The first half of the first round of the WTA US Open is in the books, and many of the top players left in the draw following the high-profile withdrawals from the tournament have safely made it through to the second round.
Top seed Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova had few issues in their opening matches, while former US Open champion Naomi Osaka needed to work hard for her win.
However, there was one big-name casualty in the opening round: American teen sensation Coco Gauff, who bowed out to No. 31 seed Anastasija Sevastova in three sets.
SBOTOP goes through all those big headlines from the first day of play in the US Open women’s draw in greater detail below.
No. 1 Pliskova, No. 6 Kvitova stroll to second round
After they both fell in the first hurdle at the Western & Southern Open, Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova are both through to the second round of the US Open after dominant victories in their opening matches.
Pliskova powered past Anhelina Kalinina in straight sets, 6-4, 6-0, while Kvitova took care of Irina-Camelia Begu, 6-3, 6-2.
Pliskova’s service game wasn’t perfect. She had seven aces but also three double faults and was broken twice. She also put only 58 per cent of her first serves in play but won 83 per cent of those first serves points. However, she still broke her opponent’s serve six times and had a major edge in winners (26-7).
Meanwhile, Kvitova’s serve looked sharper as she had a 75 per cent first-serve percentage and also won over half of her second serve points.
Although, she did commit 19 unforced errors, which is something she must clean up when she faces Kateryna Kozlova in the second round.
As for Pliskova, she will meet France’s Caroline Garcia, who will be a dangerous opponent. Garcia has three career wins over Pliskova, including their latest meeting in the final of the Tianjin Open in 2018, so be sure to check out her WTA US Open 2020 betting odds for a potential upset.
Naomi Osaka survives three-set battle with compatriot
While Pliskova and Kvitova breezed by their first-round opponents, No. 4 seed Naomi Osaka needed three sets to put away fellow Japanese player Misaki Doi, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.
Osaka’s health status was the big WTA US Open 2020 news heading into the tournament after she had to withdraw from the Western & Southern Open final against Victoria Azarenka due to a hamstring injury.
That injury looked apparent in the way Osaka struggled to put the World No. 89 Doi away in the second set. After going down 5-2, Osaka came back to tie it all up at 5-5 but lost the next two games as the match went to a decisive third set.
However, Osaka regrouped in the third set to move on to the second round after a tough two-hour match.
“It was very difficult and I kind of expected it because I know she’s a tough opponent,” Osaka said post-match. “I knew there was a chance it would get really long and I’ll just have to see how I feel tomorrow.”
Osaka will now move on to face Camila Giorgi in the second round. The Italian also came out on top in three sets against Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck in her first-round match.
Coco Gauff crashes out of US Open in first round
There will be no Coco Gauff Grand Slam run this time around. After picking up some high-profile wins in her previous three Grand Slam appearances, the 16-year-old American bowed out in the first round of the US Open as she lost to Latvian Anastasija Sevastova in three sets, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.
Sevastova started well, immediately breaking Gauff’s serve in the first game of the match. Gauff broke back right away, but Sevastova reclaimed control to take the first set, 6-3.
Despite having problems with her serve, Gauff did well to come from 4-2 down to win the second set, 7-5. But even though Gauff improved as the match wore on, Sevastova still came out on top in the decisive third set.
After the match, Sevastova had nothing but praise for her teenage opponent.
“I wish I would play like this when I was 16 years old,” Sevastova said of Gauff. “Great player. Nothing more to say. I think she maybe started a bit slower than me, but she was getting better as the match went on.”
Sevastova will meet Marta Kostyuk in the second round. Kostyuk recorded a dominant 6-1, 6-2 win over Daria Kasatkina in the first round.
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