2019 US Open Day 2: Anna Kalinskaya upends 2017 champion Sloane Stephens

Anna Kalinskaya upset 2017 champion <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/olympics/rio-2016/a/1121050/" data-ylk="slk:Sloane Stephens">Sloane Stephens</a> during the first round of the US Open on Tuesday. (Getty)
Anna Kalinskaya upset 2017 champion Sloane Stephens during the first round of the US Open on Tuesday. (Getty)

Day 2 of the US Open featured the rest of the first-round matches everyone was waiting for. The big names you didn’t see on Monday took the court Tuesday, including Naomi Osaka, Rafael Nadal, Sloane Stephens, Nick Kyrigos, and Wimbledon phenom Coco Gauff.

Here’s a rundown of the happenings from the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

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Anna Kalinskaya upends 2017 champ Sloane Stephens

Anna Kalinskaya pulled off one of the first big upsets of the US Open, upending No. 11 Sloane Stephens, 6-3, 6-4 on Tuesday.

After losing the first set, Stephens had a chance to take a 5-4 lead in the second before Kalinskaya rallied to break her serve after trailing 40-30 in the game with the set tied at 4-4.

Kalinskaya, ranked 127th in the world and a US Open qualifier, held serve on match point to upend the 2017 champion and advance to the second round.

The win was the first grand slam victory of the 20-year-old Russian’s career.

“It feels amazing to win the first match on this court,” Kalinskaya told ESPN after the match. “It’s my first major grand slam win. The atmosphere was incredible.”

She advances to face American Kristie Ahn on Thursday.

“I think maybe tonight I will celebrate a little bit,” Kalinskaya said of the biggest win of her career. “Tomorrow I will recover and get ready for my match.”

Rafael Nadal easily advances out of first round

Rafael Nadal cruised past <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/olympics/rio-2016/a/1128002/" data-ylk="slk:John Millman">John Millman</a> in his opening round match at the US Open on Tuesday. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal cruised past John Millman in his opening round match at the US Open on Tuesday. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Rafael Nadal had little issue getting out of the first round of the US Open on Tuesday.

Nadal, who entered as the No. 2 seed, cruised to a dominant 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win against Australia’s John Millman.

Nadal will now advance to the second round, where he’ll take on Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis. Kokkinakis beat Belarus’ Ilya Ivashka 6-3, 6-6, 6-7, 6-2 on Tuesday behind a solid fourth set to seal his victory.

Coco Gauff rallies after trailing big early

Wimbledon sensation Coco Gauff appeared in line for a short stay during her US Open debut Tuesday after digging a 3-0 hole to Russia’s Anastasia Potapova in a 6-3 opening set loss.

But the 15-year-old took control in the second set against her fellow US Open rookie for a 6-2 win en route to a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 victory.

Gauff led the third set 4-1 when Potapova took a medical timeout to receive treatment on her right shoulder. The treatment appeared to be effective as Potapova won the next three games to climb back into the match.

But Gauff held serve to take a 5-4 lead and broke Potapova’s serve on match point to advance to the second round. She’ll face Hungary’s Tímea Babos on Thursday.

Andrey Rublev upsets Stefanos Tsitsipas

No. 8 ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas fell to No. 43 ranked Andrey Rublev in the first round on Tuesday, the first top-10 upset of the entire tournament.

Stefanos Tsitsipas couldn't hold off Andrey Rublev. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Stefanos Tsitsipas couldn't hold off Andrey Rublev. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Tsitsipas wasn’t fully healthy and didn’t look his best for most of the match, but gutted it out through four grueling sets and never gave up. He lost the first set 6-4, won the second on a 7-5 tiebreaker, and lost the third on a 9-7 tiebreaker. He pulled even several times in the fourth set, but was never able to find his groove.

While Tsitsipas not being his best certainly helped Rublev advance, Rublev was on his game the entire time. Even a healthy Tsitsipas might have had trouble keeping Rublev at bay.


Defending champ Osaka survives challenge

The defending US Open women’s champion survived a serious challenge on Day 2, as No. 1 ranked Naomi Osaka won a back-and-forth match against No. 84 ranked Anna Blinkova. It was the first time ever that a defending champ had been taken to a third set, and Blinkova was strong throughout — so strong that Osaka didn’t win a game until she was down 3-0 in the first set. Down 4-1, Osaka then won five straight games to take the set.

When Osaka struggled early in the match, there was reason to be concerned. Of the 11 matches she’s lost in 2019, seven were against players ranked outside the top 20. She’s lost to players ranked in the low 40s and the high 60s. No. 84 Blinkova kept it close in the second set, and at one point Osaka had to save three straight set points to prevent a third set. But there was a third set after Blinkova won the tiebreaker, and that’s when Osaka finally asserted her dominance. She beat Blinkova 6-2, and will continue to defend her 2018 championship when she faces Magda Linette in the second round.

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