Southerners in 2020 US Open
With the resumption of Grand Slam play after the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic halting tennis, the 2020 US Open begins play on August 31. Tennis will be played in a bubble designed to protect players, staff, officials and volunteers. Unfortunately, the usually electric New York crowd won't be in attendance, rocking Arthur Ashe Stadium and surrounding courts.
Due to the pandemic, there will be no junior competition this year.
Play on Wednesday, Sept. 9
Taylor Townsend, of Atlanta, and American Asia Muhammad had a hard-fought semifinal. But, Nicole Melichar/Yifan Xu, the third-seeded team, advanced in a 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(7) victory. Townsend/Muhammad won one more break and took five more points throughout the two-hour, eight-minute match.
Play on Tuesday, Sept. 8
Shelby Rogers, of Charleston, SC, ran into the fourth-seed Naomi Osaka in the quarterfinals. She lost to the 2018 US Open champion 6-3, 6-4. Rogers reached the second major quarterfinal of her career, matching her success in the 2016 French Open.
Taylor Townsend, of Atlanta, and American Asia Muhammad are in the semifinals. They will face Nicole Melichar/Yifan Xu, the third-seeded team, who downed Tennessee native Hayley Carter/Luisa Stefani in the quarters. Wednesday's semifinal is scheduled for noon on Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Play on Monday, Sept. 7
Atlanta's Taylor Townsend became the last Southern player still in the US Open of the eight entered in doubles. Townsend and American Asia Muhammad knocked out Alison Riske, of Nashville, TN, and Gabriela Dabrowski 6-4, 6-2. Townsend/Muhammad won 72 percent of their first serves and 59 percent of their second serves.
Tennessee native Hayley Carter/Luisa Stefani fell to Nicole Melichar/Yifan Xu, the third-seeded team, 6-2, 6-3.
Shelby Rogers, of Charleston, SC, is scheduled to play two-time major champion Naomi Osaka in the quarterfinals on Arthur Ashe Stadium Tuesday at 7 p.m. EDT.
Play on Sunday, Sept. 6
Shelby Rogers outlasted sixth-seeded Petra Kvitova in a thrilling match 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-6(6) to move into the second week.This is her second-best Grand Slam showing as she reached the 2016 French Open quarterfinals. Rogers, of Charleston, SC, will face two-time major champion Naomi Osaka in the round of 16.
Christopher Eubanks/Mackenzie McDonald lost in the men's quarterfinals to the third-seeded Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury 6-2, 7-6(5).
Labor Day will be a busy day for Southern players in quarterfinal doubles. Alison Riske, of Nashville, TN, and Gabriela Dabrowski will face Atlanta's Taylor Townsend/Asia Muhammad. Tennessee native Hayley Carter/Luisa Stefani are set to met Nicole Melichar/Yifan Xu, the third-seeded team.
Play on Saturday, Sept. 5
Hayley Carter and Luisa Stefani overcame a disappointing second set to vanquish the six-seeded Japanese duo of Shuko Aoyama/Ena Shibahara, winning 6-4, 0-6, 6-4 in the second round. Alison Riske and Gabriela Dabrowski advanced in a walkover when the top seeds, Timea Babos/Kristina Mladenovic, did not play due to COVID-19 concerns.
Shelby Rogers and Jessica Pegula fell to the second-seeds Elise Mertens/Aryna Sabalenka 6-3, 7-6(5). Rogers, the last Southerner in the singles draws, takes on two-time Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova on Sunday in the round of 16.
Play on Friday, Sept. 4
Shelby Rogers' victory in the third round continues to be the best performance in singles by Southern players. She downed fellow American Madison Brengle 6-2, 6-4. Next up for Rogers is Petra Kvitova, the two-time Wimbledon champ and sixth-seed.
Friday was a great day in doubles for two Atlanta players. Taylor Townsend/Asia Muhammad defeated Lucie Hradecka/Andreja Klepac 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-0. Christopher Eubanks/Mackenzie McDonald downed Marcus Daniell/Phillipp Oswald 7-6(5), 6-3.
But, Cori "Coco" Gauff/Catherine McNally lost to the third-seeded Nicole Melichar/Yifan Xu 7-6(4), 7-6(2) while Ryan and Christian Harrison also lost the third seeds, Rajeev Ram/Joe Salisbury, 6-2, 6-4.
