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!
9 thoughts on “US Open 2019, Day 2: Relentless Riske beats Muguruza, Osaka & Halep survive three setters”
I just can’t call this one… I just don’t know who is going to win this title! Could be Serena, Keys, Halep, Osaka, Barty, Pliskova, Andreescu, Bencic, Kenin, Guaff, none of the above…
Really excited for Svitolina v Venus today. I’m surprised it isn’t on Ashe, although I think that this half of the draw has more big names and former winners in it, so scheduling is going to be tough. The bottom half on both the men’s and women’s has hardly anybody I’m interested in watching, really!
Interesting names in your picks,I like it, only iffy on Bencic and Gauff. The draw seems fairly balanced to me this time. It seems the Williams sisters are destined to be on the same half these days. My initial instinct though was a winner from the top half, someone who has been in a tournament final.
Bencic has been impressive for most of this year, and I feel like these courts and conditions are the best for her game (I know some say grass is, but just look at her best results!). As for Gauff, I think she has the potential to upset Osaka in round 3, if she plays like she did at Wimbledon. The crowd are certainly going to be behind her in a big way!
I agree, so many contenders!
The one thing you can usually count on with a slam tournament is that a player you hadn’t thought would get anywhere will make a deep run – maybe even to the title, as Ostapenko did at the FO in 2017.
Anyway, well done Alison though the alarm bells should be ringing for Garbine now.
My pick for the title? I like to see players win who have come close before but haven’t won a slam yet, so I’m hoping to see Madi Keys face off against Karo Pliskova in the final. I wouldn’t write off Serena though, she’s quite capable of getting there.
Sadly, Muguruza and Stephens were early write-offs for me in my picks. It’s the same with both, mentally, the hunger is not slam ready. You need some good dose of fortune to get through in that case. The US open in particular, I feel, loves some spirit and fight. Personally, I’m also wary of going for long periods coachless. As liberating as it may feel, the tour is too competitive to ‘free wheel’ it in that way.
Caught a few glimpses of the Osaka from last year in her match against Blinkova. My poor tennis heart, got excited for a moment, last year was just an incredible run.
Potapova played a cruncher in the first set and a half. She may feel, she let the match get away but Kudos to Coco. There is a certain grace to her play sometimes. She kept her head in it, and with the home support she found her game. The more I see these players, the more I think the WTA is going to shape up just fine.
I think the future of the WTA looks bright.
It does James. Serena beat 17 year old Caty McNally yesterday but only after Caty had oushed her to three sets. I think Caty’s a player with a very bright future.
I agree, Graham. Really like McNally’s game and the variety that many of the up-and-comers seem to possess.