Day 1 at the US Open is in the books. Here are some results you may have missed.
The Headline: Maria Sharapova Was Dismantled by Serena Williams
With all the hype leading up to this match, it was anything but exciting. A calm, super-focused Serena Williams took the court and proceeded to dismantle her Russian rival. A straight sets 6-1 6-1 victory in the first round. NBC Sports noted it was the first meeting between the two prior to a Round of 16.
The American superstar moved Sharapova back and forth across the baseline, clearly in control of the court. In a futile effort to wrestle control from Serena’s onslaught, Sharapova ending up going for too much. Whether long or wide, far too many balls off the Sharapova racquet just couldn’t find the court.
Add one more to the very one sided rivalry. Williams leads 20-2.
Oh, and just to show that big sister Venus is in it to win it, she did one better than her little sister. Serena dropped just two games. Venus dropped just one.
1. Monica Puig’s US Open Was Heartbreaking
Monica Puig fell to Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson, 6-3, 6-3. A first round loss at a major is always disappointing. But it’s the Kamau Murray coach thing that had the Olympic Gold medalist. Twitter is abuzz with comments about the ill-timed departure of Murray, who dumped Puig to return to coaching the slumping Sloane Stephens.
In her very candid press conference Puig said “I wanted to prove to myself that nobody is going to be able to treat me this way in anything”. Perhaps that stings more than a first round loss?
2. Angelique Kerber Crashes Out in the First Round
Kristina Mladenovic has lost four of her previous five matches against Angelique Kerber. The losing streak has been broken. After two hours and 23 minutes, the Frenchwoman took out the 2016 US Open champion, 7-5 0-6 6-4. Usually Kerber plays her best tennis at a Slam. But, that certainly hasn’t been the case in 2019. In January, Kerber reached the fourth round of the Australian Open. Since, the former World #1 has won just a single Grand Slam match. After a first round win, Kerber fell to American Lauren Davis in the second round at Wimbledon.
Kristina Mladenovic will meet fellow Frenchwoman Fiona Ferro on Wednesday in a second round clash.
3. Madison Keys Looks Ready for a Deep Run
Madison Keys played with the same controlled aggression which led her to the Western &; Southern Open title two weeks ago. Showing patience, Keys cleverly built points and pulled the trigger at the precisely right time. The title contender brought in a 7-5, 6-0 win over Misaki Doi. Keys converted on five of her 10 break point opportunities. She got 59% of her first serves in play and won 87% of them. Going deeper in Flushing Meadows will require Keys to up that first serve percentage as Keys won just 43% of her second serve points. All in all, Keys is looking good. On Wednesday, the American will square off against China’s Zhu Lin.
4. Iga Swiatek Continues to Impress
Now in the Top 50, Iga Swiatek quickly eliminated Serbian Ivana Jorovic 6-0, 6-1. The 18-year-old Pole’s game continues to mature. Still hitting with powerful groundstrokes, Swiatek is now hitting into bigger spaces after opening up the court. Today’s win gives her a second round bout against Anastasija Sevastova.
5. And How Did the American Women Fare?
Twelve American women were in action today. Bernarda Pera lost a tough three setter to Georgian qualifier Mariam Bolkvadze, who will face Karolina Pliskova in the second round.
Caroline Dolehide, Coco Vandeweghe, Vavara Lepchenko and Whitney Osuigwe ended their campaign with straight sets losses. A bit concerning, Vandeweghe required a medical timeout to wrap an injured ankle.
Caty McNally exited Timea Bacsinszky 6-4, 6-1. It will be interesting to see how the fans respond to the all American second round when McNally meets Serena Williams. Sofia Kenin, the #20 seed, is moving on to a second round clash with Germany’s Laura Siegemund. Lauren Davis prevailed over Sweden’s Johanna Larsson. The petite Davis will meet Ash Barty in the second round.
Main Photo from Getty.