The final grand slam of the year kicked off in New York yesterday at the Flushing Meadows and there was a shocking first round exit for last year’s beaten finalist Kei Nishikori of Japan who failed to convert two match points against the Frenchman Benoit Paire on the Opening Day of the U.S. Open 2015.
In complete contrast the defending champion Marin Cilic of Croatia, the World number one Novak Djokovic made convincing starts to their quest for a second title with easy straight sets wins. Rafael Nadal, a two time winner dropped a set to the Croatian teenager Borna Coric and was joined by fellow Spaniards David Ferrer, Roberto Bautista Agut, Feliciano Lopez and Tommy Robredo.
Also winning on Day 1 were Canada’s Milos Raonic, David Goffin of Belgium, Frenchmen Jo Wilfred Tsonga and Jeremy Chardy, Grigor Dmitrov of Bulgaria and the Italians Andreas Seppi and Fabio Fognini. Marin Cilic began the defense of his title, successfully, by beating the qualifier from Argentina Guido Pella 6-3,7-6(3),7-6(3), while the 2011 champion Djokovic who is smarting from two consecutive defeats in the finals of Montreal (loss to Murray) and then in Cincinnati (loss to Federer) ruthlessly dispatched the Brazilian Joao Souza 6-1,6-1,6-1.
The 2010 and 2013 champion Rafael Nadal of Spain avenged his loss to the Croatian teenager Borna Coric, in Basel last year, with a four set win under lights in the evening session 6-3,6-2,4-6,6-4. Former top ten American Mardy Fish who had conceeded his fourth round match to Roger Federer in 2012, made his first appearance at the same event and won in four sets against little known Italian Marco Cecchinato 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-1, 6-3. Last years quarter-finalist Gael Monfils; seeded 16th, retired in the fourth set to the Ukrainian Illya Marchenko. Five other players also conceeded defeat as they retired midway through their matches and were unable to complete their first round matches.
Here is a list of the matches to be played on Tuesday in the men’s section involving seeds with my pick mentioned first:-
Roger Federer (2) v. Leonardo Mayer
Andy Murray (3) v. Nick Kyrgios
Stanislas Wawrinka (5) v. Albert Ramos-Vinolas
Tomas Berdych (6) v. Bjorn Fratengelo
Giles Simon (11) v. Donald Young
Richard Gasquet (12) v. Thanassi Kokkinakis
John Isner (13) v. Malek Jaziri
Kevin Anderson (15) v. Andrey Rublev
Dominic Thiem (20) v. Daniel Gimeno Traver
Ivo Karlovic (21) v. Frederico Delbonis
Victor Troicki(22) v. Frances Tiafoe
Bernard Tomic (24) v. Damir Dzumhur
Jack Sock (28).v. Victor Estrella Burgos
Phillipp Kohlschreiber (29) v. Alexandr Zverev
Guillermo Garcia Lopez (31) v. Janko Tipsarevic
Thomaz Bellucci (30) v. James Ward
Among the ladies there was a disappointing loss for the seventh seeded Ana Ivanovic of Serbia who went down 3-6,6-3,3-6 to Dominica Cibulkova of the Slovak Republic. The Williams siblings advanced in contrasting styles as the top seeded Serena going for the calendar slam advanced as the Russian Vitalia Diatchenko retired trailing 0-6,2-6; while the elder sibling Venus Williams was made to fight all the way by Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig 6-4,6-7(7),6-3.
The other seeds to fall were the eighth seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic who lost to the American Anna Tatishvili 2-6,1-6. Another promising American Sloane Stephens lost an all American clash to Coco Vandeweghe as he lost 4-6,3-6. Canada’s Eugene Bouchard who had early exits at Roland Garros and at Wimbledon, beat another American Alison Riske 6-4,6-3. Meanwhile the 2006 champion Maria Sharapova of Russia pulled out of the event with a lingering right leg injury.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]