Not content to just take out three-time U.S. Open champion Kim Clijsters, 18-year-old British star Laura Robson upset Cincinnati champion Li Na today in the second round in Flushing Meadows. Robson, showing no sign of nerves at any time, beat Li 6-4, 6-7, 6-2. It was a big victory--in its own way--more significant than Robson's defeat of Clijsters. Li, after her Cincinnati win, appeared poised to make a full run at the U.S. Open, and then--just like that--she was out of the tournament in the second round.
Robson used her big lefty serve to her advantage, and she put a lot of racquet speed on her forehand in order to destabilize the forehand-heavy Li. Robson broke Li six times and played fearlessly throughout the match. Her next opponent will be defending champion Sam Stosur, who defeated Varvara Lepchenko today. To quote Robson: "I have had a fairly tough draw, haven't I?"
Robson was easily the big story of the day, but also of note is Nadia Petrova's defeat of Lucie Safarova. Petrova had first and second serve percentages of 80 and 54, and she hit 10 aces. Her next opponent will be 2006 champion Maria Sharapova, who put an end of Mallory Burdette's U.S. Open run.
Marion Bartoli defeated countrywoman Kristina Mladenovic in straight sets, and the third Frenchwoman left in the draw--Pauline Parmentier--was defeated by Petra Kvitova. Bartoli and Kvitova will play each other in the round of 16. Also winning was Anna Tatishvili, who defeated Mandy Minella 7-5, 6-0.
Top seed Victoria Azarenka had an easy time of it in her night match. She defeated Zheng Jie 6-0, 6- 1 in just under and hour. Azarenka has lost only six games in three rounds.
5th seeds Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova had a real fight on their hands in doubles today, but they finally prevailed 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 against Nina Bratchikova and Alexandra Panova. Serena Williams advanced, as did top seeds Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond. 2nd seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci also went through to the next round, as did 3rd seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka.
In mixed doubles, Kim Clijsters and Bob Bryan advanced to the second round, as did top seeds Liezel Huber and Max Mirnyi.
A note to readers: I'm heading back to Louisiana in the morning and won't get to watch the morning matches, but all should be well by the afternoon. There was terrible flooding from Hurricane Isaac in several of the towns near us, especially in a town that got the spill from a levee breach (haven't we heard that before?). Our parish (county, to normal people) has been under a curfew, and people on the east side have had to boil their drinking water. Beaches on the Mississippi Gulf Coast have been closed because of debris and concern about water quality. Overall, it's a mess, but services have already been restored to my neighborhood.
This is just how it is in south Louisiana. As August comes to a close, you check the U.S. Open television schedule, print your draw sheet, and flee to Alabama.