US Open 2022: Swiatek and Nadal progress, Slam champs Raducanu and Rybakina ousted on Day 2

Emma Raducanu of Great Britain leaves the court after being defeated by Alize Cornet of France in their Women's Singles First Round match on Day Two...

Defending champion Emma Raducanu fought hard, but was undone on her Flushing Meadows return by Alize Cornet’s devastating drop shots and masterful defensive skills. Elsewhere, Rafael Nadal recovered to overwhelm 21-year-old Australian wildcard Rinky Hijikata after Iga Swiatek, Carlos Alcaraz, Aryna Sabalenka and Hubert Hurkacz were all comfortable winners on Day 2.

Headlines as day 2 didn’t disappoint

Iga Swiatek of Poland celebrates a point against Jasmine Paolini of Italy during the Women's Singles First Round on Day Two of the 2022 US Open at...

Swiatek got off to a good start vs. Italy’s Jasmine Paolini and plays 2017 champ Sloane Stephens next

  • WTA world no. 1 Iga Swiatek, last year’s semi-finalist Aryna Sabalenka among comfortable winners while Badosa and Olympic champion Bencic pushed
  • Sam Querrey (former world no. 11, ten ATP singles titles) and Andrea Petkovic (former world no. 9, 7 WTA titles) play their final singles matches before retiring
  • As for the Brits… Wimbledon semifinalist Cam Norrie, Daniel Evans win straight-set matches vs. Paire and Vesely respectively, joining Andy Murray and Jack Draper in R2
  • French qualifier Clara Burel beat Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina 6-4, 6-4, one of four more qualifiers to secure R2 berth – meaning ten remain in the singles draw
  • Torrential rain downpour during evening session mean three R1 matches, including American wildcard Peyton Stearns vs. Russia’s 28th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova (4-6, 6-4, 3-4), will need to be concluded relatively early on Wednesday
  • “In a way I’m happy because it’s a clean slate, drop down the rankings, climb my way back up, target off my back slightly,” Defending champion Raducanu says after 6-3, 6-3 loss to giantkiller Alize Cornet, first titleholder to do so since Angelique Kerber in 2017
  • 2019 champion Rafael Nadal rallied from a set down, eventually overpowering spirited effort from wildcard Rinky Hijikata in four sets while Danielle Collins ends three-match H2H losing streak vs. two-time US Open champ Naomi Osaka with 7-6, 6-3 win

Women’s seeds crashing out
Emma Raducanu [11], Jelena Ostapenko [16], Amanda Anisimova [24], Elena Rybakina [25], Elise Mertens [32]

Cornet absorbs, outsmarts Raducanu as defending champ is out

Alize Cornet of France celebrates after defeating Emma Raducanu of Great Britain in their Women's Singles First Round match on Day Two of the 2022 US...

Cornet celebrates after securing her impressive straight-sets victory against Raducanu

Cornet bt. Raducanu [11] 6-3, 6-3

  • Cornet has now beaten Grand Slam champions at each of the four Major tournaments this year – Muguruza and Halep in Melbourne, Ostapenko at Roland Garros, Swiatek at Wimbledon and now Raducanu where she stunned the world twelve months ago
  • 32-year-old Frenchwoman, who delayed her retirement at the start of the year, will now play Czech’s Katerina Siniakova next in R2 on Thursday after the former world no. 1 doubles player needed three sets to dismiss home hopeful Taylor Townsend 6-4, 3-6, 6-2
  • “Obviously really disappointing, really sad, probably my favourite tournament. It’s another chance to climb back up, really good work the last six weeks especially, I’m looking forward to consistency and we’ll see what happens,” Raducanu reflects on impending rankings drop in presser after her maiden first-round Grand Slam defeat

Producing two double-faults in her first service game made things far from ideal for Alize Cornet as the pair exchanged early breaks in a nervy opening, but as 19th seed Danielle Collins echoed to finish the night session, you can still win big without serving particularly well.

There were some tense, tightly-contested rallies and both had moments to be encouraged by. However, Cornet’s consistently deep returns in the court eventually took their toll as Raducanu found herself stifled, surrendering the crucial break to go down 4-2 in set one.

Raducanu responded with gusto in the next game, recovering from 30-0 to force deuce after hitting two good winners – one forehand up the line and a well-timed angled volley at the net.

Cornet’s fifth double-fault of the match gifted the break back to the British teenager, who needed to consolidate it and take advantage as the Frenchwoman was flagging.

That didn’t happen though, as instead Cornet displayed great reactions to secure an audacious lob winner and a double fault put the initiative right back into her hands.

