By Karen Price | Aug. 28, 2019, 2:02 a.m. (ET)
Coco Gauff reacts against Anastasia Potapova of Russia at the US Open on Aug. 27, 2019 in Queens, N.Y.

 

Coco Gauff is at it again.

The 15-year-old who captured the attention of the world during her run to the fourth round at Wimbledon earned a wild-card entry into the US Open and made her debut in dramatic fashion on Tuesday, coming from behind to beat Russia’s Anastasia Potapova 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. 

After dropping the first set, Gauff came back to win the second and broke serve in the final game to take the match in front of a supportive home crowd. She is the youngest player in the US Open, and one of several Americans who starred in the first round, which took place Monday and Tuesday.

Gauff’s first big victory at Wimbledon was beating Venus Williams in the opening round; this time both Williams sisters are into the second round at the US Open. Together they are the winningest doubles tennis team in Olympic history.

Serena Williams, who at eighth is the highest seeded U.S. singles player in the tournament, started off her run at this year’s US Open on Monday by defeating Maria Sharapova for the 19th time in a row, 6-1, 6-1. Showing no signs of the back pain that forced her to withdraw from the Rogers Cup earlier this month, Williams needed just 59 minutes to seal the win against Sharapova at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

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After losing in the first round at the last two Grand Slam tournaments, Venus Williams also advanced with an easy 6-1, 6-0 win over China’s Zheng Saisai on Monday. No. 10 Madison Keys rebounded from a close first set against Misaki Doi of Japan to win 7-5, 6-0.

An All-American first-round matchup saw No. 20 Sofia Kenin, a Youth Olympian, top 2017 US Open semifinalist CoCo Vandeweghe in a close 7-6 (4), 6-3 match. Caty McNally also advanced past the first round, beating Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland 6-4, 6-1, and Lauren Davis defeated Sweden’s Johanna Larsson 7-5, 6-2. McNally will face Serena Williams in the second round.

On Tuesday, Alison Riske continued her winning ways this summer with a come-from-behind upset victory over No. 24 Garbine Muguruza of Spain, 2-6, 6-1, 6-3. Riske upended top seed Ashleigh Barty at Wimbledon and reached the quarterfinals, where she lost to Serena Williams. 

Francesca Di Lorenzo advanced with a 7-6 (4), 6-2 win over Russia’s Veronkia Kudermitova, and Danielle Collins defeated Slovenia’s Polona Hercog 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Taylor Townsend also won, beating Ukraine’s Kateryna Kozlova, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, as did Kristie Ahn, beating Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 6-2.

The first round ended in an upset for one of the top American contenders, however, as No. 11 Sloane Stephens fell to Russia’s Anna Kalinskaya 6-3, 6-4. Stephens was the 2017 US Open champ.

Nine other U.S. women fell in the first round.

Jennifer Brady was among those eliminated on Monday, losing to Belarus’ Aliaksandra Sasnovich, 6-1, 4-6, 6-0. The others included Pan American Games silver medalist Caroline Dolehide, Whitney Osuigwe, 2012 Olympian Varvara Lepchenko and Bernarda Pera.

Nicole Gibbs fell to No. 4 Simona Halep of Romania 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 on Tuesday, while Jessica Pegula, Katie Volynets and Madison Brengle also suffered first-round losses.

In the men’s draw, Reilly Opelka scored an upset with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3 victory over No. 11 Fabio Fognini of Italy for his first US Open win. This was his third top-20 victory of the season, adding to a win over fellow American John Isner at the Australian Open and a victory against three-time Grand Slam champ Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland at Wimbledon. Opelka will play in the second round on Wednesday, the day he turns 23 years old. 

In other Day 1 results, Jenson Brooksby beat Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4; Denis Kudla defeated Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (5), 6-1; and Bradley Klahn topped Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.

Then on Tuesday, Isner, who’s the top-seeded U.S. man at No. 14, registered a straight-sets victory over Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. Tennys Sandgren also advanced, beating France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 1-6, 6-7 (2), 6-4, 7-6 (5), 7-5, and Frances Tiafoe won when Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic retired trailing 6-2, 6-3, 1-2.

Round one wasn’t as great for other U.S. men, as some of the big names fell and won’t continue on in pursuit of the title. 

No. 26 Taylor Fritz was among them. Fritz, 21, is a former US Open junior champion and the second-highest ranked American player on the ATP Tour behind Isner, but on Monday he fell to 37-year-old Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4. 

Sam Querrey, a 2008 U.S. Olympian and 2017 US Open quarterfinalist, was also knocked out with a defeat by Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Londero in his US Open debut, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (3), 7-5. 

Marcos Giron, Olympian Jack Sock, Zachary Svajda and Christopher Eubanks also were eliminated on Monday. On Tuesday, Bjorn Fratangelo, Ernesto Escobedo and Olympian Steve Johnson lost their matches.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.