Dreams Made, Tickets Punched as 2022 US Open Qualifying Concludes
Steve Fogleman in Flushing Meadows
On a cloudy and then rainy day in Queens, players walked away with a memory of a lifetime, and in some cases, the most important wins so far in their young careers. It was last call for main draw in New York as the three match tournament reached the Friday crescendo.
Yue Yuan was your first qualifier of the 2022 US Open. She beat Maddison Inglis 6-1, 6-0, in just 53 minutes. The English was better than the audio as I attempted to interview her inside Grandstand Court as she had to flee from a flock of fans who followed behind.
Linda Noskova has done it again. She needed only 6 sets in 3 matches to make her way into her first “next week” at the US Open. This time, the opponent was Alexandra Zakharova in a 6-2, 7-5 victory for the young Czech. After the match, she shared her moment of joy with us.
Both Noskova and Zakharaova were happy to sign U.S. currency for a fan. I’m not sure if it raised the value of the money in his wallet. but the ladies were happy to oblige. You’ve got to love New York. If you don’t, you just get irritated. So love it. Trust me.
Max Marterer has been here before, having qualified three times before today’s 6-4. 6-3 win over Riccardo Bonadio of Italy in 68 minutes. He told us it doesn’t get any easier just because you know you’ve done it before.
Then came the rains that may have washed this reporter out. We’re currently in a 55 minute rain delay and depending on the time that they resume play, this may be my last post from New York. It’s been a great August for American tennis fans and I expect nothing less than major fireworks as the big dogs start their engines on Monday. Cheers!
2022 US Open Qualifying Finalists Emerging in Flushing Meadows
Steve Fogleman in Flushing Meadows
The weather was as hot as it has been for fan week on Thursday and the action on court was fast and furious at US Open Qualifying in Flushing Meadows. 64 singles matches today will set us up for 32 very consequential matches tomorrow. At stake are 16 main draw spots for both the men and women.
Genie Bouchard made an early exit to Linda Noskova in 56 minutes today as the young Czech dominated and never faced a break point en route to the 6-2, 6-3 drubbing. Noskova faces Anastasia Zakharova tomorrow.
Australia’s Maddison Inglis also got by in a 6-4, 6-3 win over wild card Valerie Glozman in 75 minutes to stay fresh for tomorrow’s final against Yue Yuan. She was in good spirits after a fan asked for her to sign an ink drawing of Ingliss for her. After the win, she told us that “the more time you spend on these courts, the better you feel, so I’m excited about the final round.”
Ukraine’s Daria Snigur had a big victory on Court 13 today against former U.S. Open semifinalist Yanina Wickmayer and she did not disappoint in a comebacker 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory over the Belgian. Wickmayer was upset to see her hopes for a 13th U.S. Open main draw berth dashed, and she kicked the gate and stormed off court after the match.
For her part, Snigur says that she never thinks of the war back home during the match, but that every victory here is for Ukraine.
You live by the tiebreak, you die by the tiebreak and you win by the tiebreak. That’s what American Chris Eubanks did today on Court 17, sneaking past Gregoire Barrere of France by a count of 7-6(6), 6-7(2), 7-6(4). He had to win ten points in that deciding tiebreak per new rules. Raul Brancoccio of Italy is the last man standing in his way to play next week in New York.
France’s Corentin Moutet is playing good tennis at the right time this summer. Today, he handled Filip Misolic of Austria, 6-2, 6-4, and will square off against China’s Yibing Wu.
32 matches are on tap for tomorrow beginning at 11:00 a.m.
Fans Return to US Open Qualifying and the World’s Better for It
Steve Fogleman in Fushing Meadows
We’ve had COVID subvariants. Historical Inflation. Supply Chain Issues. Labor Shortages. War.
We’ve all been through so much that anything and everything is comfort food. The resumption of the US Open Fan Week was the most delicious heaping of banana pudding served up all year.
So it was in the home of the birthplace of modern democracy, the most democratic of events is back on after a two year hiatus. For the price of a subway ride, fans have been treated to courtside seats to watch Serena Williams practice in what very well may be her last days on Ashe.
