The top seeds protected their turf on the men’s side on the opening day at the US Open, but two lower seeds were shown the door by up-and-comers.
Aussie Nick Kyrgios topped a less-than-100-percent No. 21 seed Mikhail Youzhny 7-5, 7-6(4), 2-6, 7-6(1), and Frenchman Benoit Paire topped countryman and No. 24 seed Julien Benneteau 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
“Yeah, I guess just heat of the moment,” said the fiery Kyrgios about being one code violation from being defaulted in the match against Youzhny. “I was frustrated the way I was playing, it was just all that sort of stuff. It was just an outburst, and hopefully I will be able to control that the next time I play.”
Top 10 winners into the second round on Monday were No. 3 Stan Wawrinka straight-setting Jiri Vesely 6-2, 7-6(6), 7-6(3); No. 5 Milos Raonic rolling Japan’s Taro Daniel 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(1); No. 8 Andy Murray overcoming cramps to beat Robin Haase 6-3, 7-6(6), 1-6, 7-5; No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga wearing down Juan Monaco 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-1; and in the final night match, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic rolling past Argentine Diego Schwartzman 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.
“It’s unlikely, I would say, that it’s down to maybe poor physical condition, because I have trained and played matches,” Murray said of the cramping during his match, which had him contorting grabbing body parts like a hip-hop dancer. “Like in Toronto against [Jo-Wilfried] Tsonga was longer than that, and I felt absolutely fine at the end. I don’t know if it’s something I have done in the last few days that’s been wrong or not, but I need to try and find out why.”
Tsonga is looking to continue the stellar run he produced this summer in capturing the Canadian Open title in Toronto.
“For me it’s really good because it give me motivation to continue on this way, to continue to work hard,” Tsonga said. “So I just want to continue on this way and continue to work hard like this, be serious, and be just — how you say — consistent to win other matches like this, other tournaments.”
Other seeded winners were No. 16 Tommy Robredo, No. 22 Philipp Kohlschreiber, No. 23 Leonardo Mayer, No. 30 Jeremy Chardy, and No. 31 Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco who edged former NCAA star Blaz Rola 6-4 in the fifth.
On the women’s side, one seeded upset and a few close calls by Top 10 seeds marked Day One of play.
Mirjana Lucic provided the lone upset on the day, topping No. 25 seed Garbine Muguruza Blanco 6-3, 7-6(4). The 32-year-old qualifier Lucic turned back the clock to her Wimbledon semifinal play in 1999, and she will next face Israel’s Shahar Peer.
Among the top seeds, No. 2 Simona Halep, No. 6 Angie Kerber and No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki turned around slow starts to move into the second round in three sets.
Halep’s coaching advice against the current NCAA champ Danielle Collins must have been along the lines of ‘just keep it in play and watch her implode,’ but the Florida native dictated play in the first set with a flurry of winners, with Halep changing her game plan to eventually exit victoriously 6-7(2), 6-1, 6-2.
“I think a lot of times people get a little bit intimidated if they focus too much on who they’re playing against, especially if you’re looking at it, like, oh, you’re playing the No. 2 girl in the world,” Collins said. “I kind of threw all of that out the door and took the pressure off myself and just really focused on the things I could do and the things that I could control.”
Kerber outlasted Ksenia Pervak 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, while Wozniacki advanced when Maggie Rybarikova retired with injury at 6-1, 3-6, 2-0.
Other Top 10-seeded winners were No. 4 Aggie Radwankska over Sharon Fichman 6-1, 6-0; No. 5 Maria Sharapova 6-4, 6-0 over fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko, and No. 9 Jelena Jankovic defeating Bojana Jovanovski 6-2, 6-3.
The remaining seeds into the second round were No. 13 Sara Errani, No. 14 Lucie Safarova, No. 18 Andrea Petkovic who needed three sets to beat Ons Jabeur, No. 19 Venus Williams who needed three to beat the 43-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm, No. 21 Sloane Stephens, No. 22 Alize Cornet, No. 26 Sabine Lisicki, No. 28 Roberta Vinci, and No. 31 Kurumi Nara.
“According to Kimiko I have another decade,” Venus said regarding her retirement date. “She set the prime example. She’s Top 100 and no one can beat her easily.”
Matches to look for on Tuesday are (8) Ana Ivanovic vs. Alison Riske, (2) Roger Federer vs. Marinko Matosevic, (1) Serena Williams vs. fellow American Taylor Townsend, and an up-and-comers battle in American Coco Vandeweghe vs. Croat Donna Vekic.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
The Atlantic magazine wrote a hilarious tennis expose “Explaining the U.S. Tennis Slump” where they reveal some hard-hitting reporting: “American juniors train on hard courts, while Europeans and South Americans learn the sport on clay. Both The Economist and The New Republic have theorized that in recent years, the sport has shifted to favor players raised on clay, a ‘slower’ surface.” — Oh shit, stop the presses! The New Republic and The Economist, those bastions of tennis knowledge, have dropped science on how to fix tennis! Uh, with suggestions that have been in the public domain, and implemented, for 10 years. The USTA needs to hire some of these guys. Who needs Patrick McEnroe and Jose Higueras when you have author Philip Sopher, who also pointed out in the article that Jimmy Connors thrived on tour because of his massive serve. Which is news even to Connors…Like American men’s tennis, Russian women’s tennis has hit bottom — Maria Sharpaova is the only Russian in the Top 10 when it seemed like not long ago you had SIX in the Top 10, and now with few young Russians coming behind…55 Grand Slam tournament’s have passed since a U.S. man (Andy Roddick) last lifted a trophy…Boris Becker has gotten so big, does he look like Santa Claus to anyone else?…The average ticket price to attend the US Open last year was $142…On the starting day of the US Open, the “Google doodle” honored tennis pioneer Althea Gibson…Doubles specialist Eric Butorac was named president of the ATP Player Council…Price Point #2: The average ticket price to catch the US Open men’s final? $755 according to U.S. News & World Report, and our scalpers.
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