Backing up her impressive win over seven-time Major champion Venus Williams in the first round, 20th seed Karolina Muchova continued her impressive form with another routine victory over Anna Kalinskaya in the second round of the US Open. Flying under the radar thus far, the Czech is enjoying the lack of pressure and looks to be one to look out for in the upcoming rounds.
Dictating play throughout the majority of the match, Muchova fired 30 winners and committed just 21 unforced errors, as opposed to just 10 winners and 17 miscues from the Russian. Brilliant serving from both players resulted in only three breaks surfacing, although ultimately it was Muchova’s aggression which sealed her the comfortable 6-3, 7-6 victory after an hour and 20 minutes of play.
Muchova overcomes early deficit
Kalinskaya, who rose to fame after beating 2018 champion Sloane Stephens on Arthur Ashe last year, grabbed the early break as Muchova sent an easy volley straight into the net, showing some signs of inconsistency. Having played on Arthur Ashe in her opening round match, Muchova had to adapt to the faster conditions on the outside courts, with this match being played on Court 4.
Troubled by Muchova’s deep returning, Kalinskaya gifted the immediate break back, before Muchova took control and dominated proceedings. The 110th-ranked Russian struggled to read the Czech’s big serves, failing to find another opportunity to level the set as the 20th seed comfortably served out the opening set 6-3.
Kalinskaya hangs on but falters ultimately
Having lost five of the previous six games, Kalinskaya started the second set with a brilliant, confidence-boosting service hold which helped her find her footing once more. Painting the lines with her serves and minimizing her unforced errors, the pair were deadlocked in a tight second set with both players excelling on serve.
Going for too much on the important points, Muchova missed a break point in the fifth game and Kalinskaya barely hung onto her advantage of serving first — though it did not matter much as the cool-headed Muchova did not feel any pressure having to play catch up on the scoreboard.
Twice the Czech had to serve to stay in the set, and twice the Czech produced stunning love service holds. Kalinskaya had no answers to the tactically-perfect slice services which threw her into the wide court and got off to a disappointing start in the tiebreak as routine errors started flowing from her racket.
Despite the tight scoreline, Muchova was barely troubled on serve throughout the match and earned a spot in the third round with a big forehand winner on the final point and setting up a meeting with either Western and Southern Open semifinalist Johanna Konta or Sorana Cirstea.
This is Muchova’s third consecutive third-round appearance in Flushing Meadows, having stunned Garbine Muguruza as a 202nd-ranked qualifier in 2018. She will look to make her first second-week appearance here at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre, but her next opponent will not be one to underestimate.