And there are many more treasures on the field courts, where we’ve whittled the field down to a more manageable 64 men and 64 women for a two day sprint in quest of a trip of a lifetime to the main draw next week.
It’s a dizzying array of teens, grizzled journeymen and all player types in between grasping for the prize to be a part of the real deal of this greatness, and we always gravitate toward those who are looking for a life-altering first time grand slam entry. We found a few already in the first round.
Ethan Quinn, ranked #506 and only 18, defeated his first top-200 opponent in compatriot Ernesto Escobedo (#175) to advance to a qualifying semifinal tomorrow against Federico Delbonis (#136) with a chance to claim a second straight top 200 opponent. The 2022 Kalamazoo finalist is a University of Georgia redshirt Freshman.
Linda Fruhvirtova may be only 17, but she has already defeated the likes of Elise Mertens and Vika Azarenka. She was cool as a cucumber after her first round straight sets win over Ylena In-Albon of Switzerland, 6-3-, 6-3 in 1:23 yesterday. Next up for the Czech is Carolina Alves of Brazil tomorrow.
16-year-old Czech competitor Sara Bejlek had the toughest feat of the day on Wednesday and walked away a winner, besting six-time grand slam doubles titlist Kiki Mladenovic. Bejlek edged past the Frenchwoman in the first set, 6-4, before Mladenovic seemingly took control of the match after she won the second, 6-1. But the 16-year-old was not to be outdone, having done it too many times to remember in her young career. “Yeah, I’m like this,” she told me moments after the win. “I’m playing often in three sets. I mean, I’m strong in the head so that’s probably most important why I’m winning three set matches right now,”she said. She definitely took advantage of Mladenovic’s serve in the third and celebrated as her opponent double-faulted the match away. Final Score: 4-6. 6-1, 6-4. Bejlek will meet Australian Priscilla Hon on Court 9 tomorrow around 1pm.
Kateryna Baindl (nee Kozlova) is no Spring Chicken here. At 28, she’s trying to find her way in to a seventh US Open main draw, having reached the second round twice in her career. The Ukrainian spoke to me about the situation in Ukraine after her win over Jesika Maleckova yesterday. Next up for Baindl is Tamara Korpatsch of Germany.
“Absolutely Asinine”: US Open Decision to Lock Fans Out of Qualifying Puzzles Players and Fans
Steve Fogleman, Tennis Atlantic
(AUGUST 12)—Of all of the great things about summer, one thing regional tennis fans have on their list is the US Open. Whether you attend qualifying rounds or main draw play, it’s always a great time. And the best part about the US Open is that it allowed fans of all budgets to walk through the metal gates and into a Tennis Wonderland. Hundreds of thousands of students, families and neighbors of the surrounding boroughs have attended qualifying matches for years at the US Open. Qualifying in New York is an event that is truly egalitarian, as millionaires stand next to those who can’t afford a $75 ticket(master) grounds pass for the opening rounds or a $2,800 luxury experience box seat in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Entire junior tennis programs load up buses and head to Flushing for the experience. Without needing to shell out big bucks for a ticket, a fan could feel indulgent and buy a $15 beer or a $40 ball cap and call it a good day.
Those good days are off the calendar for 2021 unless you can afford a ticket to the main draw. The USTA, in a “heartbreaking” move, has called qualifying off-limits to the general public but are prepared to welcome you with open arms and 100% capacity for ticketed main draw rounds. Also scrapped was the phenomenally popular Arthur Ashe Kid’s Day, where $10 bought you a ticket into the greatest stadium in sports along with top-notch entertainment talent.
The reason, according to the USTA, is to protect the players. But many of the players I spoke to at Citi Open last week didn’t understand the logic and had fond memories of attending qualifying as a kid and a fan. No one in the press room last week asked the players about US Qualifying but yours truly and not the talent who reads the transcripts and then reads a teleprompter for Tennis Now. She wasn’t in the house. But once she put my questions out there, it was about time to post my findings, which I was working on for next week. The only reason that the Q&As were in the transcripts is because the ATP wouldn’t let me do one-on-one interviews to ask the players that single question, which would have kept the question and their answers out of the public sphere until my post. In all fairness, I’m glad a bigger media outlet is now, after all of my public questions, covering this matter.
