Title contenders Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic reached the third round of the US Open on Friday, while the big upset of the day was again reserved for the women’s draw. Federer, in his first grand-slam tournament since being dethroned from his No. 1 ranking, swept past Brazil’s Thiago Alves 6-3, 7-5, 6-4, while Djokovic had to work a touch harder in dispatching American Robert Kendrick 7-6 (8), 6-4, 6-4. The major casualty of the day was women’s No. 3 seed and former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, who was beaten 6-3, 6-7 (1), 6-3 by Slovenian No. 28 seed Katarina Srebotnik.
Federer is down to his last chance to win a major this year, part of a tough season that saw him lose his No. 1 ranking to Rafael Nadal.
Though they well could meet in this final, Federer has not tracked his nemesis through the tournament and didn’t watch Nadal wrap up his match on Thursday night in straight sets. “I schedule my life around my life, not his,” Federer said, smiling. “I was expecting five sets. I was there for four and five, but he wasn’t there anymore.”
Elsewhere in the men’s draw, Russian fifth-seed Nikolay Davydenko beat Argentine Agustin Calleri 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (2) and eighth-seeded Scot Andy Murray rallied from a set and a break down to beat Latvian Ernests Gulbis 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 7-5.
All the men’s seeds in action on Friday won, leaving the women’s third-round matches to provide the intrigue.
Victoria Azarenka, the No.14 seed from Belarus, was beaten 6-4, 6-4 by in-form Danish No.21 Caroline Wozniacki, while veteran American Linday Davenport, seeded 23, was also beaten by French No.12 Marion Bartoli, 6-1, 7-6 (3).
A day after No. 1 Ana Ivanovic lost to 188th-ranked Julie Coin, Kutznetsova became the latest title fancy to be knocked out. Kuznetsova, who won the Open in 2004 and was runner-up last year, had trouble fending off Srebotnik’s frequent charges to the net. Srebotnik fell to her knees when Kuznetsova’s last shot sailed over the baseline. After beating Serena Williams in the French Open this year, the 28th-ranked Slovene had another reason to celebrate, having gone farther than ever before at Flushing Meadows.
Second-seeded Jelena Jankovic won another close one, playing 28 points in the last game to finish off China’s Zheng Jie 7-5, 7-5. Jankovic came out full of energy, showing no ill effects of a bad left leg that cramped after she played on Wednesday and even dispaying her trademark ‘splits’ when reaching for groundstrokes.
Russian No. 5 seed Elena Dementieva beat England's Anne Keothavong 6-3, 6-4.