Team USA Moves On

2011 US Open
September 1st, 2011, by Hiland Doolittle

In one of the most productive days in its illustrious history of tennis, the United States came up big on Wednesday at the 2011 U.S. Open. The men enjoyed more first round success than in any recent Open while the country’s young women scored upsets and played nobly in defeat.

Five American men joined 8th seeded Mardy Fish in the second round. Andy Roddick defeated veteran Michael Russell in four sets. Power server John Isner showed the skills that make him a player nobody wants to play in downing Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis in four sets. Isner was especially effective in the key second set tiebreaker winning a gut wrenching battle 13 –11.

Fish, Roddick and Isner are the USA’s big three. But, a group of youngsters are surpassing expectations and giving their supporters reason to wonder. Robbie Ginepri downed Brazilian qualifier Joao Souza 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-1. 19-year of Jack Sock upset France’s Marc Gicquel, 6-4,6-3, 1-6, 6-4. Alex Bogomolov wore down NCAA tennis champion Steve Johnson, 4-6, 4-6,6-3, 7-6 (4).

4th seed Andy Murray looked sharp in his debut. The Scotsman put away Somdev Devvarman in straight sets. 12th seed Gilles Simon and 18 seed Juan Martin Del Potro all advanced. The biggest upset of the day was unseeded Julien Benneteau’s straight set triumph over the 10 seed, Nicolas Almagro.

In men’s doubles, the world’s top doubles team of Mike and Bob Bryan fell to Ivo Karlovic and Frank Moser, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2. Karlovic’s intimidating serve proved to be the difference in this one. In serving out the match, Karlovic served a love game and finished with an ace.

The Women’s Draw

Young Christina McHale of the U.S. pulled off the biggest upset on the women bracket when she downed Marion Bartoli 7-6 (2), 6-2. Bartoli, who is enjoying a great season, could not get the ball past the quick McHale. Christina is looking more and more comfortable on the big stages and she may not settle for one and out.

In other surprising matches, German Angelique Kerber downed 12th seed Aggie Radwanska 6-3,4-6, 6-3. America’s Irina Falconi toppled 14th seed Dominika Cibulkova in an unforeseen upset.

Maria Sharapova (3), Vera Zvonareva (2), Samantha Stosur (9) and Peng Shuai all advanced. Zvonareva was stretched to three sets. After a tough first round match, Sharapova looked more comfortable in her second round 6-1,6-1 win over Anastasiya Yakimove.

Venus Williams, America’s number two, was forced to withdraw due to illness. As a result, German Sabine Lisicki moves on to the third round.

Germany’s female program is clearly on the rise. With Kerber’s upset, she joins Lisicki, Andrea Petkovic and dangerous Julia Goerges as a very formidable force in the women’s draw. While Kerber may not survive another round, Goerges, Lisicki and Petkovic can all win this event. Germany’s big three are tall, baseliner groundstrokers with big serves. And they have all met with success this season.

Perhaps the most interesting match of the day involved a 16-year old American, Madison Keys, who found herself on Center Court against Czech Lucie Safarova. Keys showed no signs of nervousness as she got out of the gates fast and was the aggressor. Keys lost the match 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 but found herself serving for the match in the second set.

Keys has a powerful serve and looked like she was tired after the second set, but she would not go away. She continued to challenge the Czech with high-risk drives. The teenager’s gutsy play made herself a fan favorite and is certainly a player that will make waves on the tour very soon.


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