Two rounds down and just 32 players remain in the 2019 US Open draw. I’ve been busy the past few days so I have combined the last two days into a speedy round-up. Unfortunately the rain wiped out most of Wednesday’s schedule which meant many matches were bunched together on Thursday – 10 women’s matches were played simultaneously first up on Thursday! Read on for highlights from the second round in New York.
Match reviews 🎾
(5) Elina Svitolina d. Venus Williams, 6-4 6-4
Elina Svitolina scored one of her best Slam wins, converting on her sixth match point to get past Venus Williams. I only caught the final two games but it felt like a set as Venus played a gutsy-as-hell service game to force Svitolina to serve for the match. In an eight deuce game, Venus saved five match points. I must reiterate the word “saved” as Venus was clutch on all of them including one sensational volley. Svitolina didn’t do a lot wrong as Venus got the first strike in and pushed Svitolina behind the baseline.
Svitolina has lost many matches this year from winning positions so it was a big win as she was able to serve out the match in the next game. Svitolina moves onto the third round where she will play Dayana Yastremska.
(10) Madison Keys d. Zhu Lin, 6-4 6-1
Madison Keys is safely into the third round where she play Sofia Kenin in a repeat of their Cincy semi-final. This felt very much like a Cincy performance from Madison. The American made a ragged start and produced some unforced errors, but they were only in localised patches and didn’t define her whole performance. From 1-3 down in the first set, Keys won five of the last six games to claim the opener. Keys increasingly put pressure on Zhu’s serve with some battering returns as she cruised through the second set.
Karolina Muchova d. Hsieh Su-Wei, 6-1 4-6 7-6(2)
I love it when a match that i’m looking forward to lives up to expectation. Karolina Muchova edged Hsieh Su-Wei in a wonderful contest on Court 5. Muchova played a brilliant opener as she used her first serve to get the first strike in in the rallies. Hsieh improved in the second set as she took the ball much earlier and didn’t allow Muchova to dictate.
The third set featured some superb all-court points. Muchova missed three match points on Hsieh’s serve at 6-5* 40-0* in the decider as she missed returns… and missed them big. Muchova showed impressive composure to overcome that disappointment and play a fine tiebreak as she landed big first serves and came forward to the net. Have I mentioned that I adore Muchova’s game? The Czech player won 26 of 38 net points and I thought her general willingness to charge the net was the difference in the end.
Hsieh and Muchova are two of my favourite players to watch on tour. I’d love to see this match-up on a fast court! Muchova advances to a third round showdown with Serena. Can’t wait…
Taylor Townsend d. (4) Simona Halep, 2-6 6-3 7-6(4)
Taylor Townsend scored the upset of the tournament and the biggest win of her career as she knocked out the Wimbledon champ, Simona Halep. This was an absolute THRILLER – I can’t remember the last time I felt so impassioned watching a match. Townsend produced an extraordinary performance of aggressive, net charging tennis as she made 106 net approaches and 61 serve and volleys (via WTA Insider).
Townsend missed a match point at Wimbledon against Kiki Bertens. This match had heartbreaker etched all over it again as Townsend failed to convert on two match points, leading *5-4 in the third set. Townsend tightened up but Halep produced two stunning passes in that game including one on the second match point. Halep broke back, saved break points to hold and then had a match point of her own at 6-5. On the match point, Townsend seemed to throw in a slower first serve which took Halep by surprise.
Townsend held her nerve to hold and then seal the win in the deciding set tiebreak. The highlight of the match, and what made it so fun to watch, was Townsend’s net rushing tactics. She has always volleyed well but i’ve never seen her go all in with the tactics. It really worked wonders as Halep seemed a little lost at how to deal with it. While occasionally nailing the pass, Halep frequently found the net as she was rushed into errors. Townsend served very well and was so quick and dynamic up at the net. All the credit to Townsend for taking it on, being brave, and going out to win.
Stat watch 🔢
Andrea Petkovic beat the number six seed, Petra Kvitova, 6-4 6-4, for her first top ten win of the year. It wasn’t a big surprise though when you look at the head-to-head. Petkovic now leads Kvitova, 6-3, in their H2H and has won four of their last five meetings. Match-ups matter on the WTA tour. Rest up, Petra 😘.
