Americans had mixed results on the opening day at the US Open as No. 10 seed John Isner topped France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, but No. 13 Jack Sock was upset by Aussie Jordan Thompson in a five-set marathon 6-2, 7-6(12), 1-6, 5-7, 6-4.
“I certainly like it,” said Isner of the cooler conditions to begin the tournament. “Only changed shirts out there one time. I’m a big sweater. I like it. I really would actually say that all the players enjoy it. We do play matches in pretty oppressive conditions sometimes. This is not the case so far here at the US Open.”
Rounding out the Top 10-seeded winners were No. 4 Alexander Zverev beating Darian King 7-6(11), 7-5, 6-4 in a match that ended after 2 a.m., No. 5 Marin Cilic over American Tennys Sandgren 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, and No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga easily over Romanian Marius Copil 6-3, 6-3, 6-4.
“The last eight, nine days I’m practicing full without thinking about it,” Cilic says of his health. “That’s quite good. With this first match out of the way, I think that just resolves everything.”
Other seeded winners on the day were No. 12 Pablo Carreno Busta, No. 16 Lucas Pouille, No. 17 Sam Querrey, No. 19 Gilles Muller, No. 20 Albert Ramos who beat Denis Istomin in five, No. 23 Mischa Zverev who came from 1-2 sets down to beat American wildcard Thai-Son Kwiatkowski in five, No. 28 Kevin Anderson, and No. 29 Diego Schwartzman.
Also upset-minded Monday were Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin defeating No. 21 seed David Ferrer 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-1, Taiwan’s Lu Yen-Hsun topping No. 25 Karen Khachanov 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3, and Brit Kyle Edmund ousting No. 32 Robin Haase 6-3, 7-5, 6-3.
Unseeded notable winners Monday included Canuck Denis Shapovalov beating Russian Daniil Medvedev in straights, the mercurial Ernests Gulbis over Italian Alessandro Giannessi in four, and Janko Tipsarevic stopping Aussie comeback player Thanasi Kokkinakis in five sets.
“I stayed very solid from beginning to the end,” Shapovalov said. “I had a couple fall-throughs, being a break up, having him break back. I did a good job of staying mentally solid in those situations and getting the break when I needed it. I don’t feel any pressure. At the end of the day, I play for myself, for my team and for my country. Those three things I always take with me on the court. I play with my heart. At the end of the day it’s a sport. I can win and I can lose.”
Matches of interest Tuesday at the US Open include (1) Rafael Nadal starting against Serb Dusan Lajovic, (3) Roger Federer in the final night match vs. American Frances Tiafoe, (14) Nick Kyrgios vs. fellow Aussie John Millman, and Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco vs. Vasek “Popsicle” Pospisil.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Eight women have the chance to come out of the US Open with the No. 1 ranking, that has to be a record…How anti-climactic that the US Open begins at 11 a.m. Monday and host broadcaster ESPN doesn’t start coverage until 1 p.m. (and they don’t let Tennis Channel pick up the slack)…Qualifier J.C. Aragone was in a coma six years ago, and wears a diabetes insulin monitor when he plays…Reuters headline: “Relentless schedule taking toll on big-name players” — ehh, not really. What’s taking a toll is age, as all the injured players are 30+…Dear PR guys, thanks for all the offers to get the Maria Sharapova memoir “UNSTOPPABLE: My Life So Far” before it hits the shelves. Thanks but no thanks…And props to ESPN as you can basically watch any match via streaming on ESPN3…Will the US Open really ruin tennis next year by instituting on-court coaching?
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