Julia Glushko won a dramatic first round match at Flushing Meadows on Tuesday evening, recording one of her finest victories of recent years in beating Monica Niculescu.
Ranked 162 in the world, the Ukrainian-born 28-year-old battled her way past three qualifying matches just to reach the main draw, and will now be bidding to match her best-ever showing at the US Open, when she reached the third round in 2013.
Coming up an opponent who’s ranked more than 100 places above her, the Romanian is ranked 52 in the world – and was as high as 11th back in April, Glushko came into the match as firm underdog, though both players started the match nervously, with the four first games all going against serve. Niculescu did though then take control of the first set, and winning another break, went on to take the first set 6-3.
However, unperturbed by falling behind, Glushko started the second set brilliantly, winning a break, before holding her own to move 3-0 up. In the ascendancy, in chasing down a ball, she fell into the net, which resulted in a 10-minute stoppage as she was attended to by the doctor and had to use an enforced medical time out.
Bandaged up, she held her serve to go 4-2 up, but was then broken back at 4-4. With games then going to serve, Niculescu then found herself serving to stay in the second set at 5-6, but Glushko, now being backed by the crowd, broke again to level the match out.
The third and deciding set – which was preceded by another 10-minute time out – this time due to the extreme heat – saw Niculescu claim the early advantage, with a break, only for Glushko to hit back straight away. With each player holding serve, Niculescu this time found herself serving to stay in the match at 4-5, but Glushko broke again to claim a memorable victory. She will next face the world number 20, Japan’s Naomi Osaka on Thursday.
Elsewhere on Tuesday, Argentine Diego Schwartzman is safely through to the second round after he beat compatriot Federico Delbonis 6-2, 7-6, 6-2. He next faces either Belgian Ruben Bemelmans or Spain’s Jaume Munar. However, American Noah Rubin was beaten by Russian Mikhail Kukushkin, 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 7-6.
Israel’s other representative, Jonathan Erlich, teaming up with Pakistan’s Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, take on American duo Austin Krajicek and Tennys Sandgren in the first round of the men’s doubles on Wednesday,