Gullickson to Play Wozniacki on Arthur Ashe Tuesday Night; McHale Falls to King in Monday's Action; Player Diaries; Why Teens No Longer Win Slams
On the first few days of the U.S. Open, there's so many possibilities that it's difficult to settle on just one. I watched the last few games of Melanie Oudin's 6-3, 6-0 rout of qualifier Olga Savchuk, but I prefer to see matches played in front of packed stadiums, and that will never describe Arthur Ashe during an 11 a.m. match.
I watched some of Roddick's win, which was another one-sided affair, but ESPN2 did switch to the more dramatic contests between No. 5 seed Robin Soderling and qualifier Andreas Haider-Maurer of Austria on the Grandstand, and on Court 11, No. 17 seed Gael Monfils and qualifier Robert Kendrick of the U.S. Neither produced an upset, but there's always drama deep in the fifth set of a slam. Soderling ended up winning 7-5, 6-3, 6-7(2), 5-7, 6-4 in just under four hours, and Monfils survived his three-hour-plus ordeal by a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-4 score.
Later in the afternoon, I watched the match between wild card Christina McHale and Vania King, via usopen.org live streaming, which King won 6-3, 0-6, 6-1. By that score you would guess that both players ran hot and cold, and that was true, but neither gave an inch mentally. It was only after McHale got down 3-0 and had treatment for a calf injury that the conclusion seemed inevitable, although she continued to battle.
Two other U.S. wild cards were in action Monday. Ryan Sweeting lost to qualifier Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-2, (for Josh Rey's account of the match, click here) and Tim Smyczek lost to No. 22 seed Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 6-3, 7-5, 7-6(6).
The reciprocal wild cards had better luck, with Carsten Ball of Australia and Guillaume Rufin of France advancing to the second round. Sophie Ferguson of Australia lost her opening match, but Virginia Razzano of France won hers today.
The rest of the women's wild cards will play on Tuesday, with junior champion Shelby Rogers, Beatrice Capra, CoCo Vandeweghe and Jamie Hampton on the schedule. Only Vandeweghe's match with Sabine Lisicki, scheduled for the Grandstand, will be on a court with live streaming, so I'll be monitoring live scoring.
I shouldn't have any trouble following the final women's wild card to take the court Tuesday. NCAA champion Chelsey Gullickson will play top seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in a night match on Arthur Ashe Stadium. They will follow Rafael Nadal's match with Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia.
The Kevin Anderson - Somdev Devvarman match today was expected to be a good one, but Anderson cruised to a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 win. Qualifier Irina Falconi also went out quietly, losing to No. 19 seed Flavia Pennetta 6-2, 6-1.
For complete results, see usopen.org.
The USTA is again posting player diaries, with Jack Sock, Shelby Rogers, Beatrice Capra, Vania King and Bethanie Mattek-Sands having contributed so far.
Christopher Clarey investigates the reasons why so few teenagers have an impact on the game's top echelons these days in this story for the New York Times. Clarey writes:
There has clearly been a major shift in the men’s game in a short time, too. In the 2000s, Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Roddick, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray broke into the top 10 as teenagers while others, like Federer, Richard Gasquet and Juan Martín del Potro, broke into the top 20 as teenagers.
“Everybody was like a teenager when they broke through,” Federer said. “Today, they don’t, so I don’t know if it’s because the top 10 is preventing them from doing that or if it’s just gotten so much more physical, and that’s why it is hard.”
The consensus among players, coaches and agents is that the physical element is indeed the primary factor, although there should be room for the exceptional talent to make an impact.