I miss Thrill Ride, but while she's off the tour, Francesca Schiavone is doing a more than adequate job of taking on her role. In what has become her usual fashion, the fighting Italian made a huge comeback today in the third round of the U.S. Open. Schiavone had trouble breathing, she had trouble hitting the ball, and she had trouble with Chanelle Scheepers, a savvy opponent who served for the match at 7-5, 5-4. Scheepers got a bit tight at the big moment, however, throwing in a double fault. Schiavone broke her (you knew she would), and then took control of the rest of the match, winning it 5-7, 7-6, 6-3.
At the end of the second set, the 7th seed received treatment for her pain. She was advised by the trainer to breathe more openly in order to avoid further muscle injury. She returned fresh for the last set and looked much more like the Schiavone who thrills the crowds. The bad news is that it took her just under three hours to get the job done.
Another player dealing with injury, Andrea Petkovic, survived to dance again at the end of her match against 18th seed Roberta Vinci. The 10th seed said after the match that she put extra spin on the ball to frustrate Vinci. It worked; Dance Party won 6-4, 6-0.
And then there was Vania King, who had some problems with her thigh during her match against top seed Caroline Wozniacki. She also made 39 unforced errors, and was defeated 6-2, 6-4. 2004 U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, seeded 15th, defeated Akgul Amanmuradova in 6-4. 6-2, and Carla Suarez Navarro defeated Silvia Soler-Espinosa 6-0, 6-4.
17th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who had beaten Jelena Jankovic both times they had competed, scored victory number three today when she defeated the 11th seed 6-4, 6-4. Jankovic looked sluggish and a little lost on the court, and was bested by Pavlyuchenkova's precise shot-making. In a first set game, Jankovic failed to convert five break points, and that game pretty much summed up how much the 11th seed was struggling to get anything going in this match.
And finally, the impressive run of Sloane Stephens came to an end when she came up against a rather in-form Ana Ivanovic in the women's night match in Arthur Ashe Stadium. I hope that Stephens gets her hands on a copy of the Tennis Channel coverage because commentator Martina Navratilova did a really good job of deconstructing the young player's game and suggesting tweaks and additions. The 16th seed was rather shaky with her ball toss tonight, but she played well, and she defeated Stephens 6-3, 6-4. Ivanovic will have to get her serve under better control, however, if she has any hope of competing against Serena Williams in the next round.