It has been an incredible couple of days down in New York. With round one now over who has caught the eye down at Flushing Meadows?
Vasek Pospisil 4-6 7-5 7-5 4-6 6-3 Karen Khachanov
Vasek has his first main draw win in a year following a rough time with injury. Karen Khachanov will be gutted to go home so early in a major following a good run of performances but he didn’t get going.
Karen played ok but that was it. I never saw him take the initiative and try and go for it against the Canadian, instead he played pretty passively. Vasek deserved the win, he went for it and asked more of the questions of Karen’s serve which he returned well and did a very good job at moving him around the court.
Coco Gauff’s first win!
Coco Gauff has her first win at Flushing Meadows. Her opponent was 18 year old Anastasia Potapova who defeated Angie Kerber at Roland Garros not long ago. The Russian took the first set pretty comfortably against the 15 year old who once again wow’d us all with her ability to dig in. The third and final set looked like being a run away for Gauff who led 4-1 but was pegged back for 4-4 but broke serve to seal here first win in New York.
Thomas Fabbiano 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-2 Dominic Thiem
Tommy Fabbiano is no stranger to an upset. The Italian took out Tsitsipas and Karlovic in five sets at Wimbledon and against Dominic Thiem gave him the run around.
Thiem has been unwell lately and did look slightly off the pace. I do think the amount of tennis he has played hasn’t helped him and a quarter finalist last year he didn’t live up to expectations. Fabbiano moved around the court so well and asked question of Thiem’s game. The Austrian showed glimpses of what he could do but it was a very laboured performance from the fourth seed.
Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-7 7-6 7-5 Stefanos Tsitsipas
Andrey Rublev’s good form continues, Tsitsipas’ year is slowly petering out. Rublev is in-form right now and of course had that win against Federer and just plays a smart game.
I didn’t think Stefanos Tsitsipas played badly at all, I enjoyed what I saw. On his serve in pressure moments he did pretty well. The only criticism and what I think let him down was a bit predictable at times and Andrey stayed patient and waited for his chance to pounce.
Agut & Azarenka slip up!
Two slip ups…
Bautista Agut who is the 10th seed fell in round one to Mikhail Kukushkin despite winning the first set.
Victoria Azarenka who has had some rough luck with draws had fellow Belarusian Sabalenka in the first round but it was the latter who won in three sets against the former major champion.
Denis wins all Canadian battle!
The performance we have been waiting for. Go as far as saying Denis’ best performance of the year?
Felix Auger-Aliassime wasn’t at the races but Denis didn’t allow him to be. I loved watching Denis in this one, it was faultless and is something I will touch on in the coming days.
Sascha Zverev being two sets up and seeing through the win is never a given. At Roland Garros the German was two sets up and had to win a fifth against both Dusan Lajovic and John Millman.
At New York he was two sets up and Radu Albot before having to come through a fifth sailing close to the wind again and next up for him is a big test in Frances Tiafoe.
Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-3 7-6 6-7 6-2 Ilya Ivashka
It’s good to see Thanasi back!
He got a wildcard for the event and I’m pleased to see him get his first round win. He has had a torrid time with injuries and this match-up was what he needed.
Ivashka didn’t really ask many questions of the Australian and I think that was match Thanasi needed. I thought he constructed points well, stayed patient and didn’t push too much.
Hyeon Chung 3-6 6-4 6-7 6-4 6-2 Ernesto Escobedo
A win that will slip under the radar.
Another player who has had a tough time with injury. Chung is a very good player who could have a bright future. The Korean had to come through qualifying to get a place in the main draw and has won 12 of his 14 matches since returning.
To come from two sets to one down and win in his first major appearance in some time is a great achievement for the 23 year old.
The most one-sided rivalry in history had another chapter.
Serena Williams took 59 minutes to dispatch Maria Sharapova 6-1 6-1 on Monday night in what was a highly anticipated match but from the Russian’s point of view didn’t live up to the standard she’d probably want.
It has been a season to forget for Maria and this defeat emphases where she is at right now and what work she has ahead of her to even think about top 30 again and will drop outside the top 130.
Inform Fritz falls to Feli
Bit of a shame for Taylor Fritz who has been the form guy for American tennis. Feliciano Lopez however is a player you don’t want early on.
This is Feli’s 72nd consecutive major appearance which is a tennis record and the 37 year old doesn’t show signs of slowing up and has adapted his game to still be effective and produce some of his best results.
Former champs Kerber & Sloane go home!
This isn’t a surprise at all.
Angie Kerber and Sloane Stephens going home in round one. It’s been a rough year for both players.
Momentum hasn’t been there, the tennis has been flat and now it is a sense of ‘save your season.’
Angie made the Eastbourne final, got blown away and has lost 5 of her last 6 matches on the tour now. Sloane needs to find something but it looks like a little too late now for the American to even qualify for World Tour Finals. Sloane could slip outside the top 20 and maybe top 30 if she fails to defend her points at the finals.
The 18 year old came through qualifying at Flushing Meadows and gave a former major finalist who is not having a good time at the moment on the tour in Tomas Berdych.
The teenager gave the 33 year old the run-around but at the same time it is sad to see Tomas Berdych in this situation on what could be his last year on the tour.