US Open Day 2 Women’s Recap: Strong Start for Kenin, Konta Beats Fellow Brit

Sofia Kenin at the Lyon Open

Day 2 of the US Open produced some great tennis and extremely close matches. There was the loss of two seeds (Veronika Kudermetova and Shuai Zhang) at the tournament, but neither was expected to mount too much of a challenge for the title this year. Serena Williams and defending Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin advanced with relatively straightforward matches.

US Open Day 2 Women’s Recap

Looking Strong

Elise Mertens continued her very consistent season and backed up her semifinal appearance at the Western & Southern Open with a 6-2 6-2 over Laura Siegemund. The key to her victory was how clinical she was under break point pressure, saving 9/9 of the break points she faced. Mertens reached the quarterfinals at last year’s US Open and with the form that she is currently on, she has a chance in making it that deep into the tournament once again. This victory has set up a winnable second round clash against Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain.

Johanna Konta, the ninth seed, began her US Open 2020 campaign with a straight-sets victory over her fellow Brit Heather Watson, 7-6(7) 6-1. Despite Watson being ranked considerably lower, she put up an excellent fight in the first set but failed to covert six set points and lost it in the tiebreak. Both Brits served brilliantly throughout the match but Konta’s winning mentality helped her get across the line. She served 11 aces alongside 27 winners and 19 unforced errors en route to the second round in New York. Konta is definitely a dangerous player in the draw as these fast American courts suit her game extremely well. The win sets up a match against Romanian Sorana Cirstea, another match Konta is expected to prevail in.

Sofia Kenin breezed past Belgium, Yanina Wickmayer 6-2 6-2 to advance at Flushing Medows. Despite a rather difficult loss at the Western & Southern Open last week, Kenin bounced back today and blasted 33 winners in just 16 games. Another key factor in her victory was that she managed to have 80% of her first serves go in compared to just 47% for her lower-ranked opponent. Perhaps the fact that due to her poor form not much is expected from Kenin could go in her favor if she’s to go any further in the tournament. In the second round, she has set up a blockbuster matchup against upcoming seventeen-year-old Leylah Fernandez.

Victoria Azarenka steamrolled past her first round opponent, Barbara Haas, 6-1 6-2 to advance. Azarenka continued her incredible form at the Western & Southern Open, hitting 19 winners compared to only seven unforced errors. She didn’t give her Haas a chance to break her serve, without facing a break point throughout the entirety of the match. Azarenka is arguably the most dangerous seed in the draw and will face her Belorussian teammate Aryna Sabalenka in the second round. She will be hoping to avenge the loss she took at last year’s US Open, and she has a lot better chance this year considering both of their current form.

Disappointments

Jil Teichmann is out in the first round at the US Open, losing to an out of form Bolsova 7-6(3) 6-2. This is a really disappointing loss for Teichmann, as going into this Grand Slam she had just recently made the final in Lexington. The 23-year-old struggled with many aspects of her game and hit 42 unforced errors and entered self destruct during the second set. Teichmann was also only able to convert 1/9 breakpoint chances, some of those being set points in the first set too. She will be disappointed with the loss but should take the positives from her performances in Lexington and Cincinnati.

Shuai Zhang was the second seed to have exited the US Open in the first round after a surprising loss to Ysaline Bonaventure. Despite winning the first set, she failed to capitalize on her opponents 53 unforced errors and lost 4-6 6-3 6-2. She struggled to win many free points off of her first serve, only winning 57% compared to her opponents 67%. In addition, Zhang will have been disappointed with her wasted breakpoint chances in the match. She only converted 4/18 chances, most of those coming in the second set. With a round one loss in both the Western & Southern Open and the US Open, Zhang will be hoping to redeem herself for the clay swing.

Match of the day

Likewise to the first day of the women’s US Open draw, there were many great three set matches. But, the standout match was between the eighteenth seed, Donna Vekic, and Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic. Both athletes played a brilliant match, they both hit more winners than they did unforced errors. However, it was Vekic that prevailed, winning the match 3-6 7-6(6) 6-4 to advance to the second round in Flushing Medows. Despite the Czech player hitting 47 winners and at one stage she served for the match and was only two points from an epic victory.

In the first set alone Kristyna Pliskova blasted nine aces in just 25 service points, alongside 16 winners and only five unforced errors. She was simply too good for an out of sorts Vekic and won the set 6-3. Pliskova then took the momentum from the first set and managed to get the break in the fifth game of the second set. Despite being broke just once throughout the entire match she was unable to serve out the match and Vekic forced a second-set tiebreak. Vekic started very well in the tiebreak and developed a 6-2 lead but Pliskova fought back to level the tiebreak before losing it 8-6.

Going into the third set Vekic played a lot better tennis and won the set without facing a single breakpoint. It looked like she just needed time to settle into the match and when she did she started to play some of her best tennis. The second set stats defended this assumption as she hit 17 winners and only 8 unforced errors to progress to the second round at the US Open. Donna Vekic will have an uphill task to achieve her quarter final result from last year but this a great start to get over 2 hours of intense match play. In the next round, she will face Romanian, Tig for the opportunity to play Australian Open finalist, Garbine Muguruza in Round 3.

Main Photo from Getty.


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