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US Open Fast Forward: Day 2 Preview

Aug 27th 2013

US Open Fast Forward returns with capsules on notable Day 2 matches not explored in other articles.  Feel free to contact us on Twitter @tennisviewmag if you have suggestions for future previews. 

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic vs. Ricardas Berankis:  A few years ago, Berankis looked like one of the rising ATP stars to watch, together with players like Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov.  Yet he has not seized the same opportunities that those latter two men have, in part because of injuries and perhaps also because of his small size.  One of the Lithuanian’s strengths remains his two-handed backhand, which should create some entertaining exchanges with the world No. 1.  Berankis has reached three quarterfinals on American soil this year, but he has not threatened an opponent of Djokovic’s quality.

Julia Goerges vs. Christina McHale:  Another victim of mononucleosis, McHale might take heart from playing at her home tournament.  The native of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey wields a less offensively oriented game than most young Americans.  McHale’s counterpunching style may not succeed on these fast courts against the more erratic but more explosive Goerges, among the WTA’s more notable underachievers.  Still, she is more dangerous than her current ranking of No. 114 and has played several top-15 opponents close this year.

Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Mallory Burdette:  A woeful summer for the two-time major champion included two losses in three days at Toronto (in qualifying and the main draw).  Sidelined by an abdominal injury after Roland Garros, Kuznetsova reached quarterfinals at the first two majors of 2013.  She hopes to regain her athletic swagger against a former NCAA women’s champion who reached the third round at the Open in 2012.  Shoulder trouble has contributed to Burdette’s current six-match losing streak.

Bojana Jovanovski vs. Andrea Petkovic:  The famous, or notorious, “Petko-dance” was born at the 2010 US Open when Petkovic won a thriller against Bethanie Mattek-Sands.  Unfortunately for its creator, a breakthrough 2011 campaign brought her to the top 10 but swiftly ran into a wall of successive injuries, each relatively serious.  Petkovic mulled retirement at Roland Garros this year, only to regain some confidence by reaching two later semifinals.  Nearly a quarterfinalist at the Australian Open, Jovanovski has struggled to string together victories since then against opponents other than Caroline Wozniacki.

Heather Watson vs. Simona Halep:  The common tennis scourge of mononucleosis halted Watson’s promising progress this spring.  The British 21-year-old has ceded the spotlight to compatriot Laura Robson while struggling to rediscover her form.  In stark contrast, Halep has won four tournaments since June and 31 of her last 36 matches.  She seeks to reach the second week of a major for the first time, hoping that fatigue from a New Haven title does not hamper her. 

Maria Kirilenko vs. Yanina Wickmayer:  They have split their two previous meetings this year, both in competitive matches.  Kirilenko cracked the top 10 in Wimbledon after a strong first half, only to suffer early losses at her next three tournaments.  Wickmayer peaked around the same time with an Eastbourne semifinal, after which she has won only one of five main-draw matches.  She reached a semifinal at the US Open in 2009, her best career performance at a major.  Wickmayer holds the edge in first-strike power, Kirilenko in versatility and forecourt skills. 

Sergiy Stakhovsky vs. Jeremy Chardy:  Two of the more surprising men’s headlines from majors this year came from the Ukrainian and the Frenchmen.  Chardy reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, upsetting Juan Martin Del Potro en route, yet he has won barely a single hard-court match since then.  Stakhovsky thrust the tennis world off its axis at Wimbledon by shocking Roger Federer in the second round.  He too has failed to consolidate that first career win over a top-10 opponent, losing his next five matches before winning a challenger two weeks ago.