The 2020 US Open returned to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Monday though no fans were in attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s a roundup of the first day of action.
Naomi Osaka wears Breonna Taylor mask
Naomi Osaka made quite the statement as she took the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium for her opening-round match against Japan’s Misaki Doi.
Osaka was wearing a plain black mask with Breonna Taylor’s name written across the front, honoring the former Louisville EMT who was shot and killed by police in her bed earlier this year.
Taylor’s death, along with George Floyd’s in police custody in May and the Jacob Blake shooting in Wisconsin earlier this month, have sparked a massive social justice movement across the country. Osaka joined countless other athletes around the sports world last week and walked out of her semifinal match at the Western & Southern Open to protest Blake’s shooting.
The tournament eventually suspended play for the day completely.
Osaka, after slipping in her second set, came out strong in the third to beat Doi 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 on Monday night to advance out of the first round.
Novak Djokovic easily advances
The current World No. 1 had no issue in his opening match at the U.S. Open on Monday.
Novak Djokovic cruised past Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Damir Dzumhur in straight sets, winning 6-1, 6-4, 6-1. He’s now a perfect 24-0 on the year.
Djokovic gave a great salute to the empty stands at Arthur Ashe Stadium right after the win, too.
Gauff falls early to Sevastova
Coco Gauff, the teenaged breakout star of the 2019 Wimbledon tournament, had an early exit at New York’s Grand Slam. She lost to Anastasija Sevastova, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.
Gauff, who turned 16 in March, fought back after dropping the first set, 6-3. After winning the first two games of the second set, she struggled with her serve and fell behind again. She also racked up unforced errors, accruing 11 double faults only a few games into the second set.
Finally, Gauff seemed to get under Sevastova’s skin with her back against the wall. She won the final three games of the second set to extend the match, winning 7-5.
The pair bounced back and forth in the first nine games of the final set like clockwork. With a 5-4 lead, Sevastova pulled up 40-15 and seemed poised to end the match right there. Gauff, however, won the next three straight points to tie it back up.
That rally, though, was simply too late. Sevastova finally pulled ahead to take the final set 6-4 and advance out of the first round — sending Gauff home early.
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