Play on Thursday, Sept. 3
Alison Riske and Shelby Rogers advanced in women's doubles. Riske and partner Gabriela Dabrowski defeated Russians Natela Dzalamidze/Irina Khromacheva 6-3, 6-2. Next up are the top-seeds Timea Babos/Kristina Mladenovic. Rogers and Jessica Pegula, who beat Viktoria Kuzmova/Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-1, 6-4, face a tough task. Their next opponents are the second-seeded Elise Mertens/Aryna Sabalenka.
Scheduled to play doubles on Friday are Cori "Coco" Gauff/Catherine McNally, Taylor Townsend/Asia Muhammad, the Ryan and Christian Harrison and Christopher Eubanks/Mackenzie McDonald.
Play on Wednesday, Sept. 2
Charleston's Shelby Rogers knocked off Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina, the 11th-seed, 7-5, 6-1 in the second round. She will face American Madison Brengle in the third round. Alison Riske was upset by fellow American Ann Li 6-0, 6-3. Riske was the 13th seed.
In doubles, six Southerners prevailed. In women's doubles, Cori "Coco" Gauff/Catherine McNally, Taylor Townsend/Asia Muhammad and Hayley Carter/Luisa Stefani all won in the first round. The Harrison brothers, Ryan and Christian, along with Christopher Eubanks/Mackenzie McDonald moved into the second round.
Play on Tuesday, Sept. 1
Southern players were O-for all day long. None of the three players won a set.
Tennessee's Tennys Sandgren faced a tough opponent in eighth-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut, falling 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(3). North Carolina product Tommy Paul played 14th-seed Grigor Dimitrov and lost 6-4, 6-3, 6-1. Taylor Townsend, of Atlanta, fell to American Sachia Vickery 6-2, 6-4.
Alison Riske has a match on Wednesday versus American Ann Li and Shelby Rogers will face Elena Rybakina, the 11th-seed. Scheduled to play doubles on Wednesday are Ryan and Christian Harrison, Christopher Eubanks, Townsend and Hayley Carter.
Play on Monday, Aug. 31
It was a battle of some of the greatest players to compete in college tennis, Steve Johnson, who was undefeated for the University of Southern California for two years (72 straight wins), faced John Isner, who lead the University of Georgia to a NCAA team and doubles crowns.
Seeded No. 16, Isner lost to the lower-ranked Johnson in the first round 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(3). Isner smacked 52 aces to Johnson's 22.
Winning their first-round matches easily were Alison Riske (over Tatjana Maria 6-3, 6-2) and Shelby Rogers (over Irina Khromacheva 6-2, 6-2). Riske will face American Ann Li in the next round while Rogers will go against 11-seeded Elena Rybakina.
Atlanta product Cori "Coco" Gauff did not survive the opening round, losing to the 31st-seed Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. Wild card Thai-Son Kwiatkowski, the 2017 NCAA singles champion, lost to Soonwoo Kwon of Korea 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-1, 6-2.
Southern women in the draws
Alison Riske, of Nashville, TN, is the 13th seed. Among the players in her quarter are top-seeded Karolina Pliskova and three-time Slam winner Angelique Kerber.
Cori "Coco" Gauff, who played out of Atlanta, will face the 31th seed Anastasija Sevastova in the first round. Shelby Rogers, of Charleston, SC, faces Irina Khromacheva in the opening round. Atlanta's Taylor Townsend will match up with Sachia Vickery in the opening round. All four Southern women are also playing doubles, along with Hayley Carter, who was born in Chattanooga, TN.
Southern men in the draws
Greensboro, NC, native John Isner, seeded 16th, has a familiar opponent in the opening round: American Steve Johnson. Isner is in the same quarter with No.1 Novak Djokovic. Gallatin, TN's, Tennys Sandgren faces the eight-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round. Tommy Paul, who grew up in North Carolina, is matched up with the 14th-seed Grigor Dimitrov. Charlotte, NC, native Thai-Son Kwiatkowski earned a wild card and will play Soonwoo Kwon of Korea in the opening round. Atlanta native Christopher Eubanks, along with Shreveport, LA, natives and brothers Ryan and Christian Harrison, are in the doubles draw.