The #USOpen promises surprises, upsets, and drama – lots of drama! – every September when the year’s final Grand Slam kicks off in New York. The storyline so far is the immediate emergence of tennis’ up and coming superstars already making waves in Flushing Meadows, striking down seeded players from court to court.
For #TeamSoCal, the tournament’s first singles rounds saw the demise of all but one Southern California player, Poway’s Bradley Klahn. With a 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 win over Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro, the former Stanford Cardinal and NCAA champion punched his #7 Train ticket to the second round, one of seven Americans to advance in the Men’s draw.
Meanwhile, names like Fritz, Querrey, Vandeweghe, Gibbs, Giron, and Johnson all made hasty exits. San Diego’s young Zachary Svajda, the teenaged prodigy who won USTA Boys Nationals earlier in August, put on a memorable show but ultimately tightened and cramped at the tail end of a 5-set defeat in his promising pro debut.
That leaves the 29-year old Klahn, who celebrated a birthday just one week ago, in the US Open second round for the third time his career, the first since 2013. After missing Wimbledon, Klahn posted a promising ATP Challenger win in Illinois, following his best prior ’19 finish in a quarterfinal last spring in Mexico.
But today, Klahn returns to Flushing as the last man (or woman) standing for #TeamSoCal. He’s never played his opponent, well established Japanese talent Kei Nishikori. Then again, Nishikori has never seen Klahn, either. The tables are even, as SoCal’s lone wolf lives to see another day.
DOUBLES UNDERWAY TODAY
Bob and Mike Bryan seek their 119th title together as they return to New York with sights set on a sixth US Open doubles title. The twins have reached three finals in 2019, posting two titles in Delray Beach and Miami. Fortunately for the Bryans, an East Coast warm front will bring heat and humidity to the Big Apple this week, perhaps recreating that tropical Floridian heat that has brought them good fortune this year.
The successful UCLA tandem of Max Cressy and Keegan Smith will follow their NCAA doubles title with a berth at the US Open. The team was undefeated in 21 matches during the school’s tennis season, capped with the doubles trophy at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona.
On the women’s side, an array of #TeamSoCal faces seek hardware in New York, beginning with the intriguing team of Coco Vandeweghe and Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Both are former Grand Slam doubles champions, and both are traveling a road back to glory after injuries. Vandeweghe returned to action this summer at World TeamTennis, and hopes to defend her 2018 US Open doubles crown. Mattek-Sands, a perennial favorite in doubles action before a gruesome injury halted her ascent, looks strong and eager to regain her championship stature.
Asia Muhammad, the #17 seed with NorCal’s Raquel Atawo, returns to action after a thrilling end to her singles qualifying campaign. Muhammad, from Long Beach, staged a spirited comeback in her decisive singles qualifier before bowing out in a third-set tiebreaker.
Two-time Grand Slam champion Vania King teams with Caroline Dolehide this year, giving the Monterey Park native a shot at her 16th WTA doubles crown. King finished in the Round of 64 at last year’s Open.
Sabrina Santamaria and Kaitlyn Christian, a formidable doubles team during and after their USC tenure, have moved on to other partners and would cross paths in the second round if both emerge from opening matches this week.