Emma Raducanu of Great Britain reacts frustrated while playing against Alize Cornet of France in her first round match on Day 2 of the US Open Tennis...

Raducanu remonstrates after successive deep returns in the court forced an error from her

That proved just the push she needed, winning a 25-shot rally to bring up set point and somehow avoided being punished for such serving woes during a set of fine margins.

Raducanu received medical treatment for her well-documented blister issue at the changeover before set two – an ominous sign given her injury woes – and the Louis Armstrong Stadium crowd wanted more tennis. Surely, the champion’s defence couldn’t end like this?

Emma Raducanu of Great Britain receives medical attention against Alize Cornet of France in their Women's Singles First Round match on Day Two of the...

Blisters back: Raducanu receiving medical attention before set two during her defeat by Cornet

Just like in the first, she would have opportunities to prolong the evening’s action midway through the second. Ultimately though, turning the tide proved easier said than done.

Cornet’s dicey double-fault count kept rising (9 in total) and suddenly she seemed rattled, as the crowd audibly got behind Raducanu after every point while the presence of rain meant closing the stadium roof, which appeared to distract the Frenchwoman during her service motion.

Three doubles in one game saw her down 3-1, yet she refused to let that seep into her decision-making. A delicate slice winner creeping over the net was the pick of the shots as she wrestled the break back, while showing impressive shot defence behind the baseline to level at 3-3.

Alize Cornet of France reaches to return a shot against Emma Raducanu of Great Britain in their Women's Singles First Round match on Day Two of the...

Cornet was constantly on the run, but her shot defence and court coverage proved decisive

Immediately putting Raducanu under duress on serve, she had won 10 of the last 11 points and her finesse proved key in outlasting the 19-year-old during their longer rallies. More devastating drop shots did the trick, dictating the tempo of their exchanges, securing a good hold for 5-3.

Raducanu served to stay in the match, but Cornet completed her latest scalp with aplomb: stupendous scrambling and defence helped earn match point, having been forced out wide in opposite corners during a rally at 30-30, and that typified the match.

Raducanu’s backhand misfired and match commentators said she lacked clarity – 15 winners, 31 unforced errors – but Cornet was the cause: mixing up ballstriking, constantly keeping her guessing, wearing on a much younger player by winning a large portion of their longer rallies.

Nadal recovers, osaka-collins delivers in the night session

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after defeating Rinky Hijikata of Australia in their Men's Singles First Round match on Day Two of the 2022 US Open...

Nadal celebrates after his four-set win over an admirable Hijikata effort on Arthur Ashe

Rinky Hijikata got off to a promising start, flashed an array of fiery forehand winners and acquitted himself well but Rafael Nadal eventually powered his way into R2, winning 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 in a maiden encounter that was much more competitive than it seemed on paper.

Despite taking the opening set, the final scoreline didn’t flatter the 21-year-old Australian wildcard, who failed to take any of his three break point chances in set four and with better execution during longer rallies, might’ve conjured up a few more still. Nadal was relieved:

“Thought I wouldn’t be back [to play at the US Open] but I am, super happy. Night sessions in New York are the best so thanks to everyone.

I have to be humble to accept the process, build positive things day-after-day, three hour eight minute match against a tough opponent so it was a moment to survive, accept what happens and stay positive, trying my best everyday.”

Collins conquerors Osaka hoodoo at fourth time of asking

Danielle Collins of the United States shakes hands with Naomi Osaka of Japan after defeating her in their Women's Singles First Round match on Day...

Collins and Osaka shake hands after a gripping two-set tussle saw the former earn her first H2H win

Collins [19] bt. Osaka 7-6, 6-3

“When you lose to someone three times, you get a lot of information on what you can do better. I wanted to make some improvements, adjustments.

Naomi, being the player she is, definitely whooped me the last time [6-2, 6-1 in Miami earlier this year] so I had to learn from that, adjust and I did that. When you’re 0-3, you’ve got nothing to lose – go for it, hoped for the best…”

Four-time Major champion Naomi Osaka showed power and poise in racing to a 3-0 lead, got pegged back at 3-3 and will be left wondering what if, after another early tournament exit – eighth this year – against a familiar foe in a fired-up Danielle Collins in-front of her’s home crowd.

It all seemed to go pear-shaped for the Japanese after losing a pivotal point on serve at 4-4 in the first set tiebreak. She served well, dictated the rally and powered her way forward to the net, only for Collins to absorb said power and produce a big lob winner narrowly catching the line.

