US Open kicks off and Florida players shine
Aug 29, 2023
As the first round of the US Open kicked off, Florida players came to do battle. The weather was far cooler than the heat we're used to in the Sunshine State. Did it help? Hard to say. But the results I witnessed were both encouraging and exciting.
On the women's side, Delray Beach based Coco Gauff snatched a 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Germany's Laura Siegemund during the night session. And St. Petersburg based Danielle Collins rolled Czech Linda Fruhvirtova 6-2, 6-0 during the day.
Above: Coco Gauff. Photo by
On the men's side, most of the action was packed into the daytime session. I was fortunate to catch a few of the matches in-person.
Ben Shelton graced our most recent cover of Florida Tennis. A former Florida Gator (and NCAA champ), Shelton started his match against Argentina's Pedro Cachin cold. He lost the first set 6-1. Then Florida Tennis founder and editor Jim Martz (and I) arrived on he scene. After that, Shelton took the next three sets 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.
Did we bring good luck? Perhaps. But I'll chalk it up to Sheltons's massive serve — clocking in (at times) at a jaw-dropping 144 mph. That's not all. Shelton was shredding forehands and pumping fists. Forget chip and charge. He was gripping and ripping as he assaulted the net on return-of-serve.
Above: Ben Shelton. Photo: Matt Pressman/Florida Tennis
My only criticism: he might be too explosive out there. Perhaps he should pump the brakes every now and then? I don't know. But he's fun to watch. And I think he's got a good shot at a deep run... if he can stay calm and collected on the court.
Next up, we watched Tommy Paul. He had some hiccups in the third set. But Paul went on to win the match 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1. He looked rock solid off the ground. Heavy topspin off his forehand while his backhand (often) came in dead flat. It's no wonder he gives Alcaraz fits.
Above: Tommy Paul. Photo: Matt Pressman/Florida Tennis
Whatever Tommy Paul is doing in his training (and fitness) sessions at Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton seems to be working for him. He's another one to watch as the tournament unfolds.
Jim and I even got a chance to see Delray Beach based Nico Godsick on the practice courts. He'll be playing doubles and we wish him luck.
Above: Nico Godsick. Photo: Matt Pressman/Florida Tennis
Unfortunately, Sebastian Korda from Bradenton lost a tight five-setter to Hungary's Marton Fucsovics: 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 4-6, 6-4. I love Seb Korda's game. It's so smooth. But it fell short.
Nevertheless, there was plenty of prowess on display from Tennis Team Florida yesterday. The future is looking bright.