Almost all of the seeded players quickly advanced through their opening round matches on Day 1 of the US Open National Playoffs Men’s and Women’s Championships, held at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., but No. 1 seed Marie-Eve Pelletier of Canada was bounced out by Jersey girl Robin Anderson in a shocking upset.
Anderson, who will be heading to UCLA this fall for her freshman year, used her explosive court-coverage and scrappy defensive game to repeatedly frustrate Pelletier. Overcoming a 2-0 deficit in the first set and a 3-1 deficit in the second set, Anderson fought her way to the biggest scalp of her young career with a 6-3, 7-5 victory.
“My serve generally works well, but it felt like that shot was breaking down today,” said Anderson. “I was just able to use my defense really well and just get that one extra shot back.”
While Anderson was content to engage in lengthy baseline rallies, Pelletier struggled to find the timing on her flat backhand shots. As Anderson continued to track down groundstrokes that appeared to be winners, Pelletier grew frustrated and began to over hit.
A backhand winner from Anderson gave her a 5-4 lead in the second set and the opportunity to serve out the match, but a series of mistimed shots from the American leveled the match at 5-5. However, she made good on her second attempt to serve out the match at 6-5, converting on her third match point with a forehand drive.
Despite a current world ranking of No. 735 and winning her first professional title this summer at a $10,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Landisville, PA, Anderson said she is excited to take her game to the West Coast for college.
“I’ll always have the chance to play pro,” said Anderson. “I think for that right now, going to college is the best choice for my game.”
Anderson is no stranger to the US Open, having competed in the junior event last year, where she lost in the quarterfinals after upsetting former junior world No. 1 Laura Robson of Great Britain. However, she acknowledged that playing in the qualifying of the women’s singles event at the US Open would be a career highlight.
“Even though I’ve been on those courts before, playing in the qualifying would be a much bigger experience and a much bigger opportunity for me,” said Anderson.
Another veteran of the US Open is David Martin of Key Biscayne, Fla., who has competed in the men’s doubles event at the US Open every year since 2007. However, the 30-year-old is competing this week to make his Grand Slam debut on the singles court at this year’s US Open. He came one step closer to that goal with a dominant 6-4, 6-2 win over Juan Moreiras of San Antonio, Tx.
“We all come on the tour trying to make it as singles players,” said Martin, who has a current ranking of No. 102 in doubles. “Even though there’s certainly no shame in doing what I’m doing as a doubles player, being able to play the qualifying of the singles at the US Open would be a career highlight for me.”
Despite a minor blip of losing serve while trying to close out the opening set at 5-2, Martin had few problems with Moreiras, who is the youngest player competing in the men’s singles draw this week at just 17 years old.
“I thought my serve was working really well out there today and allowed me to be in control of almost all my service games,” said Martin. “I haven’t played singles in a couple of weeks, so it was good to have the opportunity to get a feel for the court.”
Quarterfinal matches will take place on Friday, with the semifinals set for Saturday and the finals scheduled for Sunday. The winner of the men’s and women’s singles events this week will receive a wild card into the US Open qualifying tournament, held from August 23-26 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, NY.
US Open National Playoffs Results
Thursday, August 18--Women’s Singles First Round
Robin Anderson (Matawan, NJ) d. (1) Marie-Eve Pelletier (Quebec, Canada) 6-3, 7-5
(2) Yasmin Schnack (Elk Grove, CA) d. Lena Litvak (Bronx, NY) 6-4, 6-1
(3) Macall Harkins (Palos Verdes Estates, CA) d. Petra Jurova (Bratislava, Slovakia) 6-0, 6-4
(4) Amanda McDowell (Atlanta, GA) d. Skylar Morton (Bethesda, MD) 6-4, 6-2
Megan Falcon (Baton Rouge, LA) d. Ashley Murdock (Memphis, TN) 6-3, 7-6 (4)
Mashona Washington (Houston, TX) d. Romana Tedjakusuma (Tracy, CA) 6-2, 4-6, 6-3
Sylvia Kosakowski (Downey, CA) d. Maureen Diaz (Glendale, CA) 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (5)
Vasilisa Bardina (Denver, CO) d. Caroline Dailey (Sarasota, FL) w/o
Click here for the full women's draw.
Thursday, August 18--Men’s Singles First Round
(1) Blake Strode (St. Louis, MO) d. Bojan Temunovic (Serbia) 6-0, 6-1
(2) David Martin (Key Biscayne, FL) d. Juan Moreiras (San Antonio, TX) 6-4, 6-2
(3) Chris Wettengel (Las Vegas, NV) d. Steve Erickson (Emerson, NJ) 6-2, 6-2
(4) Damon Gooch (Bethesda, MD) d. Charlie Cutler (Portland, OR) 6-3, 6-2
Tony Larson (Brooklyn Park, MN) d. Angelo Faustino (Littleton, CO) 6-1, 6-1
Oleg Dmitriev (Dania Beach, FL) d. Jackson Withrow (Omaha, NE) 6-1, 6-4
Cecil Mamiit (South Pasadena, CA) d. Angelo Niculescu (Lake Oswego, OR) 6-2, 6-4
Nathan Healey (Wyomissing, PA) d. Eric Quigley (Peewee Valley, KY) 6-3, 6-4
Click here for the full men's draw.