New York, Aug 30: Ryan Harrison's second U.S. Open ended before the tournament really got going.
“It's obviously pretty disappointing to be out of here when half the people haven't even arrived yet with the hurricane,” the 19-year-old American said.
Harrison lost 6-2, 7-5, 7-6 (6) to 27th-seeded Marin Cilic in Monday's opening match in Louis Armstrong Stadium, with many fans delayed by the aftereffects of Hurricane Irene.
Harrison had chances to serve out both the second and third sets but was broken each time. He squandered a 4-1 lead in the third-set tiebreaker.
“I felt terrible from the first point till the last point the way I was hitting the ball,” he said. “So to think that I served for two sets against a guy who is such an established player as him, there are a lot of positives I can take from it.”
Harrison is clearly still learning to close out sets and matches. A year ago at Flushing Meadows, Harrison upset 15th-seeded Ivan Ljubicic then had three match points in a fifth-set tiebreaker in the second round. But he wound up dropping five straight points to lose to 36th-ranked Sergiy Stakhovsky.
He won two of the first three sets against seventh-seeded David Ferrer in the second round at Wimbledon this year before losing that one in five sets, too.
The 22-year-old Cilic, a former top-10 player, could tell he had the experience advantage.
“A few times I felt like that because he was there playing well and he breaks me and then just loses his serve on love,” Cilic said. “Those kinds of things you learn through the years.
“I'm happy he didn't learn it yet,” Cilic added with a laugh.
Harrison, ranked 66th, was a wild card at the Open. He had only 11 winners, not playing his most aggressive game.
“If all the guns are firing and you're feeling great and I'm seeing the ball like a watermelon, I can step up into the court—I'm going to be right on top of the baseline,” Harrison said. “That's where I want to be.
“But if I am feeling like the ball is getting on me quickly and I am feeling like my timing is off, of course I am going to back off. I'm going to give myself a little bit of extra time to try to get in rhythm.”
SISTER, SISTER: Agnieszka Radwanska succinctly summed up playing her younger sister in the first round of the U.S. Open: “It sucks.”
She and Urszula were stunned and saddened to learn that the draw had them facing each other in their opening matches at the year's last Grand Slam tournament.
Agnieszka, the No. 12 seed, won 6-2, 6-3 on Monday. At 22, she's 21 months older.
“It's so hard to play a serious match,” she said.
The Polish sisters had played each other twice previously, both in 2009, splitting the matches. One of Urszula's two wins over top-15 players came against Agnieszka.
Ranked 114th, Urszula reached the Open main draw through qualifying.
“We're best friends off the court,” she said.
Sister acts have become common over the past decade at Grand Slam tournaments with Serena and Venus Williams, though much later in the bracket. The last non-Williams sisterly matchup was between Katerina and Magdalena Maleeva in the fourth round of the 1993 U.S. Open.
FISH FUN: Mardy Fish feels as though he's playing with house money.
That's how he describes the unprecedented success that led to him being the highest-seeded American at the U.S. Open for the first time.
“I'm having a ton of fun with it,” Fish said Monday after certainly looking the part in his first-round match.
Seeded eighth, he beat Germany's Tobias Kamke 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 in an hour, 43 minutes.
“I just would never have imagined two years ago, in 2009, not even having to come back here to be in this position,” he said. “So it's great. It's just great.”
Two years ago was when Fish had left knee surgery, after which his ranking fell to 108th. He's since lost weight and come back better than ever at 29, an age when some other players are considered washed up.
“This is the best position I've ever come in,” Fish said. “This is the biggest tournament in that regard. I think it's fair to say. I know that for a fact. It's not adding pressure or anything like that.” AP