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Monday, August 31, 2020

Nakashima and Giron Earn First Slam Wins; Norrie Saves Match Points to Defeat Schwartzman at US Open

©Colette Lewis 2020--

Despite an opponent twice his age and with 46 more matches at the slam level, 19-year-old wild card Brandon Nakashima was in complete control throughout his opening round match today at the US Open, beating Paolo Lorenzi of Italy 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(3) for his first win in his first match at a major.

Nakashima faced only two break points in the match, both in the first set, and when I spoke to him after the match via Zoom, he was obviously pleased with his performance.

"It feels great; I've been waiting for this to happen," said Nakashima, who wore his mask throughout the interview. " I thought I played a really good match today and it's great to get my first grand slam win."

Nakashima said he was comfortable throughout the match.

"The conditions suited me well," Nakashima said. "I've been here for over a couple weeks now, so I've definitely gotten used to the conditions here, the courts and everything. It obviously was tough against him today, he doesn't give you much, makes a lot of balls in play, kind of throws off your rhythm at times, but I thought I definitely played well through the entirety of the match and it was good to close it out at the end."

Nakashima didn't want to dwell on the experience gap he was facing.

"I tried not to think about it too much going into it," said Nakashima, who spent one semester at the University of Virginia, then turned pro after reaching the semifinals of the US Open Junior Championships last year. "I knew obviously, like you said, he had a lot of experience on the tour so far, but I tried not to think about that, focus on my game, focus on what I do best out there, just try to block out the extra information outside and just focus on my game on the court."

Next up for Nakashima on Wednesday is No. 5 seed Alexander Zverev of Germany, who defeated Kevin Anderson 7-6(2), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5.

Nakashima may have had the most stress-free result of the day by the wild cards, but two other Americans also came through with wins. Twenty-six-year-old Mitchell Krueger also recorded his first main draw win at a major, beating Pedro Sousa of Portugal  3-6, 6-2, 7-5, 6-3. Maxime Cressy hit 23 aces (and 15 double faults) in picking up his first main draw victory at a major in his first main draw slam match, beating Jozef Kovalik of Slovakia 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Marcos Giron, who broke into the ATP Top 100 this week, got his first slam win in his fifth attempt, outlasting Marc Polmans of Australia 6-4, 6-7(5), 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. As the match went past the three-hour mark, and the day turned to night in New York, Giron looked stronger physically and mentally in the fifth set.

"I think I held my composure a little better," said the 2014 NCAA singles champion. "A few years ago, I remember playing a Challenger in Sarasota, really hot, humid conditions. My opponent started cramping in the third, I started cramping, I went up a break and I ended up losing that match and I kind of looked back on that. I really have to stay composed, I've got to see if I can hang in there, make him move more than I move. I tried just to make a few more extra balls than him....I've been pretty solid in deciding sets and I just went back to some of those matches. These conditions reminded me of the Houston Challenger (a 125 that he won) at the end of the year(2019). End of the day, pretty quick conditions, under the lights, and I thought, you know what, I went three sets in a lot of those matches, maybe I can bring back some magic."

Former TCU star Cameron Norrie of Great Britain pulled off the men's upset of the day, beating No. 9 seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina 3-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 7-5, and saving two match points. Norrie gave himself credit for hanging in there when he wasn't playing well.

"Today I don't think the level of tennis for me was not that high," said the 25-year-old left-hander. "I just had a phenomenal attitude and I was please with that, stayed real patient with myself....You got to win ugly sometimes and it felt a little bit like a college match there at the end, just running and putting the ball in the court."

Schwartzman and Norrie set a US Open record with 58 break points between them.

"I was told after the match it was some kind of record, most break points in one match at the US Open," Norrie said. "I'm not sure it's too good of a record to be holding....but it just shows there were two dogs out there battling, with no serves really, but it was a good match and I guess I'll take the record there."

The US women did not have the same success as the men on Monday, with Madison Brengle collecting the first win by an American woman after 7:30 p.m. Brengle, who beat Arina Rodionova of Australia, an alternate, 6-2, 6-2 broke an eight-match losing streak for American women on Monday. Coco Gauff went out to No. 31 seed Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. The only women's wild card to win was Cici Bellis, who earned her first US Open victory since 2016; Hailey Baptiste, Robin Montgomery and Allie Kiick were defeated, with only Kiick winning a set.

