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2019 U.S. Open: Highlights From Day 2

Sloane Stephens, the 2017 United States Open champion, bid toward a second title ended abruptly in the first round on Tuesday night, falling to the qualifier Anna Kalinskaya, 6-3, 6-4.

Stephens, the 11th seed, oscillated between aggressive and counterpunching play, but could not find a consistent rhythm to deter the 20-year-old Kalinskaya, whose steady, powerful attacking from the baseline held up under pressure. Kalinskaya, ranked 127th, hit two fewer winners than Stephens’s total of 20, but offset that by producing 18 fewer unforced errors.

“I was playing one good point, one bad point, one good point,” Stephens said. “The inconsistency doesn’t help me at all. She did a good job just staying there, keeping fighting. She never really let me in. Kudos to her. She executed her game style really well.”

Sloane Stephens Beats Madison Keys to Claim U.S. Open TitleSept. 9, 2017

The U.S. Open was Stephens’s first tournament reunited with Coach Kamau Murray, who guided her to the title here two years ago and to the final at the French Open last year. Stephens floundered without him this year and ended an unsuccessful partnership with Sven Groeneveld last week. She rehired Murray, who had been working with Monica Puig, days before the tournament began.

Though she did not get the result she wanted, Stephens said she felt more comfortable and engaged with Murray back in her corner.

“I felt good — obviously, it’s going to take more than five days or whatever to get it back,” Stephens said. “I’m just going to try my best to keep going. Obviously not the result I wanted here. Yeah, it’s disappointing, but I’m just going to keep going. There’s a couple more tournaments left. I’m just going to try to do my best there, and finish out the year decently.”

Tuesday’s scores: Men | Women

Kalinskaya will next face Kristie Ahn, a wild-card entry. Ahn also beat a former U.S. Open champion on Tuesday — the 2004 winner, Svetlana Kuznetsova. It was Ahn’s first main-draw win at a major, at age 27.

Ranked 141st, Ahn has played only four Grand Slam singles matches her career. The last time she played a main-draw match at the her home Grand Slam tournament was in 2008, when she was a 16-year-old amateur.

She received a spot in the main draw this year by winning the U.S.T.A. Wild Card Challenge, which rewards the player who earns the most rankings points over a series of summer tournaments.

Coco Gauff wins her U.S. Open debut.

Coco Gauff, the 15-year-old American sensation who captivated tennis and beyond by reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon, came from a set down against her fellow teenager Anastasia Potapova of Russia to claim a 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory in a packed and boisterous Louis Armstrong Stadium. Both players were making their U.S. singles debut.

Potapova, 18, used power to dominate Gauff in the first set, but when her strength failed her, Gauff took advantage with a wider variety of shots, many of them accentuated by fist pumps and cheers from the fans, who were firmly behind the precocious Gauff.

She fought back from the slow start by using more spin and wide shots to set herself up for winning stokes, especially on her potent backhand.

ImageCreditDemetrius Freeman for The New York Times

As the match proceeded to the latter stages of the third set, each point became critical, and both players — each a former No. 1 in the junior circuit — yelled and pumped their fists. More than once, Potapova seemed on the verge of defeat, but she rallied from 1-4 down in the third set to make it more competitive.

In the end, though, Gauff’s complete game prevailed, and after winning, she looked at her parents and coaches in the stands, bent over and pumped her arms up and down. Asked in an on-court interview how she was able to change the course of the match, she said, “Honestly, it’s because of the crowd.”

Gauff, who can play only a limited number of tournaments because of a WTA age rule, has played just one tournament since Wimbledon. In Washington, she lost to Zarina Diyas in straight sets in singles, but won the doubles title.

Last year Gauff entered the qualifying draw of the U.S. Open and lost to Heather Watson of Britain in straight sets. She made it to the second round of qualifying at the French Open this year and then won her three qualifying matches to become the youngest qualifier in Wimbledon history.

In the first round of the main draw, she beat Venus Williams, who along with Serena Williams is one of Gauff’s role models, and ultimately lost to Simona Halep, the eventual champion, in the fourth round.

More on GauffCoco Gauff Delivers Again, in an Electric U.S. Open WinAug. 27, 2019Coco Gauff’s Tennis Haven Happens to Be Her HometownAug. 27, 2019Four top-10 men tumble out of the tournament.

At a Grand Slam tournament, the quarter of the men’s draw without any of the Big Three (Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic) is always laden with opportunity. Now there’s even more after the exit of several top-10 players in the first round.

