Day 3 of the US Open saw the second round played out for the top half of the women’s draw. There were two notable upsets including the first one overnight which was a shocker! Otherwise, the seeds were mostly successful and these results have paved the way for a couple of blockbuster match-ups for Friday. Thoughts on Thursday’s matches are up on the blog on the separate page. Read on for 9 stories in Wednesday’s Set Points post from the US Open.
Svitolina turns the tables on Maria
Elina Svitolina opened proceedings on Louis Armstrong stadium with a comfortable 6-2 6-3 win over Tatjana Maria. Svitolina turned the tables on Maria after suffering a surprising first round loss to the German player in the first round of Wimbledon. This was a professional display from Svitolina who won the battle at the net and was clean with her passing shots. Svitolina has looked mostly calm through her first two rounds, despite dropping a set in her first round match. I feel like not many people are talking up her chances for this tournament and that’s probably a good thing for Elina.
Next up in the third round for Svitolina is Wang Qiang. Svitolina leads the head-to-head, 2-0, but both previous matches have gone the distance.
Louis Armstrong TV view fixed!
I was delighted to see through watching Svitolina-Maria that they’ve got a new camera for the Louis Armstrong stadium! A rather radical move, as outlined in the tweet below, but good to see the US Open reacting quickly to all the complaints. Looking forward to watching more matches on Armstrong 😊.
Azarenka storms past Gavrilova
Victoria Azarenka is back into the third round of a Slam after a routine 6-1 6-2 victory over Daria Gavrilova. Azarenka was lethal on return with Gavrilova holding serve just once throughout the 88-minute contest. The pair were having a good old natter at the end of the match!
Stephens survives, a win is a win
Sloane Stephens was pushed all the way by the world number 134, Anhelina Kalinina. From a set down and just two games from defeat, Stephens survived to reach the third round, 4-6 7-5 6-2 in two hours and 46 minutes. This was the first time i’ve seen Kalinina play. In her first match against a top 40 player and on the big stage, Kalinina made a name for herself.
For Stephens, it was not a vintage display by any means but she got the win. It doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as you get across the finish line! Considering the conditions and expectation, Stephens was very steady in the third set and was on her way after saving two break points at *0-1 as Kalinina eventually ran out of steam. Big respect to Stephens who applauded Kalinina off the court and also encouraged the crowd to clap her off too👏 . Really nice touch from Sloane (see below).
Next up in the third round – Sloane Stephens vs. Victoria Azarenka 🔥🔥🔥
Heck of an effort from Venus
From an early break down in both sets, Venus Williams edged past Camila Giorgi in two tight sets, 6-4 7-5. This was a heck of an effort from Venus to get the job done in straight sets. It was very different to her last match against Kuznetsova where she was looking to come forward. That was never going to get the job done against Giorgi. Williams once again demonstrated her intelligence on court and ability to adapt to the opponent. Williams weathered the Giorgi storm with excellent depth and placement on her groundstrokes, and avoided getting pushed back too far behind the baseline.
Williams won the majority of key points, especially in the second set. The American player came from *0-30 down in her last three service games and saved five break points at *4-4. While there was a sense that Giorgi could have done more and generally struggled to play good points back-to-back, Williams showed great variation on serve and found the first serve when it mattered.
Venus-Serena #30 incoming in the third round!
Makarova d. Goerges after a WILD 1st set tiebreak
After a wild first set tiebreak, Ekaterina Makarova took control with better serving to knock an increasingly erratic, Julia Goerges, 7-6(10) 6-3. Via Tennis Abstract, this was the 13th time that Makarova has beaten a top ten player at a Slam!
The match felt like it was decided on the first set tiebreak. Makarova saved three set points to get to the tiebreak and then needed NINE set points before sealing the set with a great serve down-the-tee. Goerges didn’t have any set points in the tiebreak! Makarova double faulted on two of the set points. After what had been a high quality 12 games, the tiebreak was a tense and nervy affair with both players tightening up.
Goerges kept fighting but Makarova was just too good on serve, dropping just four points behind it in the second set. Makarova advances to a third round date with Anastasija Sevastova. Not a clue who wins that one!
While I was sleeping…
The biggest upset of the day saw the world #202 beat the number 12 seed, Garbiñe Muguruza, 3-6 6-4 6-4. The match was still going on when I woke up so I saw the last game where Muguruza looked out-of-sorts and was desperately grunting. What a win for Muchova!
As alluded to above, Serena Williams won her second round match, easing past Carina Witthoeft, 6-2 6-2.
Ash Barty beat Lucie Safarova, 7-5 6-3. Mixed feelings about this one! Don’t know anything about how the match went apart from some loud noise? Barty’s draw has now opened up on paper as she will play Muchova in the third round. Both will be seeking to break new ground and reach the last 16 of a Slam for the first time.
Common sense prevails with Cornet
The incident with Alizé Cornet was picked up in the comments on yesterday’s Set Points post and was even on the BBC News front page (!) after Judy Murray tweeted about it. I’m glad to see that the US Open and WTA cleared up the situation and both issued statements.
Thursday’s US Open schedule
All the matches I want to see are first up on Thursday… will probably go and play tennis instead!