In a stunning Day 2, first round upset, Stosur was taken out by virtual-Slam-virgin, Victoria Duval, in three surprisingly closely contested sets. Was it as huge Serena Wiliams’ first round upset at the 2012 French Open? No, but it still ranks pretty high, giving all the facts.
It was just this same time last year when Duval, with fresh milk behind her ears, was making her Grand Slam debut against crowd favorite and multiple US Open champion, Kim Clijsters, in a night match on Arthur Ashe stadium. Duval had made a name for herself on the juniors circuit, but the big leagues – and the biggest stage in the tennis world – was clearly out of her range at the time. In view of that, Clijsters showed no mercy in taking her out as swiftly as she exited the locker room. It was an expected drubbing, as it was just “an honor to be there” for the then baby-faced sixteen-year-old, and Clijsters was playing her maiden Us Open and would be retiring immediately afterwards. Duval was sent packing 6-3, 6-1 on opening night.
Now, fast forward a year and the story has some similarities, but a completely different outcome. In only her second Grand Slam match – ever, Duval found a way to upend the 2011 US Open champion and veteran, Stosur in the first round of the 2013 tournament. That was NOT expected.
Sure, Duval had put on a little muscle, maybe grew an inch and had time to go back to the drawing board to improve her game, but no one would’ve thought she had done enough behind-the-scenes work to oust the woman who was good enough to upset Serena Williams in a Slam championship match; but she did. Duval can barely speak in a tone above what you’d hear coming out of a 13 year old’s mouth (think Michele), let alone take down one of the fittest and notably accomplished women on the WTA tour. But she did … and she did it with surprising composure.
The match started with Stosur taking care of business, breaking Duval in the opening game and running off with then next two as well; but the script got a little screwy thereafter. Duval was able to level the match at 3 all due to Sam’s erratic play, then work her way to serving for the set against the Aussie. She understandably faltered under the pressure, however, and gave Stosur the opening to come back and win the set 7-5.
However, somewhere between the close of the 1st set in favor of Sam and late in the 2nd, Duval found her stride and made a run, ending up winning the 2nd set 6-4. Honestly, I predetermined the outcome, albeit the wrong one, and left toward the end of the 1st set, but the cheers heard ’round the grounds clued me in that something unusual was going on over on Armstrong where they were playing. The beauty of the US Open is the enormous support the fans have for fellow Americans, and with that, I knew the crowds couldn’t have been so passionate about Stosur beating a 17-year-old newbie and had to be cheering on Duval.
I made my way back to Armstrong – which is known to host upsets – and caught another American star being born. Duval, a Haiti native with a very colorful life story, was playing her young heart out with intriguing composure and though it took three separate match point opportunities to do so, she took out the former champion in style, instantly making a name for herself in women’s tennis.
I suppose you never know when your time is gonna come or your card is gonna be pulled, but her behind the scenes work, fueled by a failed 1st time out and desire “to do better the next time,” now finds her in the limelight as a giant slayer:
“I think I was expecting that from myself,” she said. “I just wanted to do better than I did last year. I played amazing tennis, and didn’t necessarily expect to do THAT well. I don’t even remember the match point …”
I just hope she handles the press well and doesn’t fold under the increased notoriety as did Melanie Oudin (google her) after her incredible 2009 US Open run, to which she responded, “I’m taking the torch. Let’s go!”
Duval wasn’t the only American to represent for the home team on Day 2.
In fact, as it is when kids start showing out after their parents arrive at the day care to pick them up, several Americans showed their natural behinds today keeping our homegrown hopes alive.
Noteworthy in the bunch that got the job done was Donald Young. In shockingly convincing fashion and after having struggled to log even a challenger circuit win or the last year or so, Young found devastating form and took his capable opponent, Martin Klizan, to the woodshed, sending him back to Czechoslovakia to ponder a 6-1, 6-0, 6-1 loss. Klizan never found his way in the match and all parts of Young’s game were working. It was a performance he won’t soon forget and one that will hopefully be the start of a campaign of him silencing his naysayers.
Here are other American results from Day 2: Sam Querrey, Christina Mchale, John Isner, Alison Riske, Sachia Vickery, Denis Kudla, Jack Sock all made it through to round 2. So, a good showing was made for American tennis despite the scalps that were taken on the day such as Nicole Gibbs, Grace Min, Maria Sanchez, Collin Altamirano, Steve Johnson, Varvara Lepchenko, and Mallory Burdette.
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