US Open 2018 Day 2 Preview: Tiafoe Looks for his first NYC Victory

published: Aug, 28, 2018

by: Ben Stevens

Well that didn’t take long. The first major upset of the 2018 US Open is already in the books, and it might end up being its biggest.

World number one and reigning Roland Garros champ Simona Halep was bounced in the first round for the second-straight year on Monday, losing 2-6, 4-6 to 44th-ranked Estonian Kaia Kanepi.

As much as the popular narrative will be Halep’s continued problems escaping the first round (twelve such exits in 34 grand slam entries), the truth was Kanepi simply blew her off the court. Granted the time to take big cuts at the ball off both wings, Kanepi recorded 26 winners to the Romanian’s 9, and despite a Halep fightback, was able to re-up her intensity to seal-the-deal in 76 minutes.

So a day in, and a massive hole has already blown wide-open in the women’s draw – not to mention the six other seeds sent packing as well! If it continues like this, we’re in for a real cracker of a tournament.

Here’s your three to see on day 2 in New York:

Samantha Stosur (AUS) v Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) [2] – First on Arthur Ashe (12:00pm start)

The 2011 US Open champion, these days the only thing you’ll really hear about Sam Stosur is “wait, she’s still playing?”, but nevertheless, she remains a tricky first-round opponent for Caro Wozniacki. Holding a 7-4 head-to-head advantage with her last loss coming in 2014, Wozniacki certainly should be able to see the Australian off, but Stosur’s advantage in weaponry can’t be discounted, nor the Dane’s own Halep-like tendency to underperform on the grand slam stage. No, you wouldn’t bet on a repeat of yesterday’s shenanigans, but even in victory, this might be a longer afternoon than Wozniacki expects, and she’d do very well to come through it completely unscathed.

Caroline Garcia (FRA) [6] v Johanna Konta (GBR) – Third on Grandstand

Suffice to say it’s been a disappointing year for ex-world no. 4 Jo Konta, but perhaps an opportunity presents itself in a relatively favourable matchup here against Caroline Garcia. Holding a 3-2 head-to-head advantage (with one of those losses due to retirement), Konta can take confidence in the knowledge she has proven her ability to out-serve and out-manoeuvre Garcia, who as an attacking baseliner herself gives offers the sort of ball the Brit likes to play with. A legitimate upset contender, Konta is sure to have plenty of opportunities to go after the more spin-laden shots offered by Garcia, and at the very least that should lead to a healthy amount of lines painted, if nothing else.

Frances Tiafoe (USA) v Adrian Mannarino (FRA) [29] – Fourth on Grandstand (Not before 5:00pm)

Having made a star-making turn in the first round here last year with his five-set loss to Roger Federer, the weight of expectation if firmly on 20-year-old Frances Tiafoe, but he’s got his work cut out here against Adrian Mannarino. A particularly tricky matchup for the hard-hitting American, Mannarino is a player who while not offering much power himself, loves to counterpunch his way into attacking opportunities, and will look to frustrate Tiafoe by refusing to give him the same ball twice. Of course, Tiafoe has the ability to simply hit through the Frenchman, but there’s a good reason Mannarino is the 29th seed, and he’ll ask the 20-year to work for everything he gets in this cat-and-mouse affair.

Ben Stevens

Contributor to TennisConnected. Long time player, coach and fan. Still waiting on Mark Philippoussis to break through at a major.

instagram linkedin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *