New York: Nicolas Almagro’s risky decision nearly cost him.
Almagro beat Robby Ginepri 6-7(7), 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 after stopping during his first match point for a replay review of a close call.
Almagro said his legs were cramping when he decided to stop and take a look at Ginepri’s close shot at 40-15 in the final game. The 32nd-seeded Spaniard took an injury timeout before serving for the match and said his legs started bothering him at the end of the first set.
“The decision was when I ran I grab my legs and I say if the ball is out we finish the match,” a chuckling Almagro said. “I know that the ball was close but I think on court it was good.”
Said Ginepri: “He knew it was in but challenged it to give him an extra minute before he would serve the next point.”
Ginepri’s ball touched the line, making it 40-30. The American also won the next point to get to deuce and had a break chance later, but hit a backhand wide.
Almagro went on to hold and reach the third round for the third straight year, equaling his best U.S. Open result. He will play No. 3 Rafael Nadal next.
“I’m very happy with my tennis and my attitude on court, and now I get to rest and prepare for my next match,” Almagro said.
Under the radar
No. 10 seed Flavia Pennetta became the first woman to advance to the fourth round with an impressive victory over Aleksandra Wozniak in an early match in Armstrong Stadium.
Pennetta has lost just six games while sweeping three matches at Flushing Meadows. She had her best Grand Slam result here last year, losing in the quarterfinals.
“I just was focused on my game,” Pennetta said on Friday. “I was talking with my coach before the match, and they told me to be very aggressive, to just focus, run in the way I always run. Everything’s going perfect.”
Pennetta will play No. 7 Vera Zvonareva in her next match. The 27-year-old Italian beat Zvonareva on her way to winning the title on hard courts at Los Angeles last month.
Jesse Levine put together a fast start in his bid for another American upset at the U.S. Open. He just couldn’t keep it going against Croatia’s Marin Cilic.
Cilic rallied for a 4-6, 2-6, 6-0, 6-3, 6-0 victory in the second round, earning his first career comeback win from two sets down. The 16th-seeded Cilic hit 14 aces and 40 winners, powering Levine off the court as the match wore on.
“Every time I was bringing some heat, he’d come back with more heat,” Levine said. “He definitely thrived on the pace. First two sets, I wasn’t playing like that.”
Levine was awarded a wild card into the tournament for the third consecutive year and beat Teimuraz Gabashvili in the first round for his first victory at Flushing Meadows. The 21-year-old also reached the third round at Wimbledon this summer.
“It’s all an experience out there but I don’t want to be learning while I’m out there,” said Levine, who turned pro in 2007 and was competing in his sixth Grand Slam singles tournament. “I just want to kind of be focusing on doing all the right things.”
Levine, ranked 135, was trying to add to an impressive run for the U.S. in the early going in New York. An unseeded American beat a top-40 player eight times over the first four days of the tournament, including victories by 196th-ranked Taylor Dent and No. 276 Jesse Witten.
“American tennis is definitely on its way up,” Levine said. — AP