PARIS, France - There's some magic brewing for the US contingent at the French Open, as all 10 of the Americans who have played so far have moved through to the second round - the most since 11 achieved the feat in 2003.
Lauren Davis and Vania King won early matches on Monday, Davis taking out No.30 seed Mona Barthel, 61 61, and King beating Galina Voskoboeva, 64 62. King was particularly solid, hitting just four unforced errors in her entire match, and Davis beat arguably one of the fastest-rising stars on the WTA.
"I feel really good. I mean, she's 30 in the world," Davis said. "I've seen her play on TV and she's a really good player. Her backhand is so sick, so I tried to keep away from it. She has a big serve too. I just went out there determined.
"I'm playing well here in Europe on the red clay. I feel really, really comfortable on it. I knew I had to play my best to beat her, and I did that."
So how does one from Cleveland get used to red clay? "This is actually my third tournament on red clay; I played on indoor hard since I was 16," Davis said. "But my game is well-suited for it. When I think of red clay, I think of grinding."
And then there were three more: Christina McHale, who rallied from a set down to beat Dutch qualifier Kiki Bertens, 26 64 64; Sloane Stephens, who toughed out a 64 76(6) win over Ekaterina Makarova; and perhaps the biggest surprise of all, Bethanie Mattek-Sands stunning No.12 seed Sabine Lisicki, 64 63.
Mattek-Sands has had a rough go of things recently - having been as high as No.30 in the world last July, she is now No.167 after missing almost all of the second half of last year with a shoulder injury, then most of the last few months with hip and back injuries. But the American seems ready to rock again.
"It was a great win. Sabine is a great player and obviously she has had some awesome results," Mattek-Sands said of the German. "I'm feeling good. I like the clay, believe it or not. I feel comfortable on this surface. But it's still only one round - there are a few to go. But I'll still take the win tonight and enjoy it."
"A couple of years ago everyone was asking me questions on why American tennis is so bad," Mattek-Sands added. "I told them, 'I think we have some great young players coming up. It's just the WTA right now has a lot of depth.'
"It really shows that some of the Americans are coming through, playing tough, grinding it out here on the clay. I think it's awesome."
"It's exciting," Stephens commented. "To everyone that got a win, that's really exciting. Everyone always says we're not good on clay. This'll prove 'em wrong."
Other late winners included No.3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, No.8 seed Marion Bartoli, No.18 seed Flavia Pennetta and No.24 seed Petra Cetkovska. No.17 seed Roberta Vinci was ousted by Sofia Arvidsson, 62 46 63, while No.32 seed Monica Niculescu fell to Nina Bratchikova, 06 63 63.
Radwanska fired 18 winners to just nine unforced errors for a 61 60 rout of Bojana Jovanovski. The World No.3 has now won 37 matches this year, which leads the tour - World No.1 Victoria Azarenka is next with 36. Radwanska next faces Venus Williams - Williams leads the head-to-head, 5-2.