Friday, September 4, 2020

McNally's Upset of Alexandrova Results in 11 US Women in US Open Third Round; Brady Advances to Round of 16; Fritz Loses in Five Sets

©Colette Lewis 2020--

Eighteen-year-old Caty McNally had her breakout US Open moment last year, taking the first set from Serena Williams in a second round match on Arthur Ashe Stadium. 

This year in New York, there were not thousands of fans to impress, but McNally was able to leverage her small cheering section on Court 7, finishing off her second round win over Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(2).

McNally had won the second set from Alexandrova Thursday night when heavy rain canceled play on the outside courts. Starting the third set early this afternoon, McNally took a 4-2 lead, lost the break, but never looked anything less than confident as the match went to a tiebreaker. McNally played well, but the lopsided score was mostly the result of unforced errors by Alexandrova, who made four of them to help McNally to a 5-1 lead. A perfect half-volley by McNally gave her five matches points, and she converted the second went Alexandrova's backhand sailed long.

McNally told ESPN's Rennae Stubbs in the on-court interview after the match that the lack of a roaring crowd had negative and positive implications.

"The crowds can help you win when you're down in matches like that," McNally said. "Probably in a match like this they'd be 100 percent behind me, but today I had to kind of play within myself and I had my family and my team around me."

Stubbs then asked about the anxiety the huge crowds can create, and McNally agreed that playing away from that atmosphere has its pluses.

"Honestly, I think it does," McNally said. "Because I'm still coming up in the pros, I haven't played as many tournaments in front of that many fans. Playing against Serena last year was the most fans I'd ever played in front of, but usually in juniors, you're not playing in front of too many people. So to be honest, I kind of like it, I kind of use it to my advantage, while some of these players are used to having it, so I just keep going day by day, playing within myself."

McNally will face an inform Elise Mertens of Belgium in the third round Saturday. Mertens, who also had to come back to finish her match, defeated Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain 6-3, 7-5.

No. 28 seed Jennifer Brady continued to impress, reaching the fourth round with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Caroline Garcia of France, who had defeated top seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic on Wednesday. Brady, who had 10 aces and saved all five break points she faced, said her match toughness and her ability to hold serve have been a key to her success in the restart.

"I think I just had a lot of matches under me," said Brady, who played World Team Tennis in July and won her first WTA title in Kentucky in August. "I think, you know, just going into every match, believing that I can win. And I think also one of the big things is, you know, I have been serving really well and then able to win a lot of points off my first serve. I think it gives a lot of pressure to the opponent, you know, to be able to hold their service games so I'm able to break, as well. Yeah, I think I have just been playing good tennis."

Brady will take on No. 17 seed and 2016 US Open champion Angelique Kerber of Germany, who defeated Ann Li 6-3, 6-4.

"Obviously she's a great competitor, great player," said Brady, who is into the US Open round of 16 for a second time. "You know, different, lefty, so that's something different from the other opponents that I have played. You know, I'm expecting it to be a very tough match. I'm just going to go out there and think the same thought I have thought for every other match, just believe in myself, compete, and just play for every point."

The other American to advance to the fourth round is Shelby Rogers, who defeated Madison Brengle 6-2, 6-4. Rogers, who reached the quarterfinals of the French Open in 2016, will be playing in the second week of the US Open for the first time on Sunday. Jessica Pegula is playing the late night match on Ashe against No. 6 seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic.

The only American man in action on Friday was No. 19 seed Taylor Fritz, who served for the match at 5-3 in the fourth set against No. 12 seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada, but couldn't close it out and lost 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2. Fritz showed off some huge first serves early in the match, but in the fourth and fifth sets, Shapovalov proved much more effective with that shot, hitting 16 of his 22 aces in those two sets, while Fritz, who had 18 overall, could manage only 4.

Two all-US teams advanced to the doubles quarterfinals with wins today. The wild card team of Mackenzie McDonald(UCLA) and Christopher Eubanks(Georgia Tech) defeated Marcus Daniell of New Zealand and Philipp Oswald of Austria 7-6(5), 6-3 and will face No. 3 seeds and Australian Open champions Rajeev Ram(Illinois) and Great Britain's Joe Salisbury(Memphis). Ram and Salisbury beat wild cards Ryan and Christian Harrison 6-2, 6-4. 

On the women's side, Taylor Townsend and Asia Muhammad are through to the quarterfinals after defeating Andreja Klepac of Slovenia and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-0.

Completion of second round women's matches from Thursday:

Caty McNally d. Ekaterina Alexandrova[21](RUS) 46, 63 76(2)

Iga Swiatek(POL) d. Sachia Vickery[WC] 67(5), 63, 64

Friday’s third round results US women:

Angelique Kerber[17](GER) d. Ann Li 63, 64

Jennifer Brady[28] d. Caroline Garcia(FRA) 63, 63

Shelby Rogers d. Madison Brengle 62, 64

Petra Kvitova[6](CZE) d. Jessica Pegula 64, 63

Friday’s third round results of US men:

Denis Shapovalov[12](CAN) d. Taylor Fritz[19] 36, 63, 46, 76(5), 62 

Complete results from Friday are here.

Saturday's third round matches featuring US men:

JJ Wolf[WC] v Daniil Medvedev[3](RUS)

Francis Tiafoe v Marton Fucsovics(HUN)

Saturday’s third round matches featuring US women:

Sloane Stephens[26] v Serena Williams[3]

Madison Keys[7] v Alize Cornet(FRA)

Amanda Anisimova[22] v Maria Sakkari[15](GRE)

Sofia Kenin[2] v Ons Jabeur[27](TUN)

Caty McNally v Elise Mertens[16](BEL)

Saturday's full schedule is here.