AMERICANS BACK ON TRACK
ON DAY 2 IN MELBOURNE
Ashley Marshall | January 16, 2018
Less than 24 hours after a dozen Americans lost on Day 1 of the Australian Open, the depth of U.S. tennis was back on display in Melbourne, as seven members of Team USA punched their tickets to the second round.
Leading the way were the last two American seeds alive, Sam Querrey and Madison Keys (pictured above), who each advanced without dropping a set.
Tennys Sandgren and Bernarda Pera claimed their first Grand Slam main-draw victories, while qualifier Denis Kudla picked up his first win at a major in two years.
There were also wins for USTA Australian Open Wild Card Challenge winner Tim Smyczek and Lauren Davis, giving the U.S. 10 players in the Round of 64, which begins Wednesday.
No. 13 seed Querrey stormed past Spaniard Feliciano Lopez in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2, to set up a second-round match with Marton Fucsovics of Hungary, while No. ADVERTISEMENT 17 seed Keys defeated Qiang Wang, 6-1, 7-5, to move on to Round 2 against Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova.
In the women’s draw, lucky loser Pera won her first Grand Slam main-draw match, with a 6-2, 6-2 win over qualifier Anna Blinkova – the woman who defeated her in the final round of qualifying at the US Open in August – and Davis was victorious against Jana Cepelova, 6-7, 6-3, 6-1.
Pera’s reward is a second-round match against ninth-seeded Brit Johanna Konta. Davis will take on Germany’s Andrea Petkovic after her upset of No. 27 seed Petra Kvitova on Day 2 Down Under.
On the men’s side, world No. 97 Sandgren beat Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, 6-4, 7-6, 6-2; Smyczek beat Aussie wild card Alexei Popyrin, 6-3, 6-7, 6-3, 6-3; and qualifier Denis Kudla came from a set down to upset fellow American Steve Johnson, 6-7, 6-3, 7-6, 6-2.
Sandgren will next play No. 9 seed and 2014 Australian Open winner Stan Wawrinka; Smyczek will take on No. 21 seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas after his win over American Jared Donaldson; and Kudla will face No. 5 seed Dominic Thiem.
Wawrinka was one of two high-profile men to return to action, alongside former world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who defeated Donald Young. The 2009 US Open champion, Juan Martin del Potro, also advanced, beating U.S. teen Frances Tiafoe.
On the women’s side, Wimbledon semifinalist Konta beat Madison Brengle; 28th-seeded Mirjana Lucic-Baroni outlasted Shelby Rogers; and Anastasija Sevastova rallied to beat Varvara Lepchenko.
Elsewhere, USTA Australian Open Wild Card Challenge winner Kristie Ahn fell in straight sets to No. 20 seed Barbora Strycova, and Christina McHale lost to Aliaksandra Sasnovich, 6-3, 6-2.
Day 3 in Melbourne is headlined by Mackenzie McDonald opening the night session in Rod Laver Arena against Bulgarian world No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov.
Nicole Gibbs will play No. 30 seed Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands, and Ryan Harrison will face 31st-seeded Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay.
Doubles play also begins for the men and women. Thirteen U.S. players will take the court, including the sixth-seeded Bryan brothers and the all-American partnerships of McHale and Rogers and Tiafoe and Young.