Take a look back at Day Three of the U.S. Open while previewing the marquee matchups of Day Four
• Top seeds Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic booked their places in the third round. Williams is looking to become the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1988 to win a calendar year Grand Slam. While not competing for a Grand Slam, Djokovic is also looking to cement his place in history. A win here would mean a tenth Slam, moving him within four of Rafael Nadal on the all-time list.
• Mardy Fish ended his career with a five-set loss to Feliciano Lopez. Fish, who has struggled with anxiety and other health issues since 2012, has been essentially inactive for the past three years. He played three tournaments this summer and this week published a moving and candid piece about his ordeal in The Player’s Tribune. Fish may look to be an advocate for mental health in sports moving forward.
• Seeded players Madison Keys, Venus Williams, Nadal and defending champion Marin Cilic advanced to the third round while Grigor Dimitrov and the Bryan brothers were upset.
Day Four Marquee Matches
Bernard Tomic (24) vs. Lleyton Hewitt
This U.S. Open is Lleyton Hewitt’s last, so the urgency of his fortnight provides most of the intrigue in this match. The players’ being from Australia also heightens the tension—tennis has a special place in sporting culture Down Under. Hewitt, the 2001 U.S. Open Champion, and 22-year-old Tomic are in contrasting places in their careers. Hewitt, long an example of stability and professionalism for younger players, is looking to have a positive last run at Flushing Meadows. Conversely, Tomic has attracted negative attention from the media due to his relationship with his father and Tennis Australia. His most recent antics include an arrest in Miami after throwing a party in his hotel room. However, Tomic’s youth and versatility will prove to be an asset in this match.
Prediction: Tomic in four sets; Hewitt’s swan song inspiration could make for an upset
Denis Istomin vs. Dominic Thiem (20)
At 21, Thiem is the youngest player in the ATP top 30 and has defeated Nick Kyrgios, Gilles Simon and John Isner in 2015. A three-time titlist since May, he looks to improve upon his fourth round showing in 2014 as he takes on Denis Istomin. Although his ranking is lower, Istomin has had one of his better seasons, winning his first title in Nottingham in June against Sam Querrey. Istomin has a big serve and forehand and will look to be the aggressor against the lanky and athletic Thiem.
Prediction: Thiem in four
Victoria Azarenka (20) vs. Yanina Wickmayer
Two-time U.S. Open finalist Azarenka is no stranger to the game’s big stages—she won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013. She has, however, not reached a Grand Slam semifinal or better in two years and enters this Open ranked 21st, an uncomfortable position for a player formerly ranked first. Wickmayer, although ranked 79th, has also reached the latter stages of this tournament—she was a semifinalist in 2009. Wickmayer has the experience to challenge Azarenka, but Vichka is still the better player.
Prediction: Azarenka in three, but Wickmayer could surprise