By Ann Liguori
The big story out here today –American wild card Donald Young stays alive! The 22-year-old ousted the 24th seed from Argentina, Juan Ignacio Chela, 7-5, 6-4, 6-3 to advance to his first Grand Slam ‘Round of 16’ ever! There was standing room only on the grand stand court. Donald Young continues his impressive play here and afterwards, thanked the crowd for their support and credited his fans for pushing him on his impressive run here.
And a more familiar American, Andy Roddick, looked sharp against wild card Julien Benneteau, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6, to comfortably advance to the round of 16.
Earlier in the day, Nadal got off to a slow start before finding his game in the first set tie-breaker against David Nalbandian of Argentina. Once Nadal got his timing down, he was able to get through Nalbandian 7-6, 6-1, 7-5. Rafa packs the stadium anytime he plays. The gracious owner of 10 Grand Slam titles is always a crowd favorite!
After Nadal’s match, while he was talking to Spanish reporters in the interview area, he got a painful leg cramp, slouched in his chair, and ended up lying down. A trainer came in to work on his leg and Nadal said he was okay, but the defending champ was visually in a lot of pain and created quite a stir in the interview room!
It would be difficult for any player to repeat the kind of year Rafael Nadal put together in 2010 (when Nadal was injury free!) and Novak Djokovic has put together this year.
Last year, the then 24-year-old Nadal became the 7th guy in history to win all four Grand Slam titles and the youngest guy to do it when he added the US Open title to his resume.
But all good streaks must come to an end and at the 2011 Australian Open in January of this year, Nadal lost to David Ferrer in the quarterfinals and his 25- match Grand Slam winning streak was done. Then he lost to Novak Djokovic in four sets in the Wimbledon final and he said good-bye to his number one ranking.
Since then, his season has been spotty. Touching the hot plate at a Japanese restaurant and burning several fingers on his right hand didn’t help!
The gutsiest performance of the day goes to 26th seed Flavia Pennetta. The Italian, who pulled off the biggest upset of the tournament so far, ousting 3rd seed Maria Sharapova in the third round, beat Peng Shuai on Sunday afternoon, 6-4, 7-6. But it’s how she was able to persevere that made that victory special. Pennetta got sick and vomited on the court in the second set but was able to rally back from being down 5-love in the second set tie-breaker to close out the win in straight sets.