2019 US Open: Review Of The First Round Matches

There were no real upsets on the Opening Day of the final grand slam of the year as all the favourites in the top half of the men’s draw advanced to the second round. Three time Champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia, Five time champion Roger Federer of Switzerland, Cincinnati winner Daniil Medvedev and the 2016 champion Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland and 2014 runner up Kei Nishikori of Japan advanced on Monday.

The five time champion in 2004-2008, third seeded Roger Federer got off to a shaky start in the night session on Arthur Ashe stadium against the 190th ranked Sumeet Nagal of India as he made 19 unforced errors in the opening set which he lost 6-4. In the second set Federer held serve after three dueces and then broke serve on his fourth break point against the 22 year old Nagal, a qualifier who has still to win a tour level match. He broke again in the fourth game and quickly established a 5-0 lead before Nagal held his serve.

Federer would get early breaks of serve in both the third and fourth set but the young Indian broke back in the fourth game of the fourth set to level at 2-2. Federer broke right back and despite facing 0-40 in the tenth game he would serve out the match 4-6,6-1,6-2,6-4 in two hours and thirty minutes. Federer has won 62 consecutive opening round matches at a Grand slam since the French Open in 2003, he also improves to 86-13 in New York. He next takes on Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia Herzegovina in what would be his 100th match at the US Open. Dzumhur prevailed in four sets against the little known Frenchman Elliot Benchetrit 4-6,6-2,6-3,6-0.

In the morning session the top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic, champion in 2011,2014 and 2018 had few problems in dispatching the Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena as he swept past the 76th ranked Spaniard 6-4,6-1,6-4. The Cincinnati champion Daniil Medvedev, seeded fifth got off to a flying start as he brushed aside another Indian Prajnesh Gunneswaran 6-4,6-1,6-2.

The seventh seeded Kei Nishikori went through as the qualifier Marco Trungelliti retired in the second set when Nishikori led 6-1,4-1. The 2016 champion Wawrinka, seeded 23rd, survived a third set slump but prevailed 6-3,7-6(4),4-6,6-3 against another Italian qualifier Jannik Sinner.

There were mixed results for American players, the giant Reilly Opelka caused the biggest upset on Day 1 as he upset the 11th seeded Italian Fabio Fognini 6-3,6-4,6-7(8),6-3. The 26th seeded American Taylor Dent was upset by the Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez 6-3,4-6,3-6,4-6. The 19th seeded Argentine Guido Pella lost to the 2016 semi-finalist Pablo Carreno Busta as the Spaniard won 6-3,4-6,7-6(2),6-3.

 Six more seeded players advanced to the second round, 12th seeded Borna Coric of Croatia was a 7-6(7),6-3,6-0 winner over the Russian qualifier Evgeny Donskoy. 15th seeded David Goffin of Belgium, the runner up in Cincinnati was a 6-3,3-6,6-4,6-0 winner over the Frenchman Corentin Moutet. The Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili, seeded 17th, overcame the Hungarian Marton Fucsovics in five sets, 3-6,6-4,6-2,3-6,6-3. The 25th seeded Frenchman Lucas Pouille won 6-3,4-6,6-4,6-4 against the German veteran Phillip Kohlschreiber. 27th seeded Dusan Lajovic of Serbia was a 7-5,6-3,6-3 winner over the Belgian Steven Darcis. The 31st seeded Chilean Christian Garin won 3-6,7-6(5),6-4,6-7(4),6-3.

The following is the line up for the second round matches in the Top half of the men’s draw with my pick mentioned first :-

Novak Djokovic (1) v. Juan Ignacio Londero (-)
Dusan Lajovic (27) v. Dennis Kudla (-)
Stanislas Wawrinka (23) v. Jeremy Chardy (-)
Miomir Kecmanovic (-) v. Paolo Lorenzi (-)
Reilly Opelka (-) v. Dominik Koepfer (-)
Nikoloz Basilashvili (17) v. Jenson Brooksby (-)
Yoshihito Nishioka (-) v. Feliciano Lopez (-)
Daniil Medvedev (5) v. Hugo Dellien (-)
Roger Federer (3) v. Damir Dzumhur (-)
Lucas Pouille (25) v. Daniel Evans (-)
Pablo Carreno Busta (-) v. Ricardas Berankis (-)
David Goffin (15) v. Gabrielle Berrere (-)
Grigor Dimitrov (-) v. Borna Coric (12)
Pablo Cuevas (-) v. Kamil Majchrzak (-)
Alex de Minaur (-) v. Christian Garin (31)
Kei Nishikori (7) v. Bradley Klahn (-)