The comments section on the video were almost universally against the fan lockout. Longtime tennis fan Chris Rapseik of Chester, New Jersey was not happy. “As someone who has attended qualifying for many years, I find this decision hypocritical,” he said on Youtube. “I planned to buy tickets for the next week when I attended qualifying, now that is not happening. Yes, there are some costs to allowing fans to see qualies but the fans love the opportunity. So the US Open is not considering the fans, who they want for two weeks, to be able to watch qualies. Shame on them.”
What was most puzzling about the answers I heard at Citi Open evidenced that many of the players I spoke with last week were not aware of the policy, even though it was done to protect “the players.” Which made me wonder if “the players” were even consulted at all about a policy designed to protect “the players” themselves.
“I mean, if you think about that, it seems like there’s that discrepancy or there’s like a double standard as far as what’s allowed and what’s not allowed,” Tennys Sandgren told me last week. “I mean, if you’re allowed to be there for main draw, why shouldn’t you be allowed to be there for qualifying? If you’re going to do one, then you do the other,” he added. “If you’re not going to do one, you wouldn’t do the other. That’s I guess my first reaction to that, would be I don’t really get it. But there’s a lot of this stuff I really don’t get honestly, so it wouldn’t be the first time I felt like there was a double standard or discrepancy there that just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.”
When I asked Brandon Nakashima about it, he was diplomatic about the protocols of the past year before concluding “I think if they’re able to have fans come in during the main draw, I see really no reason why they shouldn’t be able to come into the qualies as well.”
Denis Kudla agreed. “I feel do they really protect us if (the crowds) showing up three, four days later, it’s going to be packed four days later?” he mused. “I don’t really think that makes sense. Keep it open. We’re not going to be in a bubble. We’re going to be roaming around New York City. We’re responsible for our own health. I don’t see how that’s really making sense. If you’re going to do full bubble, nobody, or just leave it completely open,” he added. “All this kind of half and half things, certain rules for certain people, I don’t think it makes sense in general. So, yeah, that’s pretty much my answer. I think people should be allowed in qualies. I think it’s a huge opportunity for families who can’t spend a bunch on tickets, have an opportunity to watch top guys practice and the future of the sport.”
Steve Johnson is always a straight shooter in press and he didn’t disappoint when I asked him the question last Wednesday. “I’m not the arbitrator of what’s fair and not fair,” he said with a smile. “Me, my perspective, look, we’ve had a lot of confusing COVID rules the last 18 months, especially last six months. I’ve stopped really trying to guess because half the rules make absolutely zero sense, it’s strictly an optical thing that I think is absolutely asinine really,” he added. “I mean, I’m the right guy to probably get a quote from, but I’m the wrong guy to give an impartial decision. Look, I think there should be fans at every stadium. I think we’ve shown in the States that you can do it and it’s safe,” he continued. “There should be fans. Everybody knows the risks. Everybody is willing to do what they want to do. That’s what makes America America. Everyone has their own choice to do whatever they want. If they want to come watch tennis, they should be allowed to. If they feel unsafe, they shouldn’t. There should be fans there the entire time. Again, it’s one of those questions why week one and not week two? Why is it any different? I’ve stopped trying to get those answers because it just makes me more confused than anything.”
In fact, the only player who didn’t express concern was Reilly Opelka. He was having no part of it. “I don’t want to bite the hand that feeds me, you know? They’vebeen great to me,” he said, referring to his benefactors. “The USTA has been great to me. That’s all funded by the US Open. There’s flaws in everything. They’ve been great to me. Martin Blackman and Kent Kinnear, my coach Jay Berger, even Pat McEnroe has been beyond generous to me. There’s nothing negative I can say because they’ve changed my life for the better,” he concluded. He’s one of the nicest guys on tour, but it was clear that he could not be critical in any way of his White Plains Overlords.
