Sumit Nagal lost to the World number 3, Dominic Thiem in the second round of the men’s singles in the US Open late on September 3. Despite a strong opening period, Nagal went down in straight sets 6-3, 6-3, 6-2.
Thiem said he was well prepared to face Nagal since he had studied his game and knew of his strengths and had a clear strategy in place to face his fierce opponent. The Austrian started off strong, taking three games in a row right off the bat, but Nagal fought back hard, levelling things up at 3-3 and igniting hopes that this could yet be a drawn out encounter. Thiem, unfortunately, had other ideas.
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Despite his best efforts though Thiem was the better player on the day, converting on 6 of 14 breakpoints and hitting with 30 winners to Nagal’s 12.
"Thank you 2020 US Open. Lots to learn. Going to keep working hard! Thanks for all the support everyone," Nagal later tweeted.
Andy Murray lost to the second round of the U.S. Open in straight sets to Canadian you gester Felix Auger-Aliassime. The former world number one was was dismissed by Auger-Aliassime, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 in a little over two hours late last night.
Murray playing his first Grand Slam after the 2019 Australian Open, came into the second round after registering a come fro victory against Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka on Tuesday.
The 20 year old blew Murray off the court serving up 24 aces and 52 winners to completely dominate proceedings over the former US Open champion. “Life is funny, I came here as a kid in 2011 and it’s crazy that nine years later I’m here getting the win,” Auger-Aliassime said after his victory. For Murray meanwhile, the loss, while damaging is just another step on his return to tennis following hip surgery earlier this year.
“Physically, you know, I actually did pretty well I thought in the first round. But I think the more tournaments that you play, the more matches that you play, you build up that sort of robustness in your body which right now I don’t really have,” the Scotsman said.
Mother’s Day Out
Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Tsvetana Pironkova won their respective matches in the US Open to proceed to the third round of the Grand Slam. The trio are part of nine mother who started the tournament, six of whom — Kim Clijsters, Vera Zvonareva, Tatjana Maria, Kateryna Bondarenko, Patricia Maria Tig and Olga Govortsova — were knocked out in the early rounds.
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Of the trio, it was Pironkova’s victory that was most unexpected as she beat Australian Open finalist Garbine Muguruza in straight sets to move on to the third round. The Bulgarian was was playing in her first tournament in three years after having taken a break from the Tour to focus on her son and family and was flawless in her demolition of Muguruza yesterday.
Serena Williams meanwhile powered on in the hope to secure her 24th Grand Slam title, beating Russian Margarita Gasparyan 6-2,6-4 to set up a mouth watering all American encounter with Sloane Stephens in the next round. Stephens is the last American to have won the US Open, doing so in 2017.
Williams and Pironkova were also joined by Azarenka, who beat her Belarusian compatriot and rising start Aryna Sabalenka 6-1, 6-3 in the second round.
Towel, No Towel?
One of the more idiosyncratic traditions of modern day tennis involves the use of towels by players between points and with pandemic protocols dictating that players handle their own towels, players have taken time to adjust to the situation.
As a rule at the US Open, players are expected to handle their own towels which are kept under colour-coded boxes at the back of the court. One of the bigger problems occurs for players when they are not serving — seeing as the game is played at the server’s pace. In order to access the towel — and unable to have a ball boy hand it to them — they are forced to forgo the use of it completely when not on serve.
Stefanos Tsitsipas, the World No. 4, corroborated to this fact admitting that his biggest struggle was when he wants to use the towel before returning serve. “That's a big concern because I would like to use it more often, but I can't really because I'm disrupting my opponent's rhythm."
The World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, also a frequent towel user, was warned for a time violation by the chair umpire for retrieving the towel in his opening round match in New York. Djokovic even rebuked the umpire for calling the score too quickly — and therefore resetting the serve clock quicker — and denying him the opportunity to recalibrate. Djokovic is known as one of those few players who takes a lot of time to serve.
"I lost my focus. Kind of got stressed out a couple times," Djokovic said in an interview after the match. "We've played at a certain tempo, so to say and got used to it during the Western & Southern tournament, which just ended two days ago. Two days later, we have a different rule that was just not communicated to us."
Anisimova Defeats Scott
In what was perhaps the clash with the lowest average age the tournament may see over the fortnight, Amanda Anisimova beat fellow teenager Katrina Scott 6-4, 4-6, 1-6 to advance to the next round.
Anisimova, 19, the older of the duo was the one who was out of sorts in the opening set, with Scott not just dictating play but also winning most duels in the centre of the court. Slowly though, Anisimova fought back clinching the second set on a single break of serve before running away with the decider.
For Anisimova the tournament is an emotional reminder of her father who passed away last year at this time unexpectedly. Anisimova had pulled out of the Grand Slam last year and even took some time off the game to deal with the loss of not just a parent but someone who was also her coach.
“I was just thinking of my dad the whole time and I didn’t want to lose without putting up a fight,” said Anisimova in her post-match interview. “I’m extremely happy, not just with my win, but how I came back.”
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