Elsewhere at the US Open… Rafa Nadal seems to have woken up a bit after losing the first set and is 3-0 in the second.
First row: Raducanu 3-4 Cornet* (* defines server)
Raducanu has 14 errors compared to Cornet’s seven. But she hits a great goal down the line at 30-0 down and then double faults her opponent for the fourth time to make it 30-30. Another unforced error from Raducanu makes it 40-30 before she deuces with a beautiful cross-court volley at the net. Other Gives a double fault Raducanu opportunity to break. She does when Cornet floats a long forehand.
First row: * Raducanu 2-4 Cornet (* server stands)
Cornet’s back lob is too good for Raducanu, who has failed to find his rhythm at the moment. It’s 0-40 not long after that. She hits a big second serve that Cornet is not dealing with to save her first break point. She has a good chance to take it to deuce soon after but misses a backhand as the court winds down. Cornet is firmly in charge.
First row: Raducanu 2-3 Cornet* (* defines server)
A comfortable hold for the Frenchwoman. It looks like it will be a tough night for the defending champion, but it was always expected against the world No 40, a fierce competitor.
The Aussie world No 198 after the first set against the 22-time grand slam champion! We’re focused on Raducanu v Cornet on this blog but we’ll keep you posted on that potential shock. Hijikata’s best grand slam performance to date is … This year’s US Open (first round).
First row: * Raducanu 2-2 Cornet (* server stands)
Now Raducanu is struggling to throw the ball. But she hits a nice sequence of volleys at the net to move to 30-15, one of her best moments in an uneven performance so far. A goal kick into the net gives the game to the champion.
Meanwhile, we have a story developing on Arthur Ashe: Australia’s Rinky Hijikata, the world No. 198 last time I checked, serving the first row against a guy named Rafa Nadal, who you might remember as a half-decent player over the years.
First row: Raducanu 1-2 Cornet* (* defines server)
Arthur Ashe over there, Rinky Hijikata of Australia has broken Rafa Nadal in the first set and the result 4-3. We’ll keep an eye on that one for you… Meanwhile, Cornet sends her down in the third place double fault of the game to make it 30-30. Both players are giving away their match points at the moment and both look tight and tough. Raducanu can’t get a shot off and is held by Cornet.
First row: * Raducanu 1-1 Cornet (* server stands)
Raducanu is in trouble early in her opening service game, going down 0-30. There is great service around the world, which takes us back to 15-30. It was only 87mph but it was perfectly positioned. That’s as good as Britain gets though, hitting a backhand wide to give their opponent a break.
First series: Raducanu 1-0 Cornet* (* defines server)
It will be Cornet and she hits the first point of the match after her opponent dumps a forehand into the net. But she hits a few points later to take the lead over Raducanu 15-30. Another double chance – throwing his ball – looks like a 30-40 break chance for the Brit but it is saved with a spot on the net. Someone somewhere is letting out what looks like an airhorn, it could be little distracting when you are serving in a grand slam. Raducanu has made it clear that she intends to attack during this tournament and creates a great backhand when Cornet has the advantage to bring us back to deuce. A few points later, Cornet splashes a long backhand and the champ is broken at the first opportunity.
And now Raducanu and Cornet are on the court. The defender gets the biggest cheers as she comes in from the fans. The stadium is still half empty as fans slowly file in for the afternoon session. There may be showers later in the evening, but Louis Armstrong Stadium has a retractable roof so we should be fine.
On Arthur Ashe, Nadal leads Hijikata 2-1 but we are still on serve.
Nadal began his campaign with ease, holding his first service game to love. Hijikata, dressed in patriotic gold and green, goes 15-30 down before coming back to hold his own.
Raducanu v Cornet will start a bit late as the last game of the afternoon session on Louis Armstrong went long, so they must change the afternoon fans for the evening ones. We shouldn’t be too long though.
We’re still waiting for the players to hit the court, but ESPN is showing a Dior ad with Emma Raducanu. She is not playing tennis there, but selling skin cream. Still, I’m sure she’ll be doing her day job soon enough.
Elsewhere, Rafa Nadal is eyeing his opener on Arthur Ashe. He is playing Australia’s Rinky Hijikata as the Spaniard seeks his 23rd grand slam title.
Moisture check in New York: It’s been another dirty, humid day in New York City** but it’s cooling down as the wind picks up this afternoon. Your intrepid reporter visited several locations around the city this morning and can confirm the smell of today’s garbage is mainly the smell of fish sauce. I’m not sure if there really was a large scale spill, or if the smell is just the result of garbage and today’s atmospheric conditions. Anyway, I’m sure the US Open has the resources to swallow the smells out to Long Island.
** New York is also a great city to visit, with many cultural, artistic and culinary attractions. And smell nice on most days.
A fair amount of action has already been taken today, of course. In the men’s draw, Raducanu’s colleagues, Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans, went through to the second round:
In the women’s championship, Venus Williams remained tight-lipped about her future after exiting in the first round. She has barely played in the past year due to injury and was beaten in straight sets by Belgium’s Alison van Uytvanck on Tuesday. Although her sister, Serena, has said that she is retiring, Venus is not sure about her future.
“Right now I’m focused on the doubles,” she said after today’s win, referring to Thursday’s match, where she will play alongside her sister. It could be the final professional match of the two sisters’ glittering careers.
Cornet is an equally tough player where you are going to get among the unseeded ranks in this year’s competition. The world No 40 is the 32-year-old, and it is extremely tough to break down, which could cause problems for Raducanu after she vowed to come out and attack at Flushing Meadows in years.
The French is looking good this season: she has beaten three women with the world ranking No. 1 – Iga Swiatek, Simona Halep and Garbiñe Muguruza – in this year’s grand slams so far. Oh, and she’s durable: tonight she’ll be celebrating her 63rd consecutive grand slam appearance – all-time record.
Good evening. Emma Raducanu begins the defense of the title this evening in Queens, and although she has given a prestigious slot this evening she is playing on court No. 2 the US Open, Louis Armstrong Stadium. That’s because Arthur Ashe has some guy called Rafael Nadal, which is justified when you’ve won 22 grand slam singles titles.
The Briton, who is 19 years old, was ahead of the competition. On the one hand, she recently had exciting wins over Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka, on the other hand she had some minor injuries to deal with.
“I had a few little things, I got a few blisters, a little bit of a niggle here and there,” Raducanu said on Friday after a tough training session. “It’s just one of those weird days where you feel a little like nothing … I don’t know. You just feel a little off. I can’t really explain myself, to be honest. I’m sure everyone in this room has probably had a day like that. Yes, it is what it is.”