U.S. Open Day 5: Serena aims to shake off rust, Nadal faces tough test
NEW YORK – Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal are set to bring the star power to Day 5 of the U.S. Open’s night matches, while Venus Williams and Novak Djokovic headline the action during the day. Watch out for Madison Keys, last year’s champ Marin Cilic and Eugenie Bouchard all playing during the day session. Be sure to tune in to both sessions: Should both Williams sisters win on Friday, they’ll move a step closer to playing in the quarterfinals. Matches begin at 11 a.m. ET on WatchESPN and coverage on ESPN begins 1 p.m. ET. Check out the full television and broadcast schedule here. Full order of play for Friday can be found here.
Matches and storylines to watch on Day 5
Serena and Venus Williams play, with a potential quarterfinal meeting looming: Serena Williams looked rusty as she served her way into a slump against the hard-hitting Kiki Bertens in the second round on Wednesday. But she’s on a mission: case in point, the younger Williams sister, who’s bidding for the Grand Slam this year, went directly to the practice courts to work her serve after winning straight sets vs. Bertens. Expect her to take a renewed intensity into her match against compatriot Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the first match on Ashe at night.
Venus Williams, meanwhile, struggled in the second set against Irina Falconi of the United States. She served for the match against but failed to close it out in two. Should Venus pull through against No. 12 Belinda Bencic, who beat Serena earlier this year, she’ll move one step closer to taking on her sister in the quarterfinals.
Novak Djokovic plays his second Andreas in a row: Novak Djokovic plays Andreas Seppi, the No. 25 seed, in the second match on Arthur Ashe after Serena. Djokovic continued to look sharp, beating another Andreas (last name Haider-Maurer) in straight sets in the second round. This next Andreas, meanwhile, shouldn’t put up too much resistance against the dominant World No. 1. After all, Djokovic has won all 10 of their total matches, with the last coming in 2013 in Dubai.
Rafael Nadal’s faces stiffer competition in Fabio Fognini: Nadal is coming off a close match in the second round against Diego Schwartzman. But despite a recent slump in form and confidence, the 14-time major champ is ready to keep winning. Italian Fognini will try and end his U.S. Open run. Interestingly, Nadal and Fognini have played three times in 2015 already, with Fognini winning twice on clay against the Spaniard. Look out for a tight match (second match, night session, Arthur Ashe)
Marin Cilic seeks to grab some of the spotlight: It’s always strange when a defending champion isn’t a big part of the conversation the following year. But that’s the case with last year’s U.S. Open winner Cilic, who’s been quietly making his way through the draw in 2015. Cilic has yet to lose a set so far and faces Mikhail Kukushkin for a spot in the fourth round in the first match on Louis Armstrong. Cilic and Kukushkin have played just twice, splitting their contests 1-1. Cilic needed three sets to win in Moscow in 2014.
Eugenie Bouchard looks to turn around her season: Canada’s Bouchard looked to be on the verge of winning a major title soon after a stellar 2014 that saw her reach two major semifinals and the Wimbledon final. But this year Bouchard has played her way into a slump, dropping her ranking from a career-high No. 5 to into the 20s. She looks to best her fourth round showing in New York against Dominika Cibulkova, the 2014 Australian Open runner-up, in the second match on Louis Armstrong.
Madison Keys can stretch her best showing at her home major: Madison Keys made her first major semifinal at the Australian Open in January and she’ll face a similar opponent in Agnieszka Radwanska, whom she played in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. Now, she has the opportunity to further her run at her country’s biggest event. But her Polish opponent, who she plays play in the fourth match on Louis Armstrong, has owned their head-to-head. Radwanska won each of their four matches, including two victories at the All England Club.
More matches to watch: David Ferrer vs. Jeremy Chardy (third match, Louis Armstrong); Kristina Mladenovic vs. Daria Kasatkina (first match, Grandstand); Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Sergiy Stakhovsky (second match, Grandstand); Madison Brengle vs. Anett Kontaveit (third round, Grandstand); Milos Raonic vs. Feliciano Lopez (fourth match, Grandstand)
SNAPSHOTS FROM DAY 4