All the top seeds looked convincing on Day Three of the 2009 U.S. Open. Rafael Nadal was particularly impressive in his 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 domination of France’s Richard Gasquet. Nadal sported 7 aces, no double faults and committed just 10 unforced errors. Spectators saw no evidence of the knee injury that sidelined the Spanish star from Wimbledon. Rafa looked his dominant self and will face German Nicolas Kiefer in Round Two. Nadal has never won the US Open.
Roger Federer was tested by another German, Simon Gruel, in a tight three set match at prime time. As usual, Federer did what he had to do to pull out a 6-3, 7-5, 7-5 win. The top seed will next face a challenge from long-time rival and 2001 U.S. Open Champion, Australian Lleyton Hewitt. Hewitt was impressive on Wednesday in defeating Juan Ignacio Chela in straight sets. A battle–tested veteran, Hewitt will give Federer everything he has in Round Three.
Fourth seeded Novak Djokovic showed no mercy in his 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 triumph over Croatia’s Ivan Ljubicic. Djokovic looked every bit as impressive as Nadal with 9 aces, no double faults and just 7 unforced errors. As in other Grand Slam early rounds, Djokovic’s play was nearly flawless. His consistent play will be a challenge to all comers.
Sixth seeded Juan Martin Del Potro defeated Argentine countryman Juan Monaco 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 in a less impressive manner. Del Potro uncharacteristically committed 25 unforced errors but appeared to be treating the match as a tune-up. Del Potro has the reputation of playing down to his opponent’s level of play. That dangerous mindset was in evidence on Wednesday.
American Jesse Levine, who was impressive at Wimbledon, continued his strong play with a dominant 7-5, 6-1, 6-2 win over Russia’s Teimuraz Gabashvili. The 21 year old left-hander shows no signs of nerves and will next face 16th seeded Croatian veteran Marin Cilic. The New York fans were extremely enthusiastic about Levine’s performance and just might distract the hard serving Cilic.
Of the 64 players left, Djokovic, Roddick and Nadal have looked especially impressive and have shown the eye of the tiger. Top-seeded Federer is rounding into form and 2nd seed Murray will be in action on Thursday. At Flushing Meadows, it is game on!