Day 2 of the US Open was a hot one. Aside from the big glaring upset of the number one seed, the first two days of the 2018 US Open have been relatively drama-free in terms of upsets. I won’t have time to do any more preview posts for the rest of the week so head over to the separate match analyses page for quick thoughts on Wednesday’s matches. Read on for 8 stories in Tuesday’s Set Points post.
Solid start for Osaka
I got home from work in time to watch Naomi Osaka serve out her first win since Washington, beating Laura Siegemund, 6-3 6-2. After her first round loss in Cincy, Osaka posted on social media about struggling to deal with the pressure and expectation after her title in Indian Wells. While Siegemund is not quite as devilish to play on the hard courts compared to the clay, she is still a dangerous opponent with two previous wins over Osaka.
Hopefully Osaka has turned a corner from how she felt during the summer. I wasn’t too concerned about Osaka’s pre-US Open form as she always seems to get up for the Slams. Next up for Osaka is Julia Glushko in the second round.
Ostapenko’s first win since Wimbledon
Jelena Ostapenko won her first match since Wimbledon, holding off a late charge from Andrea Petkovic to prevail 6-4 4-6 7-5 in two hours and 18 minutes. The final 20 minutes of this match were fantastic with some really great rallies. Considering the conditions, it was admirable from both players and their exchange at the net was lovely. Without doubt, Petkovic is the most gracious player in defeat on tour.
Ostapenko had plenty of leads in this match, wasting breaks in the second and third sets. Ostapenko was a set and a break up before Petkovic rallied to force a decider. Ostapenko then led 5-2 in the decider and had two match points at *5-3. Petkovic produced some gutsy defence to save the first and then got a slice of luck on the second with her groundstroke clipping the net but landing in. Ostapenko then netted, surely put off by wondering whether the ball was going to land in!
It was then Ostapenko’s turn to show nerves of steel as she saved two break points at 5-5 with some terrific shotmaking. I was impressed with both players towards the end of the match – Ostapenko showed a tad more patience in the rallies, while Petkovic maintained a great depth and found a first serve when it mattered. Ostapenko held at 5-5 in what proved to be the pivotal game as she then broke for the win.
I was shaking my head at Ostapenko at the end of the second set as she was so, so erratic. By the end of the third set, I was actually quite impressed with how she stayed in the moment, particularly in the game at 5-5 in the third set. This was a huge win for Ostapenko and could set her up nicely for the tournament.
One easy, one tight for Bertens
Kiki Bertens extended her winning streak to seven, easing through the opener before encountering second set resistance against Kristyna Pliskova in a 6-0 7-5 victory. Bertens won the first nine games in super quick time before Pliskova got on the board and found her serve. Things got a little dicey for Bertens as she was suddenly involved in a contest. Bertens stayed ahead on serve and then pounced at the end with Pliskova serving up two double faults in a row to open what would be the final game of the match. A good, solid start for Bertens.
Kerber fends off stern Gasparyan challenge
In her first victory at the US Open since winning the title in 2016, Angelique Kerber was pushed hard by Margarita Gasparyan but came through in straight sets, 7-6(5) 6-3. My overwhelming thought from the match – how GOOD is it to see Gasparyan back on the big stage?! Her backhand is just glorious.
Kerber missed three set points at *5-4 in the first set as an inspired Gasparyan fought back and launched into an early lead in the ensuing first set tiebreak. The pair fought out some gruelling rallies with Gasparyan pitching it perfectly with patience and precision. The first set tiebreak was high quality tennis and Kerber did extremely well to edge it. The second set wasn’t entirely straightforward. After an exchange of breaks it went with serve until Kerber made the breakthrough at 4-3 and then served out to 15.
Kerber killing it on social media
Loving all these shots of Angie in New York!
Garcia eases past Konta
While it looked to be one of the matches of the day on paper, the first rounder between Caroline Garcia and Johanna Konta was not much of a contest as Garcia won, 6-2 6-2 in just 75 minutes. I was in and out of this match (BAKE OFF!) but it seemed that Garcia was just too good for Konta and simply outplayed the Brit for most of the match. In a serving masterclass, Garcia hit seven aces and didn’t face any break points. Watch out for CarGar on this performance. Not an easy second rounder though against Monica Puig who double bagelled Stefanie Voegele in the first round!
While I was sleeping…
Madison Keys and Maria Sharapova both won in straight sets with the latter fighting past Patty Schnyder, 6-2 7-6(6).
I saw Daria Kasatkina win the first set before calling it night. The Russian player needed three sets to get past Timea Babos, coming from a break down in the third set to win, 6-4 5-7 6-4.
The most surprising result overnight IMO was Katerina Siniakova’s 6-7(3) 6-3 7-5 win over the number 28 seed, Anett Kontaveit.
Wednesday’s preview and polls
A quartet of polls for my top four matches on Wednesday. Sad that Lucie-Ash is late.