U.S. Open Day 2 preview: Federer, Djokovic, Isner play first-round matches
NEW YORK -- Here are the storylines and matches to watch on Day 2 of the U.S. Open. Tennis Channel begins its coverage at 11 a.m. ESPN2 picks up coverage at 1 p.m. Click here for the order of play.
Rain-delayed play: Rain suspended three matches on Day 1, including Roger Federer's first-rounder against Grega Zemlja, which was to close Monday's play on Arthur Ashe Stadium but never started. That match has been rescheduled as the third match on Ashe on Tuesday. But the big winner in the rain-delay sweepstakes was Canada's Vasek Pospisil, who had a two-set lead on Rogerio Dutra Silva before he began cramping badly. The match was suspended with Pospisil leading 6-4, 6-3, 6-7 (9), 0-4.
Novak Djokovic under the lights: The world No. 1 opens against Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania (first night match, Arthur Ashe Stadium). Once considered a prodigious talent, the 23-year-old Berankis has slipped outside the top 100, though he won three matches last week to make the quarterfinals at the Winston-Salem Open. Berankis probably won't challenge Djokovic much, but the affable Serb never ceases to entertain the crowd in New York.
John Isner and Sam Querrey lead the American men: Isner is coming off a strong lead-up in which he won the Atlanta Open and reached the final at the Citi Open and the Western & Southern Open (where he upset Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro). Isner's goal is to get on and off the court quickly against No. 101 Filippo Volandri (third match, Grandstand). The last thing Isner wants to do is get bogged down in yet another long, drawn-out five-setter so early in the tournament. As for Querrey, who stopped Berankis in the quarterfinals in Winston-Salem before losing to Jurgen Melzer, he takes on No. 90 Guido Pella (second match, Louis Armstrong Stadium).
Court 17 is the place to be: Court 17, which was built in 2011, has quickly become the site of some of the most compelling early-round matchups. The court often features fan favorites who get bounced from the bigger show courts, which are generally packed with Americans. Play opens with the often-forgotten American, Varvara Lepchenko, facing Alexandra Dulgheru, followed by the exciting and unpredictable Gael Monfils against Adrian Unger. No. 12 Tommy Haas meets French veteran Paul-Henri Mathieu in the third match, and two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova closes out the day against 22-year-old American Mallory Burdette.
Matches to watch
Jack Sock vs. Philipp Petzschner (third match, Court 13): This is another big opportunity for the 20-year-old Sock, who made the third round here last year. But Petzschner, a German veteran who successfully qualified, will have experience and the benefit of having already played (and won) three matches on these courts. One other thing to be concerned about for Sock is that he retired from his opening match last week in Winston-Salem with a thigh injury. Still, Sock has played some of his best tennis at the U.S. Open, where, despite his youth, he's won his first-round match the last two years.
Nicole Gibbs vs. Flavia Pennetta (second match, Court 4): Gibbs, a 20-year-old NCAA champion from Stanford, has a good chance to upset No. 83 Pennetta, who has had a scratchy summer hard-court season.
Grigor Dimitrov vs. Joao Sousa (second match, Court 7): If Maria Sharapova shows up to cheer on her boyfriend, Dimitrov, it might mark the first time she's ever stepped foot on Court 7. Much like Isner (though for entirely different reasons), Dimitrov has a way of getting involved in marathon matches early in Slams. Dimitrov could face Djokovic in the third round. Bojana Jovanovski vs. Andrea Petkovic (first match, Court 13): The ever-quotable Petkovic is having a good hard-court season and looks to be finding her form just in time for the last Slam of the year. Petkovic is 2-0 against Jovanovski, including a 6-3, 6-1 victory on the Miami hard courts in March. Petra Kvitova could await the winner in the second round.