Keys, Falconi and McHale Post First Round Wins at US Open; Davis, Stephens and Men's Doubles On Tap for Tuesday
Thanks to the live streaming on usopen.org, I was able to watch three matches I was very interested in, beginning with Ryan Harrison versus No. 27 seed Marin Cilic. Although Cilic was objectively the favorite, quite a few were picking Harrison to upset him, given that Harrison had reached two ATP semifinals this summer, while Cilic had struggled on the hard courts. Cilic took control early and although Harrison served for both the second and third sets, he let both slip away, falling 6-2, 7-5, 7-6(6).
Harrison didn't use his net game much, and was way behind the baseline during many rallies, which he recognized as a problem in his post-match press conference.
"You know, I guess the volleying is kind of a finishing shot from the groundstroke and my positioning was pretty far back. That was partly due to the fact I wasn't feeling very good hitting the ball so I wasn't feeling like I was able to step up and hit my shots the way I normally would."
Harrison also displayed his temper early and often, and although he was never penalized by the chair, his behavior was drawing a lot more attention than his game, all of it negative, at least in the instant feedback loop that is twitter and blogs. For an interesting look at Harrison and his coach's views of his on-court behavior, see this article that appeared today on ESPN's Grantland. It's a fine line to walk between competitive spirit and annoying immaturity and Harrison needs to find it soon. For the complete transcript of his press conference, see usopen.org.
The next match I watched was Madison Keys and Jill Craybas on the Grandstand. At 16, Keys, who won the USTA tournament in College Park to earn her wild card, was playing in her first grand slam main draw, while Craybas, at 37, was competing in her 45th straight slam thanks to a wild card. Keys used her powerful serve and forehand to maximum advantage in the first set, then overcame a challenge from Craybas in the second to win the match 6-2, 6-4. Keys was up 4-1 in the second set, and had two break points to take a 5-1 lead, but Craybas held, broke back and evened the set at 4. Keys didn't falter however, holding for a 5-4 lead, then breaking Craybas to win the match. For a much more detailed account of the match, see Geoff Macdonald's post at the New York Times Straight Sets blog. Keys will play No. 27 seed Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic in the second round.
I wasn't able to watch Irina Falconi's match with Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic, because it wasn't on a television court, but Falconi won her first grand slam match in five tries with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory. She will face No. 14 seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia in the second round.
This evening, Christina McHale, who has had an outstanding summer, beat qualifier Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-4 on the new Court 17, which is a televised court. The contrast between McHale's demeanor on court and Harrison's couldn't be more pronounced, with barely any reaction from the 19-year-old from New Jersey, certainly not when she made an error. Trailing 2-0 in the third set, after losing something like 12 points in a row, McHale never showed any evidence of frustration or despair and soon enough she had won four straight games and taken the lead for good. Wozniak, who was ranked as high as 21 in the world two years ago before injuries sent her ranking tumbling, didn't go away in the final games, but McHale's superior movement and her confidence was enough to close out the match. She will play No. 8 seed Marion Bartoli of France in the second round.
Eighteen-year-old Bernard Tomic of Australia has not had a great hard court summer, but he did win his opening match today against US qualifier Michael Yani 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 and will get his shot at Cilic in the second round.
Tuesday's schedule includes the US Open main draw debuts of Sloane Stephens and Lauren Davis. Davis plays Angelique Kerber of Germany first on Court 4, which means no streaming, while Stephens plays qualifier Reka-Luca Jani of Hungary fourth on Court 11, which will be streamed.
Men's doubles also begins on Tuesday, with national 18s champions Jack Sock and Jackson Withrow playing fifth on court 14 against No. 15 seeds Mark Knowles of the Bahamas and Xavier Malisse of Belgium. Rhyne Williams, Michael Shabaz and Bradley Klahn are also in doubles action on Tuesday with partners Robby Ginepri, Ryan Sweeting and David Martin respectively.
The men's doubles draw is here.
The women's doubles draw is out too, but no matches are scheduled for Tuesday. NCAA champions Hilary Barte and Mallory Burdette play Alexa Glatch and Jamie Hampton, in a battle of two wild card teams, while 18s national winners Samantha Crawford and Keys face No. 6 seed Sania Mirza of India and Elena Vesnina of Russia. Nicole Gibbs and Lauren Davis received a wild card, as did Taylor Townsend and Jessica Pegula.