Like a good blogger, we reached out to White Plains yesterday to make some sense of this decision. We asked USTA Communications Director Chris Widmaier a few questions by email and followed up with a call to his cell phone, specifically inquiring the following:
1) You must be aware of the crowd size differential between qualifying rounds and the first round of main draw play. Is it fair to say that you expect far more attendees on August 30 and 31 than you would for any day of US Open qualifying in the past?
2) How much money do you expect US Open vendors and partners to lose as a result of the USTA’s decision to close qualifying to the public?
3) Are you aware of the impact of the decision on the thousands of attendees who come to qualifying from struggling neighborhoods all over the region? Will there be widely-advertised discount programs to allow low-income fans to attend the main draw in lieu of free qualifying?
4) Did you consider opening up qualifying for attendees who could provide proof of vaccinations?
5) Was the USTA provided with specific public health guidance that 0% capacity at qualifying would protect players and/or that requiring proof of vaccination for attendees at main draw rounds would be beneficial to the players?
Widmaier called me back. He explained that the decision was “heartbreaking and not an easy decision” for the USTA, and was made several months ago “based on expert medical advice at the time.” He described the Open as a “mega global event” and that all such decisions had to be made in advance for logistical purposes. He acknowledged that the USTA communicated the call to the ATP and WTA, and that he expected that they would have informed the players. “There are never more players on site than during qualifying,” he said. “You have the 256 singles entrants and the qualifying field here at the same time.” According to Widmaier, that medical advice included advising the US Open to build out expanded player areas, including gyms and dining areas to promote social distancing, which they have done.
To quote John McEnroe, “Let’s be honest.” It sounds to me like it was a call that was made, and it’s a call that can’t be challenged or reversed because it’s too late to get security and infrastructure in place for thousands of extra people to show up. Optics are everything, and some feel it’s time to stop blaming COVID-19 for decisions that make little sense except the most obvious—to make a buck and/or keep expenses down, just like a Fortune 500 company beholden to shareholders. It also seems that the last thing the USTA wants is to have to kick fans out after the tournament starts due to an outbreak, which would blow another hole in the organization’s finances after a disastrous 2020.
Perhaps accidentally, though, it feels like the USTA may have missed the mark on its mission statement on this one: “Include all people on a non-discriminatory basis, and make diversity and inclusion an embedded part of USTA.” Because this decision is a heartfelt blow to everyone except the sad rich people in those lower boxes on Ashe. Or as Emma Lazarus, the poet laureate of the Statue of Liberty might say, “Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, not right now, but certainly before 2023.“
Ten Americans Among Wild Card Recipients for Western & Southern Open Qualifying
The Queen City. Borough of Queens. Fuhgeddaboutit!
CINCINNATI (AUGUST 7, 2020) – The Western & Southern Open has awarded 11 wild cards to its qualifying field, with 10 Americans – including one Cincinnatian – among the recipients.
The five men and six women round out the 48-player qualifying fields. Two rounds of qualifying matches will be held Aug. 20-21, with a dozen women and 12 men joining the main draws, which will begin Aug. 22. All tournament action will take place at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York.
Cincinnati native JJ Wolf, who played at Ohio State, will be joined in ATP Tour qualifying by Sebastian Korda, Mackenzie McDonald, Michael Mmoh and Brandon Nakashima. Ohio State standout Francesca Di Lorenzo joins the WTA qualifying field along with CiCi Bellis, Anna Kalinskaya, Ann Li, Shelby Rogers and Katie Volynets.
Wolf owns four career Challenger titles and has been victorious in three of his last five events dating back to last season. He was 14-2 with two titles during the first two months of this year before play was suspended due to the pandemic. Wolf turned pro in 2019 after going 35-2 and earning Big Ten Player of the Year honors as a junior at Ohio State University. A graduate of Cincinnati Country Day, the 21-year-old will play Western & Southern Open qualifying for the third time in his career.
