NEW YORK, NY, USA - A sudden storm arrived as Day 2 of the US Open Qualifying tournament came to a close, though one might say it first appeared on radar about four weeks ago. While the wind whipped about, Moscow River Cup champion Olga Danilovic kept swinging to close out Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu just before the skies opened, 6-3, 7-5, joining rival and runner-up Anastasia Potapova in the second round.
The two 17-year-olds conspired to play an unlikely classic on clay back in late July; Danilovic was a last-minute lucky loser who nearly left Russia after her defeat in qualifying, while Potapova was a local wildcard ostensibly picked to light up the early rounds, having never before reached a WTA quarterfinal.
Monumental as it may sound, the historical element - that they ended up becoming the youngest pair to make a WTA final in a decade - is not something on which either teen thinks too heavily.
"It was an amazing experience to win a title, but life goes on," Danilovic echoed in the fan-filled tunnel behind Court 4. "This is an amazing tournament here at the US Open, so I’m just trying to show my best like I did in Moscow. So far, it's going good."
For Potapova, getting within five points of her first title unearthed the depth of her potential fortified her experience, some of which she used to close out Martina Di Giuseppe by an identical scoreline on Court 16.
"I’m feeling more confidence, for sure," the Russian said. "After that final, I recognized that I can make it anywhere I want, and now I’m enjoying just every second I spend on the court."
While both women slid into their first finals, Potapova and Danilovic are clearly comfortable on hardcourts and ready to channel New York's unique energy into Grand Slam success.
"I just love this city, because of the high buildings and all of that stuff. There’s so many people around, running everywhere. I’m just enjoying to be here and playing here."
Potapova refused to be stifled by the peninsula court, frequently breaking down the fourth wall to rally her fans - "the best in the world" by her description - as she battled through a dicey second set before serving it out on her second opportunity.
Danilovic, daughter of famed basketball star Predrag "Sasha" Danilovic, was equally unencumbered later on under the lights, evoking a natural theatricality that seems to be a signature of her generation.
"I was very excited, because I didn’t play anything after Moscow, and I came here with a lot of confidence," said the Serb. "I practiced very hard on hardcourts, so I was looking forward to it."
The pair can't meet again this week - Potapova plays former World No.32 Bojana Jovanovski Petrovic while Danilovic takes on Aussie Jaimee Fourlis - but for two youngsters eager to become marquee names, not much matters beyond their side of the court.
"It’s New York," Danilovic deadpanned. "Come on. I don’t need to say anything else, just that it’s New York, and everything is amazing here."