With second round action wraping up today, all of the players competing in Houston have now taken the court. On the men’s side, their rankings have generally held, with 10 of 11 seeds who played today advancing to the Round of 16.
The first men’s matches of the day saw three Americans fall – two to seeded players and one in an upset. No. 5 Jason Jung (TPE) defeated Daniel Nguyen and No.12 Pedja Krstin (SRB) took out Nick Chappell. Veteran American Donald Young is the No.10 seed, but fell in a heated, back-and-forth match to Canadian qualifier Alexis Galarneau.
However, No. 2 seed and 2018 champion Bradley Klahn earned a 7-5, 6-3 win over Filip Cristian Jianu in the first match in his quest to defend his title. But what looked like a straightforward second set became a bit dicey when Jianu saved three match points and fought back before the American could close it out.
“I lost a little bit of focus when I got up at 5-0, 40-0,” said Klahn. “I played almost a nearly flawless set up until that point and was feeling good, and let off the gas a little bit, and he played a good game to break me at 5-1. I kind of held on. It’s tricky – it’s cold out there and the ball doesn’t move quite like we’re used to, so you’ve got to be a little bit creative and find a way to win points.”
The top seed on the men’s side, Tennys Sandgren, also won 6-3, 7-5 over Edan Lesham.
In the last singles match of the day, No.4 seed Marcos Giron was up a set and 5-0 in what looked to be a routine match against USC Trojan Brandon Holt. But the senior from California would not go down without a fight, clawing his way back to force a tiebreak, in which he come back from 2-6 down – saving 10 match points in total to force a third. Giron, after unleashing a bit of frustration at the expense of his racquet, was able to right the ship and eventually won a 7-6(4), 6-7(7), 6-2 decision.
On the women’s side, the seeds also held fairly true, with six of nine advancing
No.2 seed Taylor Townsend was the first victor of the day, powering to a 6-2, 6-4 win over Kazakhstan’s Anna Danilina. Houston marks the American’s first event since her fantastic run at the US Open, where she beat World No.4 Simona Halep en route to a tight 3-set loss to eventual champion Bianca Andreescu in the Round of 16. She next faces another big hitting American in Caroline Dolehide, a winner Tuesday.
Not as straightforward was the match of No.4 seed Mandy Minella of Luxembourg, who fought hard to eke out a win over University of Georgia Bulldog Katarina Jokic of Serbia.
“I think I played more aggressive,” said Minella. “I pushed more on my serve and tried as soon as I had the opportunity to go into the net and go for my shots. It was tough to play today because of the cold – the ball was not really going and I couldn’t develop my aggressive game.”
The new mother was impressed, however, with Jokic’s game, noting her endurance and consistency.
“I didn’t know anything about her, but I think she’s very solid. I was surprised at her level the whole match and even though she is young, she is doing everything quite well.”
A rain-interrupted match in the evening saw top seed Danielle Collins fall 0-6, 6-3, 3-6 to Anhelina Kalinina. But No.11 seed Usue Arconada and wild card Bethanie Mattek-Sands ran to 6-0, 6-0 victories over Hanna Chang and Allie Kiick, while No.6 seed Caty McNally took a 6-2, 6-0 decision over Mari Osaka in three of the day’s most dominant performances.