Fritz, Brooksby Lead US Charge Into Second Round
Taylor Fritz capped a dream first round for the home contingent at Flushing Meadows with victory over Australian 14th seed Alex de Minaur at the US Open on Tuesday night. The 23-year-old was one of 13 Americans who advanced to the second round this year, the most since 15 did so in 1994.
The World No. 42’s 7-6(4), 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 win, in three hours and two minutes, was his first from four ATP Head2Head meetings against the 22-year-old. He finished with 42 winners to his opponent’s 37, including 10 aces.
“He does a lot of things that bother me, but I knew I was going to have to serve really well, compete well, attack… never give him a chance to kind of move me around and work his game,” Fritz said in his on-court interview.
“I stayed aggressive and played the big points well… In the fourth set, some of the points I was, like, I can’t get the ball by this guy, but I just had to keep trying. Obviously, I’m so stubborn I just wanted to keep hitting it harder and harder to get the ball past him, so I didn’t give up and got through.”
The third-highest American in the FedEx ATP Rankings will next meet compatriot Jenson Brooksby for the chance to equal his best run at Flushing Meadows. The fast-rising Brooksby ensured he would climb to a new career-high ranking after surviving a draining four-set battle with Swede Mikael Ymer Tuesday night to reach the second round of the US Open.
The 20-year-old fought off bouts of cramps before channelling the energy of American fans to tough out a 7-5, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 win in a match featuring 19 breaks of serve and lasting three hours and 59 minutes. Both players littered the stats sheet, with Brooksby hitting 37 winners to 59 unforced errors and Ymer, last week’s Winston-Salem finalist, hitting 33 winners to 63 unforced errors.
Brooksby made a fast start to the US Open Series, reaching the Newport final on grass and the Washington D.C. semi-finals on hard court. But he had not won a match since, falling in the first round in Toronto and not playing in Cincinnati.
Fellow American Zachary Svajda, 18, claimed his first tour-level win when he upset Italy's former Roland Garros semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato 7-6(6), 5-7, 6-4, 6-4. The World No. 716 and 2019 USTA boys' national champion had played just two ATP Challengers and two ITF Men's World Tour events this year before arriving at Flushing Meadows.
Countryman Ernesto Escobedo advanced to the second round for the third time in his career with a 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 win over Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas. It was just the fourth win of the year for the 25-year-old Californian.
Steve Johnson clawed past German qualifier Maximilian Marterer 5-7, 7-6(8), 7-6(8), 6-3 after three hours and five minutes. The American saved two set points in the second-set tie-break and four set points in the third-set tie-break to seize control and earn a second-round clash against 17th seed Gael Monfils, who eliminated Federico Coria 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
“I felt good today. I felt great,” Monfils said. “I had a good match, good performance. Quick. 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. Good start, so I feel good.”
Next up for the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals singles qualifier will be shotmaking Kazakhstani Alexander Bublik, the 31st seed, who eliminated German Yannick Hanfmann 6-0, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2. Other Americans who advanced were Mackenzie McDonald, who upset 27th seed David Goffin 6-2, 7-5, 6-3, and Denis Kudla, who rallied past Laslo Djere 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, 7-6(4).