Puig Defeats Errani at Wimbledon, Seeds Isner and Stephens Through to Second Round; Townsend, Rubin into Third Round at Roehampton; US Open National Playoffs Update
With Nadal's shocking first round Wimbledon loss to Belgian Steve Darcis, in straight sets no less, the headlines will understandably focus on that, but Monica Puig also deserves some recognition for her 6-3, 6-2 victory over No. 5 seed Sara Errani of Italy.
Puig, who will be 20 in September, has never played particularly well on grass, and lost in the second round of qualifying at the WTA Eastbourne tournament last week, but Errani is much more comfortable on clay, and Puig used that to her advantage. Although Puig needed seven match points to close out her best career win (she beat No. 11 seed Nadia Petrova of Russia in the first round at Roland Garros), she got the win, and she spoke at length about what she's learned this year about closing out matches. For more on Puig's win, see this Associated Press article.
John Isner was one of only two American men scheduled for singles today, and the No. 18 seed, who is known for taking nearly every slam match into a fifth set, kept his opening match short. Isner did play a couple of his customary tiebreakers, but avenged his early loss to Russian Evgeny Donskoy n the Netherlands last week, posting a 6-0, 7-6(5), 7-6(3) victory. Rajeev Ram, the other US man on Monday's schedule, defeated Lukas Lacko of Slovakia 7-5, 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-2 to reach the second round at Wimbledon for the first time in his career.
The remaining nine American men, all in the top half of the draw, play their first round matches on Tuesday.
The US women had a disappointing first day, with the only two advancing those who played other Americans. Sloane Stephens, the No. 17 seed, defeated Eastbourne finalist Jamie Hampton 6-3, 6-3 and Christina McHale beat Alexa Glatch 6-4, 6-4. No. 26 seed Vavara Lepchenko lost, as did Lauren Davis, CoCo Vandeweghe, Vania King, and Melanie Oudin. Five additional American women, in the top half of the draw, play their first round matches Tuesday.
Draws and schedule can be found at the Wimbledon website.
The grass courts at Roehampton have not been kind to American juniors this week, with only No. 3 seed Taylor Townsend and Noah Rubin reaching the third round at the ITF Grade 1 warmup to Wimbledon. Johnnise Renaud, Dasha Ivanova, Katrine Steffensen and Jamie Loeb lost in today's second round; Tornado Alicia Black and Louisa Chirico, the No. 9 seed, lost in Sunday's first round. Rubin is the only American boy to get out of the first round, with the other four--Martin Redlicki, Spencer Papa, Stefan Kozlov and Luca Corinteli--losing on Sunday.
Townsend will play British wild card Lana Rush in the third round; Rubin plays unseeded Enzo Couacaud of France. Top seeds Belinda Bencic of Switzerland and Nick Kyrgios of Australia are also through to the third round.
The draws and order of play can be found at the LTA website.
Two more sectional qualifying tournaments for the US Open National Playoffs were completed over the weekend, in the Northern California and Northern sections.
University of Southern California sophomore Giuliana Olmos won the women's tournament in Salinas, California, defeating former Stanford player Lejla Hodzic 6-1, 6-4 in the final. Harvard recruit Andrew Ball won the men's tournament, downing fellow teenager Josh Pompan 6-3, 6-1 in the final. Eric Roberson and Yasmin Schnack won the mixed doubles tournament.
In the Northern section, Tony Larson, a former St. Cloud State player, won the men's tournament, beating Brian Battistone 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the final. Nicole Melichar won the women's tournament, defeating 15-year-old Jessie Aney 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. Battistone and Melichar, who won the mixed doubles main draw wild card last year at the National playoff tournament in New Haven, will have a chance to defend that title, winning the Northern tournament this year over Larson and 14-year-old Alexis Nelson 7-5, 6-4.
For links to the draws of all the US Open Playoff sectional qualifying results, click here. There are only four more sections yet to be decided.