Sebastian Korda, 2018 AO Boy’s Champion
Korda is a 20-year-old Floridian who reached a pair of Challenger finals last season. In 2018, he was the Australian Open junior champion. His father, Petr, won the 1998 Australian Open and was a two-time Western & Southern Open quarterfinalist (1992, 98).
Mackenzie McDonald, 2018 Citi Open (Photo: Tennis Atlantic)
McDonald, who owns a pair of Challenger titles, posted his best ATP result in early 2019 with a semifinal in Delray Beach. His season was then cut short due to a hamstring injury which kept him out of action until the start of the 2020 campaign. The former UCLA Bruin was the nation’s No. 1 collegiate player in 2016, a season he capped by winning the NCAA Singles and Doubles titles. Before enrolling at UCLA, McDonald became the third unranked player to qualify for an ATP Masters 1000 when he did so at the 2013 Western & Southern Open. This year the 25-year-old Californian is seeking his third main draw appearance at the tournament.
Mmoh owns five career Challenger titles, including last fall in Knoxville after he missed four months earlier in 2019 with injury. The 22-year-old Florida resident suffered the injury after a 2018 campaign that included quarterfinals at ATP events in Brisbane and Los Cabos along with a pair of Challenger titles. He was the USTA Boy’s 18s National Championship winner in 2016.
Nakashima burst onto the pro scene in February with a run to the quarterfinals at Delray Beach in his ATP debut. He has reached the semifinals at three ATP Challenger Tour events since turning professional in the summer of 2019. The 19-year-old Californian was named ACC Freshman of the Year last year while playing for the University of Virginia.
Di Lorenzo was a two-time Big Ten Player of the Year and won an NCAA doubles championship during her career at Ohio State. As a professional, she has reached the second round at the US Open in each of the past two seasons. Born in Pittsburgh, the 23-year-old Di Lorenzo was raised in Columbus, Ohio. Her sister, Cristina, was a two-time All Big East honoree while playing tennis at Xavier University.
Bellis has reached the third round at three of the four Majors, most recently at this year’s Australian Open. The 21-year-old Californian is working her way back after undergoing four surgeries in 2018-19 on her right arm. The 2014 USTA Girl’s 18s National Champion, Bellis finished that year as the No. 1 ranked junior in the world.
Kalinskaya is a seven-time winner on the ITF Circuit. In the second half of 2019, she posted her best career WTA results with a semifinal at Washington, D.C., and a quarterfinal at Tashkent. The 21-year-old Russian’s parents were both professional badminton players.
Li reached five finals while posting more than 40 match wins on the ITF Circuit in 2019. Early this season she made her Grand Slam tournament debut as a qualifier at the Australian Open. In 2017, she finished as runner-up in the Wimbledon Girls’ Championship. The 20-year-old Pennsylvania native owns two career ITF Circuit titles.
Shelby Rogers, 2017 Volvo Car Open (Photo: Tony Callaio, Tennis Atlantic)
Rogers has twice been a finalist at WTA events. The South Carolina native claimed her sixth career ITF Circuit title earlier this year in Midland, Michigan. A quarterfinalist at the 2016 French Open, Rogers battled knee injuries before undergoing an operation in 2018 that sidelined for over one year. As a junior, she was the 2010 USTA Girl’s 18s National Champion.
Volynets won the 2019 USTA Girl’s 18s National Championship and in doing so, earned a wild card into the US Open where she faced eventual champion Bianca Andreescu in the opening round. The 18-year-old Californian closed the 2019 season by reaching her first ITF Circuit final. As a junior, she reached the 2017 US Open quarterfinals.
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 “Houdini” Lorenzo
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.
This Old Man
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.
Go Soeda Advances
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.
I cannot play in the dark.
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.
Denis Kudla, 2019 US Open (Photo: TennisAtlantic.com)
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.
Denis Kudla, 2019 US Open (Photo: TennisAtlantic.com)
“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.”
Denis Kudla, 2019 US Open (Photo: TennisAtlantic.com)
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.