New York | Dart stuns Kasatkina, as other seeds get off the mark 

Britain’s Harriet Dart came from behind to upset No 10 seed Daria Kasatkina at the US Open on Monday, launching come-back campaigns in both the first and third sets to beat the Russian, 7-6(8) 1-6 6-3, while Ons Jabeur, Madison Keys, Coco Gauff and Anett Kontaveit all get off the mark.

She makes you play every single ball, and she really makes you win the points and, for me, it was just about trying to take a bit more time away and focus on each point. She's making you work so hard for every point, it kind of feels like it's never-ending. Harriet Dart

It was the best win of Dart’s career based on ranking, and she is edging closer to potentially overtaking US Open champion Emma Raducanu as the British No 1, should the 19-year old lose her opening match on Tuesday.

Should Raducanu be unable to defend the 2,000 ranking points that will drop off this week, Dart would only need 11 points, which is just one win away from the British top spot.

“Oh really? To be honest that’s not something I think about,” she said. “It’s more about just day in and out putting my best out there and trying to get my ranking up slowly but surely.

“But if that happens great. It would be an amazing thing to be able to do, but for me it’s just about day in and out and focusing on what I can control.”

The 26-year old had never won a main draw match in New York before Monday, but managed to upset the World No 9 over 3 gruelling sets.

Kasatkina, who won the title in Granby two days earlier, broke Dart in the opening game, but then dropped serve, and the pair traded breaks 4 more times in the 69-minute first set.

It ended in a tight tiebreak, with Kasatkina failing to convert 2 set points, and Dart striking a winner to level proceedings at 8-8 before the Russian committed 2 unforced errors to hand over the first set.

Kasatkina, currently No 9 in the WTA rankings, surged back in the second, taking it in just 27 minutes and, in the decider, she broke Dart for an early 2-0 lead, but Dart held her serve and then broke to begin another run from behind to go up 5-3.

Refusing to go down without a fight, Kasatkina forced the British No 2 to fight from deuce to win the match that clocked in at 2 hours and 33 minutes.

“She makes you play every single ball, and she really makes you win the points and, for me, it was just about trying to take a bit more time away and focus on each point,” Dart said. “She’s making you work so hard for every point, it kind of feels like it’s never-ending.”

Dart currently is ranked No 88 after cracking the Top 100 in March when she made a run into the Indian Wells quarter-finals as a qualifier, while she also made Last 8 appearances in Nottingham and Eastbourne in June, both on grass.

Dart’s next opponent is Hungary’s Dalma Galfi, who defeated Spain’s Nuria Parizzas-Diaz, 6-4 6-3, with the winner to face either 18th seed Veronika Kudermetova or Maryna Zanevska in the 3rd-round.

“To be honest I’m a little bit in shock right now,” she told Amazon Prime Video. “Physically I don’t feel great but I really just tried to stick at it and push through, and I can’t believe I got the win.”

Ons Jabeur got past Madison Brengle and will take on Elizabeth Mandlik, the daughter of Hana Mandlikova in the next round

© Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Elsewhere, 5th-seeded Ons Jabeur from Tunisia defeated American Madison Brengle, 7-5 6-2 to set up an encounter against another American, wild-card Elizabeth Mandlik, who beat Tamara Zidansek, 7-5 6-7(3) 6-3.

Brengle threatened Jabeur in both sets, but could not penetrate the steely self-belief of the Tunisian, who managed the ups and downs of a tricky encounter to prevail.

“It was tricky the whole match,” Jabeur told reporters in her post-match press conference. “I had a lot of opportunities to break her serve.

“She’s not a big server, so I always knew I had to really just put the ball in and put pressure [on her] so I can get more and more [opportunities].

“I’m just happy that I stayed focused and really went for every game after.”

32-year-old Brengle, a former World No 35, broke the Tunisian’s serve 3 times in the opening set as she rallied from a break down twice to lead, 4-3.

When Jabeur, who earned 13 break points and converted 4 in the opening set, struck back to lead 5-4, Brengle countered by tying things up at 5, but it was Jabeur who muscled through a 4-deuce game to break for 6-5 before holding serve to close out the set in 46 minutes.

The second was barely half as long as Jabeur kicked into overdrive after falling behind, 2-1, slashing through the final 5 games on the trot, dropping just 6 points in the process to clear her first US Open hurdle in an hour and 10 minutes.

Madison Keys was one of four Americans to make it into round 2 with a win over Dayana Yastremska on Day 1 in New York

© Julian Finney/Getty Images

Meanwhile, another American, Madison Keys knocked out Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska, 7-6(3) 6-3.

