is confidence at the heart of it all.

The same can be said of Sloane Stephens this year, the American once again exiting a slam early in 2014 after a three set defeat to Johanna Larsson. The seedkiller from Roland Garros this year, the Swede is clearly still singing in the Slams after double bagelling Virginie Razzano on Monday.

Maria Sharapova looked likely to follow Radwanska and Stephens out of the tournament but some trademark grit – as it has time and time again this past decade – saw the 2006 champ through in over two and a half hours. Alexandra Dulgheru the last of an amazing five Romanians in the top 100 took advantage of her opponent’s sluggish start to take the first set with a beautiful down the line winner. But Masha soon found her mojo – and her voice – and turned the tide.

There were more three set battles elsewhere which saw equally gutsy wins for Petkovic, Safarova and Vinci. For others, it was an easier ride – Simona Halep, Sabine Lisicki and in a possible swansong Venus Williams – enjoying the night time spotlight – all looked very commanding yesterday.

Angelique Kerber, Sara Errani, Jelena Jankovic and Caroline Wozniacki all won in straight sets and Alize Cornet was always in control against Hantuchova.

The men provided less drama but equal polish.

The hyped contests of Berdych vs Hewitt and Dimitrov vs Harrison never materialised into classics, such was the strength and focus of the favourites, whilst Cillic and Baghdatis battle of the previous generation hardly got going before the Cypriot bowed out with an ankle injury.

Stan Wawrinka continued to make unsteady progress after a hard-fought four setter with a stubborn Bellucci but things were simpler for Ernests Gulbis who came through in straight sets.

Little shocks then but plenty of that aforementioned spectacle after several contests went the thrilling distance.

Kevin Anderson, Joao Sousa, Andrey Kudryavtsev, Martin Klizan and Feliciano Lopez all emerged victorious from their own marathons – the Spaniard perhaps fortunate after his opponent Ivan Dodig retired.

Day 3 Seeded players to fall

Santiago Giraldo (lost to Gabashvilli)
Jeremy Chardy (lost Kavcic)
Agnieska Radwanska (lost to Peng)
Sloane Stephens (lost to Larsson)
Kurumi Nara (lost to Bencic)

Day 3 Notable players to fall

Marcos Baghdatis
Lleyton Hewitt
Shahar Peer
Daniela Hantuchova

Day 4 – Matches to look out for

Lots of intriguing match-ups on the fourth day – Azarenka vs McHale may give the home crowd more cause for celebration and Sorana Cirstea may trouble Genie Bouchard before the end. Kohlschreiber vs Llodra will offer a nice contrast of playing styles whilst Stosur vs Kanepi should be high on quality also.

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