Tuesday, August 31, 2021

McDonald ousts seed for first U.S. Open victory

Mackenzie McDonald returns serve in the
first round of the 2016 U.S. Open. Photo
by Paul Bauman
   Mackenzie McDonald caught David Goffin at a good time to earn his first U.S. Open main-draw victory.
   McDonald, a 26-year-old product of Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, beat the 27th-seeded Goffin, a 30-year-old Belgian, 6-2, 7-5, 6-3 today in a first-round matchup of undersized players at Flushing Meadows.
   McDonald, 5-foot-10 (1.78 meters) and 160 pounds (73 kilograms), reached the round of 16 in the Australian Open in February and at Wimbledon in 2018 but had been 0-3 in the main draw of the U.S. Open.
   Goffin, 5-foot-11 (1.80 meters) and 154 pounds (70 kilograms), had advanced to the round of 16 in the U.S. Open for four consecutive years. It's the only Grand Slam tournament in which he hasn't reached the quarterfinals.
   Goffin has dropped from a career-high No. 7 in 2017 to No. 30. He played his second tournament since missing two months with a left-ankle injury and fell to 0-5 since mid-May.
   McDonald, ranked No. 61, is scheduled to face his idol, 2014 U.S. Open runner-up Kei Nishikori, for the second time in five weeks on Thursday. Nishikori, who's the same height as McDonald and one pound (.45 of a kilogram) heavier, eliminated Salvatore Caruso of Italy 6-1, 6-1, 5-7, 6-3. 
   McDonald, now based in Orlando, Fla., outlasted Nishikori 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 four weeks ago in Washington, D.C., to reach his first ATP final, in which he lost to rising star Jannik Sinner, then 19, of Italy.
   The winner of the McDonald-Nishikori encounter likely will play top-ranked Novak Djokovic, seeking to become the first man to complete a calendar-year Grand Slam since Rod Laver in 1969, in the third round.
   Djokovic defeated budding star Holger Rune, an 18-year-old qualifier from Denmark, 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-1. Rune began cramping in his legs in the third set.
   Another Bay Area native, Sam Querrey, lost to No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev of Germany 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 in a clash of 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) veterans. Zverev clubbed 18 aces and Querrey 17.
   Zverev, who lost to Dominic Thiem in last year's U.S. Open final after leading two sets to none, extended his winning streak to 12 matches. He won the gold medal in men's singles in the Tokyo Olympics, ending Djokovic's bid for a Golden Slam in the semifinals.
   Querrey, a 2017 quarterfinalist at Flushing Meadows, fell to 0-5 since advancing to the second round at Wimbledon. At age 33, he has plummeted from a career-high No. 11 in 2018 to No. 77.
   Jenson Brooksby, a 20-year-old wild card from Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area, topped 72nd-ranked Mikael Ymer of Sweden 7-5, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3. Brooksby, who shocked 2010 Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych in the opening round of the 2019 U.S. Open as an 18-year-old qualifier, led 5-3 in the third set.
   Brooksby is slated to play Southern Californian Taylor Fritz for the first time. Fritz, who won Northern California Challengers in Sacramento and Fairfield in consecutive weeks in 2015 at 17, took out No. 14 seed Alex de Minaur of Australia 7-6 (4), 6-2, 1-6, 6-4. 
   In the first round of women's singles, Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia dominated Katie Volynets, a 19-year-old wild card from Walnut Creek in the Bay Area, 6-3, 6-1. 
   Tomljanovic (pronounced Tom-yon-o-vich), a 28-year-old Croatia native, reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at Wimbledon in July and the final of the last (2017) Sacramento Challenger.

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