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US Open diary: Day four

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Originally published on: 02/09/11 00:26

It is always a privilege to watch Roger Federer practise his craft and today he made light work of Dudi Sela and notched up another record. The Swiss now lies second to Jimmy Connors in the top Open Era Grand Slam performers, with 225 wins to his name. Considered, eloquent and humorous to boot, he is continues to entertain in his pressers, and revealed today that he hasn’t yet read Rafa’s book. “He hasn’t given me one yet,” joked the world No.3. “If he doesn’t I’ll go buy one.”

It is always highly entertaining to watch Gael Monfils at work. But you have to wonder how long he will get insurance if he continues to dive around the court, especially for 4 hours and 48 minutes – the duration of his match with Juan Carlos Ferrero. “I know all the people think I am like elastic,” he says, but believes people can be a little unfair on him if he stays down for any length of time. “They’re like I’m acting. I’m not like X-man, you know. For 30 seconds I hurt. But maybe something is missing upstairs.”

Today, something was definitely missing upstairs, and while his body remained intact from all the diving, he lost 7-6 5-7 6-7 6-4 6-4 to the former world No.1.

Monfils was not the only seed to depart the men’s draw today as Radek Stepanek and Michael Llodra also followed suit.

On the entertainment front, Andrea Petkovic pulled off another great celebration as she came back from a set down to beat Zheng Jie. Her victory was particularly sweet given that she is currently returning from injury.

“I didn’t know if I was going to play at all, so every match that I win is just a huge, yeah, huge victory for me,” said the German, who meets Italy’s Roberta Vinci in round three.

The biggest celebration of the day must have been that of homegrown 18-year-old wild card Sloane Stephens, who defeated No. 23 seed Shahar Peer 6-1 7-6(4) on Grandstand. An upward, followed by downward, fist pump demonstrated her delight amidst the enthusiastic applause of the home crowd. 

Stephens next meets Ana Ivanovic, who received a walkover today when Petra Cetkovska withdrew from the tournament, while Serena Williams gave big sis Venus, who had to pull out of the tournament with illness, something to smile about as she lost just one game to Michaella Krajicek to advance to the third round. The American has conceded just three games in her opening two matches.

Andy Murray is scheduled to be the third match on Louis Armstrong on Friday when he takes on the talented Robin Haase. The match follows the all-American clash between John Isner and Robby Ginepri, so it might start anytime after 3 or 4pm local time (8 or 9pm GMT). The Americans have once again scheduled Andy Roddick for the night session on Arthur Ashe. He will play fellow Nebraska native and talented youngster, Jack Sock, and the 2003 champ admits he is amused by the similarities between he and his next opponent.

“Even he kind of has the half take up with the serve. He’s got the flailing elbow on the forehand and the backhand. I was watching his match today and I was kind of laughing a little bit,” said Roddick.

“I think we’re the only two teenagers to play tennis in Nebraska in the last 30 years and we’re both in the US Open. Maybe we’re missing something. Maybe we need the corn fed boys.”

The ‘corn fed boys’ will take to court after compatriot Christina McHale has played her match against Maria Kirilenko.

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