Hot shot of the day 🔥
Relying on Jen Brady’s Twitter to share some Townsend magic!
Handshakes and hugs 🤗
This is adorable!
LOL moment 🤣
An accurate depiction of day 3 on the outside courts with Margarita Gasparyan.
Favourite snap 📸
Love this shot of Elina by Jimmie48. She really seemed to enjoy the second round battle with Venus in front of the American crowd.
Press highlights 📰
Interesting insights from Ash Barty into the court and conditions (via the US Open YouTube account).
Recommended media 📺
Loved Taylor’s post-match interview and seeing how much this win meant to her.
Tomorrow’s OOP ⭐
The first slate of third round matches from the bottom half of the draw will be played on Friday and the line-up is mighty fine! Most excited for Serena-Muchova, Keys-Kenin and Svitolina-Yastremska!
8 thoughts on “US Open 2019, Days 3 and 4: Townsend stuns Halep for best win, Muchova-Hsieh delivers!”
Yes Svitolina, this is what we’ve been waiting for! She’s got one tough draw (Venus, Yastremska, Keys/Kenin, Pliskova). Really intrigued to see if that spurs her on to bring her best stuff.
Some amazing matches lined up today. Serena/Muchova, Keys/Kenin, Barty/Sakkari, Osaka/Gauff, Pliskova/Jabeur, Sevastova/Martic. We really are spoiled for choice with this section of the draw!
The match-ups may favour the lucky few girls who got to play their matches under the roofs during the rain delay. The rest may be a factor, that is, Keys et al. Others also pulling doubles play duty, Gauff, Jabeur, Muchova, Barty..
🙂 A brilliant match to see, Townsend and Halep. She was really getting under Simona’s skin with her serve and volley, that touch at the net, just fun to watch. A real shame though that in some comments on social media, the conversation has to default to her weight. In a certain sense, some people don’t see that negative comments directed towards her also reflect on Halep too. Simona is probably one of the quickest counter punchers and she was still ‘bested’ on the day.
I see a Venus in Gauff, just at different periods of their careers. It was interesting as in the press interview you could tell the contrasts in thinking. Asked age related questions, Coco just latches on and tells her story, passionately, whereas Venus stares into the void and smiles, probably having been asked about it one too many times. Motivating for one, and probably demotivating for the other.
Well another thing is that the press have been very unkind at times to both Serena and Venus. It became pretty clear a long time ago that both sisters decided that they no longer wanted to engage with media anymore. Can’t say I blame them, either!
Agreed, I do wish a lot more players were forthright with the press. It could help with the kind of rapport we get. Even though it’s more of a respect thing, I still like how Osaka, in her shy demeanor, still asks them if
she could leave now.
Townsend-Halep was my favourite match of the tournament so far!
Interesting to see the number of times that Taylor came into the net during her defeat of Simona – over 100. I thought the serve-volley game had all but died out because it left players vulnerable to strong and accurate hitting from the baseline?
On a different note, I was sad to see that Carla (Suarez-Navarro) has been fined $40,000 for lack of effort after having to retire from a match with back pain. I’ve been following Carla’s tennis career long enough to know that lazy is the last thing she is. I hope she appeals against the decision.
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Those sorts of rulings, I feel, are very subjective. It’s ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ type situation. I thought there may be some more info we’re not privy to in Carla’s situation. Personally, I always wonder how you can sincerely judge effort in an individualistic competition like this when there is a huge mental aspect to the play. Yes, you want players to be ‘professional’, but can it be applied fairly and consistently.
About the serve and volley, you’re right. From Halep’s own analysis, it worked on her because of the sheer volume and specifically, variety in pace of Townsend’s serve when using it. She said she couldn’t find her rhythm in response. Seems like Townsend did her homework especially for Halep. Will be interesting to see if she she can keep it up through the tournament. More powerful serving and hard hitting baseline players will be piling a lot more pressure on her to execute.
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