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US Open 2014: Best of the first week

The Empire State Building in New York
by Michael Beattie
Sunday 31 August 2014

The major players have survived the first week of US Open 2014 without too many major casualties, but the bright lights of Flushing Meadows have brought some new faces into focus. Wimbledon.com summarises the best of the first week...

BEST MATCHES

Nick Kyrgios d. Mikhail Youzhny, 7-5 7-6(4) 2-6 7-6(1): Could Kyrgios reproduce the kind of form that did for Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of The Championships? Could he ever. The 19-year-old was back at his bombastic best against No.21 seed Youzhny, but his temper threatened to get the better of him as he came within one code violation of defaulting the match while trailing in the fourth set. After a game penalty Kyrgios channelled his frustration into his tennis, producing some inspired touches en route to his first US Open win.

Eugenie Bouchard d. Sorana Cirstea, 6-2 6-7(4) 6-4: By far the most competitive of the night session matches on Arthur Ashe Stadium in the first week. Romania’s Cirstea came into the second-round match against the Wimbledon finalist with a 6-1 6-1 victory over Great Britain’s Heather Watson, and threatened a serious upset against the No.7 seed after clawing her way back into the match in the second set. But Bouchard stood firm, clinching the odd break in three in the decider for victory.

Gael Monfils d. Alejandro Gonzalez, 7-5 6-3 6-2: For sheer entertainment, both during and between points, Gael Monfils takes some topping. The Frenchman turned ringmaster for his second-round match on Grandstand, firing one flying forehand winner that passed Gonzalez at 110mph early in the second set. Chatting with his entourage and the crowd throughout the match, La Monf produced a vintage display of athleticism and invention that epitomised the very best of his game.

WEEK ONE HEROES

James McGee: Dubliner McGee collapsed in tears after qualifying for his first ever Grand Slam main draw at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. He fell in four sets to Aleksandr Nedovyesov, but nobody could wipe the smile off the world No.194’s face.

CiCi Bellis: American tennis has a new sweetheart in the shape of 15-year-old Catherine ‘CiCi’ Bellis, who became the youngest winner of a match at the US Open since Anna Kournikova in 1996 when she stunned No.10 seed Dominika Cibulkova in the first round.

Victor Estrella Burgos: The oldest ever US Open debutant and first Dominican to play in the year’s final Grand Slam, 34-year-old Estrella Burgos won two rounds and countless new fans before falling in three tiebreaks against No.5 seed Milos Raonic.

Dominic Thiem: The promising Austrian is through to the third round at a Grand Slam for the first time after outlasting practice partner and No.11 seed Ernests Gulbis 4-6 3-6 6-4 6-3 6-3. Thiem, 20, will face Feliciano Lopez for a place in the last 16.

BEST TWEETS

WHAT ABOUT THE WIMBLEDON CHAMPIONS?

Life is changing rapidly off court for Gentlemen’s Singles champion Novak Djokovic, now married and expecting his first child shortly after the US Open. Early losses in Toronto and Cincinnati were cause for concern but the world No.1 has been in fine form throughout the first week in New York, winning his three rounds in a combined four and a half hours. The 2011 champion faces Philipp Kohlscheiber for a place in the quarter-finals.

The US Open is the only Grand Slam where Ladies’ Singles champion Petra Kvitova has not reached at least the quarter-finals, and 2014 proved to be no exception. The Czech 24-year-old was stunned in the third round by Serbian qualifier Aleksandra Krunic, falling 6-4 6-4 to the 21-year-old who later said it had been an honour to share the court with the Wimbledon champion.

Spurred on to new personal bests in their singles careers since Wimbledon, Gentlemen’s Doubles champions Jack Sock and Vasek Pospisil were disappointed to make first-round exits at the US Open. Canada’s Pospisil fell in five sets to Simone Bolelli, while Sock retired with cramp against Pablo Andujar. The pair are back in action in the doubles, where they will face Carlos Berlocq and Leonardo Mayer in the third round.

Having completed their career Grand Slam at Wimbledon, Ladies’ Doubles champions Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci were stunned in the second round in New York by Jarmila Gajdosova and Alja Tomljanovic. The result ended Vinci’s US Open campaign but Errani booked her spot in the fourth round of the singles draw with a 6-0 0-6 7-6(5) victory over Venus Williams and will face qualifier Mirjana Lucic-Baroni for a place in the quarter-finals.

Former US Open champion Samantha Stosur was knocked out in the second round of both the singles and doubles draws, but Mixed Doubles partner Nenad Zimonjic is safely through to the third round of the men’s doubles draw with partner Daniel Nestor.

BEST VIDEOS

Djokovic invites a girl to sing at his press conference: 

 

Gael Monfils and THAT forehand:

 

Ball boy skills:

BEST QUOTES

“I'd probably start charging for medical timeouts. I think we'd all see who really uses them and who doesn't. I don't know what we put on it, maybe $2,500 or something. Yeah, I think we should do that. That would be fun.”

Maria Sharapova’s response when asked what rule she would change or introduce in tennis.

“I think some players take way too long between the points.”

Ana Ivanovic answers the same question

“I came here to get accreditation. The ladies, they were laughing about it. Honestly, I didn't understand what the guy wanted to ask me. That's it. It happens.”

Ernests Gulbis’ “vampires” press conference during The Championships has followed him to the US Open…

“After so many years to be here again, it's incredible. I wanted this so bad. So many times I would get to a place where I could do it. Then I wanted it so bad that I'm kind of burned out. Yeah, I'm so happy."

Mirjana Lucic Baroni, who after years of turmoil in her private life is back in the last 16 of a Grand Slam for the first time since reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals in 1999.

For live scores, draws and results from the US Open, visit usopen.org


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