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Monday, August 29, 2016

Day, Bellis, Escobedo Post Wins at US Open; Tiafoe Falls to Isner in Fifth Set Tiebreaker, Sock Tops Fritz in Five

The first day of the US Open brought the US drama, with John Isner defeating 18-year-old Frances Tiafoe in a fifth set tiebreaker and Jack Sock squeezing by 18-year-old Taylor Fritz in five sets after having a two sets to none lead.

The day started for me [on ESPN 3] with the first match on the new Grandstand between 2012 World Junior Champion Taylor Townsend and former WTA No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki.  Townsend, a qualifier, took advantage of some sloppy play by Wozniacki to take the first set, but the Dane cleaned up her errors and got her backhand going in the final two sets for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory.

Next on the new Grandstand came No. 20 seed Isner and Tiafoe and it was three hours and 27 minutes later when Isner finally earned a 3-6, 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2, 7-6(3) victory. Tiafoe was two points from the win in the tiebreaker in the third set, and served for the match at 5-3 in the fifth, but Isner benefited from a missed forehand at 30-40 to get the break back and played an excellent tiebreaker to get the win. For more on the match, see Steve Tignor's account at Tennis.com.

In the meantime, 17-year-old CiCi Bellis claimed a much less dramatic victory, beating Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland 6-2, 6-3.  Bellis, playing on the same Court 6 where she pulled off her upset of Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova in 2014, looked extremely confident after winning three matches in qualifying last week.  In her press conference after the match, Bellis spoke of the advantages of qualifying and also of the likelihood of attending Stanford in 2017. She will play Shelby Rogers on in the second round Wednesday.

Ernesto Escobedo won his first slam match in his first attempt, advancing to the second round when Lukas Lacko of Slovakia retired at 6-4, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3.  The 20-year-old Southern Californian, who won the USTA US Open Wild Card Challenge to earn his main draw wild card, spoke to Tennis Panorama about his exciting month of firsts.

USTA National 18s champion Kayla Day's match with Madison Brengle was pushed into the evening, and, like Escobedo, she benefited from a retirement, with Brengle receiving medical attention for her hand after the first set and retiring down 6-2, 4-2.  Day, who picked up two WTA Top 100 wins in Connecticut Open qualifying last week, was playing confident, aggressive and mostly error-free tennis against Brengle before the retirement.  Day plays the winner of the late night match between Madison Keys and Alison Riske.

Sock and Fritz played in the first round of the Australian Open, with Sock winning 6-4, 3-6, 0-6, 6-3, 6-4 and the rematch this evening on Armstrong had a similar feel, with No. 26 seed Sock taking out Fritz 7-6(3), 7-5, 3-6, 1-6, 6-4.  Down 4-0 in the final set, Fritz got back on serve, saving a match point at 5-3, 40-30 with some great scrambling and a badly missed forehand by Sock.  Sock went on to double fault away the game, but Fritz couldn't take advantage of the gift, with Sock breaking to win the match.

It was a disappointing day for the NCAA champions, with their losses coming in contrasting manners. Danielle Collins could never find her game in a 6-1, 6-2 loss to Evgeniya Rodina of Russia, while Mackenzie McDonald took a two-set lead on qualifier Jan Satral of the Czech Republic, only to fall 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

Below are all the results involving Americans, except for the late Keys-Riske match[update: Keys won, at 1:48, in the latest finish ever for US Open women's match.] The men's draw is here; women's draw is here.

Jack Sock[26] def. Taylor Fritz 7-6(3), 7-5, 3-6, 1-6, 6-4

Caroline Wozniacki(DEN) def. Taylor Townsend[Q] 4-6, 6-3, 6-4

John Isner[20] def. Frances Tiafoe[WC] 3-6, 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2, 7-6(3)

Johanna Konta(GBR)[13] def. Bethanie Mattek-Sands[WC] 6-3, 6-3

Belinda Bencic(SUI)[24] def. Samantha Crawford 6-7(6) 6-3, 6-4

Federico Delbonis(ARG) def. Brian Baker 3-6, 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-2, 6-2

Naomi Osaka(JPN) def. Coco Vandeweghe[28] 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-4

Kayla Day[WC] def. Madison Brengle 6-2, 4-2 ret.

CiCi Bellis[Q] def. Viktorija Golubic(SUI) 6-2, 6-3

Ernesto Escobedo[WC] def. Lukas Lacko(SVK) 6-4, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3

Evgeniya Rodina(RUS) def. Danielle Collins[WC] 6-1, 6-2

Guido Pella(ARG) def. Bjorn Fratangelo[WC] 6-3, 6-4, 6-4

Christina McHale def. Mona Barthel(GER) 6-2, 6-2

Shelby Rogers def. Sara Errani(ITA)[27] 6-4, 7-6(3)

Cagla Buyukakcay(TUR) def. Irina Falconi 6-2, 6-1

Jan Satral(CZE)[Q] def. Mackenzie McDonald[WC] 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2

Lauren Davis[WC] def. Aliaksandra Sasnovich(BLR) 6-2, 4-6, 7-5

Ryan Harrison[Q] def. Adrian Mannarino(FRA) 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-3

Madison Keys[8] def. Alison Riske 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2


Tuesday's first round matches featuring Americans:

Kateryna Kozlova(UKR) v Venus Williams[6]

Serena Williams[1] v Ekaterina Makarova(RUS)

Janko Tipsarevic(SRB) v Sam Querrey(USA)[29]

Agnieszka Radwanska(POL)[4] v Jessica Pegula[Q]

Louisa Chirico v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova(RUS)[17]

Steve Johnson[19] v Evgeny Donskoy(RUS)

Jared Donaldson[Q] v David Goffin(BEL)[12]

Donald Young v Jan-Lennard Struff(GER)

Karoline Pliskova(CZE)[10] v Sonya Kenin[WC]

Daniel Evans(GBR) v Rajeev Ram[WC]

Michael Mmoh[WC] v Jeremy Chardy(FRA)

Nicole Gibbs v Aleksandra Krunic(SRB)[Q]

Christian Harrison[Q] v Paul-Henri Mathieu(FRA)

Antonia Lottner(GER)[Q] v Vania King[WC]

Denis Kudla v Alessandro Giannessi(ITA)[Q]

Shuai Peng(CHN) v Varvara Lepchenko