On the opening day of the final grand slam of the year, the 2014 champion Marin Cilic of Croatia, playing his first match after the Wimbledon final, made an encouraging start to his campaign as he beat the American Tennys Sandgren 6-4,6-3,3-6,6-3 in two hours and fifty seven minutes on Arthur Ashe stadium. He was the highest ranked men’s player in action in the day session.
Cilic has taken the place of the second seeded Andy Murray in the bottom half of the draw after the Scot withdrew from the tournament due to a hip injury which has kept him out of action after he suffered a five set loss at the hands of the American Sam Querrey. The Croat who lost the Wimbledon final to Roger Federer had to withdraw from the Master’s series events in Montreal and Cincinnati due to an adductor tear, beat the little known American in the second match of the day on the Arthur Ashe stadium.
There were also wins for the highest ranked Frenchman Jo Wilfred Tsonga, seeded eighth, over the Romanian Marius Copil 6-3,6-3,6-4. The top ranked American John Isner beat another Frenchman Pierre Hugues Herbert 6-1,6-3,4-6,6-3.
The highest seed in action was the German prodigy Alexander Zverev, seeded fourth, he beat the Qualifier from Barbados 7-6(9),7-5,6-4 in the last match of the evening session under lights. Other seeded players to advance in straight sets were the 16th seeded Frenchman Lucas Pouille, 17th seeded American Sam Querrey, 12th seeded Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busts, 28th seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa and the 29th seeded Diego Schwartzman of Argentina.
Giles Muller of Luxembourg, seeded nineteenth beat the Australian Bernard Tomic 6-3,3-6,6-4,6-4, while the 20th seeded Spaniard Albert Ramos Vinolas had a five set win over Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 4-6,7-6(5),7-5,6-7(3),7-5. The elder Zverev sibling Mischa Zverev, seeded 23rd, also took five sets to beat the American Thai-Son Kwiatkowski 7-6(5),4-6,4-6,7-5,6-3.
Four seeded players fell by the wayside on Day 1. 13th seeded American Jack Sock was beaten by the Australian Jordan Thompson 2-6,6-7(12), 6-1,7-5,4-6. The Russian Karen Khachanov, seeded 25th, lost in four sets to Yen Hsun Lu of Chinese Taipei, 6-4,2-6,3-6,3-6.
Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan upset the veteran Spaniard David Ferrer, seeded 21st, 4-6,6-3,6-2,6-1. The 32nd seeded Dutchman Robin Haase was beaten by Englishman Kyle Edmund, 3-6,5-7,3-6.
The following is the list of matches involving seeded players on Day 2 with my pick mentioned first:-
Rafael Nadal (1) v. Dusan Lajovic (-)
Leonardo Mayer (-) v. Richard Gasquet (26)
Fabio Fognini (22) v. Stefano Travaglia (-)
Tomas Berdych (15) v. Ryan Harrison (-)
David Goffin (9) v. Julien Benneteau (-)
Gael Monfils (18) v. Jeremy Chardy (-)
Pablo Cuevas (27) v. Damir Dzumhur (-)
Grigor Dimitrov (7) v. Vaclav Safranek (-)
Roger Federer (3) v. Frances Tiafoe (-)
Feliciano Lopez (31) v. Andrey Kuznetsov (-)
Philipp Kohlschreiber (33) v. Tim Smyczek (-)
Nick Kyrgios (14) v. John Millman (-)
Roberto Bautista Agut (11) v. Andreas Seppi (-)
Juan Martin Del Potro (24) v. Henri Laaksonen (-)
Adrian Mannarino (30) v. Ricardas Berankis (-)
Dominic Thiem (6) v. Alex de Minaur (-)
The biggest attraction of the day was the return of the Russian Maria Sharapova. Playing in her first grand slam since the Australian Open in 2016, the five time grand slam champion, who won in New York in 2006, upset the second seeded Simona Halep of Romania, 6-4,4-6,6-3 in the first match on Arthur Ashe stadium on Day 1. The 30 year old Sharapova who had received a wild card this year took two hours and 43 minutes to advance. She hit 60 winners but also had 64 unforced errors.
The third seeded Spaniard Garbine Muguruza was a 6-0,6-3 winner over the American Varvara Lepchenko in the opening match of the day on Arthur Ashe stadium. The Wimbledon champion took only 63 minutes hitting 16 winners. The ninth seeded Venus Williams was a 6-3,3-6,6-2 over Victoria Kuzmova of Slovakia. Two time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova defeated the former world number Jelena Jankovic 7-5,7-5. The highest seed to fall was Britain’s Johanna Konta who lost in three sets to Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia, 6-4,3-6,4-6. American Sloane Stephens beat the 2015 runner up Roberta Vinci 7-5,6-1. Caroline Wozniacki, Dominica Cibulkova, Shuai Peng, Anastasija Sevastova, Caroline Garcia, Kiki Bertens also advanced. However the Rio Olympics gold medalist Monica Puig of Puerto Rico fell 4-6,7-6(4),6-7(4) to the Croatian Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@]