US Open 2020, Day 3 Takeaways: Garcia ousts Pliskova, Kerber & Kvitova battle into R3

Day 3 of the US Open featured our first dash of carnage that we’ve generally come to expect from the women’s draw! Six seeds lost including the top seed, Karolina Pliskova – more on that in this post. Arguably the most talked about upset was Varvara Gracheva rallying from 1-6 1-5 down (!) and down four match points (!) to beat Kristina Mladenovic 👀. The potential Rybakina-Yastremska third round clash will be Rogers-Brengle. And the most suprising result of the day for me was Ann Li dropping just three games to Alison Riske. Did not see that one coming at all. Read on for a review of the matches I watched on Wednesday.

Kerber advances to R3, made to work hard by Friedsam 🇩🇪

In one of the better matches from this year’s US Open so far, Angelique Kerber beat fellow compatriot, Anna-Lena Friedsam, 6-3 7-6(6). Kerber had to work very hard in the second set to fend off a spirited effort from Friedsam, who has a wonderful game. I hope the long-term injuries are now behind her. Ultimately, Kerber held her nerve in the second set tiebreak and was a touch more consistent as Friedsam commited more unforced errors in the crux moments.

Kerber is looking rock solid in New York and didn’t give Friedsam too many looks on serve as she landed 78% of first serves in. Kerber was a little passive in the second set as Friedsam began to take control of the rallies, but Kerber generally played the big points well. The highlight of the match was Kerber’s peak service game to serve out the first set and a backhand slice winner at the start of the second set which was truly ridiculous! You can see it in the video linked below from the US Open YouTube page.

Kvitova survives dicey opener, serve is a dream in the second set 😌

Petra Kvitova saved a set point in the first set before cruising past a fading Kateryna Kozlova in straights, 7-6(3) 6-2. Kvitova was hit-or-miss in a dicey opening set. The Czech player was missing on return but kept plugging away when Kozlova tried to serve out the set at *5-4. Kvitova managed to get the break back. From midway in the first set tiebreak, Kvitova pulled away in convincing fashion. From serving seven double faults in the first set, Kvitova only lost one (!) point on serve throughout the entire second set.

Kvitova revealed in her post-match interview that she was very nervous and tight in the first set. She did well to come through unscathed and in straight sets. The first week of a Slam is all about getting through with the W and it doesn’t really matter how you do it! Next up for Kvitova is Jessica Pegula who came through another gruelling three setter, this time against Kirsten Flipkens. Pegula is a tough match. Yep, i’m worried about that one for Petra.

Caro flys into R3 ✈️

Caroline Garcia knocked out the number one seed, Karolina Pliskova with a superb 6-1 7-6(2) victory. Garcia played an emphatic opening set. Her footwork was impeccable as she took control of the rallies and finished points at the net. Most impressive was her return as she put continual pressure on Pliskova’s serve. The commentators on my stream commented that Garcia is one of the best returners on tour – really?! I would have said that historically Garcia has always struggled on return, often going for too much, but she had a great return day on this occasion.

Garcia was rolling up 6-1 4-2 when she had a wobble. Pliskova stirred into life, winning 10 straight points. My instant thought was Pliskova wins in three. Garcia’s game began to unravel but to my surprise she held on. Garcia saved two set points at *4-5 and rallied from *0-30 down at *5-6. In the tiebreak, Garcia suddenly snapped back into her first set form and waltzed through the tiebreak. I did not expect Garcia to regain her focus after the mid-set wobble so that was a pleasant surprise!

A bad day at the office for Pliskova. I’m trying not to be too judgemental because these are exceptional circumstances with the players having had so little match play over the last five months. Thrilled for CarGar to get a big win at a Slam. Next up is Jen Brady who was in sensational form herself, beating CiCi Bellis, 6-1 6-2 in just 51 minutes.

LOL moment 🤣

What are you doing?! Loved this hahaha 😂

Day 4 watchlist 📺

Aryna Sabalenka vs. Victoria Azarenka: The match-up of the second round. Azarenka has the recent form and is probably my pick but write off Sabalenka at your peril!

Ons Jabeur vs. Kaia Kanepi: A huge-hitting clash awaits. Jabeur has been superb this year but Kanepi is such a dangerous match-up on her day.

Garbiñe Muguruza vs. Tsvetana Pironkova: A pleasant surprise to see Pironkova win her first round match. Intrigued to see how she gets on against Muguruza.

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

2 thoughts on “US Open 2020, Day 3 Takeaways: Garcia ousts Pliskova, Kerber & Kvitova battle into R3

  1. Pleasantly surprised with Garcia winning. I only caught highlights because of Djokovic/Edmund but she looked to be hitting really intelligently, with some spin and angles. I actually do feel like her return has somewhat improved a little – she returned pretty well against Sloane and Vika last week too. But I agree that it definitely hasn’t been a strong part of her game. Think she can beat Brady?

    I’m really happy for Shelby Rogers (although disappointed for Rybakina). Glad to see her backing up the win over Serena a few weeks ago with some good results. Very winnable match next against Brengle.

    And Marta Kostyuk still on a roll with super impressive play against a slightly muddled Sevastova. I’m not sure she’s quite ready to topple Osaka but we will see…

    Like

    • Garcia-Brady is an interesting one, they played a lot last year. I’d probably go Brady who has looked fantastic on the resumption.

      I like Shelby so pleased to see her doing well.

      Like

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