Serena Williams had the Arthur Ashe Stadium spotlight for 92 minutes on Wednesday during a dramatic win over Kiki Bertens. Then she caused a stir by heading straight to the practice court for another hour-plus. Here are five Day 3 developments involving players who aren't five wins away from the Grand Slam.
Bethanie bests CoCo
Coming off a big win over Sloane Stephens in the first round, CoCo Vandeweghe was stopped dead in her tracks by another American, Bethanie Mattek-Sands. The 30-year-old Mattek-Sands broke the big-serving Vandeweghe five times in the match. As for Vandeweghe, she broke her racket. In fabulous fashion, we might add. "I was laughing when she was doing it," Mattek Sands said. "I thought she was done and she just kept going. I was like, 'Go big or go home.' You might as well destroy it." Mattek-Sands, playing in her 14th US Open and ranked 101st in the world, advanced to the third round for the first time in her career. Up next? None other than Serena Williams. Mattek-Sands is 0-2 in her career against Williams, and has never taken a set against the world No. 1.
Belinda Bencic is one of two women to beat Serena Williams in 2015. Maybe she learned a thing or two from the world No. 1 along the way. Bencic pulled off an amazing escape act of her own in the second round, fighting off three match points before rallying for a 5-7, 7-6 (3) 6-3 win over Misaki Doi. The 18-year-old Bencic, seeded 12th, topped Williams on the Toronto hard courts earlier this summer. She gets big sister Venus Williams next. Williams beat fellow American Irina Falconi 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-2 in a night match on Arthur Ashe. Bencic is 0-3 against the 35-year-old Venus.
Bouchard wins again
Eugenie Bouchard had fewer winners and more unforced errors than Polona Hercog in their second-round match. Yet it was Bouchard who advanced to the third round with a 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-3 win. Bouchard, a 21-year-old Canadian, takes wins any way she can get them these days. She brought a 9-17 record into the US Open and lost in the first round at both the French Open and Wimbledon. Her ranking, as high as fifth last October, has fallen to 25th. It marked the first time Bouchard has won back-to-back matches since March. "This year I've had a couple matches where it's been tough to close out," Bouchard said. "I just tried to block that out of my mind, block the outcome as well out of my mind, you know, and just keep playing tennis." Bouchard plays Dominika Cibulkova, a former Australian Open finalist, next. Cibulkova ended the run of 21-year-old American Jessica Pegula with a 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 win.
Madison & Madison
Just like at the Australian Open, there's a double dose of Madisons into the third round at the US Open. Unseeded Madison Brengle beat fellow American Anna Tatishvili 6-3, 6-2 in the second round on Wednesday, and 19th-seeded Madison Keys advanced with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Tereza Smitkova. In Melbourne, Brengle advanced to the fourth round before falling to her fellow Madison. Keys continued her run all the way to the semifinals before falling to Serena Williams. The two Madisons couldn't play each other until the quarters at Flushing Meadows. Brengle plays Anett Kontaveit in the third round. Up next for Keys is 15th-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska. "I think so far this year it's probably been the best year that I have had," Keys said.
Radwanska onto Keys
Agnieszka Radwanska, the No. 15 seed, had just seven unforced errors in a 6-3, 6-2 win over Magda Linette. The US Open has been the toughest major for the 26-year-old Radwanska to crack. In her nine previous appearances, she's never made it beyond the fourth round. She's made it to the quarters of the French, the semis of the Australian and the finals at Wimbledon. It'll be a tough task just to make it back to the fourth round in New York for the woman dubbed "the little magician." Next up is 19th-seeded American Madison Keys. The good news for Radwanska is that she's 4-0 in her career against Keys, including two three-set marathons at Wimbledon. "I'm going to do everything in my power to play the same tennis I played at Wimbledon, and we will see if that's gonna work," Radwanska said.