The first round is officially in the books at the 2021 US Open. Tuesday’s order of play didn’t have the same grab as Monday and that’s how it played out. I don’t mind a breather after Monday and particularly on first round days which are always so manic. There was a good two hours last night where it was almost exclusively men’s matches so was hopping around streams. Fucsovics-Seppi fifth set tiebreak was probably the most eventful viewing experience of the night. Read on for Tuesday’s diary which captures the women’s matches I watched in the day session. No post tomorrow so plan to wrap up the second round on Thursday. The weather forecast looks interesting for the next few days…
Day 2️⃣ Highlights
(1) Ash Barty d. Vera Zvonareva, 6-1 7-6(7)
First set emphatic. Second set a little dicey! Barty cruised through the opening set with seven aces and some fine forehands. Second set was much, much closer. Zvonareva upped her first serve percentage, got stuck in as the rallies lengthened and competed superbly. Barty double faulted trying to serve out the match at 6-1 *5-4 and became passive behind the backhand slice which Zvonareva generally handled well. Barty held it together in the second set tiebreak, saving a set point with a clutch forehand winner that just caught the line and then outlasting Zvonareva in a lung-busting final point.
I think i’ve learnt from Wimbledon that you can’t read too much into the early rounds. As long as it’s a win, that is all that matters! Ash through to play Clara Tauson which i’m very intrigued about.
Emma Raducanu d. Stefanie Voegele, 6-2 6-3
Five British women reached the US Open main draw and only one survived the first round. Raducanu beat the luckylLoser, Voegele, to win her first ever US Open main draw match. Raducanu didn’t drop a set in qualifying and was fantastic in her final qualifying round match against Mayar Sherif. This was another impressive performance, coming from an early break down in both sets and finally converting on her seventh match point.
Raducanu appears to be one of those players who can get on a roll. The series of points she played to win the first set reminded me of when she was totally peaking against Cirstea at Wimbledon. Next up for Raducanu is a rematch with Zhang Shuai. The pair played in San Jose last month where Zhang won, 6-3 6-2.
(17) Maria Sakkari d. Marta Kostyuk, 6-4 6-3
Kostyuk has beaten seeds at the last two Slams so this was a solid win for Sakkari and to get it done in straights too. The first set could have gone either way. Sakkari rallied from 0-2 down and then saved a break point at 3-3 with an ace. Sakkari held, broke Kostyuk’s serve and then served out the set in convincing fashion. Sakkari lost her early break in the second set but there was never really any drama. Katerina Siniakova awaits in the second round. That’s one to circle…
(24) Paula Badosa d. Alison Van Uytvanck, 6-4 6-3
Badosa won her first main draw match at the US Open with a reasonably comfortable victory over Van Uytvanck. After dropping her first service game, Badosa then went nine for nine in service games and didn’t face a break point. Encouraging considering the strapping and after the shoulder injury ended her Cincy campaign. Badosa did reference the shoulder in press (see David Kane’s tweet below).
Van Uytvanck made a bright start and was arguably the better player for much of the first set. There were some bizarre tactical decisions and the errors soon mounted for AVU. A professional display from Badosa who i’ve got to the semis in my draw. Solid enough start.
Best of the rest 🎾
Just the two seeds fell on Tuesday. Sara Sorribes Tormo defeated the number 22 seed, Karolina Muchova, 6-2 7-6(3) which was unsurprising to me after Muchova pulled out of Cincy with an abdominal injury and because SST is such a tough competitor these days. Sorana Cirstea also continued her excellent form at Slams this year, beating the number 29 seed, Veronika Kudermetova, 7-6(5) 3-6 6-0. That’s a total of three seeds down after the first round and the entire slate of top 20 seeds intact through round one.
While I was sleeping… 😴
Bianca Andreescu maintained her 100% record at the US Open with a classic Bianca win. 7-5 4-6 7-5 over Viktorija Golubic in two hours and 49 minutes finishing in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
One from Monday’s night session. Love moments like this 😊.
Snap of the day 📸
Nice shot of KaPlisk.
Press highlights 📰
One from Monday. Muguruza seemed quite content in press after her first round win over Donna Vekic.
Recommended reading 📚
From a few weeks ago, another great piece by Alex Macpherson on Emma Raducanu.
Day 3 watchlist 📺
(21) Coco Gauff vs. Sloane Stephens
(25) Daria Kasatkina vs. Marketa Vondrousova
(20) Ons Jabeur vs. Maria Camila Osorio Serrano