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US Open Diary: Day Three

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Originally published on: 01/09/11 00:47

The signs that it was going to be a day full of drama were visible early on – at 11am local time it was announced that Robin Soderling was withdrawing from the tournament due to some kind of virus. His agent, Nina Wennerstrom said: “They don’t know what kind of virus it is, but the doctor thinks it can be something related to the throat problems he had a couple of weeks ago which made him withdraw from the Masters Tournament in Cincinnati.”

Soderling’s place was taken by lucky loser Rogerio Dutra Da Silva, who proved to be a super lucky loser when his opponent, Irishman Louk Sorensen, retired at two sets to one and 0-1 down in the fourth set, giving the Brazilian a place in the second round of the US Open.

Da Silva next plays Alex Bogomolov Jr, who had his own story to write. The American, who once thought he may never play tennis again, was up against his friend and doubles partner Steve Johnson. Bogomolov Jr fought back from a two-set deficit to win 4-6 4-6 6-3 7-6 6-3 in three hours and 40 minutes. “If I would have lost, I probably would have been devastated physically and mentally,” he said after the match.

Sabine Lisicki might also consider herself rather fortunate. The likeable German was handed a walkover shortly before she was due to go onto Arthur Ashe Stadium for her match against Venus Williams, and the American is suffering from what must now be one of the most googled illnesses on the planet.

Her statement said: “I have recently been diagnosed with Sjorgen”s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease which is an ongoing medical condition that affects my energy level and causes joint pain.” Lisicki, speaking at a press conference shortly after the announcement, said she was in the locker room when she found out about the withdrawal. “I saw her (Williams) and I heard she practiced as usual. I saw her in her match clothes so was fully prepared and really looking forward to the match. I hope she will be fine quick.”

Lisicki will now meet Irina Falconi, who defeated the No.14 seed Dominika Cibulkova in a match that was moved to Arthur Ashe following the withdrawal of Venus Williams. Falconi is currently ranked No.79 in the world and has a celebratory dance to rival anyone on the Tour.

The big upset of the day came with the defeat of Marion Bartoli by another home girl Christina McHale. With all of the drama today in the bottom half of the draw, the Germans, with whom I am honoured to share an aisle in the press centre, are watching the draw with interest. Lisicki has an interesting journey ahead of her. If she can get past Falconi, she could be up against last year’s defeated finalist Vera Zvonareva in the fourth round.

Against the backdrop of all of this it was a straightforward day at the office for Andy Murray, resplendent in red shirt, black shorts and socks, after the Scot saw off Somdev Devvarman 7-6 6-2 6-3. “I was a little nervous at the start and making some bad decisions,” he said of his performance. “Then once I calmed down, felt better the middle of the first set, and started hitting the ball better.” When asked about the nerves, he replied: ”Well I mean, try being a British player going into a Grand Slam”.

As day merged into night Andy Roddick, seeded for the 11th consecutive year, prevailed in four sets under the lights in Arthur Ashe Stadium against Michael Russell while Marcos Baghdatis fell 7-6 7-6 2-6 6-4 to John Isner on Louis Armstrong. Remarkably, the Cypriot has now not won a match at Flushing Meadows since 2006.

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