We continue with Round 2 action and what to look for with some thoughts and previews on couple of in-play,alongside some upcoming matches
These two veterans will clash in an interesting 2nd round match. The Romanian born Niculescu, has been on the tour for 13 years, while the 33 year old Italian, Flavia Pennetta, has been on the tour for 15 years. Surprisingly enough, Pennetta and Niculescu have only played each other twice during their respective careers.
Pennetta won both of the matches they’ve played pretty handily, (6-0, 6-1) & (6-1, 6-1), but both of those matches were played in 2010. One of them was on hard court and the other was on grass. Niculescu is always a tough out with her slashing forehand, and creative shot-making. Monica has also made a resurgence of sorts since Wimbledon this year, going 9-4 in singles play.
Lesia Tsurenko is on fire! She has been rolling the last 12 months, compiling a 44-22 (67%) record. Tsurenko won the Finals in Istanbul against Ursula Radwanska, lost a close match in the QF’s against Sara Errani in Toronto, and lost in the Semi’s at New Haven against Lucie Safarova, before avenging that loss against the #6 seed in the world and causing the biggest upset on the women’s side of the 2015 U.S. Open! In the second round, the 26 year old Ukranian faces USA’s Varvara Lepchenko. Lepchenko had a decent summer in her own right, after getting eliminated in the 1st round of Wimbledon at the hands of Garbine Muguruza. She reached the Semi-Finals at Stanford, losing to Karolina Pliskova, and she reached Round of 16 in Cincinnati before losing a tight 3-set match against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova. Expect to see fireworks in this match between two ladies that have peaked at the right time.
The highest-ranked American, John Isner, skipped his hometown tournament in Winston Salem, NC, so he would be well rested going into the 2015 U.S. Open, after an active, and pretty successful summer. He beat Marco Baghdatis in the Atlanta Final, and made it to the Finals once again in Washington, D.C., before losing to Kei Nishikori. He lost in the QF’s of the Montreal Masters to Jeremy Chardy, and appeared to finally run out of gas, losing in the first round in Cincinnati to fellow American Sam Querrey. You definitely can’t say Isner is out of form, having played 13 matches in 16 days, before playing Querrey, and ultimately taking two weeks off after the loss. That extra rest really seemed to pay off for Isner, in the 1st Round of this year’s U.S. Open. He won 41 out of 42 (98%) first-serve points en route to his straight sets (6-2, 6-3, 6-4) first-round victory over Malek Jaziri. Even though Isner is 12-3 on hard courts since the conclusion of Wimbledon, and he knows better than to take Mikhail Youhzny lightly heading into their second round slugfest. We all know that Youhzny isn’t having the greatest 2015, winning only 12 times in 32 matches, but he owns the H2H advantage (2-0) over Isner. Both matches were played on hard courts, and one was even a 4-set victory over Isner at this very tournament (the 2010 U.S. Open). On the flip side, Isner has never lost a second round match at the U.S. Open (7-0), and is trying to reach the third round for the eighth time in nine years. Regardless of who you think will win, as an educated tennis fan you would have to think that this match will see at least one tiebreak, and it will most likely be closer than the odds indicate.
Beloved Aussie, Lleyton Hewitt, made his first ever appearance at the U.S. Open in the summer of 1999! Boy, have things changed since then! Yevgeny Kafelnikov was the Australian Open Champion that year, Andre Agassi won the French, Pete Sampras beat Agassi in straights to win his 6th Wimbledon Title, and Agassi rebounded from his Wimbledon loss to defeat Todd Martin, in what was Martin’s first, and only, U.S. Open Finals appearance. Hewitt made it to the 3rd round that year, before losing to Andriy Medvedev. A respectable result for a first time appearance on the big stage in NYC. But Hewitt would be back in a big way! Lleyton made it all the way to the semis the following year, before losing to the legendary Pete Sampras. But Hewitt was determined to put his name in the Flushing Meadows history books, winning his own U.S. Open Title in 2001 by avenging the previous year’s loss to Sampras, this time defeating him in straight sets. 16 years later, in what will be Hewitt’s final appearance in NYC, and his American ‘swan song’, he finds himself in a second round match against fellow countryman Bernard Tomic. It will be Hewitt’s 60th career match at the U.S. Open, and regardless of the opponent, you know Rusty will be ready for war! He doesn’t know any different. Matter of fact, if you look up “Grinder” in the Tennis Encyclopedia, you’ll see a picture of Lleyton Hewitt. If there’s anything we can count on, it’s that this match will be a long, grueling battle between both men. Who has the better conditioning, more grit, heart, determination, and that never say quit attitude? That’s for you to decide.
Unfortunately, everything tennis wise is cancelled to at least 13th of July. Let's hope this corona virus goes away as soon as possible and this is the last date the tour is pushed back to. Stay safe people!
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