Qualifying Rounds: Day 1 Recap
Qualifying kicked off on Saturday at the Western & Southern Open, with the top seeds and several Americans getting one step closer to main draw.
Women's qualifying is headlined by No. 1 seed Barbora Strycova. Playing her first match since taking on Serena Williams in the Wimbledon semifinal, Strycova defeated Kaia Kanepi 7-6(3),3-6,6-3 in her first-round match.
On the men’s side, No. 1 seed Mikhail Kukushkin defeated Jack Sock, who is returning to action after an injury layoff, 6-7(5),6-2,6-3.
Hometown players and former teammates at Ohio State JJ Wolf and John McNally were both in action on Saturday. For the second year in a row, Wolf has reached the final round of qualifying after he No. 13 seed Alexander Bublik 6-3,6-3.
"It's just the best possible situation for me," said Wolf. "I've got all the family and friends right there in the front row, and it makes it feel like a family event almost like you're playing in the backyard so it helps me relax and I can play my game. I honestly think Cincinnati just makes me comfortable. I want to put on a show for the home crowd and show them my best."
Wolf will compete again on Sunday against Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta for a spot in the main draw.
McNally (USA), whose sister, Caty, will be in the women's main draw, lost to Frederico Delbonis 3-6,6-0,6-2.
Former Ohio high school state champion Lauren Davis from suburban Cleveland saved three match points to defeat Stanford grad Kristie Ann 2-6,7-6(7),6-2.
Monica Puig, the 2016 Olympic singles gold medalist, got through her first-round match against Anastasia Potapova 6-7 (2), 6-1, 6-4. After delivering the first pitch Thursday for the Cincinnati Reds against the Chicago Cubs thanks to her boyfriend and Cincinnati Reds utility player Derek Dietrich. She looked fierce and ready to fight for a city that she feels home at.
Fresh off her first career title in Washington D.C., Jessica Pegula won her sixth match in a row. The Buffalo native got revenge for her first-round Wimbledon loss in a rematch with Mihaela Buzarnescu. Pegula was a winner Saturday 6-3 7-6(5).
On the day, a half dozen Americans were winners, with Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Jennifer Brady and Denis Kudla joining Wolf, Davis and Pegula with victories.
Qualification matches resume tomorrow for its final round with ATP main draw singles and doubles action getting underway. Including Alex de Minaur vs Marco Cecchinato, and Felix Auger-Aliassime competing In doubles.