Brengle falls to Putintseva in U.S. Open first round

FLUSHING MEADOWS, N.Y. — Dover’s Madison Brengle was able to break her opponent’s serve five times Tuesday night in the first round of the U.S. Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Usually, that means she’d have a great chance to win.

But unfortunately for Brengle, hard-hitting Russian Yulia Putintseva broke her eight times, and that was too much for the 29-year-old Delawarean to overcome.

Brengle fell to Putintseva, 6-3, 6-3, on Court 13 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

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Madison Brengle

Brengle suffers from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, a painful vein condition that can make even simple tasks excruciating. When the CRPS isn’t as bad, she can play and beat some of the best tennis players on the WTA Tour.

But when it’s throbbing, it’s difficult to even serve. Tuesday night Brengle unfortunately battled the pain that’s been her constant companion the last few years.

“I did my best,” said Brengle, who didn’t blame her arm for the defeat. “I’m always going to fight and do my best. My arm, you know, same old same old.”

Brengle, who has enjoyed a solid season on the tour that saw her ranking go back up to No. 78, actually took a 3-1 lead in the first set before Putintseva, ranked No. 39, took over.

The hard-hitting Russian started playing more aggressively and dictated the points, winning five consecutive games to grab the first set.

“I clipped the tape a couple times on important points, and I thought she played quite well, she got a lot of balls back,” Brengle said. “I thought I started the second pretty well, competed OK, but I just couldn’t hold my serve.”

Brengle had some terrific groundstroke winners early in the second set, as both players traded service breaks for the first six games. For the match Brengle had 16 winners to go along with 33 errors, while Putintseva smashed 23 winners and 28 errors.

But at 3-3, Putintseva was finally able to hold her own serve, as Brengle was unable to convert a break point in the game, and after that Putintseva broke Brengle again before serving out the match with an ace.

“It’s tough,” Brengle said. “I kept trying to try a couple different things on my serve, but it wasn’t meant to be.”

Brengle was able to win only 15 of 50 points on her own serve, as she fell in the first round of the Open for the fourth straight year, following a third-round run here in 2015.

Brengle came into the Open with two titles to her credit in 2019. She was facing Putintseva, a player from Kazakhstan who entered the tournament ranked No. 39.

“It’s been a good year, I’m happy,” Brengle said.

Brengle, who is currently suing the International Tennis Federation and the WTA for damages due to drug tests administered to her in 2015 and 2016 that exacerbated her CRPS, declined to comment after the match as to the status of the litigation.

Michael Lewis is a freelance writer living in New York.

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