REVIEW: Day 1 at the 2015 US Open for the Australians - UBITENNIS
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REVIEW: Day 1 at the 2015 US Open for the Australians

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 By: Jillian Wright

It was a rough first day at the 2015 US Open for the Australian players. Five players were in action today, but only the 55th ranked Sam Groth advanced to the second round. John Milman, Matthew Ebden, Daria Gavrilova and Casey Dellaqua all fell short.

Sam Groth vs. Alexandr Dolgopolov

Big hitting Aussie Sam Groth advanced in the first round of the 2015 U.S. Open (4-6, 6-1, 7-5) over Alexandr Dolgopolov (Ukraine) who was forced to retire after dropping the third set.

With the win Groth advances to the second round where he will meet Tommy Robredo (26th seed) who beat Michael Berrer (6-2, 6-2, 6-4) earlier in the day. Last year, Groth defeated Albert Ramos-Viñolas in the first round but lost to Roger Federer in straight sets in the second round (4-6, 4-6, 4-6).

The 27 year-old Groth dominated the second set with a withering serve and volley game reminiscent of Pat Rafter and Pete Sampras. The Court Six crowd was treated to a close up view of Groth’s explosive first serves and nasty second serve kickers. His 65% success rate on first serves kept Dologpolov on the defensive throughout the second set. Dologpolov struggled to retaliate and his anemic 47% first serve stat did not help. Groth recorded 15 aces in the match.

Dolgopolov recovered from the 6-1 second set beat-down and jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the third. Dologpolov looked smooth and relaxed while Groth seemed tight and a bit bewildered. In the third game Groth sprayed forehands and backhands while Dologpolov cruised to an easy win at love.

Groth continued to play erratically through the sixth game which Dologpolov won easily again at love. Down 5-2 and serving in the eighth game Groth started to recapture his mojo. Back-to-back aces saw Groth move to 40-15. Dologpolov fought back to deuce but Groth fed Dologpolov two nasty second serves which he returned long.

Serving at 5-3 with the set on his racket Dologpolov had several opportunities but could not close out Groth. After multiple deuces and several well-played rallies Dologpolov faltered. He hit a backhand deep over the baseline and followed that with a forehand into the net. Finally Groth broke serve with a huge forehand after another long rally and closed to 5-4. Dologpolov continued to tighten up but still had plenty of chances as Groth’s first serve deserted him. Dologpolov lost control of his groundstrokes and could not capitalize on Groth’s second serves. Groth won the last three games to win the third set 7-5.

Groth was very aggressive throughout the match attacking the net on his service and also on return of serve. This can be very effective on the fast U.S. Open surface. But if Groth is going to challenge Tommy Robredo and advance to the third round he will need much more consistency from his first serve.

John Millman vs. Sergiy Stakhovsky

The Brisbane native, 72nd ranked John Millman, lost to Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky, who is ranked 60th, in four sets (6-1, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4). Millman hit only one winner in the match and failed to convert any of the five break point opportunities in the third set. Stakhovsky served well, with 16 aces and a high winning percentage on both his first and second serves.

Matthew Ebden vs. Grigor Dimitrov

Matthew Ebden, who came through Qualifications, had a difficult draw facing the 17th seed, Grigor Dimitrov. The Bulgarian looked in good form and showed no lingering effects of the loss to Andy Murray in the Round of 16 in Cincinnati ten days ago when he blew a 5-2 lead in the final set.

Dimitrov won 78% of his 1st serve points and 76% of his 2nd serve points and gave Ebden only two break point opportunities. Dimitrov converted six out of nine break point chances. Dimitrov played aggressively on both wings and caused Ebden to have 46 forced errors and 28 unforced errors in the match. Ebden did have some success at the net but when he tried to match power with power, Dimitrov won that battle. Next up for Dimitrov is Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan who beat Yen-Hsun Lu in straight sets.

Daria Garvilova vs. Daria Kasakina

There were high expectations for Daria Gavrilova at the US Open. Her draw changed dramatically when the 3rd seed, Maria Sharapova, withdrew due to a right leg injury. Gavrilova could be in contention for the WTA Most Improved Player this year. She reached the Round of 16 in Miami, beating Sharapova in straight sets in the second round. Gavrilova made it to the Semi-Finals in Rome with a win over Ana Ivanovic, who was ranked 7th at the time. In Toronto, she upset the French Open finalist Lucie Safarova in the second round. Gavrilova started the year ranked 233 – her current ranking is 38.

