Kuznetsova bounced, Federer labours in U.S. Open
TENNIS: NEW YORK, Aug 30 - A drizzly Flushing Meadows proved an
inhospitable place for former champions Svetlana Kuznetsova and Lindsay
Davenport on Friday, with both skidding out of the U.S Open in the third
Less than 24 hours after world number one Ana Ivanovic's shock exit,
third seed and 2004 champion Kuznetsova joined the scrapheap following a
6-3 6-7 6-3 humbling by tenacious Slovenian Katarina Srebotnik. American
Davenport's defeat was less surprising as she came up against French
12th seed Marion Bartoli and went down 6-1 7-6 in a blaze of double
Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Jelena Jankovic did not have it all
their way either but lived to fight another day, unlike Kuznetsova who
cut a sorry figure as she trudged out after suffering her worst showing
in New York for three years.
"I had chances, I was fighting, I wanted so much to win that match...
(but) she played unbelievable," said 2007 runner-up Kuznetsova, who got
a soaking late in the second set following a short shower burst.
After squandering two match points, Srebotnik fired down an
unreturnable serve on the third and sank to her knees in her moment of
triumph. It was the first time the Slovenian 28th seed reached the
fourth round at the Open in 10 attempts. The number 10 was also
significant for Davenport as it has been a decade since she won her
first grand slam title at Flushing Meadows. On Friday, fans may have
caught their final glimpse of the 32-year-old on a singles court.
Uncharacteristically her latest defeat was peppered with an alarming
number of double faults.
While many Americans were eager to get home early on Friday for the
start of the long Labor Day weekend, Federer, Djokovic and Jankovic
appeared to be in no hurry to join the celebrations and laboured to
victory. Federer, still getting used to his place at the bottom of a
draw after being deposed as world number one by Rafael Nadal last week,
should have strolled into the third round as he was playing a Brazilian
qualifier who had not played a tour-level match this season before
arriving at Flushing Meadows.
Instead Thiago Alves ignored his status as the 137th best player in
the world and gave the four-times champion the run around before Federer
eventually prevailed 6-3 7-5 6-4.
"He did well. It was a really difficult match. I'd never heard of him
before and that's what sometimes makes it difficult," Federer, aiming to
become the first man since Bill Tilden in 1924 to win five in a row
here, said courtside.
In a sign of his troubled times, Federer racked up 46 unforced errors
and converted only four of his 15 break points.
Djokovic ran into a spot of bother in the opening set when he had to
save two set points but took it in his stride to subdue American
qualifier Robert Kendrick 7-6 6-4 6-4. Drama queen Jankovic again set
the pulses of her nearest and dearest racing as she struggled to steer
past China's Zheng Jie. In an error-riddled match featuring 14 breaks,
Jankovic could not believe her luck when she was dragged into an
18-minute final game. After surviving seven break points, the Serbian
second seed claimed a 7-5 7-5 third-round victory.
"(My mum) she told me she's under so much stress. It's tough for her
to watch this," Jankovic, who was stretched to three sets in the second
round, told reporters.
"I wish I could finish 2 and 2 but it didn't work today. I hope (I
can in) the next match. I will try my best to make it easier for her."
Jankovic's potential semi-final opponent, Olympic champion Elena
Dementieva, ended the run of Briton Anne Keothavong 6-3 6-4. Next up for
the Russian will be China's Li Na.
Among the men, fifth seed Nikolay Davydenko and Olympic silver
medallist Fernando Gonzalez advanced to the last 32. Spanish 15th seed
Tommy Robredo ended the run of former champion Marat Safin 4-6 7-6 6-4