venus_serena_doubles*It was a jam packed scheduled on Day 4 at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center, with plenty of matches to make up from Wednesday’s rain cancellations crammed in with those originally scheduled for the day.

Of the many, Serena Williams‘ second round match against Galena Voskeboeva rescheduled to Thursday, taking place at 1pm on Ashe.  The reschedule saw the no. 1 seed pulling double duty on the day, because also scheduled was a first round match for she and her sister Venus Williams in doubles at Armstrong Stadium.

Also, scheduled for Day 4 were the second round match of teen sensation, Victoria Duval, who was to play veteran and former top 10 Slovakian, Daniela Hantchukova and wild card American, Vickery Johnson.  Frenchman Gael Monfils closed out the night by taking on the 6’9 American, John Isner, who had issues with the New York crowd.

Serena Williams Shines on Ashe in Make Up Match
Serena Williams took to Ashe stadium on thursday to make up for her washed out second round match on rain-soaked Wednesday at the US Open.  But there were no clouds or rain in sight, with the defending champion shining as brightly as the New York sun, easily eclipsing the hard-hitting Kazakhstani, Galina Voskoboeva.

Serena’s start wasn’t as crisp as her first round outing against Francesca Schiavone of Italy, but once she got going, it was lights out tennis from that point on.

To have a fighting chance at taking down the 16-time Slam champion, you have to stick with her, as the Kazakhstani was initially doing, cruising her way to a 3 all scoreline.  However, a protracted rally awakened the sleeping giant in Serena and there were no more games to be won by the unseeded hopeful. Serena’s juices were flowing and so were her rhythm-disturbing angled shots, outright winners and powerful serves.  She secured the break at 4-3 and didn’t look back, in keeping with her reputation as an excellent front runner.  The defending champion capitalized on the momentum and reeled off the next 9 games, closing the first set with a break at 6-3 and completely shutting the Kazakhstani out at 6-0 in the second.

Yesterday’s win moved the champion a little further along the collision course – with just one more round between them – to meet up with the woman who is standing in line right behind her in American tennis, and the one who became her stumbling block on the way to winning her 16th Slam title at the 2013 Australian open: Sloane Stephens.  She’s likely salivating – as the tennis world is also – at the chance to avenge the loss to the talented youngster and if history is any indicator, she’ll see another Sharapova across the net from her … and we’re all aware of what that means.

Something juicy to look forward to.

Once Serena’s work was done on Ashe, she had to go and shift gears to ready herself for a doubles match with her big sister, Venus Williams.  With Venus’ loss on Wednesday, it meant more to both to get the job done and keep Venus in the tournament.  The sisters, logging 13 Slam titles as a doubles team, hadn’t really been playing together lately with their combined health issues making it difficult for them to be in the same tournaments at the same time, but they chose to reunite in New York, starting out rusty, but walking away with a win.

The dynamic duo played Spaniard clay courters, Silva Soler-Espinosa and Carla Suarez Navarro on Armstong Stadium in front of a capacity crowd and they were a little rusty, but weren’t pushovers.  The pairs traded games throughout the first set, forcing a tense tiebreaker, but the rust began to show for the sisters under the pressure of every point counting.  The Spaniards were able to use their surprisingly quick hands to close it out 7-6(5).  But being the come from behind experts that they are, the lost set lit a fire under Venus and Serena and they began taking control of the match.  They took the next 6 games, coming up with “oooh, ahhh,” play, shutting the spaniards out, 6-0.

Back on the serve, the Navarro and Soler-Espinosa held for the first game in the third, regaining their composure, but were unable to combat the momentum and the Williams sisters had grabbed and their devastating synchronicity.  Venus’ powerful serve was in full force and she was a brick wall at the net and Serena was in world no. 1 mode, crushing every ball that came her way.  The sisters rallied from losing the first set to snatch the win with a 6-7(5), 6-0, 6-3 scoreline.

victoria_duvalVictoria Duval Falls to Daniela Hantuchova

Teen sensation, Victoria Duval’s US Open run was cut short on Thursday by Slovak, Daniela Hantuchova, a former top 10 player.  The match took place on court 17 on the grounds, which was packed out with fans and media eager to see if the young Haiti native would be able to back up her sensational win against former US Open champion, Samantha Stosur.  She started off strong, drawing first blood by breaking the Slovak at 3-2, but Hantuchova’s power and experience steadied the ship by breaking right back.  For the remainder of the match, Duval fought valiantly, but was kept on her heels by the Slovak’s steady play.  So, the bad news is she lost 6-2, 6-3, but the good news is she has sparked what could be a raging fire in herself as she continues to grow and improve her game.  What she did in the first round at the Open was nothing to sneeze at and she should be proud that she made her first breakthrough at such a huge event.  The road she’s now on has been trod by every great that has ever graced the game … now the rest is up to her.

John Isner Defies Turncoat Crowd, wins, Jack Sock Follows, but Sam Querrey Exits
Surging top American, John Isner was able to fight his way through disappointment at the New York crowd’s support of Frenchman Gael Monfils and win his second round match, 7-5, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (4), on Thursday night. It’s no surprise that the New York fans wanted to see an extended match, thus supporting the underdog, Monfils, who was being taken out relatively quickly, but Isner feels they went to far with “Monfils, Monfils” chants and only tepid applause when he’d come up with an amazing shot.  The turncoat atmosphere threw him off his game, which gave the Frenchman a window to come from behind in the third set and take it 6-4, but the surge didn’t last long.  Isner left the court to regain his composure, then came back determined to advance to round three … and he did just that.

Isner’s fellow countryman and American no. 2, Sam Querrey, didn’t have such luck.  He was taken out by France’s Adrian Mannarino, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 6-4, ranked no. 396 in the world.  After two tiebreak losses, Querrey mustered up just enough to not lose a third the same way, but still didn’t have enough to turn the match around for good.  He was surprising brought to his knees in the fourth and sent packing, scratching his head.

Another American who eked out a win on Thursday was the promising 2011 US Open mixed doubles champion (Melanie Oudin), Jack Sock. He snuffed out Maximo Gonzalez, 7-6 (3), 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 in his second round match and will next face Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia.  It will be Sock’s second 3rd round appearance at the Open.    Christina Mchale and Allison Riske, American women trying to make names for themselves on the WTA, also advanced to round 3.

And those who fell:  Sasha Vickery and Bethany Mattek-Sands.