Monday's results can be found here.

Monday’s first round results featuring US men (8-5):

Denis Shapovalov[12](CAN) d. Sebastian Korda[WC] 64, 46, 63, 62

Brandon Nakashima[WC] d. Paolo Lorenzi(ITA) 63, 62, 76(3)

Mitchell Krueger[WC] d. Pedro Sousa(POR) 36, 62, 75, 63

Jack Sock d. Pablo Cuevas(URU)  36, 64, 62, 46, 76(2) 

Maxime Cressy[WC] d. Jozef Kovalik(SVK) 61, 26, 64, 64 

Taylor Fritz[19] d. Dominik Koepfer  67(7) 63 62 64

Soonwoo Kwon(KOR) d. Thai Kwiatkowski[WC] 36, 76(4), 61, 62

Marcos Giron d. Marc Polmans(AUS) 64, 67(5), 36, 64, 62

David Goffin[7](BEL) d. Reilly Opelka 76(2), 36, 61, 64

Steve Johnson d. John Isner[16] 67(5) 63 67(5) 63 76(3)

Cristian Garin[13](CHI) d. Ulises Blanch[WC] 46, 57, 64, 64, 62

Michael Mmoh[WC] d. Joao Sousa(POR) 62, 75, 26, 61

Monday’s first round results featuring US women (7-9):

Kristina Mladenovic[30](FRA) d. Hailey Baptiste[WC] 75, 62

Aliaksandra Sasnovich(BLR)  d. Francesca Di Lorenzo 26, 76(6), 60 

Anna-Lena Friedsam(GER) d. Caroline Dolehide 62, 62 

Kateryna Kozlova(UKR) d. Whitney Osuigwe 63, 75

Anastasija Sevastova[31](LAT) d. Coco Gauff 63, 57, 64

Anett Kontaveit[14](EST) d. Danielle Collins 57, 62, 62 

Kateryna Bondarenko(UKR) d. Allie Kiick[WC] 36, 63, 61 

Kaja Juvan(SLO) d. Usue Arconada 64, 76(2)

Madison Brengle d. Arina Rodionova(AUS)[alt replacing Lesia Tsurenko] 62, 62

Shelby Rogers d. Irina Khromacheva(RUS) 62, 62

Cici Bellis[WC] d. Tamara Korpatsch(GER) 67(13), 63, 62

Yulia Putintseva[23](KAZ) d. Robin Montgomery[WC] 61, 63

Jennifer Brady[28] d. Anna Blinkova(RUS) 63, 62

Ann Li d. Arantxa Rus(NED) 64, 26, 61

Alison Riske[13] d. Tatjana Maria(GER) 63, 62

Jessica Pegula d. Marie Bouzkova(CZE) 36, 62 76(3)

Tuesday’s first round matches featuring US women

Kristie Ahn v Serena Williams[3]

Venus Williams v Karolina Muchova[20](CZE)

Sofia Kenin[2] v Yanina Wickmayer(BEL)

Madison Keys[7] v Timea Babos(HUN)

Amanda Anisimova[22] v Viktoriya Tomova(BUL)

Sloane Stephens[26] v Mihaela Buzarnescu(ROU)

Lauren Davis v Alize Cornet(FRA)

Claire Liu[WC] v Sara Sorribes Tormo(ESP)

Christina McHale v Sorana Cirstea(ROU)

Caty McNally v Viktoria Kuzmova(SVK)

Sachia Vickery[WC] v Taylor Townsend

Bernarda Pera v Zarina Diyas(KAZ)

Katrina Scott[WC] v Natalia Vikhlyantseva(RUS)

Tuesday’s first round matches featuring US men 

Tommy Paul v Grigor Dimitrov[14](BUL)

Frances Tiafoe v Andreas Seppi(ITA)

Tennys Sandgren v Roberto Bautista Agut[8](ESP)

Mackenzie McDonald v Casper Ruud[30](NOR)

Sam Querrey v Andrey Kuznetsov(RUS)

Denis Kudla v Marin Cilic[31](CRO)

Bradley Klahn v Sumit Nagal(IND)

JJ Wolf[WC] v Guido Pella[29](ARG)

Tuesday's complete order of play is here.