The three time Champion Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev of Germany have advanced to the second round on Tuesday as Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Karen Khachanov and Roberto Bautista Agut suffered shock defeats in their first round matches. Also losing were the promising Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jo Wilfred Tsonga. The second seeded Nadal made light work of the Australian John Millman who had upset Roger Federer in the fourth round last year easily winning 6-3,6-2,6-2 in the evening session on Arthur Ashe stadium.

The 2010,2013 and 2017 Champion saved all three break points he faced and converted on five out of the 15 break point chances against the 60th ranked Millman. He next faces another Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis who prevailed in four sets over Ilya Ivashka of the Slovak Republic 6-3,7-6(8),6-7(4),6-2.

On a day of upsets, eighth seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece was beaten by the Russian Andrey Rublev on Louis Armstrong stadium, the 43rd ranked Rublev won 6-4,6-7(5),7-6(7),7-5. Fourth seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem was beaten by the Italian Thomas Fabbiano 4-6,6-3,3-6,2-6. Vasek Pospisil of Canada upset another Russian Karen Khachanov, seeded ninth 4-6,7-5,7-5,4-6,6-3. Mikhail Kukushkhin of Kazakhstan upset the tenth seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 3-6,6-1,6-4,3-6,6-3. In a match between two GenNext stars from Canada, the left handed Denis Shapovalov upset the eighteen seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-1,6-1,6-4. Pablo Andujar of Spain beat the 30th seeded Briton Kyle Edmund 3-6,7-6(1),7-5,5-7,6-2.

The seeded players that survived the upset bug were the Frenchman Gael Monfils, who beat Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-6(2),6-4,6-3. The American John Isner, seeded 14th beat the Spanish qualifier Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3,6-4,6-4. Argentine Diego Schwartzman, seeded 20th beat Robin Haase of Holland 6-3,7-6(6),6-0.

The 2014 champion Marin Cilic of Croatia beat Martin Klizan of the Slovak Republic 6-3,6-2,7-6(6). Matteo Berrettini of Italy, the 24th seed beat the Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-4,6-3,2-6,6-2. The temperamental Aussies Nick Kyrgios, seeded 28th beat the American Steve Johnson 6-3,7-6(1),6-4. 29th seed Benoit Paire, finalist in Winston Salem, beat Canada’s Brayden Schnur 6-2,6-4,6-4. The Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, seeded 32nd, beat the German qualifier Tobias Kamke 6-3,3-6,6-1,6-2.

The following is the list of matches in the bottom half of the men’s draw in the second round on Thursday with my pick mentioned first:-

Rafael Nadal (2) v. Thanasi Kokkinakis (-)
Fernando Verdasco (32) v. Hyeon Chung (-)
Marin Cilic (22) v. Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (-)
John Isner (14) v. Jan-Lennard Struff (-)
Tennys Sandgren (-) v. Vasek Pospisil (-)
Diego Schwartzman (20) v. Egor Gerasimov (-)
Benoit Paire (29) v. Aljaz Bedene (-)
Frances Tiafoe (-) v. Alexander Zverev (6)
Thomas Fabbiano (-) v. Alexander Bublik (-)
Pablo Andujar (-) v. Lorenzo Sonego (-)
Denis Shapovalov (-) v. Henri Laaksonen (-)
Gael Monfils (13) v. Marius Copil (-)
Mikhail Kukushkhin (-) v. Alexei Popyrin (-)
Matteo Berrettini (24) v. Jordan Thompson (-)
Nick Kyrgios (28) v. Antoine Hoang (-)
Andrey Rublev (-) v. Gilles Simon (-)

– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@gmail.com]

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