However, Gavrilova failed to take advantage of the situation. In addition to Sharapova withdrawing from the tournament, four seeds in her quarter of the draw were eliminated in the first round: Ivanovic, Suarez-Navarro, Jankovic and Kuznetsova. The Lucky Loser, Daria Kasatkina of Russia, who is ranked 133, bested Gavrilova. The match went three sets (6-2, 4-6, 7-5). Gavrilova settled down after a shaky first set. The feisty Aussie won the second set and played a close third set. She was very unhappy with a line call late in the third set that gave Kasatkina a break to go up 6-5. They played the match on Court 11, which does not have Hawk-Eye, so the call could not be reviewed. Kasastkina held her next service game to win the match. She plays the 17-year-old Ana Konjuh from Croatia in the next round.

Casey Dellacqua vs. Anett Kontaveit

Casey Dellacqua looked a bit rusty in her first round match against the Qualifier Anett Kontaveit losing in straight sets (7-5, 6-2). She went down 0-2 quickly in the first set but then picked her game up. Dellacqua broke back in the tenth game to make it 5 all, but lost the next two games to lose the set. She had trouble holding her serve in the second set and lost it in just 27 minutes. The 19 year old from Estonia faces the 31st seed, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the second round.

Day 2 Preview

The Aussies will be hoping for better results on Day 2 at the US Open. The prime-time match that everybody will be talking about is Andy Murray vs. Nick Kyrgios. A difficult first round draw for the talented Kyrgios. The number 3 seed is in top form and has beaten Kyrgios in each of their previous three meetings. In addition, Kyrgios is dealing with the backlash from is extremely inappropriate remarks during his match with Stan Wawrinka in Montreal on August 13th.

The fan favorite, Lleyton Hewitt (who received a wild card), will be in action facing Alex Nedovyesov of Kazakhstan. This will be Hewitt’s final appearance at the US Open; he will be retiring after the 2016 Australian Open.

The highest ranked Australian man, Bernard Tomic seeded 24th, will play Damir Dzumhur from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Thanasi Kokkinakis will face the 12 seed from France, Richard Gasquet. The 95th ranked James Duckworth will square off against Hyeon Chung of Korea. The leftie John-Patrick Smith will play the veteran Mikhail Youzhny of Russia.

Sam Stosur will be seeking revenge against the Hungarian Timea Babos, who ousted Sam in the first round in Cincinnati two weeks ago. Jarmila Gajdosova , with a ranking of 76, Will play the 26th seed Italian, Flavia Pennetta. Ajla Tomljanovic, ranked 63, will play another Italian, Karin Knapp who is ranked 34.

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Jannik Sinner overcomes a first round scare against Tallon Griekspoor in Halle

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Jannik Sinner rallied past Tallon Griekspoor 6-7 (8-10) 6-3 6-2 for a maiden win as a number 1 player in his first grass-court match of the season at the Terra Wortmann Open in Halle. Sinner, the first Italian player to hold the number 1 spot in the ATP Ranking, has improved his 2024 record to 34 wins to 3 defeats. 

Sinner squandered a 5-1 lead in the tie-break and did not convert two set points at 6-4 and 6-5. 

Griekspoor converted his third set point to win a hard-fought tie-break 10-8. The Dutch player earned three break points at 2-2 in the second set. Sinner saved all three break points to hold serve and this helped him to turn around the match. Sinner broke serve in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead with a diving forehand passing shot and won eight of the last nine service points to win the second set 6-3 forcing the match to the decider. 

Sinner broke in the third game of the third set and held serve at love for 3-1. The 2024 Australian player held serve with a lob for 4-2. 

Sinner earned his second break in the seventh game at love and closed out the win on his first match point with his 15th ace after 2 hours and 22 minutes. 

“It was for sure mentally tough. It was 5-1 up in the tie-break of the first set. This can happen especially on this surface. It can go very fast. I was good mentally. I was struggling in the second set, 0-40 down on my serve. If he makes that point, it is even more difficult. It is all about trying to get the confidence back, especially on this surface and I have shown that. Hopefully I can show some good tennis in the next round”, said Sinner. 

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Danil Medvedev saves a set point to beat Nuno Borges in Halle

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Danil Medvedev started his grass campaign with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 win over Portugal’s Nuno Borges in 1 hour and 31 minutes at the Terra Wortmann Open Open in Halle. Medvedev is still chasing his first title this season. 

Borges converted his third break point in the second game of the first set. Medvedev broke straight back in the third game and held serve at 15 in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Borges earned a set point at 6-5 in the first set, when Medvedev hit a double fault long. Medvedev hit a first serve out wide to save the set point. 

Both players went on serve en route to the tie-break. Medvedev raced out to a 4-0 lead with two mini-breaks. Borges pulled one of the two mini-breaks back for 2-5. Medvedev earned his third mini-break to take a 6-2 lead. Borges saved two set points for 4-6, but Medvedev sealed the tie-break 7-4 on his third chance. The second set went on serve until the 10thgame, when Medvedev broke serve on his second match point. 

Medvedev won five more points than Borges, but he saved five of the six break points he faced. 

Medvedev has a win-loss record of 22-1 against players outside of the top 20. 

