Photo: Paul ZimmerChristina McHale (USA)
It was a largely positive day for the host nation at the US Open on Thursday as Serena Williams, Christina McHale, Alison Riske, John Isner and Jack Sock all progressed to the third round in New York.
Williams was typically ruthless against Galina Voskoboeva, prevailing 63 60, while 21-year-old McHale had plenty to celebrate after edging Elena Svitolina 64 36 75 to set up a third round tussle with former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic – her best result since being diagnosed with a bout of mononucleosis last year.
“It’s definitely really exciting,” said McHale on reaching the third round. “I mean, especially with the way this year has gone, if I could have chosen one tournament to have some wins at, it definitely would have been the US Open.”
Hopes of further success for the hosts were dashed when No. 26 seed Sam Querrey lost in four sets to Adrian Mannarino, who reached the fourth round at this year’s Wimbledon, and the likes of Bradley Klahn, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Samantha Vickery and 17-year-old Victoria Duval also suffered defeats.
Sara Errani was the day’s highest profile upset after a surprisingly lacklustre showing in a 63 61 loss to Fed Cup teammate Flavia Pennetta.
The diminutive Italian admitted that she had struggled for motivation and found it difficult to come to terms with the pressure of being seeded No.4.
"My problem isn't that I lost. I've lost a million times in my life," said an emotional Errani. "My problem is trying to find the desire to fight and be on the court ready to fight. For a few weeks, I haven't felt like I wanted to be on the court. That's the problem."
Pennetta meanwhile was delighted with her all-guns-blazing approach, firing 33 winners to a mere 12 from Errani.
"I tried to play aggressive from the very beginning and I was perfect today, I think," said the world No. 83.
Meanwhile, seventh seed Roger Federer clinically despatched Carlos Berlocq 63 62 61 while Rafael Nadal improved his 2013 hard court record to 17-0 after an emphatic 62 61 60 triumph over qualifier Rogerio Dutra Silva. Fellow Spaniard David Ferrer made more of a meal of his match against compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut, spraying a number of uncharacteristic errors in the second set before coming through 63 67(5) 61 62.
Second seed Victoria Azarenka defeated Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada 63 61, while Caroline Wozniacki breezed past Chanelle Scheepers 61 62 in another positive step towards rediscovering the form that took her to the 2009 final.
“I'm feeling good. I'm feeling healthy. My body is good. I'm ready to go,” said the 23-year-old Dane.
Thursday also saw another significant win for British qualifier Dan Evans, who followed his opening round win against Kei Nishikori by topping Australian Bernard Tomic 16 63 76 73 to continue his career-best performance at a Grand Slam.
Evans faces Tommy Robredo next, with a potential fourth round clash against Roger Federer at stake. Should both Evans and Andy Murray reach the fourth round, it will be the first time in the Open Era two British men have reached that stage at the US Open, but Evans knows he has a tough battle against the Spaniard to negotiate first.
“[I’ve] watched him quite a bit,” said Evans. “[He’s] got a one‑handed backhand. [I] take a bit more interest in people that have one‑handed backhands when I'm watching matches. I think his preferred surface is clay. [We’ll] see what happens.”