Another day, another retirement announcement of a former US Open champion. Although Roddick stole the leading headline on Thursday, several other players distinguished themselves for better or for worse. We keep you up to date here.
Serbian women: Cruising through in straight sets for the second straight match, Ivanovic has lost just nine games en route to the third round. Her recovery from a foot injury apparently successful, she has scorched the courts with forehand winners and responded in dazzling fashion to the pressure of playing on Ashe. Meanwhile, former finalist Jankovic has registered consecutive wins for the second straight tournaments, something that she rarely had done since the Australian Open. Perhaps her finals appearance in Dallas last week provided her with a necessary jolt of confidence to challenge Radwanska in the next round. She has troubled the Pole at times before.
Jack Sock: For the second straight match, the American wildcard advanced in straight sets. Sock thoroughly outgunned clay specialist Flavio Cipolla, looking more poised and focused than he had at this tournament last year.
Raonic: Much steadier than in his first match, the highly regarded prospect moved efficiently past Paul-Henri Mathieu after saving a set point in the first set. One victory away from meeting Murray, Raonic seeks his first second-week appearance at the US Open and first at a major this year following disappointing efforts at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. As the Canadian into the tournament, that match becomes ever more compelling.
Almagro: A former quarterfinalist here, the Spaniard weathered a stern challenge from Petzschner after losing two of the first three sets. Falling victim to bouts of competitive malaise throughout his career, Almagro stayed competitively intense deep in the fifth set and advanced at a tournament where he has fared surprisingly well considering his clay origins.
Cilic: As he did at Wimbledon, the Croat let a two-set lead slip away after dominating a sloppy opponent at the outset. Once Daniel Brands drew level, though, Cilic did not allow the missed opportunities earlier in the match to trouble him but won the crucial points at 5-5 in the final set to score the decisive break and then serve out the rollercoaster encounter with ease. In the wake of a two-title summer, he has shown flashes of becoming at least a semblance of the player that he appeared likely to become when he first burst upon the scene.
Sloane Stephens: Mired in a ten-deuce game against an opponent adept at frustrating her, this novice found just enough consistency to survive the game and then gradually assert her superior groundstrokes afterwards. Stephens caused some of her own woes by failing to finish off the first set and losing five straight games at that stage, which spurred her crafty opponent’s confidence. Fed one lilting backhand slice and forehand moonball after another, the teenager somehow stayed sane in a demonstration of her heightened maturity. She earned a rematch with 2011 US Open nemesis Ivanovic as opportunity knocks for one of these two women to reach the quarterfinals.
Berdych: Growing into more of a contender by the victory, he recorded another resounding victory to establish himself as the leading dark horse in the men’s draw. If this trend continues, his quarterfinal against Federer would become the match to watch in that round.
Blake: Through two rounds, the veteran has turned back the clock temporarily to the years when his explosive forehands and electrifying movement illuminated the fast courts of his home major. Blake’s comfortable upset of the 24th seed, Marcel Granollers, rewarded his fans for the perseverance through his late-career struggles. When the tournament began, few would have expected him to play a berth in the second week of the US Open.
Kerber: Although she could not finish off Venus in straight sets, as a top-10 player probably should have, she improved her record in final sets to an astonishing 19-2 this year. With the crowd firmly on the side of the former champion and sentimental favorite, moreover, Kerber surged back from a final-set deficit to win the first 2012 thriller under the lights in nearly three hours. The world #7 can look frustrated and distracted at times, but her vast accumulation of victories this year has accustomed her to winning when the match hangs in the balance.
Serena: Although the scoreline looked relatively comfortable, the title favorite labored through unexpectedly difficult service games and nearly trailed by a double break in the second set. More than compensating for those struggles by punishing the weak serves of Martinez Sanchez, Serena looked almost as lethargic during some spans as she had in Cincinnati. The odd atmosphere of the late afternoon in New York may have contributed to her listlessness, as may have a post-Olympics hangover, but she normally advances more impressively through second-round matches.
Radwanska: When she faced a break point at 4-6, 1-3 in the second set, prospects looked dim for a second seed who had won so comfortably in the previous round. From that stage, Radwanska collected herself to win 11 straight games from the distinctive Suarez Navarro. Once she seized the momentum, she maintained it for good and snuffed out any hope of a comeback while preserving energy for an intriguing collision with Jankovic. All the same, her frailty in the first half of this match should encourage those around her that they can record the upset.
Tsonga: Ousted by a player outside the top 50, the Frenchman suffered his earliest loss at a major in nearly six years. An injury suffered in Toronto may have deprived him of vital match preparation, and he also departed from the Australian Open earlier than he should have. Nevertheless, true contenders for majors find a way to survive this type of early-round encounter with a challenger so vastly inferior in overall talent.
Davydenko: He won the first two sets from Fish, then won just five games over the next three sets. An underdog from the outset, Davydenko perhaps overachieved by contesting a five-setter against a top-15 opponent at this stage in his career. Once he won the first two sets, though, such a complete capitulation thereafter confirmed perceptions of him as a dubious competitor, an unfortunate way to end one of his last US Opens.
Shvedova: In her last three matches at majors, Shvedova has positioned herself auspiciously to win before snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The first two of those losses came against heavily favored opponents, Kvitova and Serena, whereas this setback against Vinci lacked such justification.