“Cressy!” chants break out as American pulls US Open stunner

Sports

Maxime Cressy, of the United States, returns a shot to Pablo Carreno Busta, of Spain, during the first round of the US Open tennis championships, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

NEW YORK (AP) — Maxime Cressy had heard people chanting his name in college, when he twice clinched big wins against his rival school.

Hearing that sweet sound of “Cressy! Cressy!” at the U.S. Open was a whole new experience.

Cressy rallied for a stunning victory Tuesday, coming from two sets down and saving four match points to beat No. 9 seed Pablo Carreno Busta 5-7, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7).

Cressy, an American who was born in France and played at UCLA, came on tour last year when there were no fans. So the outer courts that swelled throughout his match against the two-time U.S. Open semifinalist was completely unfamiliar.

“I don’t have much experience with crowds. My debut on the tour was during the COVID,” Cressy said. “It’s definitely a new experience, a really exciting one. I love playing with the crowd.”

And the crowds loved watching his serve-and-volley style, a rarity on tour these days. His aggressive ways twice clinched UCLA victories over USC, which led to the past chants of his name.

It’s been a good start so far for the Bruins, with three men reaching the second round. Marcos Giron won Monday and Mackenzie McDonald — a one-time roommate — upset No. 27 David Goffin on Tuesday.

“I’ve had some unbelievable years at UCLA that I’ll keep in my heart,” Cressy said. “It’s been incredible seeing all the Bruins doing very well.”

SLAM STOPPER?

Alexander Zverev stopped Novak Djokovic’s quest for a Golden Slam. He knows it will take an even bigger effort to stop Djokovic from winning the Grand Slam.

But the No. 4 seed from Germany looks up to the task after beating Sam Querrey 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 on Tuesday in the first round. The Olympic gold medalist followed up his victory in the Olympics by winning the hard-court title at Cincinnati.

“I’ve won two tournaments, I’m on a 12-match winning streak,” Zverev said. “I hope I can keep the level up and maybe even play better, because to beat Novak here is going to be an extremely difficult task.”

He did it in Tokyo, storming back to win the second and third sets of their semifinal. But the runner-up here last year knows Djokovic has earned the right to be the best bet in New York.

“If a guy wins three majors in the same year and then is at the U.S. Open, you have to give him the favorite card,” Zverev said. “Because if not now, then when?”

SWISS STAR

With Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka injured, Belinda Bencic might be Switzerland’s best hope for Grand Slam success.

Just don’t tell her she’s the only hope.

“I mean, we have four Swiss women now in the main draw, so I think that’s great,” Bencic said.

She’s the best of them, the No. 11 seed who won the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo. Bencic reached the semifinals in 2019, falling just a couple wins short of joining Federer and Wawrinka among her country’s U.S. Open champions.

Jil Teichmann just reached the final in Cincinnati, losing to No. 1 Ash Barty, and Bencic hopes together with Vickie Golubic and Stefanie Vogele, the Swiss will have more threats in the majors.

But even a major might not top winning in Tokyo for Bencic.

“Of course I want to achieve more things, and I have more dreams,” Bencic said. “But I think for me the Olympics is the biggest kind of … yeah, it’s the biggest.”

KORDA KO-ED

Sebastian Korda’s U.S. Open ended early when he had to retire early in the second set against Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Korda was trailing 6-2, 2-1 when he stopped playing. No official reason was given, though the 21-year-old American had been bothered recently by a stomach problem.

Korda had reached the fourth round at Wimbledon in his last major tournament.

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