Thursday, September 2, 2021

Withrow and Lammons Stun Top Seeds in US Open Men's Doubles; National 18s Champions Krueger and Montgomery Advance in Women's Doubles; Svajda Falls Short; US Open Junior Qualifying Begins Friday

After the awful night of weather Wednesday, Thursday at the US Open was bright and sunny, and all manner of unexpected results surfaced. None was bigger than the win by the wild card team of Jackson Withrow(Texas A&M) and Nathaniel Lammons(SMU), who took down top seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic of Croatia 6-2, 7-5. 

That result, given the lack of experience in majors for Withrow and Lammons, and the great year that Mektic and Pavic are having (three Masters title, the Wimbledon title and the Olympic gold medal), makes it one of the most shocking men's doubles upsets at the US Open this century. Mektic and Pavic saved two match points late in the second set, but Withrow and Lammons didn't buckle under that pressure and served it out.

Another notable doubles result this evening was the completion of a match interrupted by rain yesterday. USTA 18s champions Ashlyn Krueger and Robin Montgomery who led Jessica Pegula and Asia Muhammad 6-2, 1-1 when the match resumed, managed to hold off the No. 13 seeds in a second set tiebreaker for a 6-2, 7-6(5) victory.

I watched most of the three-hours and 33 minutes that 2021 Kalamazoo 18s champion Zachary Svajda was on court against No. 13 seed Jannik Sinner of Italy, and although Svajda came out on the short end of the 6-3, 7-6(2), 6-7(6), 6-4 score, he did prove that he could hold his own with those at the top of the men's game. 

Svajda didn't look as confident to start as he did against Marco Cecchinato in the first round, and he was more comfortable deep behind the baseline, allowing Sinner more room to dictate, but he began to improve his court positioning in the second and third sets, and used his backhand to great advantage. 

I asked him after the match if he thought his experience in 2019 helped him take this next step, as there are often reservations expressed about giving the Kalamazoo 18s champion a main draw wild card.

"Back in 2019, I didn't really know what to expect, I was just trying to get a few games," Svajda said. "Of course I was trying to win, but I'd never played against these top guys. I went five sets and saw I could hang with top guys...it was nice to see that at 16, so when I won Kalamazoo[again] I felt like I could win a couple of matches. Kalamazoo is a tough tournament; it's a lot of matches and it's the best people under 18 in the United States. I agree they should definitely deserve it for sure."

Two other Americans who first played the US Open as Kalamazoo 18s champions are into the third round, with 2018 winner Jenson Brooksby beating Taylor Fritz 6-7(7), 7-6(10), 7-5, 6-2 in four hours and Jack Sock, who won Kalamazoo in 2010 and 2011, defeating No. 31 seed Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 7-6(7), 6-7(2). 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in three-and-a-half hours.

The qualifying for six main draw spots in the US Open Junior Championships begins at 10:00 am Friday at the Cary Leeds Tennis Center in the Bronx.

US girls in qualifying are Ariana Pursoo[WC], Qavia Lopez, Alexia Harmon, Valencia Xu[4], Katja Wiersholm[WC] and Theadora Rabman[WC]. Lopez was initially given a wild card but got in on her ranking, so the wild card went to Wiersholm. 

ITF J1 College Park finalists Brenda Fruhvirtova(CZE) and Mirra Andreeva(RUS) are the top two seeds in the girls draw.

The US boys in qualifying are Nicholas Heng[WC], Kyle Kang[WC], Azuma Visaya, Braden Shick, Sebastian Gorzny[WC] and Benjamin Kittay.

Kalin Ivanovski of Macedonia and German Samofalov of Ukraine, a freshman at Alabama, are the top two boys seeds in qualifying.

Thursday's second round results of Americans:

Karolina Pliskova[4](CZE) d. Amanda Anisimova 7-5, 6-7(5), 7-6(7)
Bianca Andreescu[6](CAN) d. Lauren Davis 6-4, 6-4
Shelby Rogers d. Sorana Cirstea(ROU) 7-5, 6-2
Jessica Pegula[23] d. Misaki Doi(JPN) 6-3, 6-2

Gael Monfils[17](FRA) d. Steve Johnson 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
Jenson Brooksby[WC] d. Taylor Fritz 6-7(7), 7-6(10), 7-5, 6-2
Reilly Opelka[22] d. Lorenzo Musetti(ITA) 7-6(1), 7-5, 6-4
Kei Nishikori(JPN) d. Mackenzie McDonald 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-7(5), 2-6, 6-3
Jack Sock[WC] d. Alexander Bublik(KAZ) 7-6(7), 6-7(2). 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
Jannik Sinner[13](ITA) d. Zachary Svajda[WC] 6-3, 7-6(2), 6-7(6), 6-4
Oscar Otte[Q](GER) d. Denis Kudla 6-4, 6-4, 6-2
Lloyd Harris(RSA) d. Ernesto Escobedo[WC] 6-4, 6-4, 6-2
Nikoloz Basilashvili(GEO) d. Maxime Cressy[Q] 7-6(3), 6-3, 7-5

Friday's third round singles matches featuring Americans:

Frances Tiafoe v Andrey Rublev[5](RUS)
Sloane Stephens v Angelique Kerber[16](GER)
Danielle Collins[26] v Aryna Sabalenka[2](BLR)


guest said...

Cary Leeds is a great facility but it is a shame to have the junior qualifying there. Parking is a challenge and it limits exposure of what is very high quality tennis. These kids should get the buzz of the US Open and play on the outer practice courts in Queens. Playing in Queens also gives juniors who are attending the US Open to see the pros a chance to see the level of some of the best juniors in the world.