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UCLA at the US Open: Day 8

Aug 31, 2020
(Photo: Danielle Parhizkaran/USA Today Sports)

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MONDAY, SEPT. 7

Jean-Julien Rojer will play in his eighth-career Grand Slam doubles semifinal round – and fifth with partner Horia Tecău – as the pair defeated Rohan Bopanna and Denis Shapovalov in straight sets Monday.

There were just two breaks of serve in the quarterfinal-round match and Rojer/Tecău collected both to seal set and match wins. The 7-5, 7-5 result was the first straight-set victory of the tournament for Rojer/Tecău, which has been a duo since 2014. Rojer and Tecau took advantage of 17 unforced errors by Bopanna/Shapovalov, while limiting their number to just five. The semifinal-round berth marks the first for Rojer/Tecău since taking the top spot at the 2017 US Open. The duo will again try to reach the final round when it faces Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares Tuesday at approximately 12:15 p.m., PT in Louis Armstrong Stadium.

Jennifer Brady will look to continue her improbable run in the women's singles draw when she takes on No. 23 seed Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan Tuesday at 9 a.m., PT. The match will be the first of the day in Arthur Ashe Stadium. The ESPN family of networks will continue to provide live coverage.

SUNDAY, SEPT. 6

Jennifer Brady defeated Angelique Kerber Sunday, becoming the first former college player to reach the US Open women's singles quarterfinal round since 1994. Brady also joins an illustrious club of Bruins, including Patricia Hy-Boulais (1992) and Barbara Gerken (1981), who have accomplished the feat.

"She's the best player right now in the draw," said ESPN commentator Mary Joe Fernandez of Brady. "If she can stay physically healthy, she can go very far and even win this tournament."

Brady was dominant out of the gate, capturing the first set against three-time Grand Slam champion Kerber in just 22 minutes. Brady earned a break of serve at 2-1 and never looked back. She jumped out to a 3-1 advantage in the second set, as well, and that was all she needed. Brady cruised to a 6-1, 6-4 victory, eclipsing her previous career-best showings at the 2017 Australian and US Opens.

On the men's side, Mackenzie McDonald's doubles run was ended by the tournament's No. 3 seed. The pair of McDonald and Christopher Eubanks, which made the field as a wild card, nearly forced a third set before suffering a 6-2, 7-6(5) loss to Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury. McDonald/Eubanks led 5-2 in the second set. Each of the four participants played college tennis (McDonald – UCLA, Eubanks – Georgia Tech, Ram – Illinois, Salisbury – Memphis).

The final former men's standout in New York, Jean-Julien Rojer, will attempt to reach the doubles semifinal round Monday with partner Horia Tecău. Rojer/Tecău is set to face Rohan Bopanna/Denis Shapovalov in the third match on Court 17. First serve will not occur before 12 p.m., PT.

SATURDAY, SEPT. 5

Two Bruins will participate in the US Open men's doubles quarterfinal round, as Jean-Julien Rojer joined Mackenzie McDonald by way of an upset of the top-seeded defending champion Saturday. On the women's side, Ena Shibahara saw her run come to an end in the doubles second round.

The duo of Rojer and Horia Tecău which captured the 2017 US Open championship, rebounded from a set deficit versus Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah of Columbia to earn its victory. Cabal/Farah posted an immediate break of serve and took care of business the rest of the way in the first set. Rojer/Tecău returned the favor in the second set, breaking Cabal/Farah at 1-0 and using that to force a decisive third. There, the first break did not occur until 4-4 and Rojer/Tecău capitalized for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory. The match featured a former Pac-10/12 standout on each side, as Farah graduated from USC in 2010. Rojer/Tecău will next face Rohan Bopanna/Denis Shapovalov.

Shibahara/Shuko Aoyama, the tournament's sixth-seeded pair, had its serve broken by Hayley Carter and Luisa Stefani at 2-2 in the first set for the match's first momentum shift. That was all Carter/Stefani needed to secure the first set, as the pair held serve the rest of the way. Shibahara/Aoyama made its own statement in the second set, however, blanking Carter/Stefani to force a third set. A break at 2-1 proved to be the difference for Carter/Stefani, as the North Carolina/Pepperdine combination triumphed, 6-4, 0-6, 6-4.

Sunday will see 28th-seeded Jennifer Brady attempt to continue her singles run against No. 17 Angelique Kerber of Germany. The fourth-round match will be played in Louis Armstrong Stadium at 8 a.m., PT. McDonald and partner Christopher Eubanks will meet third-seeded Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury in the doubles quarters. Start time and location have yet to be determined.

