The women’s seeds kept dropping out on Tuesday at the US Open, where No. 6 Lucie Safarova, who has had a strong summer, was nonetheless easily sent out by unseeded Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko 6-4, 6-1.
“I talked with my coach about what to change,” said Tsurenko, who following Wimbledon won her first career title at Istanbul. “I changed the serve a little bit, made it a more active movement. I received pretty bad because she was a lefty. This time I was playing at the back more.”
Safarova made for almost half of the Top 10 seeds going out the first two days.
Other unseeded players orchestrating upsets were Czech Barbora Strycova ousting No. 14 Timea Bacsinszky 7-5, 6-0; Japan’s Kurumi Nara coming from a set down to defeat No. 27 Alize Cornet 2-6, 6-4, 6-4; and Belarus’ Olga Govortsova who edged No. 28 Irina Begu 6-1, 0-6, 7-6(3).
Top 10-seeded winners avoiding the upset bug were No. 2 Simona Halep beating Marina Erakovic who retired in the second set with a knee injury; No. 5 Petra Kvitova in the final night match overwhelming inexperienced German Laura Siegemund 6-1, 6-1; No. 4 Caroline Wozniacki steamrolling NCAA champ Jamie Loeb 6-2, 6-0; and No. 9 Garbine Muguruza Blanco beating German Carina Witthoeft 6-2, 6-4.
“Actually it’s the first time I’ve started a Grand Slam well,” said Halep in her post-match press conference. “I had a good match. I think I was playing very aggressively. I served pretty well, I returned okay. She has a second serve with a lot of topspin, and it’s really tough to return…I was playing with confidence and didn’t let her play her game.”
Wozniacki took time out after her match to hold court on her buddy Serena Williams and her quest for a calendar-year Grand Slam.
“I think the media and everyone else is more concerned than she is,” Wozniacki said. “Obviously she’s very aware of the situation. But in the end of the day, I think she just takes one match at a time and just wants to do her best out there…She’s arguably the best player ever, female player to ever play tennis, maybe the best female player in terms of results, and it’s already incredible, you know.”
Also into the second round were seeds No. 11 Angelique Kerber, No. 16 Sara Errani, No. 18 Andrea Petkovic who came from a set down to beat Caroline Garcia, No. 20 Victoria Azarenka, No. 22 Sam Stosur, No. 24 Sabine Lisicki, No. 26 Flavia Pennetta who needed three to beat Jarmila Gajdosova, and No. 32 Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.
The former No. 1 Azarenka got meta after her match regarding her approach to this US Open.
“I kind of put myself in this mindset where time doesn’t really exist that much,” she said. “There is no past or future. I just try to stay really in the present and find the way to enjoy that and improve in that particular moment. So not looking ahead. But I feel that I’ve done a good job preparing myself. I gave myself the best opportunity to play here. You know, I give 100 percent every day, so that’s all I can ask from myself.”
A tame day on the men’s side saw No. 2 Roger Federer maintain his sterling form with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 dismantling of Leo Mayer, and No. 3 Andy Murray caging the combustible Nick Kyrgios 7-5, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 in the men’s night match.
“It definitely looked like a very tough draw in the first round,” said Federer, who has had difficulty with Mayer in the past. “For me, anyways. But then again, today was much faster…Plus, I’m playing very well at the moment. Playing with confidence. Got off to a good start. Then the match obviously can be very different.”
No. 5 Stan Wawrinka and No. 6 Tomas Berdych were other Top 10 winners on the day, defeating Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Bjorn Fratangelo respectively in straight sets.
“I start at 5 [p.m.], so it’s not that hot for me, just humid,” said Wawrinka, who clubbed 53 winners against Ramos-Vinolas. “Maybe I’m lucky to play that late and not during the day with the sun. I think, apart from the fact it’s really humid, it was not a big deal for me tonight.”
Berdych will next meet qualifier Jurgen “Tuna” Melzer, who topped American Denis Kudla 6-3, 7-5, 6-1.
Lower-seeded winners into the second round on Tuesday were No. 12 Richard Gasquet outlasting Thanasi Kokkinakis who retired at 0-2 in the fifth with cramps, No. 13 John Isner, No. 15 Kevin Anderson, No. 20 Dominic Thiem, No. 21 “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic, No. 22 Viktor Troicki, No. 24 Bernard “The Tank Machine” Tomic, No. 28 Jack Sock, No. 29 Philipp Kohlschreiber who beat Alexander Zverev 6-4 in the fifth, No. 30 Thomaz Bellucci, and No. 31 Guillermo “G-Lo” Garcia-Lopez who topped Janko Tipsarevic 6-1 in the fifth.
The American hope Isner won Atlanta and was runner-up at Washington entering the US Open, and on Tuesday made quick work of Malek Jaziri 6-2, 6-3, 6-4.
“I’ve played well this summer,” Isner said. “It started in Atlanta and I played well in D.C. and Montreal. Went deep three tournaments in a row and it really did a number on me physically. I lost a super-tough match in Montreal where I left it all out on the court there and didn’t have much in Cincinnati. I’m rested up and I’m ready to go. I’m happy to get off the court today in a quick fashion.”
In the lone upset of the day, American Donald Young came from two sets down to defeat No. 11 Gilles Simon 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
“The fact I could get a little confidence from the fact he hadn’t had a great summer in North America, he’s not too confident, hasn’t won that many matches and I have won a few matches as of late, it felt pretty good,” Young said. “It was definitely rough to have that in the back of my head that he’s beaten me five times. I have never won a set. And at the time I was down two sets to love, so I was proud of myself to fight back.”
Other unseeded players of note into the second round were former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, Richard Krajicek cousin Austin Krajicek, Rajeev “Rampras” Ram defeating the embattled Ryan Harrison in an all-American meeting, and Nicolas Mahut dismissing Sam Querrey in straights.
Matches to look for on Wednesday in Flushing Meadows include (1) Serena Williams vs. Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens, (2) Venus Williams vs. Irina Falconi in an all-American, (1) Novak Djokovic vs. Andreas “Don’t Be a” Haider-Maurer, Mardy Fish vs. (18) Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez, Bethanie Mattek-Sands vs. Coco Vandeweghe in an all-American, the resurgent (8) Rafael Nadal vs. Diego Schwartzman, and (10) Milos Raonic vs. Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco.
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