Americans & Collegians Down Under, Day 3
SPOILER ALERT: Australian Open results below!
Day 3 proved to be a tough day at the office for Americans and former college players. But, the story of the day didn’t reach its conclusion until this morning in the US.
Qualifier Mackie McDonald, the former NCAA Singles and Doubles Champion from UCLA, pushed 3 seed Grigor Dmitrov the distance before falling 8-6 in the 5th. I woke up in time to see the final 3 sets, and Mackie was doing College Tennis and my Bruins very proud! His mom, Vivian, was in his Player’s Box watching calmly but cheering enthusiastically when warranted. Vivian and I have become friends over the years, and I can only imagine what was going through her mind as she watched her baby compete on one of the world’s biggest stages and heard the crowd supporting him in his efforts. Vivian shared via Facebook Messenger, “Enjoyed every single moment of this match! It was so amazingly fun! I had to pinch myself that it wasn’t a dream! So grateful for his coaches, agents, team, fans, family & friends! So very proud of Mackie! All & all, I just LOVE watching him play! Thank you everyone for cheering!”
Interesting side note: Mackie had trained and played against Dmitrov many times during his time at UCLA – the UCLA courts are one of Dmitrov’s regular training spots when he’s in the US – so both players were pretty familiar with each other’s games even though Mackie is still pretty new to the ATP Tour.
My favorite part of Mackie’s post-match interview was when he was asked about his experience playing college tennis. Mackie told the reporters in the room that playing college tennis taught him that he was really good in the high-pressure moments which he hopes to capitalize on in his professional career.
Here’s the rundown from Day 3:
Men’s Singles (American players in bold red, Collegians in bold blue)
Grigor Dmitrov (3 seed) d. Mackie McDonald (UCLA) 4-6 6-2 6-4 0-6 8-6
Ryan Harrison d. Pablo Cuevas 6-4 7-6 6-4
Women’s Singles (American players in bold red, Collegians in bold blue)
Kiki Bertens d. Nicole Gibbs (Stanford) 7-6 6-0
Here’s what’s on the schedule for Thursday (Wednesday night in the US):
Denis Kudla faces 5 seed Dominic Thiem
Tennys Sandgren (Tennessee) faces 9 seed Stan Wawrinka
Sam Querrey (13 seed) faces Marton Fucsovics
Tim Smyczek faces 21 seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas
Madison Keys (17 seed) faces Ekaterina Alexandrova
Bernarda Pera faces 9 seed Jo Konta
Lauren Davis faces Andrea Petkovic
Round 1 of the Doubles continues today as well with many Americans and former Collegians competing. You can see the full draws here as well as on the Australian Open App. Matches are being aired live in the US on both the Tennis Channel and ESPN2. Good luck to everyone!