FRIDAY, SEPT. 4

Jennifer Brady reached the US Open singles fourth round for the second time in her career Friday, defeating Caroline Garcia of France in straight sets. On the men's side, Mackenize McDonald achieved a career-best showing, making the quarterfinal round of a Grand Slam doubles draw for the first time in his career.

Brady took control in the first set at 3-2, when she broke the serve of Garcia. Alternating holds gave the 28th-seeded Brady a set advantage and momentum into the second, where she immediately broke Garcia again en route to a 2-0 lead. That was all Brady needed, as she closed for a 6-3, 6-3 win. Garcia previously defeated the field's No. 1 seed, Karolina Pliskova. Brady, who has won eight of nine matches since the start of play at last month's Top Seed Open, will meet 17th-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany for a spot in the quarterfinals.

McDonald and partner Christopher Eubanks earned back-to-back breaks of Marcus Daniell/Philipp Oswald for a 4-1 first-set lead. Daniell/Oswald recovered, though, taking the next four games to steer the match toward a tiebreaker, which McDonald/Eubanks won by a narrow margin. A break at 3-2 in the second set was all McDonald/Eubanks needed, as the pair went on to capture the match by a 7-6(5), 6-3 score. Next for them is a date with third-seeded Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury.

Next up for the Bruins in New York are second-round doubles matches for Jean-Julien Rojer and Ena Shibahara. Rojer and partner Horia Tecău will meet top-seeded Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah in the men's draw, while Shibahara and partner Shuko Aoyama, seeded sixth, will take on Hayley Carter and Luisa Stefani.

THURSDAY, SEPT. 3

Jean-Julien Rojer and Ena Shibahara won their US Open doubles matches Thursday, as first-round play concluded on Day 4 in New York. Jennifer Brady fell in her initial doubles appearance, but will return to singles action Thursday.

The combination of Rojer and Horia Tecău, which won the 2017 US Open men's doubles title, needed a come-from-behind effort versus Marcelo Arevalo and Jonny O'Mara. Arevalo/O'Mara captured a first-set tiebreaker to put Rojer/Tecău behind the eight ball in the best-of-three format. Rojer/Tecău responded convincingly, though, surrendering just two games in the second set before holding on for a 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-4 victory. The pair will next face top-seeded Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah. Farah attended USC.

The tandem of Shibahara and Shuko Aoyama, seeded sixth in the women's draw, earned important breaks of serve at 0-2 and 2-2 to stake claim to the first set in its match against Ann Li/Bernarda Pera. An even-closer contested second set saw the difference made at 5-5, when Shibahara/Aoyama broke the opposition and finished the job for a 6-4, 7-5 triumph. Shibahara/Aoyama will next face Hayley Carter/Luisa Stefani in the second round.

Brady and Caroline Dolehide controlled their first set versus Oksana Kalashnikova and Alla Kudryavtseva, but could not find the same success in the subsequent ones. Kalashnikova/Kudryavtseva narrowly seized the second and third sets for a 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 win.

Brady will try to match her 2017 US Open performance Friday, when she meets Caroline Garcia with a trip to the fourth round on the line. Mackenzie McDonald, meanwhile, will look to reach a Grand Slam doubles third round for the first time in his career when he and partner Christopher Eubanks meet Marcus Daniell/Philipp Oswald.

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 2

Jennifer Brady earned her second straight-set singles win in as many chances on Day 3 of the US Open, carrying her red-hot play into the month of September. On the men's side, Maxime Cressy and Marcos Giron played second-round singles matches, while Mackenzie McDonald got underway in doubles in doubles play.

The 28th-seeded Brady collected her second-round singles win in just 51 minutes. She jumped out to 5-1 first- and second-set leads versus fellow American CiCi Bellis en route to a 6-1, 6-2 decision and her first Grand Slam third round since the 2017 US Open. An upset atop the draw will pit Brady against Caroline Garcia of France, who defeated top-seeded Karolina Pliskova Wednesday.

Giron got his match back on serve at 2-3, but 26th-seeded Filip Krajinovic of Serbia immediately broke back for the difference in the first set. Krajinovic controlled the second set, but Giron did not go down without a fight. The 2014 NCAA singles champion kept match on serve in the third set until 3-4, when Krajinovic, the world's No. 26 player, earned a pivotal break and the 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 victory.

