Qualifiers Acquit Themselves Quite Well In @CincyTennis Main Draw Monday
Steve Fogleman in Mason
Some welcome clouds rolled in at the Western & Southern Open in Mason, Ohio for the first day full of main draw action after two very sunny days of qualifying.
This morning, I looked at the order of play and it dawned on me that these qualifiers might stand a fighting chance today against main draw entrants given their strong performances over the weekend. Turns out I wasn’t off the mark. The qualifying women went 2-2 today and that Peterson/Konta match doesn’t seem to want to end. On the men’s side, the qualifiers are 1-2 today. As I post this, qualifier Pablo Carreno Busta is up a set on Gilles Simon. But the qualifying story of the day belongs to Miomir Kecmanovic, who continues to be a giant killer over the last month as he ousted the Boy Wonder, Le Garcon Merveille, Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 6-3 in 63 minutes. Shame on you, Miomir.
Qualifier Veronika Kudermetova embarrassed Bernarda Pera 6-2, 6-3, much as she embarrassed Monica Puig in straight sets yesterday. And she’ll face either Bec Peterson in Ronde Deux. Aryna Sabalenka dazzled on Grandstand court in removing Petra Martic from the singles draw with a final of 6-1, 6-4.
And the Pluckster–the plucky Yulia Putintseva is ready to take on Sloane Stephens under the lights after watching Jelena Ostapenko melt down with 15 double faults and Putintseva was all too happy to accept, 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-3.
On the men’s side, it was an early exit for Andy Murray, and Lucas Pouille wasn’t feeling particularly sentimental in the 6-3, 7-6(6) victory. And Yoshi Nishioka, who drew massive crowds at qualifying through the weekend, won a dramatic three set match of almost two and a half hours against the mustachioed Jordan Thompson, who looked a little like Borat out there on Court 11 today. Nishioka takes on Kei Nishikori next, which will be pretty cool.
Novak Djokovic and Janko “Sunglass Hut” Tipsarevic drew Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo and the specialists outgunned the Serbs today, who lost 6-2, 6-3 and never got a chance to break serve of the #2 seeded team here in Cincinnati.
Maria Sharapova takes on Alison Riske tonight in another possible upset alert, while wild card Reilly Opelka faces Borna Coric in the nightcap.
Tomorrow’s highlights include Venus Williams and Novak Djokovic on Stadium in the afternoon followed by a blockbuster night session with Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Petra Kvitova.
N.B. They opened a brewery in Mason over the spring which is only a few minutes from the tournament and has excellent wi-fi. The best tennis tournament in America just got a little better.