The Soul of the US Open, Day 2: Upstart, Victoria Duval, Upends Sam Stosur (Watch)

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*If you were looking forward to seeing former US Open champion, Samantha Stosur, fight her way to the final stages of this year’s tournament, I hope you didn’t blink, because you would’ve missed her.

In a stunning Day 2, first round upset, Stosur was taken out by virtual-Slam-virgin, Victoria Duval, in three surprisingly closely contested sets. Was it as huge Serena Wiliams’ first round upset at the 2012 French Open? No, but it still ranks pretty high, giving all the facts.

It was just this same time last year when Duval, with fresh milk behind her ears, was making her Grand Slam debut against crowd favorite and multiple US Open champion, Kim Clijsters, in a night match on Arthur Ashe stadium. Duval had made a name for herself on the juniors circuit, but the big leagues – and the biggest stage in the tennis world – was clearly out of her range at the time. In view of that, Clijsters showed no mercy in taking her out as swiftly as she exited the locker room. It was an expected drubbing, as it was just “an honor to be there” for the then baby-faced sixteen-year-old, and Clijsters was playing her maiden Us Open and would be retiring immediately afterwards. Duval was sent packing 6-3, 6-1 on opening night.

Now, fast forward a year and the story has some similarities, but a completely different outcome. In only her second Grand Slam match – ever, Duval found a way to upend the 2011 US Open champion and veteran, Stosur in the first round of the 2013 tournament. That was NOT expected.

Sure, Duval had put on a little muscle, maybe grew an inch and had time to go back to the drawing board to improve her game, but no one would’ve thought she had done enough behind-the-scenes work to oust the woman who was good enough to upset Serena Williams in a Slam championship match; but she did. Duval can barely speak in a tone above what you’d hear coming out of a 13 year old’s mouth (think Michele), let alone take down one of the fittest and notably accomplished women on the WTA tour. But she did … and she did it with surprising composure.

The match started with Stosur taking care of business, breaking Duval in the opening game and running off with then next two as well; but the script got a little screwy thereafter. Duval was able to level the match at 3 all due to Sam’s erratic play, then work her way to serving for the set against the Aussie. She understandably faltered under the pressure, however, and gave Stosur the opening to come back and win the set 7-5.

However, somewhere between the close of the 1st set in favor of Sam and late in the 2nd, Duval found her stride and made a run, ending up winning the 2nd set 6-4. Honestly, I …read more    

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