One day removed from a five-set loss in the singles first round, McDonald got back in the win column in first-round doubles action. Facing off against Luke Bambridge/Ben McLachlan, McDonald and partner Christopher Eubanks jumped out to a 4-1 first-set lead and a 5-1 second-set advantage, cruising to a 6-3, 6-2 win. McDonald/Eubanks will meet Marcus Daniell/Philipp Oswald in the second round. McDonald previously reached this stage at the 2018 US Open.

Cressy served up 21 aces against fourth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, including eight in a first set that ended in a tiebreaker. Tsitsipas surrendered just two points there and went on to break Cressy at 2-1 in the second set and 4-4 in the third to key his 7-6(2), 6-3, 6-4 triumph at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Three Bruins will play first-round doubles matches Thursday. Jean-Julien Rojer will make his first appearance with partner Horia Tecău in the initial Court 9 contest. They will take on Marcelo Arevalo and Jonny O'Mara at 8 a.m., PT. Brady and partner Caroline Dolehide will follow on the same court against Oksana Kalashnikova/Alla Kudryavtseva. Rounding out the trio of Bruins in action will be Ena Shibahara, who is seeded sixth in the women's doubles draw with partner Shuko Aoyama. The pair will meet Ann Li/Bernarda Pera in Court 14's third match.

TUESDAY, SEPT. 1

Former UCLA men's tennis standout Mackenzie McDonald took a two-set lead versus No. 30 seed Casper Ruud of Norway on Day 2 of the US Open, but was unable to hold on in his return to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

McDonald (2014-16) had his serve broken at 1-3, but took the final five games and initial set to make an early statement. He went on to break Ruud at 4-4 of the second set and used the momentum to move within one set of victory in the best-of-five format. Ruud, who is ranked 28th by the ATP, took the final three games of the third set and controlled the rest of the match for a 4-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 triumph.

McDonald will be back in action Wednesday on Day 1 of doubles play. The 2016 NCAA singles and doubles champion and partner Christopher Eubanks will meet Luke Bambridge/Ben McLachlan in the second match of the day on Court 9. Marcos Giron, meanwhile, will kick off the Court 11 contests versus 26th-seeded Filip Krajinovic at 8 a.m., PT, in a second-round singles match. Maxime Cressy is set for primetime, as he will take on fourth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in the back half of the 4 p.m., PT evening session at Arthur Ashe Stadium. On the women's side, 28th-seeded Jennifer Brady is set to face CiCi Bellis in Court 17's second clash. All matches will air on the ESPN family of networks.

MONDAY, AUG. 31

Maxime Cressy and Marcos Giron each earned the first Grand Slam win of his career Monday, giving the UCLA men's tennis program a spotless Day 1 at the US Open. Meanwhile, on the women's side, 28th-seeded Jennifer Brady made quick work of Anna Blinkova to earn a spot in the second round.

Cressy (2016-19), who gained entry into the field by way of wild card, was a force out of the gate versus Jozef Kovalik of Slovakia. Cressy captured the initial five games en route to a 6-1 first-set triumph. Kovalik answered in the second set, 6-2, but Cressy was not fazed. The defending NCAA doubles champion overpowered the world's 123rd-ranked player with 23 aces, closing strong for a 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory. Cressy will next face fourth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece.

Giron (2012-14), who recently joined the ATP top 100 for the first time in his career, squared off with Australian Marc Polmans in a marathon match. No. 96 Giron picked up a break of serve at 3-3 in the first set and used it to get off on the right foot. Polmans seized momentum thanks to a second-set tiebreaker and quickly put the 2014 NCAA singles champion on the brink of elimination by taking the third set, as well. Giron followed Cressy's lead, though, taking the final two sets for a 6-4, 6-7(5), 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 win that took 3:45 to complete. Giron will next face 28th-seeded Filip Krajinovic of Serbia.

Brady (2014, 2015) continued to shine in 2020, needing just 1:16 to beat Blinkova. Brady dropped the first two games of the second set before capturing six in a row for the victory. Fifteen days removed from seizing her first WTA championship at the Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky., Brady holds a career-high singles ranking of No. 41. She will take on fellow American CiCi Bellis in the second round.

Men's tennis alumnus Mackenzie McDonald will take on Casper Ruud of Norway in the day's first match on Court 4. The ESPN family of networks will continue to provide live coverage.