Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Flushing Meadows - Day One

The opening day and night of US Open 2016 did not provide too many shocks, although top seed Novak Djokovic sent a temporary scare through tournament organisers and his legion of supporters - he lost the second set while appearing to suffer a debilitating injury battling Poland's Jerzy Janowicz.

Janowicz is ranked 247 in the world, but that position ignores his Wimbledon performance of 2013 where he reached the semi final.  A series of injuries has prevented him from continuing to challenge at the highest level, the latest a knee problem this year.  

At one set all, Jerzy's big serve and ground strokes had put Djokovic into areas not usually faced, and it took a number of changes in the Serb game plan to bring significant benefit in the third and fourth sets.
The top seed, seemingly affected by a wrist complaint and serving at slower speed, used his other skills, including slice and placement, to reach the second round 6-3 5-7 6-2 6-1.  Many sighs of relief but fingers remaining crossed that Novak is fit enough to survive the next two weeks.

Richard Gasquet was drawn to play Djokovic in the round of sixteen, but England's unseeded Kyle Edmund reduced the French 13th seed to a shadow of himself in the  impressive 6-2 6-2 6-3 performance.

Two all American matches went the distance, and although losing, the teenagers involved have potential for big futures.  20th seed John Isner fought back from two sets down to defeat 18 year old Frances Tiafoe, while 26th seed Jack Sock broke another 18 year old, Taylor Fritz, in the final game of their match to win.

Easier tasks for Milos Raonic, Marin Cilic, Rafa Nadal and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, all of whom won in straight sets.

The only other men's seed to fall on opening day was 28th seed Martin Klizan from Slovakia, beaten by Russia's Mikhail Youzhny.

Most of the favoured players in the women's draw that saw court time on the first day prevailed, even if it took longer than desired in a few cases.

3rd seed Garbine Muguruza lost the first set, and her poor Flushing Meadows record appeared likely to continue until she corrected things with a flourish, winning set two without surrendering a game.  
The Roland Garros champ won in three, as did eighth seed Madison Keys in the final scheduled match against fellow American Allison Riske. Keys also came from a set down,  and she and Muguruza are drawn to meet in the quarters. (as per my prediction which was looking rather shaky - twice)

Six seeds exited - Barbora Strycova (18), Irina-Camelia Begu (21), Sara Errani (27), Coco Vandeweghe (28), Misaki Doi (30) and Olympic Gold Medallist Monica Puig (32).

Decisive wins were enjoyed by seeds Dominika Cibulkova, Petra Kvitova, Roberta Vinci,  Johanna Konta and Svetlana Kuznetsova, all in two sets.
Second seed Angie Kerber was leading 6-0 1-0 before opponent Polona Hercog retired.

Day Two matches to keep an eye on (completion of first round)

S Williams v Makarova, Halep v Flipkens, Stosur v Giorgi
Wawrinka v Verdasco, Ferrer v Dolgopolov, Lopez v Coric

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