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!