Monday, August 27, 2018

Teens Liu and Kenin Earn Three-Set Victories on Day of US Open; Fritz Comes from Two Sets Down to Advance to Second Round

The first day of the US Open saw American players go 11-13, with all four qualifiers playing today going out, as well as three wild cards and a lucky loser.

Several young Americans reached the second round with wins three-set wins today, including Sonya Kenin. Although just 19, Kenin already has a long history in New York. She played her first main draw match at the US Open as a 16-year-old in 2015, getting in as a wild card after winning the USTA National 18s title in San Diego. Kenin reached the final of the US Open girls championship that year, then earned another wild card into the women's main draw in 2016, via the USTA's US Open Wild Card Challenge. Last year, Kenin won the Wild Card Challenge again, and picked up her first US Open main draw victory, over Lauren Davis, and her second, in a dramatic third-set tiebreaker over Sachia Vickery, before falling to Maria Sharapova.

This year Kenin earned her place in the main draw via her ranking, not a wild card, and today played lucky loser Madison Brengle. Up 6-0, 2-0, Kenin was rolling, but Brengle fought back, took the second set and went up 4-1 in the third. Kenin, not one to throw in the towel, ever, saved three match points to take it two a third set tiebreaker, and she came out of it with a 6-0, 4-6, 7-6(4) victory.  She will play No. 32 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece, who beat this year's USTA Wild Card Challenge winner Asia Muhammad 6-3, 6-3.

Claire Liu won her first main draw match at a slam at Wimbledon last month, and took the only set champion Angelique Kerber surrendered in the tournament in a second round loss. Today Liu earned her first win at the US Open, beating Polona Hercog of Slovenia 7-6(4), 1-6, 6-4. The 18-year-old Liu, who qualified last year but dropped her first match, led 4-1 in the final set, lost her break, but came back to break again for the win.

Current USTA 18s National Champion Whitney Osuigwe's slam debut ended with a first round defeat, with the 16-year-old former junior No. 1 falling to Camila Giorgi of Italy 6-4, 6-1. Osuigwe played well during stretches of the match, getting back on serve in the first set after trailing 4-1, but she was broken to end the first set, and could not break Giorgi in the second set.

The day's most dramatic comeback saw 20-year-old Taylor Fritz come from two sets down to beat Mischa Zverev of Germany 4-6, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(2), 6-2. Fritz was down 2-0 in the final set, but won the last six games of the match from a tired looking Zverev to claim his first five-set victory. He plays wild card Jason Kubler of Australia next. For comments from Fritz, which emphasize how his fitness contributed his win, see this article from the ATP.

US Open first round matches Monday featuring Americans:

Women (6-7)
Venus Williams[16] def. Svetlana Kuznetsova(RUS) 6-3, 5-7, 6-3
Serena Williams[17] def. Magda Linette(POL) 6-4, 6-0
Sloane Stephens[3] def. Evgeniya Rodina(RUS) 6-1, 7-5
Barbora Strycova[23](CZE) def. Danielle Lao[Q] 6-3, 6-4
Camila Giorgi(ITA) def. Whitney Osuigwe[WC] 6-4, 6-1
Claire Liu[WC] def. Polona Hercog(SLO) 7-6(4), 1-6, 6-4
Maria Sakkari[32](GRE) def. Asia Muhammad[WC] 6-3, 6-3
Carina Witthoeft(GER) def. Caroline Dolehide 6-3, 7-6(6)
Elina Svitolina[7](UKR) def. Sachia Vickery 6-3, 1-6, 6-1
Irina Camelia Begu(ROU) def. Jennifer Brady 6-3, 6-3
Sonya Kenin def. Madison Brengle[LL] 6-0, 4-6, 7-6(4)
Vania King def. Natalia Vikhlyantseva(RUS) 7-6(4), 6-3

Men (5-6)
John Isner[11] def. Bradley Klahn[WC] 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-4
Jack Sock[18] def. Guido Andreozzi(ARG) 6-0, 7-6(4), 6-2
Kevin Anderson[5](RSA) def. Ryan Harrison 7-6(4), 5-7, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
Andreas Seppi(ITA) def. Sam Querrey 6-7(8), 6-4, 6-2, 2-1 ret.
Taylor Fritz def. Mischa Zverev(GER) 4-6, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(2), 6-2
Denis Kudla def. Matteo Berrettini(ITA) 6-4, 7-5, 6-2
Ugo Humbert(FRA) def. Collin Altamirano[Q] 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-3
Roberto Carballes Baena(ESP) def. Mitchell Krueger[Q] 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, 7-6(3)
Steve Johnson def. Denis Istomin(UZB) 6-3, 7-6(6), 6-3
Juan Martin del Potro[3](ARG) def. Donald Young[Q] 6-0, 6-3, 6-4

Kalamazoo 18s champion Jenson Brooksby will be in action on Tuesday, with the 17-year-old taking on John Millman of Australia second on after 11 on Court 6, and 2017 US Open girls champion Amanda Anisimova will play Taylor Townsend at 11 am on Court 11.

Tuesday’s first round matches featuring Americans:

Madison Keys[14] vs Pauline Parmentier
Coco Vandweghe[24] vs Kirsten Flipkens(BEL)
Danielle Collins vs Aryna Sabalenka[26](BLR)
Nicole Gibbs[Q] vs Carla Suarez Navarro[30](ESP)
Bernarda Pera vs Yulia Putintseva(KAZ)
Taylor Townsend vs Amanda Anisimova[WC]
Alison Riske vs Sorana Cirstea(ROU)
Francesca Di Lorenzo[Q] vs Christina McHale

Michael Mmoh[WC] vs Fabio Fognini[14](ITA)
Frances Tiafoe vs Adrian Mannarino[29](FRA)
Jenson Brooksby[WC] vs John Millman(AUS)
Noah Rubin[WC] vs Mikhail Kukushkin(KAZ)
Tennys Sandgren vs Viktor Troicki(SRB)
Tim Smyczek[WC] vs Jan-Lennard Struff(GER)
Mackenzie McDonald vs Robin Haase(NED)