For most of the time that she’s spent in Majors this year, it’s been Eugenie Bouchard who brought the the heat. But on day 8 of the 2014 US Open, the emerging Canadian star wilted beneath the sweltering summer sun. Feeling dizzy and lightheaded, Genie was visibly walking very gingerly. In some very tense moments, the medical staff at the National Tennis Center came on court to treat her with ice, take her blood pressure (good thing Maria Sharapova wasn’t around) and try to hydrate and replace electrolytes with an energy drink. Clearly, Genie was hampered physically. That isn’t an excuse not to give Ekaterina Makarova full credit for her 7-6 (2) 6-4 win. Makarova is a giant killer and might have won regardless. Furthermore, part of being an athlete is maintaining conditioning. Ekaterina dealt successfully with the heat and humidity. Genie didn’t. However, it’s been a tremendous run in the Majors this year for Bouchard. She clearly looks like one of the players who will be at the forefront of tennis for many years to come.
If you missed the Victoria Azarenka vs Aleksandra Krunic match, go to ESPN3.com and find it. This match, while full of errors, was also full of high drama and incredible, gutsy shot-making. Seemingly every time it looked like Krunic was done, she would come back with “are you kidding me?!” kind of winners. In the end, the finalist from the last two years just had a little more in the tank as Vika escaped with a 4-6 6-4 6-4 victory. I’m trying to figure out who Krunic is most like. She runs down shot after shot after shot, forcing errors as opponents become impatient, like Caroline Wozniacki. But Sunshine is 5’10” and physically stronger. Aleksandra says she’s 5’6″ but looks more like 5′ 2″, 105 pounds. Krunic makes stretching, flexible defensive gets like her countryman, Novak Djokovic. But nothing else in her game is like Nole. Maybe David Ferrer is the closest match among today’s players. All I do know is I hope she takes the confidence and money she’s earned in Flushing Meadows to grow her game. She beat Madison Keys, Petra Kvitova and had Vika in all kinds of trouble. She’s one the entire tennis community should root for to keep showing up and dazzling us with her vast array of shots.
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1 SERENA WILLIAMS (won 6-3 6-3 vs Kaia Kanepi)
17 EKATERINA MAKAROVA (won 7-6 (2) 6-4 vs 7 Eugenie Bouchard)
11 FLAVIA PENNETTA (won 7-5 6-2 vs 29 Casey Dellacqua)
16 VICTORIA AZARENKA (won 4-6 6-4 6-4 vs Aleksandra Krunic)