June 19, 2024

Open Court


All aboard for Canadian 2nd round at the US Open

FLUSHING MEADOWS – Having five Canadian players advance (most of them fairly routinely) into the second round of singles at a Grand Slam is something we now expect, rather than hope for.

And it happened at this US Open, where four of them won on Monday. And then Denis Shapovalov needed five sets, but got it done on Tuesday.

As the second round of singles begins Wednesday, here’s a look at each of them and what they’ll be facing.

Andreescu vs Haddad Maia

The No. 15 seed this week, Beatriz Haddad Maia had a superb week in Toronto, reaching the final of the Omnium Banque Nationale and moving herself up into the top 20 for the first time.

As a second-round match, it’s no picnic for Andreescu. But that’s the risk you take when you’re still just inside the top 50, and therefore unseeded.

She could have drawn Haddad Maia – or Serena, or anyone – in the first round.

But in the end, Andreescu got Harmony Tan, who felled Williams in her return to Wimbledon last month.

Tan worked for many years with former world No. 3 Nathalie Tauziat, who also worked with Andreescu. Starting way back when she first appeared on the junior Grand Slam scene at Roland Garros, when she was just 14.

The second set was a bit of a hiccup. But in the end Andreescu – despite a wardrobe malfunction that had her cussing out her clothing sponsor on live television – pulled it out.

Andreescu and Haddad Maia will have to stay up late; they’re the second night-session match on Louis Armstrong, after Andreescu’s countryman Félix Auger-Aliassime takes on Jack Draper.

Auger-Aliassime vs Draper

It wasn’t that Auger-Aliassime took qualifier Alexander Ritschard for granted. He can’t afford to do that, after some early defeats this year in majors.

The 22-year-old dropped the third set – often the case after a player wins the first two – but didn’t seem too troubled overall as he advanced over a player who is just getting up to the Grand Slam level at age 28, and before 2022 had earned $80,000 in his career.

Auger-Aliassime’s next opponent is serious business.

It’s young British lefty Jack Draper – a bull of a kid who hits the ball hard, has some net skills and is clearly on the comeup.

The official stats have him weighing seven points less than FAA. But those might already be outdated.

That match is at 7 p.m. Wednesday on Armstrong – a scheduling conflict with that 23-time Grand Slam champion who will be on Arthur Ashe Stadium at the same time.

Marino vs Snigur

Marino, who was straight into the main draw, came into New York after going to the quarterfinals in singles and the semifinals in doubles in Granby.

Good prep, but still some space in between.

She was down in the second set against Poland’s Magdalena Frech in the first round, but put pedal to medal and got through in straight sets.

As second rounds at majors go, getting a qualifier who is at her career high of No. 124 isn’t too bad.

And so Marino will attempt to do what she’s never done before – make the third round at a major.

Snigur, the 2019 junior Wimbledon champion, was pretty overcome after posting the best win of her young career against Simona Halep on Monday.

It’s a lot to take in. And her unorthodox but powerful, flat backhand will take getting used to. But Marino brings a ton of firepower herself, especially on the serve.

That match awaited a men’s match on Court 11, which at times threatened to go to a fifth set. Finally, it got going shortly after 2 p.m.

Fernandez vs Samsonova

The No. 14 seed picked up right where she left off in New York last year, with an impressive straight-sets win over Océane Dodin of France Monday night, on Louis Armstrong Stadium.

Dodin’s only real edge was on serve. But Fernandez stood right on the baseline to return her first serve, and inside on the second, and the slower-footed Dodin was most often having to do what she doesn’t want to : defend.

The crowd loved it. And Fernandez just soaked it all in.

Her second round is definitely no picnic, as Liudmila Samsonova comes in after winning the Citi Open in D.C., and then winning the WTA event in Cleveland. She dropped just two sets in those 10 match wins and, at No. 35, would almost surely have been seeded had she been allowed to play Wimbledon.

But, as a Russian, she wasn’t. It does make her a pretty dangerous floater, and Fernandez will have to be ready.

Fernandez will beo n the Grandstand, but the fourth match on with the second and third matches men’s matches. So she might end up on court at the same time as Serena and … FAA.

Shapovalov vs Carballes Baena

Denis Shapovalov, who managed to get his five-set win over Marc-Andrea Huesler in before the torrential rain fell Tuesday night, won’t know who his second-round opponent will be until later.

Jaume Munar and Roberto Carballes Baena were having lengthy (dare we say, “clay-court”) rallies Tuesday night.

They got under way shortly before 2 p.m. to finish up, with Carballes Baena completing a minor upset.

Coincidentally, Shapovalov defeated him in straight sets in the second round of last year’s US Open. The third and final set was a bagel.

This will help.

Shapovalov’s match with Huesler, who had some great moments and is a big-serving lefty, was a pretty popular ticket for those with grounds passes. It was basically standing room only from beginning to end.

Shapovalov will be the only Canadian playing singles on Thursday.

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