Homegrown talent impresses at US Open

A COUPLE of intriguing winners will hit the court in the second round at the WTA Tour’s 2020 US Open after a huge second day of Round of 128 action. It was a stellar output from the United States homegrown talent, with nine American representatives skating through.

Serena Williams – who is hunting down an elusive 24th Grand Slam title – and youngster Katrina Scott who at only 16-years-old is a wildcard at her first major tournament – both made it through relatively unscathed to come out of the first round with convincing winz on the board. Williams’ opponent, compatriot Kristie Ahn had a solid start and rounded out the first set tiebreaker well, but fell at Williams’ impressive serve as the champion racked up 13 aces and an 85 per cent win rate off her first serve. For Scott, a huge 7-6 first set win gave her a wealth of confidence against her Russian opponent Natalia Vikhlyantseva, but will meet fellow American teenager and 22nd seed Amanda Anisimova in a huge second round after the now-19-year-old defeated Bulgarian Viktoriya Tomova in two tight sets, 7-5 7-5.

All seeded Americans in Williams, Anisimova, Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys and Sofia Kenin were convincing on court with an average winning time of one hour and 13 minutes. Bernarda Pera and Casey McNally had dominant second sets to take out victory. With 15 American names in the draw, just a few of the USA talent were knocked from contention, including Venus Williams who was defeated by 20th seed Karolina Muchova, while the likes of Ahn and Taylor Townsend were unlucky to draw compatriots and sent home by Serena Williams and Sachia Vickery respectively. Lauren Davis forged an impressive second set comeback before being run down by in-form Frenchwoman Alize Cornet.

Western & Southern Open victor Victoria Azarenka continued where she left off, making it through unscathed on day two of the Grand Slam. Despite a strong start, former world number one Kim Clijsters was knocked aside by 21st seed Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova, while Elise Mertens and Johanna Konta were also too strong, though Konta had to surpass a tough start from British compatriot Heather Watson to head through to the second round in an hour and 48 minutes.

Australian Open runner up Garbine Muguruza similarly ran away winners in two sets, with just six matches for the day take to three sets and just two of the 16 seeds – Veronika Kudermetova and Saisai Zheng – going down to unseeded opposition in 18-year-old Iga Swiatek and Ysaline Bonaventure. Despite a tough effort from Frenchwoman Oceane Dodin, fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka outlasted her opposition in 90 minutes, as did Donna Vekic in a three set battle against Czech Kristyna Pliskova and 15th seed Maria Sakkari despite a second set comeback from Stefanie Voegele.

Joining the aforementioned players in the second round are Ons Jabeur, Margarita Gasparyan, Patricia Maria Tig, Tsvetana Pironkova, Olga Govortsova, Sara Sorribes Tormo, Sorana Cirstea, Kaia Kanepi, Leylah Fernandez, Anna Kalinskaya and Aliona Bolsova.

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