The final Grand Slam of the year kicked off on Monday at Flushing Meadows with five Canadians taking to the courts for their first round US Open singles matches.
After winning in Washington, reaching the quarters in Toronto and making the semis in Cincinnati, Milos Raonic was awarded the US Open Series men’s title last week, making him eligible for up to $1 million in bonus prize money at the US Open. Raonic entered the 2014 US Open as the highest ranked Canadian singles player, seeded fifth.
Milos’ opening round matchup came against Japan’s Taro Daniel, whom he had never faced before. Raonic overpowered the 186th-ranked player with his bomb of a serve in the first two sets, blasting 12 aces compared to Daniel’s 1. The third set was a lot closer, as Daniel battled back from a break down to force a tiebreak. Milos would go on to win the tiebreaker and, as a result, won the match in straight sets 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(1). Raonic will face Peter Gojowczyk in the second round.
2014 Wimbledon doubles champ Vasek Pospisil played his first match at the 2014 US Open against Italian Simone Bolelli. Pospisil came out strong, winning the first set convincingly 6-2. Unfortunately, he couldn’t keep up the momentum and dropped the next two sets 6-4, 6-2. Vasek battled his way back in the fourth set and took it 6-3, but was eventually bested by the Italian 6-3 in the final set to knock him out of the singles draw.
Pospisil still has a shot at the doubles title, as he and American partner Jack Sock are seeded eighth. Their first matchup is on Wednesday against the unseeded Finnish pairing of Henri Kontinen and Jarkko Nieminen.
Sharon Fichman and Aleksandra Wozniak were part of the first matches of the 2014 US Open, but unfortunately neither of them fared very well. Fichman, who was coming off of arthroscopic knee surgery, could only manage to win a single game against Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, falling 6-1, 6-0 in only 47 minutes. Wozniak was also on the wrong side of a lopsided matchup, losing 6-2, 6-1 to Japan’s Kurumi Nara.
Montreal’s Françoise Abanda battled her way into this year’s US Open, winning all three of her qualifying matches. The 17-year old is the youngest Canadian to appear in a Grand Slam main singles draw since Helen Kelesi in 1987. Her first ever opponent in a Grand Slam main draw was 2013 Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki. The veteran proved to be too strong for the newcomer, defeating her in straight sets 6-3, 6-5.
Canadians in action on Day 2
Day 2 features less Canadian content, as only two Canucks will be in action. Top-ranked Canadian woman Eugenie Bouchard kicks off her US Open singles draw against Olga Govortsova. Meanwhile, Daniel Nestor will play his first round doubles match with partner Nenad Zimonjic against the British team of Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins.