U.S. Open updates: Desirae Krawczyk eyes third trophy at a Grand Slam event this year
Desirae Krawczyk of Palm Desert doesn’t have a place to display her tennis trophies yet, but her collection is growing fast enough for her to give that idea some serious consideration.
Krawczyk, who attended Palm Desert High and Arizona State, partnered with Joe Salisbury of Great Britain to win the mixed doubles title at the French Open this year, her first championship in a Grand Slam event. She followed that up by teaming with another Brit, Neal Skupski, to win the mixed doubles crown at Wimbledon.
At this year’s U.S. Open she and Salisbury have reached the mixed doubles semifinals, where they will face Americans Jessica Pegula and Austin Krajicek. On Wednesday, Krawczyk reached the women’s doubles semifinals with her partner Alexa Guarachi by defeating Romanians Monica Niculescu and Elena-Gabriela Ruse 6-7 (7), 6-2, 6-3. Krawczyk and Guarachi, who were the runners-up in the 2020 French Open women’s doubles tournament, are seeded No. 7 here.
So, about that trophy room….
Leylah Fernandez listened to her coach — her father, Jorge — and kept her dream alive with an upset of Elina Svitolina in the U.S. Open quarterfinals.
“I might have to start one,” she said, laughing. “They’re actually in boxes. Not on display right now.”
Krawczyk, 27, competed in singles events on the ITF pro tour, which is a step below the Women’s Tennis Assn. tour. She gradually gravitated toward doubles.
“I just enjoyed doubles a lot more. Going to college I just loved the team environment and I played with one of my closest friends, Giuliana Olmos,” said Krawczyk, who trains in Palm Desert, at the U.S. Tennis Assn. facility in Carson, and in Arizona. “We kind of did really well at the ITF level and that kind of brought us up high enough to play in WTA events. I just enjoyed it.”
She won her first WTA doubles championship with Guarachi in 2018 and her second with Olmos in 2019. She has won six doubles titles (four with Guarachi) in 2019, 2020 and this year, and she has been a finalist in five other doubles tournaments during that time.
“I think over the years I’ve just developed and grown as a player,” she said. “I think putting myself into those situations has helped for future matches. And I think getting to my first women’s doubles final at the French Open really helped my confidence.
British teen Emma Raducanu displays uncommon maturity, advancing to U.S. Open quarterfinals after defeating Shelby Rogers.
“Playing mixed doubles, it’s just an added bonus. You’re playing with a friend. And I’ve gotten to know Joe really well and we’ve become really close. It’s just been really fun to play and kind of just transcends and you have that chemistry and camaraderie, and it just clicks.”
Krawczyk’s schedule the rest of the year will include the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, which was delayed this year until October. “I will definitely be playing there,” she said. “It’s my home tournament and I can’t wait to play in front of friends and family.”
Carlos Alcaraz retires early with injury
The unlikely U.S. Open run of 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz of Spain ended Tuesday night when an injured right adductor muscle led him to retire early in the second set of his quarterfinal match against Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada.
Having played two intense, grueling five-set matches before that — Alcaraz upset No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round and took out Peter Gojowczyk in the fourth round — took a toll on him, especially because he’s not accustomed to going so deep in tournaments. He said he had felt discomfort before the match and felt it again while he played Auger-Aliassime.
Youngsters Leylah Fernandez and Carlos Alcaraz are among the showstoppers at a 2021 U.S. Open that is in short supply of tennis titans.
“It’s really tough to end a great tournament like this. I mean, I had no choice to still playing,” he said. “I mean, first of all I have to take care of my body… It’s a long match and, yeah, I didn’t feel good to still playing, so I had to retire.”
But Alcaraz has no regrets and feels he’s leaving New York as a winner. “These matches gave me a lot of experience. So I think this tournament made me mature a lot,” he said after the 6-3, 3-1 (retired) victory earned by Auger-Aliassime.
“I think, yeah, I played great tennis for me. I’m really happy to play a first quarterfinals in a Grand Slam. I think this tournament’s going to be a great experience for me for the next tournaments.”
Raducanu, Zverev advance to semifinals
British teenager Emma Raducanu continued to blaze through the U.S. Open women’s field, becoming the first qualifier to advance to the semifinals when she completed a 6-3, 6-4, victory over No. 11 Belinda Bencic of Switzerland on Wednesday at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Raducanu, 18, hasn’t lost a set in the five main draw matches she has played. Bencic was the first seeded player she had faced, and Raducanu acknowledged she had to adjust her game because Bencic hit the ball so hard. “Playing Belinda, she’s such a great opponent,” Raducanu said. “I’m really happy to have come through.”
Raducanu, who was born in Canada but has lived in England since she was 2, next will face the winner of the semifinal between No. 4 Karolina Pliskova and No. 17 Maria Sakkari that is scheduled to be played Wednesday night. Already in the semifinals is 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez of Canada.
“To have so many young players doing so well shows how strong the next generation is,” Raducanu said during a post-match interview on court.
Raducanu served for the match at 5-4 but had to come back from 0-30 after she netted a forehand and double faulted. But a long return by Bencic and a forehand winner by Raducanu made it 30-30. Raducanu got to match point with an ace and won when Bencic netted a forehand. “Belinda is an incredibly tough opponent and she was going to fight to the end,” Raducanu said.
No. 4 men’s seed Alexander Zverev of Germany had to adjust to Lloyd Harris’ big serves in the first set of their quarterfinal but regrouped well enough to earn a 7-6 (6), 6-3, 6-4 victory over the unseeded South African.
Zverev’s semifinal opponent will be the winner of the last match of the day, a quarterfinal between No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 6 Matteo Berrettini.
Zverev lost the 2020 men’s final to Dominic Thiem, ending a tournament that was played before empty stands because of COVID-19 protocols. Fans have been allowed into the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center this year, and they’ve been loud. Many players have credited fans with carrying them through matches by creating energy in the stadium.
Asked how different this year’s tournament is, Zverev laughed. “Very,” he said. “I played the final here in front of exactly six people.”
Get our high school sports newsletter
Prep Rally is devoted to the SoCal high school sports experience, bringing you scores, stories and a behind-the-scenes look at what makes prep sports so popular.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.