Your First 2020 @NewYorkOpen Finalist is @Kyle8Edmund
Steve Fogleman from Long Island
Both Miomir Kecmanovic and Kyle Edmund have been burning up the indoor courts of the New York Open this week, so it seemed fitting that both players wore neon orange on Stadium Court today in the first semifinal at the New York Open.
Edmund double-faulted to begin the match. He held his serve in that game, then broke Kecmanovic in the second and consolidated it in a lengthy third game. Kecmanovic would be broken again as Edmund breezed to a 6-1 opening set win.in just under 35 minutes.
Kecmanovic opened the second set with a service win. After an Edmund hold, the young Serb faced a couple of break points but held. Both players settled in for exchanging service games and waiting for their opponent to make a critical mistake. That mistake finally came in the form of the ninth game, where Kecmanovic was broken at love for the 5-4 Edmund lead and the match on his racquet. Edmund gladly received the invitation and served the match out at love to advance to the final, 6-1, 6-4.
Before today’s loss, Kecmanovic beat Tommy Paul and Paolo Lorenzi in straight sets before his comeback win against Ugo Humbert in the quarterfinals.
Edmund’s run in New York began with him beating Yasutaka Uchiyamaand Dominik Koepfer in straight sets before outlasting Soonwoo Kwon in a three set quarterfinal match.
He’ll face the winner of tonight’s semifinal between Andreas Seppi and Jason Jung at 7:00 pm.
First @NewYorkOpen Semifinalists Emerge In Three Set Triumphs; @MioKecmanovic and @Kyle8Edmund Go Head to Head Tomorrow
Steve Fogleman from the home of the Long Island Nets
The wind kicked up and the cold came back to town in Uniondale, New York on Saturday for the New York Open. Inside the Coliseum, Ugo Humbert kicked up his service game and won a lopsided first set over Miomir Kecmanovic in the day’s first quarterfinal. Humbert won 94% of his first service points in the first set. Kecmanovic quickly regrouped and held the first game before breaking Humbert for the first time en route to the second set for the young Serb, 6-2.
It was hard to predict what was going to happen in the third set. Kecmanovic was flabbergasted by Humbert’s painting of the lines during the Frenchman’s service games. Kecmanovic lost a few close calls and after losing a challenge in the sixth game of the second set, he seemed to unravel, momentarily, and faced two break points. But he held.
In the eighth game of the final stanza, Humbert faced break point during his service. He held.
In the very next game, Kecmanovic found himself down 0-30.
Kecmanovic held from there and we all sensed a tiebreak was in order at that point.
We were wrong. Kecmanovic stunned his opponent by breaking Humbert at love to take the match, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Last week, I made some pre-tournament predictions and sadly, the only quarter I got right was Kecmanovic to play Humbert. They’re both still under the radar to many American fans and were virtually unknown two years ago.
It’s Kecmanovic’s second semifinal of the new year (Doha) and only the third semis showing in his career. In our interview, he said he’d like to finish the season in the top 30.
As for Humbert, he’s already won his first ATP tour title at Auckland in January, so his year is off to a good start as well.
Kyle Edmund will take on Kecmanovic in tomorrow’s day semifinal.
Soonwoo Kwon and Edmund also saw one player get off to a fast start. Kwon was up 6-3 and Edmund answered back with a 6-2 second set. Both players were firing on all cylinders for the third set. Like the third set before it, it also felt like an inevitable tiebreak. And this time, for once, we’d be right. Tragically, the match ended on a Kwon double fault at 5-6. Kwon’s third set tiebreak record is an abysmal 36%. Overall, it was a decent run for the 22-year-old South Korean.
Tonight, we’ll see Reilly Opelka try to take a step closer to defending his only title, while Jason Jung and Jordan Thompson try to get closer to their first ever tour level finals.
Favorites Advance in Tuesday @NewYorkOpen Action
Steve Fogleman at the Ancestral Home of the New York Islanders
A second day of rain did nothing but make you feel better about yourself for coming out to watch indoor tennis. And the weather outside did nothing to dampen the confidence of today’s winners.
Jordan Thompson played Ivo Karlovic’s game and beat him at it in straight sets, 6-3, 7-6(2). While serving only 6 aces to Karlovic’s 11, the mustachioed Australian won an amazing 86% of his first service points and was never broken. From one big man to another, Thompson moves on to face American John Isner.
Soonwoo Kwon doused the hopes of qualifier Go Soeda, 6-2, 6-7(2), 6-3, after Soeda snuck up and took the second set tiebreak. Kwon nailed six aces in the third set after only four aces in the first two stanzas. Kwon’s service game will next have to match up against the tournament’s #2 seed Milos Raonic.
Paolo Lorenzi pulled a Pure Houdini today. He was down a set and a break to World #159 Danilo Petrovic, the lowest ranked player in the main draw. Petrovic, who was two games away from winning his first ATP Tour main draw match, disputed a call in the 8th game and continued to argue through the break and into the third set, where he was destroyed by Lorenzi, 6-0. Someone on twitter accused him of match-fixing, but I saw a guy out there who desperately wanted to win his first (at 28 years old) and he simply unraveled. Lorenzi, a quarterfinalist last year, faces Kecmanovic for a chance to return to New York’s Elite Eight.
