By Ann Liguori
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Serena Williams has been the dominant American at the U.S. Open since the days of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. Serena is the U.S. Open defending champion and with four U.S. Open titles, 16 Grand Slam titles over-all, and the focus and fitness to win more, Serena is the American to beat at this U.S. Open and any Grand Slam event.
But what other Americans can go deep in the draw? Sloane Stephens did not bring her ‘A Game’ to her three -set win on Monday, looking sluggish and frustrated before beating Mandy Minella of Luxembourg 4-6, 6-3, 7-6. But the American hopeful has the game to get to at least the fourth round where she likely could meet Serena Williams, whom Stephens beat in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. Her best performance at the U.S. Open was a third round appearance two years ago. She has the game to get a lot further at the Open this year if she doesn’t beat herself.
It would be great to see New Jersey’s Christina McHale get beyond the third round, her best performance at the U.S. Open in 2011. The 21-year-old from Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, looked sharp against Germany’s Julia Goerges, 6-4, 6-3.
John Isner is the highest ranked American man and seeded 13th. He crushed Filippo Volandri 6-0, 6-2, 6-3 with 16 aces and 29 winners. It’s time for Isner to make some noise here. His best performance at the U.S. Open was two years ago when he got to the quarterfinals. But with his missile serve and 6’10” height, hopefully his court movement has improved and he will go deeper in the draw.
Isner has reached the semifinals or better seven times over-all this year. He is the lone American guy to win this year, capturing titles in Houston and Atlanta.
Sam Querrey, seeded 26th needed four sets to dispose of Guido Pella of Argentina.
Donald Young looked impressive against Martin Klizan of Slovakia, 6-1, 6-0, 6-1.
Jack Sock advanced when his opponent, Philipp Petzschner of Germany, withdrew during the third set. The trainer was working on his shoulder before he left the court. Sock was ahead, 7-6, 3-6, 5-2 and advanced to the second round.
Gone is the Golden Era of American tennis. Every year, the names Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert seem to fade further in our country’s tennis consciousness although it’s great to hear many of them doing commentary on television which keeps them fresh in our minds.
We used to talk about other countries catching up to us in tennis and so many other sports. For years now, they’ve not only caught up, they’ve surpassed us and continue to do so as we grasp for the young American players that I mentioned to make progress and make us proud.
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