The U.S. Open qualifications finished on Friday and five players have, by winning, entered the main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time in their career.
Incidentally, all the young players I have portrayed after the first round are among the qualifiers, with the predictable exception of Mitchell Krueger. Among them, only one has had the chance to play a match in a Grand Slam main draw: Bradley Klahn, who had received a Wild Card two years ago and had lost to Sam Querrey, in a match some of us might remember for this incident:
The 25-year-old Belgian has taken part in the qualifications of all the Grand Slams this season, but has mostly been playing Challengers and Futures events, winning one Futures title (in Feucherolles, France, at the beginning of February). On the Challenger Tour, his best result has been the finals in Rimouski, Canada, where he lost to Vasek Pospisil.
He took part in the qualifications of a Grand Slam for the fist time in his career in Melbourne, this season, but until yesterday, his best result was a three-set defeat in the final round of the Wimbledon qualifications (to Simone Bolelli).
To qualify for his first career Grand Slam main draw, Authom defeated Matteo Viola, Yuki Bhambri (his only match that went the distance), and, Friday, he quickly dismantled Canadian Peter Polansky, 6-0 6-2.
In the first round, the Belgian has been drawn to play World n° 83 Bjorn Phau, the winner likely to face the best player on the planet, Roger Federer, in round 2.
After the second round, I mentioned that if either Guido Pella or Bradley Klahn defeated Lukas Rosol (Pella) or Florent Serra (Klahn) to qualify for the main draw, it would be “a well-deserved surprise”.
Both players succeeded and caused the surprise. Klahn won 6-4 6-4 and will face Jürgen Melzer in the first round.
For his part, the Argentine defeated Rosol 6-3 6-3 to reach the main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time at his second time trying. In Roland Garros, he was defeated by Tommy Haas in the first round of qualifications, 6-3 6-3, a very honourable defeat for the 22-year-old considering the rival.
Until now, Pella’s best results this season have been two Challenget titles, the first one in Salinas, Ecuador (also his first career Challenger Tour title) at the beginning of March, the other in Manta, Ecuador, just a few weeks ago.
In the first round of the U.S. Open, the lefty from Bahía Blanca will face veteran Russian Nikolay Davydenko, a really tough match despite the fact that Davydenko has been struggling with shoulder issues since Cincinnati.
From Guido Pella to his good friend and fellow Argentine, Guido Andreozzi, a 21-year-old from Buenos Aires, who is the youngest qualifier in this year’s U.S. Open.
Andreozzi, a very complete player, had, to this day, only won five Futures titles and one Challenger (in Lima, at the beginning of July) and is known for the huge upset he caused just days afterwards, when he defeated Feliciano López in straight sets, in the first round of the Bogotá Challenger.
With coach Juan Pablo Guzmán of the Hood-Monachesi Academy, where he trains, Andreozzi made his way to New York to take part in his first career Grand Slam qualifications.
On his way to his qualification, the World n° 223 defeated British Josh Goodall and Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert, before facing a tough opponent in 29th seed Sergei Bubka.
To the surprise of pretty much everyone, he had the better of the Ukrainian, 7-5 6-4, and, at his first appearance in a Grand Slam, qualified for the main draw without losing a set.
It will not be any easier for Andreozzi in the first round, as he was drawn to play n° 17 seed Kei Nishikori, a player with a bit of a similar game style to his, but more consistent and, of course, more experienced.
Andreozzi was supposed to play at the Como Challenger, but I’m sure they were all happy for the change of plans, which will be valuable experience for the 21-year-old.
World n° 283 Rhyne Williams, a talented young American, was one of the players I portrayed earlier this week, after he had caused the biggest surprise of the first round by defeating Canadian Vasek Pospisil in straight sets.
Williams then went to defeat Andrey Golubev, before taking on German Peter Gojowczyk, whom he defeated quite easily, 6-3 6-2, to qualify for the main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career at his second participation (he lost in the second round of qualifications last year, at the U.S. Open).
The 21-year-old Tennessee native did not lose a set during the qualifications and has been drawn to play fellow American Andy Roddick in the first round, a more than interesting battle of the generations.
Third youngest qualifier (preceded by Andreozzi and Williams), 21-year-old Japanese Hiroki Moryia caused a surprise in the second round of qualifications when he defeated Wayne Odesnik, thus besting his best Grand Slam results to date. Moryia had reached the second round of qualifications at both of the French Open and Wimbledon this year, his first two Grand Slam appearances.
In the final round of qualifications, the Japanese was facing Daniel Kosakowski who, in the second round, had won a 2:51 marathon against Aljaz Bedene.
In another marathon, it’s Moriya who, this time had the better, qualifying for his first career Grand Slam main draw, a 4-6 7-6(5) 6-3 win in 3:35.
In the first round, Moriya could surprise again, as he will face Ivan Dodig of Croatia, who hasn’t been playing his best this season, partly because of knee issues.
Qualifiers in the main draw
After being placed in the main draw, the qualifiers’ matchups will be (in the order where they appear in the draw):
- Maxime Authom (BEL) vs Bjorn Phau (GER)
- Guido Pella (ARG) vs Nikolay Davydenko (RUS)
- Jimmy Wang (TPE) vs Ivo Karlovic (CRO)
- Hiroki Moriya (JPN) vs Ivan Dodig (CRO)
- Daniel Brands (GER) vs Adrian Ungur (ROU)
- Tim Smyczek (USA) vs Bobby Reynolds (USA)
- Guido Andreozzi (ARG) vs  Kei Nishikori (JPN)
- Andreas Beck (SVK) vs  Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)
- Grega Zemlja (SLO) vs Ricardo Mello (BRA)
- Bradley Klahn (USA) vs Jürgen Melzer (AUT)
- Igor Sijsling (NED) vs Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP)
- Rhyne Williams (USA) vs  Andy Roddick (USA)
- Matthias Bachinger (GER) vs Marcos Baghdatis (CYP)
- Teymuraz Gabashvili (RUS) vs Rogerio Dutra Silva (BRA)
Main draw action starts on Monday.
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