You know that one match that you see on an Order of Play and you say, “that’s my match?” Me too. Yesterday, that match was Kecmanovic-Paul. And it disappointed. Today was no different. Today’s “my match” was Dominik Koepfer and Brayden Schnur. Schnur, a finalist at last year’s New York Open, clearly had the weight of history on his racket. He could not deliver a repeat performance of his 2019 run, and although the chants of “Let’s go, Canada” were louder in the second set, they did little to raise his game. For his part, Koepfer was consistent throughout the 6-3, 6-4 win. Earlier, Kyle Edmund eased past Yasatuka Uchiyama and will play Dominik Koepfer in the second round. That’s all for me until the quarterfinals on Friday here at NYCB Live, home of the Nassau Coliseum. See you on Valentine’s Day from the Guy-land.
Qualifiers Placed, @NewYorkOpen Main Draw Underway Monday
Steve Fogleman on the G’Island
On a rainy Monday on Long Island, Noah Rubin left the New York Open with a scowl on his face after winning just 37% of the points in a qualifying final loss. His conqueror was the 38-year-young Paolo Lorenzi, who advanced to the main draw at the New Yorker’s expense, 6-3, 6-1. And Lorenzi’s smile was Rubin’s frown turned upside down. The Roman citizen never has a poker face and is easily the Steve Buscemi of tennis.
Jason Jung also dispatched Mitchell Kruger, 6-2, 6-4, at about the same time that Lorenzi finished off Rubin. Jung draws 2018 tournament champion Kevin Anderson in the main draw. 35-year-old Go Soeda destroyed Bernie Tomic in a stunning 39 minutes to take the third qualifying spot in the draw. Soeda’s first round opponent is Soonwoo Kwon. The last qualifying final, between Bradley Klahn and Danilo Petrovic, was a close affair for most of the first set before the Serb pulled away, 6-3, 6-2. Petrovic is the lowest ranked player (#159) to qualify for the main draw. He’ll square off against Old Roman Lorenzi in the first round.
The players on the Grandstand Court are at the mercy of their noisy, partying neighbors next door on Stadium. At the commencement of today’s matches, the lights went down as Noah Rubin was introduced on the main court. That meant lights out for Jung and Krueger, who had unceremoniously already begun warm-ups. C’est la vie for them.
The tournament has an impressive multi-media display system. The only problem is that without a lot of fans filling up the arena, it’s full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. On the other hand, there’s nothing like hearing the tossed coin hit the black courts from 300 feet away so loudly that you think that you dropped some change.
Dangerous @DenisKudla Advances to First @USOpen R3, Set to Face @DjokerNole Tomorrow
Steve Fogleman in Flushing Meadows
American Denis Kudla took a giant step forward in his tennis career on Thursday at the US Open in New York, advancing to the 3rd round of America’s Open in four sets against the red hot Dusan Lajovic, 7-5, 7-5, 0-6, 6-3. The win earns Kudla a date with Novak Djokovic on a stadium court tomorrow and questions have arisen about the Serb’s shoulder after last night’s match.
This match was all Kudla in the first and second sets, but Lajovic dug deep and won the third set at love. Kudla did a hard reset and erased memories of the third set to win an extremely competitive fourth set and final game at 5-3 as Kudla needed five match points to close it out.
“I mean the first two sets, I played really solid and had a lot of opportunities maybe to win those at 3 and 3,” Kudla said. “It was there I knew he was still trying to find his game. He’s beaten me three times before so I know his level wasn’t it’s highest and I needed to take advantage, but out of 3 out of 5 sets you have a chance to find your game.”
Kudla admitted he played “a little sloppy” in the third and Lajovic ran away with the set.
“I was like, O.K., I’ve got to dig in,” Kudla said of the fourth set. “It was 5-3, 40-love and then I just got super tight” before winning the match on his fifth match point.
Kudla said he watched the Djokovic match yesterday, and he’s not too worried about any weakness on the part of the world #1. “Even if he’s on one leg, he’s still tough.”
Kudla also spoke of the desire to play the best players early. “You want to play the top guys early,” he said. “That’s when they’re the most vulnerable. You play them in the quarters and semis, that’s when these guys are five matches deep playing some unreal tennis and it almost feels like it’s impossible.”
Impossible is not the word I’m thinking when assessing Kudla’s chances tomorrow.
It’s a First @USOpen Round 3 for @Ons_Jabeur After Comeback Win Against Sasnovich
Steve Fogleman in Flushing Meadows
Ons Jabeur said that today is her birthday, even though yesterday was the official date. Jabeur was all smiles as she told press that she didn’t like yesterday, so she “changed” her birthday to today and promptly presented herself with a 25th birthday gift in the form of a Round 3 US Open appearance after a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Aliaksandra Sasnovich in New York.
“It’s amazing, I mean, I love it in here. I love a city that is busy, noisy, I love the City that doesn’t sleep. I love playing on these courts.”
I’m glad that I stayed focused and got the energy to move better in the second and third set and I’m happy to be in the third round.”
