Play continued as the first couple of events in the US Open hard court series looked to the second round. My feature match was in Stanford where top seed Garbine Muguruza played her first match of the tournament against Kayla Day.
The first match out on Centre Court in Washington saw Eugenie Bouchard progress through with a 7-6(8-6), 6-0 over the erratic home favourite Christine McHale. Neither player was too solid to start but once Bouchard got in to a groove she was full speed ahead and McHale wasn’t able to get the hard hitting winners in consistently enough. There were quite a few momentum shifts in the opening set as Bouchard was broken at 3-4 down but managed to fight back after McHale had the chance to serve out the set. Bouchard had an opportunity herself to serve out the first set while she was 6-5 up and she had four set points in that game but wasn’t able to close out any of them. She then raced out to an early lead in the breaker as she led 6-2 with another four set points but McHale was able to fight back again. Bouchard did end up closing it out on her ninth set point as she took the opener by staying calm and aggressive. She took her confidence into the second set and she was on song as she barely missed and easily snatched the bagel set to take the match. This is a big win for Bouchard because she hadn’t won a match since the French Open and she really needs a big turnaround if she wants to close out the season on a high.
In one of the first Stanford second round matches, Madison Keys overcame a shaky start to move past Caroline Dolehide, who was making her WTA debut this week, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 and reach the last eight in Stanford for the first time in her career. It took Keys a while to get into the match but when she got a rhythm Dolehide, despite how well she was playing, wasn’t much of a match for her. Dolehide started amazingly as she only dropped two points in her first five service games and was very strong in closing out the opener with the single break. She broke Keys in the opening game of the second set but after that nothing really went her way. She only managed to capture one more game in that second set as a decider was forced. I think that by the decider Keys was in a groove and the occasion had kind of gotten to Dolehide, which meant there wasn’t really any doubt that the third seed would close it out. There was only the single break for Keys in the decider but she should be happy with this being her first match since Wimbledon.
In our feature match Garbine Muguruza showed no sign of rust in her first match back since a first Wimbledon title with an emphatic 6-2, 6-0 win over young 17 year-old American Kayla Day. Day was clearly nervous but Muguruza was striking the ball so cleanly and she was hitting so many clean and crisp crosscourt forehand winners. Day had arms of lead in those first two games as she was broken to love and then Muguruza held easily to start the match very well. Day managed to hold serve twice in that opener but really there is nothing you can do when Muguruza is playing that well. Muguruza was almost flawless in the second set and there was nothing really anyone would have been able to do against that as she got the bagel set to finish off what had been an absolute masterclass. Day shouldn’t be too upset about the loss because no one would have been able to face and beat what she was up against today and if Muguruza keeps that up we could be looking at a second slam title this year.