The women’s draw took a major turn on Monday with Simona Halep being upset. Here are some other takeaways from Day 1.
Normally, the first couple of days at the US Open don’t have a lot of huge surprises, but 2018 brought its first surprise just a couple of hours into the tournament. There was the unveiling of the new Louis Armstrong Stadium and it gave the crowd a memorable first match.
The number one seed on the women’s side, Simona Halep, lost in the first round to Kaia Kanepi in straight sets (6-2, 6-4). It is the first time that the top seed lost in the first round at the US Open and the French Open champion from this year has now lost in the first round in New York in back-to-back years.
Now, this loss on the surface is a huge surprise. However, remember that Kanepi did make the quarterfinals last year and her power groundstrokes were a big difference in the match. With the Halep loss, the draw now opens up for either (17) Serena or (16) Venus Williams to potentially make a deep run into the second week.
Serena and Venus both picked up wins in their first-round matches on Arthur Ashe Stadium. Venus had a tougher match against Svetlana Kuznetsova as she needed three sets to defeat the former US Open champ. Meanwhile, Serena cruised on Ashe as she opened up the night session with a 6-4, 6-0 win over Magda Linette from Poland.
The other favorites on the women’s side didn’t have many struggles on Monday. (3) Sloane Stephens advanced to the second round in straight sets over Evgeniya Rodina and (7) Elena Svitolina needed three sets to defeat American Sachia Vickery.
The men’s favorites were able to hold serve on Monday and didn’t have as much of a scare as Anderson did. (3) Juan Martin Del Potro defeated American Donald Young convincingly in straight sets and (1) Rafael Nadal won his match over fellow Spaniard David Ferrer as Ferrer retired after the second set (6-3, 3-4).
As for the American men today, (11) John Isner cruised in straight sets in his match and (18) Jack Sock won just his sixth match of the entire year in straight sets (6-15). 2018 has been a rough one for Sock. However, with (16) Kyle Edmund losing in four sets, there is an open path for him to make the Round of 16 and salvage part of his season.
Meanwhile, Ryan Harrison nearly upset (5) Kevin Anderson, but he lost 6-4 in the fifth set after being up two sets to one. Sam Querrey had to retire in his match against Andreas Seppi. Meanwhile, 20-year-old Taylor Fritz came from two sets down to defeat Mischa Zverev in five sets.
The popcorn matchup on the men’s draw Monday did not live up to the hype as (8) Gregor Dimitrov lost in straight sets to Stanislas Wawrinka. The Swiss did beat Dimitrov at Wimbledon last month, so this isn’t a surprise.
If Wawrinka doesn’t have any injury problems in this tournament, he could be the most dangerous unseeded player left in the draw with his track record as a three-time Slam winner.
Speaking of Slam winners coming off of injury, Andy Murray was back on the court at a major for the first time since 2017. He picked up a win in four sets over James Duckworth as he bounced back after losing the first set. The key for Murray was that he was 6-for-15 on break points.
Day 2 has (2) Roger Federer in action in the night session on Arthur Ashe Stadium along with (14) Madison Keys on the women’s side. Other notable women’s matches include (2) Caroline Wozniacki against Sam Stosur in the afternoon along with (6) Caroline Garcia against Johanna Konta.