Though she appeared in the third round at Roland Garros in 2017, Jabeur said she’s a more mature player now. “I couldn’t realize how I made it to the third round with less experience than now. Now I feel like I know what I’m doing on the courts. I have a great team behind me now.”
Part of that team includes Karim Kammoun, her fitness coach and husband. He planted a very romantic courtside kiss on Jabeur after the win.
“It was a long day yesterday, so it was kind of tough to wake up this morning to get in good shape on the court,” she said. Sasnovich “has a tricky game, she doesn’t give you the same, so I had to adjust my movements,” she continued. “I tried to not play her game, hit, hit, like she likes. Of course, mixing is my specialty so I try to put more pressure on her, and not giving up any points. That helped me when I was down 15-40. It helped me win more games, especially in the second set.”
The Tunisian took up tennis at 3, and she reflected on her beginnings. “My mother (Samira) wanted to play tennis from a long time ago, and when she became a mom, I was the youngest one, and she took me with her to the club. I started to play a little bit with the small racket.”
“Her love for tennis gave me the opportunity to be here today,” she reflected. Mom’s not in NYC, but could be there on a moment’s notice but there’s one problem: she’s worried about being a jinx for her daughter since Ons has already won twice this week without her.
A more mature Jabeur faces #3 seed Karolina Pliskova in Round 3. The two have never met. An upset could be in the making.
First on @USOpen, @KeiNishikori Punches Ticket to Third Round
Steve Fogleman in Queens
Morning rain delayed outdoor courts to a late start at the US Open in New York today, so Kei Nishikori and Bradley Klahn found themselves the center of all attention for an hour on Louis Armstrong Stadium at 11:00 a.m. It was a first meeting for both players, both 29 years old. Nishikori’s US Open main draw record improved to 25-9. Coming into the match, Klahn’s US Open record resembled the record of a rebuilding NFL franchise at 4-12.
Nishikori made the quarterfinals of every grand slam in 2019 and he’s halfway to that mark after the win today.
Kei cruised in the first set but his play was marred with errors in the second, giving up a pair of breaks to the American. He found comfortable form in the third but gave up two breaks of serve in the fourth to give a little false hope to Klahn. In the end, Klahn’s 18 aces could only keep him in the match for so long as Nishikori prevailed, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5. Kei will play either Alex de Minaur or Cristian Garin on Friday.
It’s a Day of Dreams at Friday’s US Open
Steve Fogleman in New York
Friday qualifying has always been my favorite day of the year, and it’s finally upon us. When some people think about dreams coming true, they think of someone like Naomi Osaka winning a grand slam final in her first attempt. I don’t completely agree. Osaka’s run to the 2019 US Open title was indeed an incredible feat, but it’s likely to happen to less than 1% of pro players in their entire careers. For the rest of them, the dream isn’t winning the US Open, it’s playing in it. These athletes spend enormous amounts of cash to come to New York with their team and it’s a gamble unless you make it to the third round. A win in the third round, though, and it’s all gravy and glory: a $90,000 check awaits today’s main draw qualifiers.
These athletes won’t be talking about the money today, though. They’ll be talking about how they’ve watched the US Open since they were kids and always wanted to play here. They’ll be talking about their success stories in the past in juniors here and how they always wanted to compete with the grown-ups in the main draw.
Today’s qualifiers, by and large, harbor no delusions of grandeur. They’d love to win majors, but they know you’ve got to play in the main draw to reach the next career goal. Yes, dreaming of winning the US Open final may tantalize them, but in the end they can achieve a manageable goal of playing in the US Open main draw and come in here next week with house money looking to knock out a top seed. Today could also be a pinnacle career highlight for some qualifiers, the greatest memory they ever have when they finally put the racquet down for the last time.
Either way, it’s a day of dreams come true for the best 32 players on an uncharacteristically cool August day in New York. You must be dreaming if you think I’d miss it for anything.
11 Americans on 4 Courts Looking for a Ticket to a @USOpen Qualifying Final Today
Steve Fogleman in Queens
It’s last call to be a part of a dream-making Friday at the US Open where 16 men and 16 women will emerge from the hundreds of competitors who came for the very same thing. 11 Americans play on Thursday to attempt to join Taylor Townsend and one Jenson Brooksby as qualifying finalists.
Court 4 features Asia Muhammad against Bulgaria’s Isabella Shinkova. American Asia Muhammad faces #16 seed Barbara Krejcikova in the third and final match.
Caroline Dolehide takes on Australian Zoe Hives in the opener on Court 7 and 15-year-old Katrina Scott tries to stun the Russian Anna Kalinskaya in the third match.
Courts 11 and 12 boast an American player for every match. In one case, two compatriots will clash. Robin Anderson and Nicole Gibbs go head to head for the third time and Anderson holds the 2-1 head to head edge. Before the all-American match on Court 11, fans will look forward to perennial American qualifier Mitchell Krueger battle Egor Gerasimov followed by a bout between Hailey Baptiste and British talent Harriet Dart.
Home-grown pros Noah Rubin and Christina McHale are showcased on Court 12 today, after the opening match pitting American Varvara Lepchenko against Georgina Garcia Perez.