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Week 1 at the 2023 US Open brought big upsets, crazy comebacks, and eight young Americans advancing deep on both sides of the draw.

Upsets Rune the Day

No. 4 seed Holger Rune got the upset train rolling on day one by falling to Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena.

Nine seeded players on the men’s side bowed out in the first round, notably No. 11 Karen Khachanov and No. 15 Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Last year’s runner-up, No. 5 Casper Ruud continued his disappointing summer by exiting in Round 2. He was joined by No. 7 Stefanos Tsitsipas, along with four other seeds.

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On the ladies’ side, the biggest surprise on day one was No. 8 Maria Sakkari losing to Rebeka Masarova. No. 7 Caroline Garcia fell in R1 also, but she gets a pass as she lost her grandmother that very day.

Six more seeds fell in Round 1, and an additional seven in Round 2.

No. 4 Elena Rybakina lost to resurgent Sorana Cirstea in Round 3.

The biggest shockwave came in the final match of week 1 though, as No. 1 Iga Swiatek met her kryptonite again, Jelena Ostapenko.

Ostapenko is undefeated against Switatek, holding a 4-0 advantage.

Matchups and styles matter, yes, and clearly Ostapenko’s game befuddles Swiatek. At this point though, we’re entering mental hurdle territory. Swiatek better get a win against her soon or every match going forward between them will be played entirely between the ears.

Say Hello to Peyton Stearns

Our dark horse at this year’s tournament has held up her end of the bargain so far.

21-year-old Peyton Stearns is through to Round 4 after three dominant straight-set wins.

Stearns debuted on the WTA Tour six months ago at the inaugural ATX Open in Austin, TX.

The 2022 NCAA Women’s Singles Champion turned pro after her sophomore year at The University of Texas at Austin, where she also led the Longhorns to back-to-back NCAA team championships in 2021 and 2022.

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She made the finals in Bogota and 3rd Round at Roland Garros, where she notched a notable win over former champ Jelena Ostapenko.

Stearns is a fighter. A fiery fist pumper. She plays hard and hits big, ripping groundies off both sides.

She’ll face her biggest test of the tournament next against current Wimbledon champ Marketa Vondrousova, who incidentally defeated Stearns en route to that very title. Vondrousova has been flying under the radar at this year’s Open (she shouldn’t be), but Peyton certainly hasn’t forgotten about her.

Win that match and entire tennis world will know Stearns’s name*.

Either way, her star is on the rise, quick. Pay attention.

* ATTN: Big name sponsors

Checking in on Novak and Alcaraz

Djokovic had a legit scare in the third round against fellow countryman and frequent practice partner Laslo Djere.

Djere broke Djokovic in the first game of the match, and which would set the tone for the next two sets. Djere showed serious composure holding serve five straight times to win the first set 6-4, then improbably took a two set lead and Novak was officially on the ropes.

But Novak did what he has been doing for nigh twenty years. He figured it out…in a big way. Djokovic won final three sets going away, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3, marking his eighth career comeback win after trailing by two sets.

The tricky part about that stat is that he hardly ever trails by two sets to begin with.

Typically, a Grand Slam champion has to survive one major scare en route to the title. So, the takeaway for the rest of the field should be “damn, he won’t be caught flat footed again if I have to play him.”

Oh yeah…how is Alcaraz doing so far? See for yourself:

Gratuitous Carlos Alcaraz Highlight

American Resurgence

Four American’s advanced to the final sixteen in both the men’s and women’s draws this year.

Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul, and Ben Shelton on the men’s side.

Jess Pegula, Coco Gauff, Madison Keys, and Peyton Stearns on the women’s side.

Best all around outing for the U.S. contingent in over a decade. Good to see.

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