Youzhny d. Mathieu 26 75 62 60
The 2006 Us Open semifinal Michael Youzhny defeated for the 5th time in 6 h2hs Paul-Henri Mathieu in the Psycho Match of the Day. At 2-5, with 10 errors and 3 winners, the Russian launched his racquet against the bench before a solid PHM (4 aces and 6 points to the net in 7 attempts in the first set) closed 62. But the Russian broke immediately in the second and caused some decisive regrets in the French saving two break points and go leading 42. The 10th game could become the key moment of the match. Youzhny, leading 54, committed three double faults handing the game to PHM, who, in the next one, gave back the courtesy. Youzhny with an astonishing winning backhand went 65 and sealed the set 75. Since then the match had no history. Youzhny won 26 75 62 60 with 49 winners and showing an increaing consintency from the back and to the net (20 points). Too many errors, 41, instead affected the French transforming only 53% of points with his first serve. Definitely not enough.
Federer d. Britton 61 63 75
Understandably moved, last year's junior Us Open runner-up devin Britton lost the first set 61 in just 18 minutes. But the rest of the match wasn't a stroll in the park for the number 1 anyway. Devin, n.1370 (so twice lower than Chris Eaton when he shocked the world not only for his Vauxhall with duck-taped rearview mirror but for his victory over Boris Pashanski at Wimbledon), notwithstanding an often uncontrollable forehand, showed glimpses of aggressive returns and smooth net-play leaving good impressions about his future. Even more, he broke twice King Roger. Firstly to go up 3-1 in the second: he played the best game, probably, of his life. breaking to love with two surpsising forehand cross-court winner.
But emotion wasn't a good company and he lost immediately his serve, and the set, because of a streak of 12 points to love for Roger, profiting from an inopportune double fault from Devin in the ninth game and clinching the set in 29 minutes with twi stinging returns.
Britton wanted to make his dream last more than is possible and mixing courage and inconscience, started serving well, mixing them up to good effect, and sometimes seemed unbeatable at the net; but he suffered when he had to stoop. His dream culminated in the break to 4-3 when he forced Federer on the back foot and into a series of mistakes, as the netted backhand giving Britton the game. But he wasted his chance: in the next game he saw a forehand volley fly long and mishit a forehand to 4-4. Federer never looked back, and sealed the success with a crosscourt forehand.
Definitely, even if he was given a bit of scare, above all in the third, Britton seemed too inconsistent to sustain a threat, but he showed to be more than a sparring partners and to have encouraging skills for his future career.
Isner d. Hanescu 61 76 76
Hanescu was bewildered for a set and a half. Lost the first 6-1, he was broken to 1-2 in the second after a sloppy and unfortunate game: Isner missed a sitter on the first point after getting a fortunate net cord, then Hanescu serves a double, and missed a volley on the break point, conquered by the American with a forehand approach shot. But a shocking smash by Isner who went long gave Hanescu a key break at 3-3 and the set was decided by a dramatic tiebreak. Hanescu dashed 4-1 and went 5-2 after an easy shot netted by the American. But a double fault and a series of not converted set points restored the score at 6-6. The Romanian failed another set point on his serve and a net cord gave the American one at 9-8. Nothing. Another chance for Hanescu (at 10-9) but this time he hit long. He went 11-10 up, but Isner saved the setpoint with an overpowering forehand bouncing on the line and finally sealed the tiebreak 16-14. In the third they went with serve until a second tiebreaker.
And Hanescu conquered, as he did last time, the first point against serve, but Isner took it straight back with a nice pass. Isner flight 6-3 up, but hanescu with a net approach and a good serve reduced the arrears to 5-6. But Isner closed at the first attempt. In the second round he could face Andy Roddick for a revenge of the recent highly contested Washington semifinal.
Blake d. Hidalgo 61 64 75
Easy success for James Blake, playing just after the ceremony in honour of Andre Agassi. A bit more of a practice session for the American, afflicted by a series of light injuries during the season. After an easy first set, they went on with serve until 4-4, then Blake broke at his sixth opportunity after forcing the Spaniard to deuce with a thunderous forehand down the line which the Spaniard can only slice into the net; another error by the long-blond haired Spaniard handed Blake the second set.
Hidalgo tried to play at higher standards than usual, but cracked down to 3-4. A bit of performance anxiety, probably, affected Blake who squandered a forehand long to lose the advantage to 5-5. It was the swan song for Hidalgo, though, blown away by Blake's power and conviction. A rasping forehand winner followed by a precise shot into the corner gave Blake the possibility to serve for the match. And he easily hold to come through to a second round against Olivier Rochus.
In the night session easy and largely predictable wins in straights sets for Andy Roddick (61 64 62 to the Bjorn Phau) and "Rusty" Hewitt, 60 63 63 to Alves.