For the second straight day, a plethora of young Americans were competing at their home Slam and hoping to make an impression. And for the second straight day, all of them failed to do so. Sure, there were flashes of impressive tennis shown by Bjorn Fratangelo and Jared Donaldson, but on the whole the young American contingent was a supreme disappointment in the first round of this year’s US Open. The one standout, though he is not a youngster now, was Donald Young–and we will discuss his epic comeback in much detail later.
This day saw four more retirements, bringing the first-round total to a record ten. Again, though, every retirement in a men’s match was after two full sets had been completed and it seems more due to the heat and the humidity than to players just showing up for a paycheck.
US Open Day 2 Recap
And we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that Andy Murray capped off the night by getting out of a potentially dangerous match, beating Nick Kyrgios in four sets. Also, Roger Federer blasted through his first match, showing everyone that their high expectations from him this tournament were not in error.
Who Looked Good:
Donald Young (defeated Simon 26 46 64 64 64)- Young came out firing against the Simon serve but went away from his game-plan and it cost him the first two sets. He played brilliant tennis throughout to outhit Simon’s impeccable defense and counterpunching. And when he came back to take the fourth set after nearly choking it away, it was like we could see Young maturing mentally before our very eyes. Mark my words: If Donald Young goes on to maximize his talent and become a top tennis player, we can circle the fourth set of his 1st-round 2015 US Open match as the turning point.
Lleyton Hewitt (defeated Nedovyesov 60 76(2) 10 RETIRED)- It looked like vintage Hewitt at times today. He worked his opponent around the court and hit his spots brilliantly. Yes, his opponent is not the greatest player and may not have been 100% healthy, but it was still a fine performance for the Aussie to put in in his final US Open. The draw is pretty open, too. Assuming his body doesn’t get too fatigued (and the short match will help with that), Hewitt might have a Cinderella run to the second week in him yet.
John Isner (defeated Jaziri 62 63 64)- Isner served well, but he always does that. What was impressive here was his effective ground game against the Tunisian. If he can win points from the baseline against better players, he will be nearly impossible to beat here.
Yoshihito Nishioka (defeated Mathieu 64 26 67(7) 61 62)- Nishioka claimed his first-ever victory in a Grand Slam with his comeback over Mathieu. Did he do anything superb in this match? Not really. I just want an excuse to post this winner he hit last week.
Who Looked Bad:
Ryan Harrison (lost to Ram 67(3) 46 16)- Maybe it’s not fair to expect too much from Harrison anymore. Still, he has a ton of talent and when the USTA organizers gave him a Wild Card, I am sure they didn’t expect him to lose in the first round to someone who has spent precious little time in the Top 100 in his lengthy career.
Sam Querrey (lost to Mahut 57 67(6) 57)- Querrey did nothing particularly wrong in this match (other than some awful forehands in that tiebreak), but he did nothing particularly right either. He was just less consistent than Mahut, something that shouldn’t happen to a player with his weapons.
Philipp Kohlschreiber (defeated Alexander Zverev 67(0) 62 60 26 64)- Kohlschreiber is a supreme talent who has always had trouble putting it all together at the most crucial times. This match, though, he just couldn’t find any rhythm, as evidence by his zero points scored in the first-set tiebreak. He’ll have another match to work himself into shape, but he won’t last very long unless he raises his level.
Match of the Day:
The only real choice for this slot is Donald Young’s epic comeback over Gilles Simon. Young broke early in four of the five sets and was all over the Simon serve with a brilliant game plan from the opening ball. After breaking Simon to start the match, however, Young could not keep his rhythm on serve. The Frenchman is a brilliant returner and he kept Young very nervous on his own serve. This seemed to wear on Young, who did not play well at all for a long stretch after being broken for the second (and pivotal) time in the first set.
After less than two hours, it looked like it would be a routine victory for Simon. But Young came roaring back with the crowd behind him. He broke early in the third and, even though it looked like he would lose it after being broken back, he earned another break and took the set. The fourth set repeated this trend in more extreme fashion, with Young throwing away a two-break lead late and it looked like he would collapse and lose the match. He steeled himself, though, and took the set. It was clearly a turning point and a moment in a match that Young would have lost at any earlier time in his career. Young broke early in the fifth set and, again, traded breaks several times before finally breaking for *5-4. In the final game, though, there was no drama as Young served it out with three huge serves from 15-all.
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