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US Open Day 1 Men’s Recap: Four Upsets on the Opening Day

Novak Djokovic US Open

The first day of the men’s singles at the US Open began on Monday, with a packed day of action in New York. Grand Slam record holder Novak Djokovic was one of the players to begin his tournament on a day where there were some significant upsets. We at LWOT also have an article with a recap of the women’s singles on day 1. Read on to discover who looked good and bad, and which match was the best of the day.

US Open Day 1 Men’s Recap

Who looked good

Three-time US Open champion Novak Djokovic made a statement to the rest of the draw with his performance. He was dominant in a 6-0 6-2  triumph over Frenchman Alexandre Muller. In truth, Muller did not play a terrible match. Djokovic was nearly unplayable, particularly in the opening two sets. The Serbian took to the court quite late on Arthur Ashe Stadium, after the previous night match involving Coco Gauff took a long time to complete. He looked in a hurry to finish the contest quickly to avoid an overly late finish.

Last year’s US Open runner-up Casper Ruud had a tough opening round win. He played a high-quality match against American Emilio Nava. The Norwegian eventually prevailed 7-6 3-6 6-4 7-6. World #154 Nava performed much better than his current ranking, and has a bright future if he produces more performances like this. Winning a good quality match is great for Ruud’s confidence, especially after a mostly difficult season for him so far.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas had a solid opening to the final Grand Slam of the year. The Greek beat Milos Raonic 6-3 6-2 6-4. Tsitsipas’s backhand return was especially encouraging. It is usually his weakest shot, but it held up very well against the huge serve of Raonic. That bodes well for the rest of the tournament and is something that needs to continue if Tsitsipas is to make a deep run.

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Frances Tiafoe was also a straight-set winner on the opening day. The tenth seed beat fellow countryman and wildcard Learner Tien 6-2 7-5 6-1. Last year’s semifinalist was expected to beat the 17-year-old USTA National Championships champion. But Tiafoe impressed nonetheless, creating a mammoth 25 break point chances and taking eight of them. It is an experience that Tien will learn a lot from.

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Who looked bad

Holger Rune suffered the biggest upset of the day. The Dane lost in four sets to Roberto Carballes Baena 6-3 4-6 6-3 6-2. The Spaniard deserves enormous credit for a display that combined a perfect balance of consistency and aggression. But Rune was far below his best, leaking 43 unforced errors in an erratic display. The fourth seed had indicated unhappiness before the match with being put on Court 5, and never looked comfortable with his surroundings.

Felix Auger-Aliassime’s recent struggles have continued. The 15th seed is out of the US Open after losing to Mackenzie McDonald 7-6 4-6 6-1 6-4. The Canadian was not consistently bad throughout the whole match, but unfortunately, he was bad in the most important moments. The four-time ATP champion converted just one of his 13 break point chances. A glaring example came at 5-4 in the fourth set. Auger-Aliassmine had 0-40 on McDonald’s serve, but then made a slew of unforced errors to allow the American to serve out a win.

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18th seed Lorenzo Musetti also had a disappointing day. The Italian #2 went down 6-3 0-6 6-7 6-3 6-2 to qualifier Titouan Droguet. Droguet was inspired at times, and the first four sets saw some good tennis from both. But Musetti’s body language was very uninspiring in the final set, and in the end, he surrendered in tame fashion. It was an upset the 22-year-old needs to learn from, as how he played in the fifth set was worrying.

Finally, wildcard Steve Johnson will be unhappy with his display. Overcoming ninth seed and American #1 Taylor Fritz was always going to be a difficult ask. But Johnson won just five games in a 6-2 6-1 6-2 drubbing on Arthur Ashe Stadium. Fritz did not face a single break point in the most one-sided match on day 1.

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Match of the day

Sebastian Korda and Marton Fucsovics played the best match on day 1. The Hungarian won a close opening set on a tiebreak, before Korda struck back to level by winning the second set 6-4. Many may have thought the American had found his momentum and would pull away, but this did not materialize as Fucsovics claimed the third set in another tiebreak. The trend that had been established continued, as the home favourite won the fourth set 6-4. Both men looked comfortable on serve throughout the deciding set, but Korda suddenly lost his rhythm at 5-4. This allowed Fucsovics to get the decisive break, and upset the 31st seed 7-6 4-6 7-6 4-6 6-4. It represents another surprisingly poor US Open for the American, who is still yet to get past the second round at Flushing Meadows.

Main Photo Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran – USA TODAY Sports

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