Vasek Pospisil hits a return at the 2021 US Open

Photo: camerawork usa

Vasek Pospisil fought hard but was unable to overcome the challenge of Belarusian Ilya Ivashka in the second round of the US Open, losing 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(5) on Thursday. Meanwhile, Leylah Annie Fernandez and Gabriela Dabrowski both got off to winning starts in doubles.

Heading into this match – his first meeting with Ivashka – Pospisil was high on confidence following a pulsating five-set 2-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3, 7-6(4) victory over No. 28 seed Fabio Fognini of Italy on Tuesday night. Ivashka – on a seven-match winning streak – had beaten the United States’ Tennys Sandgren in straight sets in his first-round encounter.

The first set saw Pospisil make an uncharacteristic number of unforced errors (17) compared to Ivashka (5) as the Belarusian broke the Canadian’s serve on three occasions – dropping his own just once – on his way to an impressive 6-3 decision.

Building on that momentum in the second set, Ivashka didn’t let up. It remained on serve until the fourth game when the Belarusian crafted two break point opportunities, taking the second with aplomb. However, Pospisil showed great fight to bring it back on serve with a break of his own as Ivashka hit a backhand return long on break point. Things remained level until the tenth game when, at *4-5 to Ivashka, he broke again to claim the set 6-4.

Onto the third and both players threatened to steal a march on the other, but ultimately it would be settled by a tiebreak. Pospisil and Ivashka exchanged a couple of minibreaks before the Belarusian added another to his name to take what would be a crucial advantage. Up *6-5 on match point, Ivashka produced a powerful serve which Pospisil could only parry into the bleachers to seal the victory.

Fernandez and Dabrowski fly the flag in doubles

In doubles, over on Court 4, Dabrowski and familiar partner Luisa Stefani – with whom she teamed up to win the National Bank Open presented by Rogers and reach the final of the Western & Southern Open in recent weeks – defeated Viktorija Golubic and Tamara Zidansek 6-1, 6-2 in the opening match of their US Open campaign. In what was a dominant performance by the Canadian and Brazilian, they scored 23 winners and saved the single break point they faced.

Earlier, Fernandez and her partner Erin Routliffe got off to a winning start as they swept aside Giuliana Olmos and Christina McHale 6-4, 6-2 in their first-round match. The Canadian-New Zealand duo won an impressive 75% of their first serve points and converted five of 11 break points during the match.