The first round at the 2019 US Open is in the books. It was a manic evening with the start of the Great British Bake Off but I just about managed to stay afloat with the tennis 😂. While there were a few more upsets than day 1, the entire bank of top 10 seeds remains intact. Don’t expect much from me on the blog over the next few days – this is a busy week. Read on for highlights from day 2 of the 2019 US Open.
Match reviews 🎾
Alison Riske d. (24) Garbiñe Muguruza, 2-6 6-1 6-3
Playing with relentless baseline aggression and increasingly nailing winners down-the-line, Alison Riske won 11 of the last 14 games to knock out Garbiñe Muguruza. In the first set, Riske struggled on serve and committed too many unforced errors. The American player, a three set machine in the last two months, got stuck in early on in the second set. I just adore Riske’s attitude and fighting spirit on court. I think she has to be in the top five of most positive players on court. Riske’s hitting through the final two sets was sensational.
Muguruza was hitting the ball well in the first set but faded from the second set onwards and was unable to make a dent on Riske in the rallies. It’s important to note that Muguruza had played just two tournaments since the French Open. It’s been a rough year and it feels like 2019 is a bit of a write-off. Like Kasatkina, I think the rest of the year is about playing matches, building belief and setting up for a charge in 2020.
(1) Naomi Osaka d. Anna Blinkova, 6-4 6-7(5) 6-2
In the first match of her title defence, Naomi Osaka was made to work hard by Anna Blinkova. Osaka rallied from 1-4 down in the first set and then saved three set points in the second set before chalking up a match point, leading 6-4 6-5. Osaka missed a lone match point and then Blinkova played a great second set tiebreak as she lengthened the rallies and got Osaka on the move. Blinkova is a super competitor!
Osaka was overhitting at the start but gradually improved and played very well in patches. Osaka was able to depend on her serve in the decider, pulling away from 1-1 where she saved two break points. Osaka was wearing a knee support but seemed OK in her movement. Perhaps not an ideal match physically but I would say perfect mentally as she had to show focus and patience to overcome a spirited effort from Blinkova
(4) Simona Halep d. Nicole Gibbs, 6-3 3-6 6-2
Three of the top four seeds have been pushed the distance in the first round but they’ve all survived. Halep lost the middle set to Nicole Gibbs as the American took control of the rallies. Halep stepped up closer to the sideline, moved Gibbs from side-to-side and eventually wore down her opponent, comfortably coming through in the end. Even after losing the second set, I thought Halep remained very calm… at least on the face of it! It was nice to see Gibbs on the big stage and moving on after some difficult times.
While I was sleeping… 😴
It felt like a lot more happened compared to day 1!
Caroline Wozniacki survived an opening breadstick to beat Wang Yafan, 1-6 7-5 6-3. Of the snippets I saw, it was the best quality match i’ve seen so far. Both players ended with positive stats and more winners to unforced errors (Woz 34-26 and Wang 37-35).
In a battle of the teens, CoCo Gauff beat Anastasia Potapova, 3-6 6-2 6-4. A potential opening now in the draw for Gauff after Carla Suárez Navarro retired down a set against Timea Babos.
In the most anticipated match on Tuesday, Aryna Sabalenka edged Victoria Azarenka in three sets, 3-6 6-3 6-4. Another tough loss for Vika. A nice hug at the end.
The highest seed to fall over the first two days was the number 11 seed, Sloane Stephens. Step forward, Anna Kalinskaya, who scored the biggest win of her career on Arthur Ashe Stadium with a 6-4 6-3 victory.
The potential Stephens-Kuznetsova second rounder will be Kalinskaya-Ahn! Kristie Ahn beat recent Cincy finalist, Svetlana Kuznetsova, in straight sets, 7-5 6-2.
Stat watch 🔢
Alison Riske and three set matches. In the last two months, Riske has come from a set down to win on NINE occasions! It was also a landmark win for Riske who snapped a run of five straight losses in New York to win her first match at the US Open since 2013.
LOL moment 🤣
Sakkari’s reaction on Twitter to Giorgi’s handshake was classic! 🙊
Favourite snap 📸
Love this shot by Jimmie48 of Petra in her new kit 🔥.
Press highlights 📰
Via Reem Abulleill on Twitter, Muguruza sounded reasonably positive in press.
Recommended reading 📚
Enjoyed this piece about Iga Swiatek where she talked about a recent practice session with Naomi Osaka.
Tomorrow’s OOP ⭐
The second round is up on Wednesday with my two favourite matches of the day both likely to provide buckets of variety!