While Yastremska was the clear underdog at No 86 in the world, the match immediately followed fellow Ukrainian Daria Snigur’s upset win over Simona Halep in Louis Armstrong Stadium, but the Odesa native could not follow suit, ousting the 20th seed.

Keys arrived in New York with an impressive 176 aces served, and with the second-highest percentage of service points won of 63%.

Yastremska likes pace, though, and she was quick to convert on her first break point opportunity, taking a 3-1 lead in the first set and although Keys broke back, the American was forced to fend off 3 set points when down 5-6, dismissing one of them with an ace before the breaker went to the 20th seed’s way.

The Ukrainian’s unforced error count mounted to 25 in the match against 15 for Keys, who grabbed a break and a 4-2 lead in the second but, with the end in sight, the American wobbled when serving at 5-3, going down 15-30 before her powerful serve won the day and Keys took the match.

Keys will face Camila Giorgi from Italy, who beat Hungarian Anna Bondar, 4-6 6-3 6-1.

The first win for Coco Gauff on Arthur Ashe Stadium was against Leolia Jeanjean

© Elsa/Getty Images

Also featured in their section of the draw is 12th-seeded American Coco Gauff, who posted an impressive round 1 victory over Leolia Jeanjean from France, 6-2 6-3.

Playing on Arthur Ashe Stadium for the first time to start her US Open campaign, Gauff was ruthless in showing all of the skills that may make a maiden Grand Slam title a reality in a fortnight’s time.

Playing like a savvy veteran at the age of 18, Gauff used her power and finesse to overmatch Jeanjean.

“I literally told myself last night, or this morning, I said, ‘You know what, I’m just going to go out there and have fun, enjoy the moment. Who cares if I win on Ashe or not’,” Gauff said. “I’m sure there are going to be other opportunities, but it is nice to break the barrier [of winning on Ashe].”

Gauff fired 8 aces, won 91% of her first-serve points and did not face a single break point in the match, while her first serve topped out at a sizzling 118 mph.

Gauff was thrilled after the match, waving to fans with a massive smile.

“First win in Ashe!” she beamed, pointing to the court.

“I was really nervous, I was feeling the pressure,” Gauff said later. “It’s my first back in the home slam after a final.

“To be frank, I didn’t think I was going to be on Ashe today. Opening the women’s draw on Ashe, too, at that.

“But it is nice to break the barrier. I really didn’t think about it until after the match was over, and then I walked out [to salute] the crowd and said, ‘Wait, I haven’t done this before’.

“That’s why I told them it was my first win on Ashe.”

Gauff will face Romania’s Elena Gabriela Ruse next, who dispatched Granby finalist Daria Saville from Australia, 3-6 6-2 6-4.

Anett Kontaveit, the No 2 seed, was an easy winner over Elena Gabriela Ruse and will play Serena Williams next

© Sarah Stier/Getty Images

World No 2 Anett Kontaveit has had a tough season, but the Estonian set it all aside as she opened her account with a 6-3 6-0 win over Jaqueline Adina Cristian from Romania, winning the last 9 games of the match.

Kontaveit won 4 of the 8 tournaments she played in 2021, and also finished runner-up at the season-ending WTA Finals as she became the first Estonian to ever crack the Top 10, while this year, she is the first to touch No 2 in June.

She stalled somewhat, though, since raising her 6th career title in St. Petersburg in February and the next week, she finished runner-up to Iga Swiatek in Doha, but since then she has won back-to-back matches at only 3 of the events she entered.

“I felt like once I found my groove, I was playing really well,” said Kontaveit, who struck 20 winners against Cristian. “I actually felt, like, I was rallying really well, felt the ball great.

“I just fought hard and I was very happy with the way I managed to finish that match.”

Cristian, ranked 77, had her own struggles this year, suffering a knee injury in Doha, where she left the court in a wheelchair, and had been side-lined since.

Kontaveit, whose next opponent is Serena Williams after the American defeated Danka Kovinic in the night match in Arthur Ashe Stadium, is working with German Torben Beltz, who had a long stint with Angelique Kerber and a brief one with Emma Raducanu.

“I’m really excited. I was really rooting for her to win today. I’ve never played against her. I mean, this is the last chance. Better late than never,” she said with a smile. “I’m really excited. I think the atmosphere is going to be amazing.

“I’m really looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be one of those matches this year that I haven’t had too many where I just have no pressure on me. I’ll just get to enjoy and play as good as I can on the day.

“I don’t feel like there is any pressure on me on the results or anything. I’m just going to take it as a real unique experience. I’m not sure if I’ll ever experience something like this again. I think it’s a special moment for her.



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