Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Muguruza and Stephens out of U.S. Open, and is anyone really surprised?

Two of the three WTA "chameleons" have been eliminated in the first round of the U.S. Open, leaving only Alona Ostapenko, who won a very well-played match (by both opponents) against Aleks Krunic in her opening round. Garbine Muguruza went out to Alison Riske, who has been a picture of confidence lately. 2017 champion Sloane Stephens lost in straight sets to Russian qualifier Anna Kalinskaya, who played with such efficiency and fluidity that it was a pleasure to watch her. This was Kalinskaya's first time to play a match in a major, and she certainly made the most of it.

Kalinskaya, who is ranked number 127 in the world, defeated Viktorija Tomova, Katrina Scott and Asia Muhammad in the qualifying draw. She will face Kristie Ahn in the second round. Ahn won her fisrt-ever victory in a major, and won it against 2004 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova (who was having some medical issues in the match).

Coco Gauff got past a very tough Anastasia Potopova in an entertaining match, and defending champion Naomi Osaka had to go three sets against Anna Blinkova. Belarus's finest--Vika Azarenka and Aryna Sabalenka--went at each other with force for over two hours, with Sabalenka emerging as the winner.

The oddest first-round scoreline was Julia Goerges' 1-6, 6-1, 7-6 victory against Natalia Vikhlyantseva. Jo Konta defeated Dasha Kasatkina, Ons Jabeur defeated Caroline Garcia, whose fortunes continue to slide, and Kiki Mladenovic (who is closing in on the Chameleon Club) beat 2016 champion Angie Kerber in straight sets.

Second round play has not been completed, and a rain delay has pushed play back farther than expectxed, but notable so far is that Elina Svitlina has defeated Venus Williams, and that Karolina Pliskova and Madison Keys are through to the third round. Other second round matches of interest include:

Aryna Sabalenka (9) vs. Yulia Putintseva
Caroline Wozniacki (19) vs. Danielle Collins
Alona Ostapenko vs. Alison Riske
Rebecca Peterson vs. Dayana Yastremska (32) (thriller alert!)
Serena Williams (8) vs. Caty McNally

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