US Open 2020, Day 1 Takeaways: Kontaveit survives Collins, Kvitova & Kerber safely through

I’ve missed that frenetic panic trying to keep on top of all of the scores on the first day of a Slam. Day 1 of the 2020 US Open is officially in the books. It was a routine day for the seeds with 15 of 16 advancing to the second round. Just one seed (ONE!) went out and that was the number 32 seed, Rebecca Peterson, who was defeated in straight sets by Kirsten Flipkens.

I’m easing back into blogging (it’s been so long!) so I am debuting my streamlined Slam Takeaways series which is simply a notebook of things that moved me from the matches that I watched. I’m not going to try and cover everything because it’s not sustainable for me – I don’t know how I used to do it! Shout at me in the comments for anything noteworthy that i’ve missed 😊.

Kerber’s forehand is still glorious 😍

Of the first matches up on the schedules, I was eager to watch Angelique Kerber who is one of the few players now in the bubble who didn’t play Cincy-New York. Considering this was her first match since the Australian Open, Kerber played a really solid match to overcome Ajla Tomljanovic, 6-4 6-4. Watching Kerber hit her forehand down-the-line in the first game just reminded how much I adore that shot. It was a deeply soothing experience.

Kerber won the last nine points of the first set and held off a late surge of backhand winners from Tomljanovic in the second set, serving out the match at the second time of asking. Kerber was impressive on the defence as she managed to retrieve one extra ball back in play on multiple occasions to draw the error from Tomljanovic. There were also patches where Kerber dictated with the forehand which was encouraging to see. Kerber will need to improve the serve in later rounds and was generally let off the hook on return by Tomljanovic. Otherwise, it was a damn good showing from Kerber for her first competitive match in seven months.

Kvitova and a fast court – Beware! 🎆

Petra Kvitova scored her first post-lockdown win on the WTA tour, beating Irina-Camelia Begu, 6-3 6-2. This was an ultra-aggressive display from Kvitova – a tad wild in the first set, but simply irresistable in the second set. The constant throughout the match was Kvitova’s serve as she landed 75% of first serves in. The serve allowed her to come forward where she won 15 of 20 points at the net. I hope we get to see Kvitova coming forward more because I think her volleys are underrated.

I thought Begu played a decent match and she would have beaten a lot of players in the first round at this level with a more favourable draw. Petra is definitely one to watch on these fast hard courts. The conditions were perfect for her on Monday. I’m keeping a close eye on the forecast…

Kostyuk thrashes Kasatkina 😞

While I fully expected the result, this was still sad to watch. Marta Kostyuk eased past Daria Kasatkina, 6-1 6-2. Kostyuk played a very clean match. The Ukrainian player served superbly and played with both intent and precision. Kasatkina is clearly lacking confidence and seems tactically lost on court. There were patches of play where she went after the ball, but still with little purpose, and patches of being passive where Kostyuk completely dominated proceedings.

I really hope that Dasha can find her joy on the court again because this isn’t fun to watch right now. Kostyuk is into the second round of a Slam for the first time since her break-out run at the Australian Open in 2018. Next up is Anastasija Sevastova which should be a fascinating match.

Kontaveit survives Collins 😌

I was worried about this match-up for Anett Kontaveit but she survived a red-hot first set performance from Danielle Collins to prevail, 5-7 6-2 6-2. It was raining down winners in the first set. The pair combined for 24 winners through the first six and a half games – and these were bloody brilliant winners that made you start chuckling at the sheer audacity of the shotmaking. Collins was channelling some of the form from down where she routed the likes of Svitolina, Kenin and Bencic. To be honest, I was surprised Collins wasn’t seeded and thought she was ranked higher than 55.

I think Kontaveit would have lost this type of a match a year or two ago. She stayed committed and aggressive, managing to wear down Collins over the last two sets. Collins was rather exposed for not having a Plan B when her groundstrokes started to miss. A big, big win for Kontaveit who has been one of the most impressive players on the restart.

Day 2 watchlist 📺

Karolina Muchova vs. Venus Williams: Favourite match-up from the first round and i’ve got it all planned to get up before work on Wednesday morning to watch back without knowing the result 😁.

Johanna Konta vs. Heather Watson: Can’t miss out on this all-British clash and they’ve scheduled it at a good time!

Vera Zvonareva vs. Leylah Fernandez: Hipster match-up alert.

Follow Moo’s Tennis Blog on Twitter and Facebook. Feature photo by Omar Boraby Photography.

4 thoughts on “US Open 2020, Day 1 Takeaways: Kontaveit survives Collins, Kvitova & Kerber safely through

  1. So far, things have gone pretty much how I expected them to. I was really thrilled to see Vondrousova, Kostyuk and Rybakina with very strong openers! I watched Pliskova, who was slightly less convincing (despite the score) – she was fairly close to losing momentum at the end of the first set and I feared an upset.

    Disappointing for Gauff but Sevastova has always been a giant killer here in New York…

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      • Tough to call! Neither wowed me in the first round. Garcia is still plugging away with a new serve – it might pan out for her long-term but right now she’s landing less in, and averaging a much slower pace. So I’m inclined to go for Karolina because she’s more likely to be solid on serve.

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