First, No. 8 Stefanos Tsitsipas succumbed to cramping and Andrey Rublev, losing, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (7), 7-5, after 3 hours 55 minutes. Rublev, a 21-year-old Russian ranked No. 43, beat Federer in Cincinnati this month.

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Tsitsipas, 21, who also lost in the first round of Wimbledon last month, said afterward: ““I feel like I’m doing the same thing over and over again, and my brain can’t really take it anymore,” he said. “I feel like I’m doing the same routines on the court, the same execution, the same strategies and everything. And I feel like my mind is just — I don’t feel inspired. I play out on the court, and I don’t feel like I’m chasing something.”

ImageCreditJustin Lane/EPA, via Shutterstock

No. 10 Roberto Bautista Agut, a Wimbledon semifinalist last month, suffered a more surprising upset at the hands of 47th-ranked Mikhail Kukushkin, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

Then the highest seed in that quarter of the draw, No. 4 Dominic Thiem, joined the exodus with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 loss to Thomas Fabbiano, who had upset Tsitsipas at Wimbledon. Thiem also lost in the first round at Wimbledon and came to New York battling an illness.

Another promising young player in that quarter, 18th-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada, lost to his friend and countryman Denis Shapovalov, 6-1, 6-1, 6-4. The two also played in the first round, on the same Grandstand court, at last year’s Open. Shapovalov won that match too, but Auger-Aliassime had a heart condition that forced to retire in the third set.

Ninth-seeded Karen Khachanov, who is in Nadal’s quarter of the draw, was the fourth top-10 man to lose on the day, falling to Vasek Pospisil, 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.

No. 6 Alexander Zverev was in danger too. He looked comfortably ahead, 6-1, 6-3, against Radu Albot, but lost the third and fourth sets to once again find himself in a five-setter in an early round of a major. But he pulled out a 6-1, 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2 win.

Nadal, the No. 2, seed put an exclamation point on a day in which his half of the draw was decimated, efficiently ousting John Millman, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, in 2 hours 8 minutes. Millman had reached the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open last year, upsetting Federer on his way.

Nadal will face Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia in the second round. Kokkinakis notched his first Grand Slam win in more than four years, beating the qualifier Ilya Ivashka, 6-3, 7-6 (8), 6-7 (4), 6-2. Kokkinakis, 23, has been plagued by injuries in his young career, which has included highlights like a win over Federer last year in Miami.

Osaka escapes with a first-round victory.ImageCreditHilary Swift for The New York Times

Around noon on Tuesday, Naomi Osaka walked onto the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium to begin defending her women’s singles title at the United States Open.

The scene was far different from the last time she played a match on that court, in last year’s controversy-riddled final against Serena Williams. Osaka was in tears at that award ceremony as boos filled the stadium in response to a dispute between Williams and the chair umpire, Carlos Ramos.

The early-afternoon crowd for her match on Tuesday against Anna Blinkova was sparse and largely quiet, as is often the case in cavernous Ashe Stadium at this time of day.

Osaka has a different coach since last year, a suspect left knee and a hope to reclaim the excitement she brought to last year’s run. She got off to a rocky start on Tuesday, but escaped with a 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-2 win.

Osaka followed her title in New York last September with a championship at the Australian Open in January, but she has struggled to play at the same level since then. She has shown spark in the hardcourts season this summer, reaching the quarterfinals in Toronto and Cincinnati.

Osaka trailed by 1-4 in the first set before reeling off five straight games to claim it. The second had a topsy-turvy finish: Osaka saved three set points on her serve at 4-5, then broke Blinkova at love to put herself in position to serve for the win.

Osaka earned a match point at 6-5, 40-30, but then committed three unforced errors to put herself into a tiebreaker, which Blinkova won, 7-5, on her second set point.

Osaka saved two break points at 2-1 in the third set and then broke Blinkova in the next game. Osaka broke her again to end the match.

Simona Halep ends her Open losing streak.ImageCreditBrittainy Newman/The New York Times

The reigning Wimbledon champion Simona Halep won a match at the U.S. Open for the first time in three years, but it wasn’t easy.

After Halep won a tight first set, Nicole Gibbs, who made the main draw as a lucky loser from the qualifying event, took the second. Halep quickly asserted herself in the final frame, however, and closed out a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 victory.

Gibbs recently returned from treatment for salivary gland cancer.

Halep had lost in the first round of the U.S. Open each of the last two years, falling to Maria Sharapova in 2017 and Kaia Kanepi last year.

Halep will next face another American who came through qualifying: Taylor Townsend.

Max Gendler and Naila-Jean Meyers contributed reporting.

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