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Christina McHale prepares for a forehand in her second round upset of (8) Marion Bartoli
Heading into this year's US Open, questions about the state of American tennis were abound. Everyone aware of the current stars of American tennis, such as Roddick, Fish, and the Williams Sisters, but it's the up-and-coming rising stars that seem to be getting a majority of the spotlight at this year's US Open. The aforementioned four American superstars are all great players, but they are also headed toward the age where retirement seems inevitable in the next five years.
Because of the impending retirement of the players that Americans have grown so accustomed to rooting for, everyone is scrambling to find a young American star upon whom they can bestow their adoration and devotion. So far this US Open, the young Americans haven't disappointed.
Of those left in the draw, the young American men, represented primarily by John Isner (who isn't very young but is still rising in the game), Jack Sock, and Donald Young. Isner, a towering Georgia native with a booming serve, looked primed to get to the fourth round of this year's open. Due to the withdrawl of Robin Soderling, the first seed Isner could meet is 18th seed and former champion Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina in the fourth round. Though this match would be incredibly difficult for Isner, it is a winnable match. Regardless of how he comes through that match, Isner has a great chance of making the second week here.
Young and Sock, on the other hand, would be pulling off big upsets to survive their second round matches. Sock plays Roddick who, on paper, should blow the young American off the court. Sock just won his first tour-level match ever in the first round a few days ago, so he is still going to have to play his best tennis to take down Roddick, even though the American veteran has been struggling of late.
Young, on the other hand, goes up against the wily Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka. Wawrinka performs well in New York and, though Donald has been known to play well here, looks like the clear favorite to make it through to the third round. That being said, both Sock and Young possess weapons that could lead them to pull off big upsets.
The women's side, on the other hand, looks a bit more promising. Sloane Stephens, a rising American star, came through a tough three-set match against relative unknown Reka-Luca Jani in the first round. She players 23rd seed Shahar Peer who, though experienced, has not been having a great summer. Stephens, if playing well, could pull off an upset against Peer and make the third round.
Possibly the most emotional moment of the tournament so far came when Irina Falconi won an incredibly tight three-set match, on Arthur Ashe, against 16th seed Dominika Cibulkova. The Slovakian was heavy favorite to win and, after winning the first set with relative ease, looked primed to come through quickly. Falconi, though, had other plans and ended the match with an exquisite drop shot while on the run. Falconi, now in the third round, will have her hands full against the big serving German Sabine Lisicki. She doesn't have much of a game to challenge Lisicki, but her performance today has put her in the hearts and minds of millions of tennis fans.
Finally and probably most importantly, Christina McHale's stellar performance in upsetting 8th-seeded Marion Bartoli of France was the highlight of the day for American fans. McHale has been showing amazing form this summer, beating Wozniacki and Kuznetsova within the past month. Her draw is not incredibly difficult, given that she has a winnable match against Maria Kirilenko in the next round. After that, she could face either Nadia Petrova or Samantha Stosur, each of whom is a very tough player. That being said, she could come through.
Regardless, the 19-year-old New Jersey native's performance today has given many hope for the future of American tennis. Regardless of how she performs in the next round, she shows a lot of promise.
Though it is impossible to know who will come through and who won't, one thing is for sure: many eyes will be on these young players in the next couple of days.