US Open Day 1 Men’s Recap: Medvedev, Tsitsipas Through, A Heroic Loss For Murray

Andy Murray accepts the acclaim of the Centre Court crowd.
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Day 1 at the US Open featured the Round 1 matches of the bottom half of the men’s draw. The day was clearly defined by the epic showdown between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andy Murray on Arthur Ashe Stadium, but there was plenty of other exciting action going on at Flushing Meadows.

US Open Day 1 Men’s Recap

On the plus side

Andy Murray might have lost his opening round, but this was certainly his best and most encouraging performance in the last four years or so. He came tantalizingly close to overcoming World #3 and recent Roland Garros finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas, and showed that he still has the ability to be a dangerous player in the years to come. He was certainly very unfortunate not to have progressed further in this tournament.

Daniil Medvedev had absolutely no trouble dispatching Richard Gasquet, dropping only eight games in the process. It’s true that Gasquet is very far from the level that took him to the top 10 and three Grand Slam semifinals (including one at the US Open in 2013), but it’s still highly encouraging for Medvedev that he won so easily. Medvedev has won titles in Canada, Cincinnati, Shanghai, Bercy, and the Tour Finals, with the US Open being the only big post-Wimbledon title he’s yet to conquer, despite coming incredibly close to doing it in 2019 and even last year. He will certainly fancy his chances to do so this fortnight and he couldn’t have asked for a better start.

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With his win over Cameron Norrie, Carlos Alcaraz managed the excellent feat of winning at least one match at every Grand Slam at age 18. It’s highly unlikely that the Spaniard goes deep into the draw, but he’s showing signs of incredible potential and his performance today is certainly incredibly encouraging, against a tough opponent. The next round, against Rinderknech, is most certainly winnable for Alcaraz.

Who looked bad

Nick Kyrgios won only seven games against Roberto Bautista Agut. It’s looking more and more that, despite his popularity, the Aussie will never really deliver on the promised he showed as a youngster. He can and has beaten the best on his day, but he simply lacks the mentality and focus to be a consistent winner at the highest level.

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John Isner once again had a poor US Open performance and is now 8-9 at Slam level since the beginning of 2019, after reaching semis (that incredible match against Anderson) and quarters in the last two Slams of 2018. Nakashima had already beaten Isner in Los Cabos, but the big American would take his revenge a week later in the Atlanta final. Monday, however, Nakashima simply read Isner’s serve perfectly and was the more clutch player in both tiebreaks, and thus continued his breakthrough summer.

Felix Auger-Aliassime did eventually win, in three tiebreakers, but his performance is very far from encouraging. The Canadian remains worryingly inconsistent and seems prone to lose to just about anyone on any day. He leaked errors, and Donskoy certainly could have won this match. It doesn’t bode well for Auger-Aliassime’s future prospects in this tournament.

Main Photo from Getty.