For all the talk about the topsy turvy nature of this year’s US Open, Monday’s day session turned to be pretty straightforward, as both #1 seeds turned in workmanlike performances on the day set aside to celebrate the work of a labor force in the United States.
Pliskova Finds Her Form
Karolina Pliskova, who has struggled at times during the chase and defense of the #1 ranking, found some of the best form of the season and was never threatened by young American Jennifer Brady, taking only 46 minutes to earn the 6-1 6-0 victory. Pliskova ripped her groundstrokes from both sides, and hit 22 winners in the match. Brady was never able to get footing and find the depth on her shots, nor take advantage of her normally strong serve, only making 16 first serve attempts in the match.
Nadal Looks the Championship Part
In a men’s tournament where no one player has played a complete match (other than possibly Sam Querrey’s victory over the elder Zverev brother on Sunday night), Nadal stepped forward and displayed that he is #1 for a reason and he is ready to take this crown. Playing the typically unorthodox and dangerous Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine, Nadal was never fooled by the mixes of spins, or the heavy serving of the world’s 64th ranked player. Nadal faced only two break points and lost a mere 12 points on his serve in a 6-2 6-4 6-1 victory. The Ukrainian couldn’t find his form against the heavy hitting of Nadal, and had 39 unforced errors, while still having reached the US Open Round of 16 for the first time. Nadal will play the young Russian Andrey Rublev in the quarters, after he upset David Goffin.
Coco Moves On
American Coco Vandeweghe added to the spoils of American women this US Open with a confident and consistent 6-4 7-6 (7-2) win over Lucie Safarova. Throughout this tournament, Pat Cash, her coach, and Vandeweghe herself have discussed her new mental outlook–“win the next point.” She showed this ability to not let an out of control anger rob her of her chances against Safarova. Vandeweghe was in control the entire time with a serve that never wavered and a laser like focus that took control of the 2nd set tie break early racing out to a 4-2 lead and then never looked back. Vandeweghe will play world number one Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals.
Del Potro Finds Life
In what has to be the match of the tournament thus far, Juan Martin del Potro showed the world why he is so beloved in the game of tennis. With heart beyond words, del Potro fought through illness to come back from two sets down and beat young Dominic Thiem.
After looking beaten and ill in two lopsided sets against the young Austrian, del Potro found life in the third as medicine from the courtside doctors seem to lift him physically, and the boisterous crowd lifted him emotionally. del Potro came back from 1-6 1-6 to win the next set 6-1, then fought off two match points in the 4th set to win 7-6 (7-2). In the 5th, both players held serve fairly routinely until 4-5 in the fifth. After saving one match point, Thiem double faulted on the second and del Potro walked into the quarterfinals after another epic comeback.