Fourth seed Elena Rybakina was in scintillating form on day one of the 2023 US Open. She drew Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk, one of the highest-ranked unseeded players, but only dropped three games in a straight sets victory.
Rybakina’s match against Kostyuk was much closer than the score suggests. Kostyuk hit almost as many winners as Rybakina and pushed the match to about the hour-and-a-half mark. However, Rybakina was more clinical in the big points. In addition, Rybakina appeared comfortable at the net, winning 9 of 13 net attempts.
In my US Open preview and draw analysis, I predicted that she would advance at least to the quarterfinals. After her play today, I would be shocked if she did not make it at least another round. In addition, her chances have improved even more after Maria Sakkari was upset in the first round.
Can Elena Rybakina secure her second major and win the US Open?
Rybakina has been remarkably successful on the hard courts this year. She finished runner-up at the Australian Open, won Indian Wells, reached another final in Miami, and made the semifinals in Montreal.
Up next for Rybakina will be the winner of Panna Udvary vs. Ajla Tomljanovic. Both players are currently ranked outside the top 100. Of course, we have already seen a few upsets on Day 1, so anything is possible. Upsets, you ask? One of them follows.
Azarenka cruises; Rune ousted
Elsewhere on day one of the US Open, three-time finalist Victoria Azarenka cruised to a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Fiona Ferro. Azarenka has had a bit of a rocky season but is always a major threat on her favored hardcourts.
Fourth-ranked Holger Rune was the biggest upset of the US Open thus far. Rune, a dark horse to win the title, was undone in four sets by Roberto Carballes Baena. Carballes Baena played well enough to make it look like he could make a deep run.