This happened on more than one occasion, as Collins’ defence was key in helping create much-needed breathing space – especially given Osaka’s aggressive start caught everyone by surprise.

Even while nursing a neck issue impacting Collins’ ability to accurately serve consistently – hitting nine double-faults – she sure found the perfect time to score her first ace of the match midway through set two, having saved a break point from a volley that kissed the baseline.

She saved two more to close out a rewarding win against an unseeded Major titlist who’ll need to rewatch film and quickly address what opposing players are learning to use against her if she wants to avoid such tough draws again – and importantly go deep in Slams – in the near future.

rublev, sinner among survivors as no seeds fall in men’s draw

Andrey Rublev of Russia celebrates a point against Laslo Djere of Serbia during the Men's Singles First Round on Day Two of the 2022 US Open at USTA...

Rublev, who has reached two quarter-finals at this tournament, was pushed to the brink by Djere

Borna Coric, Andrey Rublev, Jannik Sinner and Denis Shapovalov. All four seeded players, who’ve experienced contrasting luck at Major tournaments so far this season, had to fight their way through moments of adversity and needed a deciding set to win their respective matches.

Rublev, the highest seed of the quartet at ninth, led 7-6, 6-3, 3-3 at one point against last week’s Winston-Salem finalist Laslo Djere. But the 27-year-old Serbian, a former top-30 player, has acquitted himself well against other tough competition and wasn’t going to depart quietly here.

After serving nine double-faults in the first two sets alone, he improved drastically to take set three and four, with considerably more winners (25) and unforced errors (26) than Rublev (11 and 7) during that span. Crucially though, his improvement wouldn’t last throughout the fifth.

Coric faces home hopeful Jenson Brooksby – remember him – after finding himself in similar circumstances to Rublev against French qualifier Enzo Couacaud on his main draw debut.

He led 6-2, 7-6 and served to start set three, but quickly found himself 3-0 down in the third. Couacaud’s confidence grew, the comeback was on, and Coric’s level dipped as the Croatian was spilling errors aplenty. He recorded an eyewatering 81 in the match, which speaks volumes.

38 were hit in sets three and four alone, but the 25-year-old refused to dwell on the past, recovering from 3-1 and later 5-3 down in the fifth to ultimately clinch it 7-5. 6-2, 7-6, 3-6, 4-6, 7-5.

Shapovalov meanwhile, was twice down a set against Jack Draper’s recent conqueror Marc-Andre Huesler but the unpredictable Canadian eventually prevailed 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.

He’ll play the winner of an all-Spanish affair, to be finished, between Jaume Munar and Roberto Carballes Baena (scoreline was 6-1, 6-3, 3-6, 4-1 in RCB’s favour before rain suspension.)

Sinner, the only one still yet to reach the last-eight at this Major, has his work cut out to achieve that feat this year in a section still featuring Hubert Hurkacz, Grigor Dimitrov and compatriot Lorenzo Musetti after the latter’s comeback win over David Goffin (11-9 in the final set tiebreak!)

Germany’s Daniel Altmaier gave him a fright, like the 23-year-old did at Roland Garros as a qualifier in 2020, but Sinner – like Shapovalov – finished the decider with a 6-1 final scoreline.

He’ll hope for an easier test against American qualifier Christopher Eubanks next, who edged out a hard-fought straight-sets victory 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 against Spain’s Pedro Martinez.

Matches to watch out for, on Day 3

Serena Williams of the United States celebrates her victory over Danka Kovinic of Montenegro in the first round of the women's singles of the US Open...

After a hard-fought R1 win, will Serena take down a seed or play her final singles match?

Serena Williams [PR] vs. Anett Kontaveit [2]
Tim van Rijthoven vs. Casper Ruud [5]
Jack Draper vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime [6]
Beatriz Haddad Maia [15] vs. Bianca Andreescu
Nick Kyrgios [23] vs. Benjamin Bonzi
Anna Kalinskaya vs. Caroline Garcia [17]
Tommy Paul [29] vs. Sebastian Korda
Ons Jabeur [5] vs. Elizabeth Mandlik [WC]
Leylah Fernandez [14] vs. Liudmila Samsonova
Corentin Moutet [LL] vs. Botic van de Zandschulp [21]

After qualifying, this year’s US Open tournament is up and running. As always, I’ll be producing daily round-ups with the latest results, game reports, and news from Flushing Meadows, so be sure to stay tuned to for the latest coverage — you don’t want to miss it!

Picture source: Getty Images — quotes via Amazon Prime Video broadcast


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