Kei Nishikori defeats Guido Andreozzi, 6-1 6-2 6-4
Kei Nishikori gets early break over the 21-year old Argentinean Guido Andreozzi, who is ranked no. 222 in the world and playing at his first Grand Slam. Andreozzi had qualified for the USO and has had a solid season on the Challenger tour, including two wins in Brazil and Lima. In the first set, Nishikori leads 2*-0. The no. 18-ranked player from Japan takes another BP at 30-40 at 0-3*and establishes early dominance. Andreozzi seems overmatched by his more experienced opponent, as Nishikori takes the first set, 6-1.
Andreozzi faces BP at 1-1, 40-AD. Nishikori breaks, as it becomes evident that Andreozzi is being punished for his tendency to stay far too behind the baseline during points. Nishikori cruises to take the second set, 6-2.
Credit to Andreozzi for putting up more of a challenge in the third set, which resumed after the rain delay. However, Nishikori closed out the match 6-4 in the third set. From the overall match stats, Nishikori hit 20 winners to Andreozzi’s 23, but Nishikori’s 19 UFEs made for a clean match, as Andreozzi hit a total of 49 UFEs in his match.
In R2, Nishikori will face the winner of the all-American R1 match between Tim Smyczek and Bobby Reynolds.
Blake defeats Lacko, 7-5, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
On the men’s ATP side, the first day of matches started with American James Blake defeating Lukas Lacko in four sets, 7-5, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 to advance to R2.
Blake and Lacko is an entertaining match-up. Both players have what can be described as freewheeling styles. Blake often personifies the well-known concept in tennis of “ball-bashing,” or as commentator Doug Adler stated, Blake plays at two speeds, “hard and harder.” The no. 54 ranked Slovakian Lacko himself, despite being smaller in stature, also has a tendency to swing wildly off his FH side. Lacko has lost in R1 at 8 of his 13 GS appearances, and he entered the USO on a losing streak to players like Petzschner (Olympics), Andujar (Canada Masters), Jesse Levine (Cincinnati), and Yen-Hsun Lu (Winston-Salem).
Blake showed decent volleying on his service games. Another venture to the net followed in an entertaining rally, but Lacko is able to pass Blake at the net.
When Blake is serving for 2-2, Lacko makes too many errors and seems to lose his grasp of the match. Surely enough, his first serve fails him on his next service game and Blake secures the break to go up 3*-2 in what had been up until then a very even match. Lacko breaks back and holds with an emphatic ace, to hold 5-4*. Both players alternating brilliant serves with poor serves. Blake 8 winners, 14 UFEs at this point of the match, but Lacko’s FHs are erring wildly.
Lacko faces two BPs at 5-5. Blake doesn’t do enough with volleys, and Lacko wins point to save one BP, 30-40. Off a shot that barely grazed the line, Blake breaks to go up 6*-5 and serves out set. Lacko has a break back point at 30-40 when Blake is serving for the set at 6*-5, 30-40. Blake saves the BP with a strong serve and then takes the first set, 7-5 in 46 minutes.
Then Blake goes up a double break to serve for the second set at 5*-2 — Lacko cannot manage the consistent play to contend with Blake’s shots and Blake is starting to find his stride in serves. Blake takes the second set, 6-2, when Lacko nets a BH save.
Following the rain delay at the USO, Lackos returns to the court and plays a much cleaner game, which allows him to take the third set, 6-3. However, this proves to be a blip on the match record, as Blake resumes his command of the match and finishes off the match in four sets, 6-3 in the fourth set.
Winner (Blake) faces winner of Granollers-Kudla, in what could be a confidence-sparking run for Blake and his J-Block fans at the USO.
Granollers defeats Kudla, 6-3 4-6 6-3 7-6(2)
Facing 4 MPs in the fourth set TB, at 6-2, Marcel Granollers takes the first and advances to R2 over the American Denis Kudla. Granollers will play James Blake in R2.
Last year, Spain’s Granollers, the 24-ranked player in the world, had his best showing at the USO, when he reached R3, before retiring with injury to Juan Carlos Ferrero.