US Open: Karolina Pliskova, Belinda Bencic prove a point in respective openers

Maria Sakkari, Shuai Zhang, Paula Badosa and Petra Martic started off with wins

by Abbey Johnson
US Open: Karolina Pliskova, Belinda Bencic prove a point in respective openers

Fourth seed Karolina Pliskova didn’t encounter any problems in her first-round match at the 2021 US Open. The Czech defeated American wildcard Cathy McNally 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 23 minutes. The 2016 Flushing Meadows finalist built a quickfire 5-1 lead in the first set but handed one break back to her opponent.

However, she didn’t squander the second and was able to see the lead through by taking the first set and the lead in the match. The second set was relatively more closely fought with the pair exchanging a couple of breaks in the first six games of the set before settling into a tight rhythm.

Pliskova secured a third break in the seventh game of the set and in the 10th game, brought up the first match point. While an error put paid to Pliskova’s hopes of closing out the match then, an ace brought up the second match point.

Another ace then allowed her to make her move ahead in the draw without any further lapses. Pliskova had eight aces to McNally’s none. The Czech also finished with 25 winners, more than thrice than that of McNally’s eight.

In the second round, Pliskova will play Amanda Anisimova. Anisimova defeated Zarina Diyas 7-5, 6-2.

US Open: Seeds come through in straight sets

Belinda Bencic carved out a painstaking 6-4, 6-4 victory over Arantxa Rus in their first-round match.

The match featured just two breaks with the Swiss’ not facing a single break point. The 2020 Tokyo Games’ champion won 86% of her first-serve points to the Dutchwoman’s 66%. While just the one winner separated Bencic (21) from Rus (20), the latter had four more unforced errors as compared to the former – 18 to 14.

Bencic finished the match with 68 points to Rus’ 50. For a place in the third round, the 11th-seeded Bencic will take on Martina Trevisan. The Italian defeated former US Open semi-finalist and American wildcard, Coco Vandeweghe 6-1, 7-5.

The other seeds to advance to the second round in the morning session were 17th seed Maria Sakkari, 24th seed Paula Badosa and 30th seed Petra Martic. Sakkari defeated Marta Kostyuk 6-4, 6-3 while the Croatian ousted Hungarian qualifier Dalma Galfi 6-3, 6-2.

The Spaniard, meanwhile, got past Alison van Uytvanck 6-4, 6-3. In the second round, Sakkari will play Katerina Siniakova. The Czech won against Anastasia Sevastova 7-6(6), 6-3. Martic will play Ajla Tomljanovic, who beat the US’ wildcard entrant, Katie Volynets 6-3, 6-1.

Lastly, Badosa could play either Varvara Gracheva or fellow Spaniard, Nuria Parrizas Dias. Photo Credit: Darren Carroll/USTA Among the early winners on Tuesday at the US Open was also Shuai Zhang. The Chinese player defeated wildcard Hailey Baptiste of the United States 6-3, 6-4 in just 66 minutes. Zhang will play either British qualifier Emma Raducanu or Swiss lucky loser Stefanie Voegele in the second round.

Karolina Pliskova Maria Sakkari Petra Martic