Medvedev set up a second round match against Chinese number 1 Zhang Zhizhen, who battled past Sebastian Ofner 7-6 (10-8) 6-7 (3-7) 6-4. Medvedev will play his first head-to-head match against Zhang Zhizhen. 

Lorenzo Sonego won 85 % of his first serve points in his 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-5) win over Miomir Kecmanovic. 

Sonego saved the only break point of the first set in the 11th game. Both players went on serve until the tie-break. Sonego raced out to a 4-1 lead. Kecmanovic pulled back on serve to draw level to 4-4. Sonego earned a first set point at 6-5, but Kecmanovic saved it. Sonego sealed the first set 7-5 on his second set point. 

Sonego earned a break point in the first game of the second set, but Kecmanovic saved it. The Serbian player fended off another break point in the ninth game. Sonego went down 2-5 in the tie-break, but he won five consecutive points to win the second set. 

Sonego will face the winner of the German clash between this year’s Roland Garros finalist Alexander Zverev and world number 471 Oscar Otte. 

Hubert Hurkacz beat Flavio Cobolli 7-5 7-6 (7-5). The first set went on serve until the sixth game, when Hurkacz earned the first break to take a 4-2 lead. Cobolli broke straight back in the seventh game and draw level at 15 to draw level to 4-4. Cobolli saved a set point in the 10th game, but Hurkacz sealed the first set with a break in the 10th game. The second set went on serve until the 12th game when Cobolli saved two match points. Hurkacz earned two mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-2.  

Hurkacz will face either Brazilian wild-card Joao Fonseca or James Duckworth. 

Dominik Koepfer was leading 6-4 4-3 against Felix Auger Aliassime, when the Canadian player withdrew from the match due to a left hip injury. Fabian Mazoszan overcame last year’s Wimbledon quarter finalist Roman Safiulin 7-5 4-6 6-1. Maroszan could face world number 1 Jannik Sinner, if the Italian player beats Tallon Grieksppr. 

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Alex De Minaur beats Sebastian Korda in s’Hertogenbosch to win his second title of the season

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Alex De Minaur beat Sebastian Korda 6-2 6-4 after 1 hour and 31 minutes to win the ninth title of his career at the Libema Open in s’Hertogenbosch. De Minaur claimed his second title of the season after winning in Acapulco last week. 

De Minaur, who was competing as a top seed for the first time this week, did not drop a set en route to the title at the Dutch grass tournament. He converted five of his 14 break points and saved four of the six chances he faced. 

De Minaur reeled off four consecutive games from 2-2 with back-back breaks in the opening set. The Australian player won eight of nine points breaking at love for 4-2 and consolidated with a hold at 15 for 5-2. De Minaur earned his second straight break to clinch the first set 6-2. 

De Minaur converted his fourth break point in the second game of the second set to build up a 6-2 2-0 lead. Korda broke straight back in the third game and held his serve at 15 in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. De Minaur converted his third break point in the sixth game to open up a 4-2 lead. The 2023 Davis Cup finalist saved four break points in the seventh game to hold serve for 5-2. 

Korda saved a match point in the eighth game as he was serving to stay in the match, but he made his fourth double fault to face a second match point. The US player hit a forehand pass to save his championhip point. 

Korda broke back for the second game in the ninth game at 15 in the ninth game for 4-5 with a forehand down the line, as De Minaur was serving for his second title of the season. On the changeover Korda took a medical time-out to treat a blister. After a five-minute delay Korda hit a between the legs mid-court forehand. 

De Minaur earned a third championship point with a forehand in the 10thgame, but Korda threw down a smash to save it. Korda hit a backhand long to face a championship match. 

Korda faced a fourth championship point after a backhand long. De Minaur broke serve in the 10th game on his fourth championship point to seal his second title of the season after 1 hour and 34 minutes, as Korda steered a forehand down the line wide. 

The Australian player, who beat Casper Ruud at the Mexican Open in Acapulco last February, has won multiple ATP titles in a single season for the third year following his triumphs in Sydney, Atlanta and Zhuhai in 2019, and in Antalya and Eastbourne in 2021. He has joined Australiana legends Patrick Rafter (1998) and 2000) and and Lleyton Hewitt (2001) as the third player from his country to win the title in s’Hertogenbosch. De Minaur has won his first grass title since Eastbourne in 2021.

“Obviously it was a great match. The conditions were tricky, and Sebastian is a hell of player. I am looking forward to playing doubles with him next week at Queen’s. I am super happy with the week. It’s been great. Happy days. I think it achieves a new career-high for me. That’s always a great title bonus for me. The first week on grass could not have gone better. I am looking forward to next week at Queen’s ”, said De Minaur. 

De Minaur, who had reached a career high of eighth with his semifinal win over Ugo Humbert in the semifinal, will rise two spots to world number 7 in the ATP Ranking next week after winning this title. 

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