After a clean sheet for the game’s elite in the first round, the upset that really signaled the start of the U.S. Open was Ryan Harrison taking out a cramping Milos Raonic (the word “upset” here is controversial given Raonic’s health, but feels fair given the match was up for grabs when Raonic’s body faltered due to what he attributed to stress). For more on that match, read Matt Zemek on the multifaceted disappointment of injuries.
With that covered, an abbreviated runthrough of Day 3 headlines:
-Rafa Nadal continued to make history in regards to the new roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium: he was already the first player to practice under it, and now he’s the first to win both a point and a match under it after rain put the roof into action late Wednesday night against Andreas Seppi. Nadal was sharp again and even got his critical down the line forehand cracking in a 6-0, 7-5, 6-1 victory, with the scoreline obscuring how well Seppi played (significantly better than their match in Rio).
After the match, Nadal obliged ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi and the crowd in trying to hit a ball to the roof, showing no fear of affecting his wrist, though he narrowly came up short:
-Before Nadal took the court, his what-could-have-been mixed partner in Rio threw in another absolute clunker at a Grand Slam. Garbine Muguruza lost to Anastasija Sevastova, 7-5, 6-4. The French Open champion nearly recovered when Sevastova got tight at the finish line, but Sevastova predictably loosened up after losing both breaks and Muguruza serving at 4-5. The scary part of the latest early Slam loss for Muguruza is that she made the semis in Cincinnati. If good form fades that fast, how does one keep building?
-There were no questions answered about Novak Djokovic on Wednesday, as the top seed received a walkover from Jiri Vesely, who cited left forearm inflammation after a marathon five-set win in the first round. Djokovic will get three full days off now, though many feel a similar circumstance hurt him in 2011 at the French Open, where he took his first loss of the year after receiving a bye in the quarterfinals from Fabio Fognini.
-Men’s winners: Marin Cilic and Jack Sock were flawless (they play each other on Friday). Gael Monfils won in straights. Jo-Willy Tsonga and John Isner got through in 4, as did Roberto Bautista Agut. Lucas Pouille came back from two sets down against Marco Chiudinelli. Nico Almagro upset Pablo Cuevas in straights. Marcos Baghdatis scored a very minor upset over Benoit Paire, as did Andrey Kuznetsov over claycourter Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
-Women’s winners: Angie Kerber rebounded from losing a commanding lead and saved set points against the streaky Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, winning 6-2, 7-6 (7). Madison Keys took care of business against junior wildcard Kayla Day, winning the first five games in 15 minutes, ultimately advancing 6-1, 6-1. Almost down 5-0, Caroline Wozniacki flipped the script for her best win in ages, beating an increasingly erratic Svetlana Kuznetsova. Belinda Bencic continued her resurgence by sweeping Andrea Petkovic. Roberta Vinci, Petra Kvitova and Naomi Osaka won in straights. Dominika Cibulkova and Cici Bellis each came from a set down to win. Finally, Jo Konta bounced back from a scary collapse to the court under the heavy humidity, beating Tsvetana Pironkova in a third set.