US Open Day 1 Men’s Recap – Tsitsipas and Zverev Impress

Alexander Zverev 2020 US Open Day 1

Three seeds were thrown out of the tournament on Day 1 of 2020 US Open action. Amongst them were 9th seeded Diego Schwartzman and one of the American potential dark horses, 16th seeded John Isner. Who impressed on Monday in at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and who failed to find their game in time for the big day?

US Open Day 1 Recap

Color me impressed

Stefanos Tsitsipas had a great start to his US Open campaign. The fourth seed wrapped up his match against Albert Ramos-Vinolas in just 100 minutes, 6-2 6-1 6-1. Tsitsipas was great in the forecourt and never faced a single break point. The Greek’s backhand was more solid than expected and won him some extended rallies, which are usually his opponent’s forte.

19-year-old Brandon Nakashima played some of his best tennis to date in a straightforward win over Paolo Lorenzi. The Italian is known as an unbelievable fighter but couldn’t find a way to repeat his last year’s third-round performance. It was a debut Grand Slam appearance for Nakashima, who was a standout on the ATP Challenger Tour early in the season. He will now get a chance to show himself at one of the biggest stages, playing Alexander Zverev in the second round.

The aforementioned Alexander Zverev should be quite proud of himself, following a four-set win over Kevin Anderson. As a former runner-up of this event and a huge server, Anderson was always going to be a potential upset alert. Despite some early double faults, Zverev himself was serving great throughout the game. With 18 aces and 86% points won on his first serve, the German bought himself enough time to lure Anderson into longer rallies and look for the rare occasion to break. He succeeded three times in a 7-6 5-7 6-3 7-5 win.

There were no signs of neck injury for Novak Djokovic. The top seed was flawless off the ground against Damir Dzumhur and, barring a weaker second set, looked as though he couldn’t really do any wrong off the ground. The 6-1 6-4 6-1 win took Djokovic just under two hours.

A matter of rust

Seeded 18th, Dusan LajovicĀ was the first player given this privilege to drop out of the tournament. The Serbian was already down 1-6 2-4 to Egor Gerasimov when he finally started tuning in his groundstrokes. Despite getting back to one set all, he couldn’t keep up that efficiency of play and ended up having an error-fest, totaling 37 groundstroke unforced errors.

Perhaps the biggest upset of the day was Diego Schwartzman‘s loss to Cameron Norrie. The Brit seemingly had nothing to hurt the 9th seed with and for two whole sets, it appeared as though Schwartzman was going to get a nice warm-up before the later rounds. However, Norrie stuck around and went on to take this match to a deciding set. The Brit ultimately prevailed in this grueling baseline battle, saving two match points in a 3-6 4-6 6-2 6-1 7-5 win.

Match of the day

This isn’t a matchup enjoyed by many but it was both dramatic and surprisingly good to watch. John Isner, seeded 16th, lost his four most recent meetings with countryman Steve Johnson. This meeting seemed to be the perfect opportunity to stop that series as Isner appeared to be in top shape last week.

While Isner was blasting aces left and right, from the very beginning it was Johnson who was getting more play on his opponent’s serve. The returns he made we dropping low, short, and putting Isner in uncomfortable positions. Johnson won 57% of 1st serve return points in which his opponent didn’t hit an ace. Even despite the sheer number of aces getting out of control (52), it was Johnson who created more opportunities in a match that later almost four hours. Combined with clutch play on his own breakpoints faced (5/5 saved), that turned out to be enough to stay in this match and ultimately come out on top 6-7 6-3 6-7 6-3 7-6.

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