All eyes of the tennis world were on Novak Djokovic tonight as the world No. 1 began his final quest to win the Calendar Grand Slam at the US Open. The Serb was pitted against rising 18-year-old Holger Rune who went through three hot rounds of qualifying.
But early on, the Dane was overwhelmed by Djokovic and the situation. However, the teen would get a break and go shocking go up 3-0.
Djokovic had had enough, and won four straight games to take the lead back at 4-3. Rune wouldn’t go away and forced the break. Thanks to some early Djokovic errors, the youngest stole the second much to the delight of the crowd.
Almost as expected, Djokovic would break early in the third and just after the game to go down 4-1, the cramps hit. Rune would receive treatment but could barely run and Djokovic ran away with a 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-1 victory.
“It’s tough to talk about third and fourth sets because he barely moved. [From] my side, I started great. Played a really, really good first set. After that, I don’t know, I was 4-3 serving in the second set. Everything was working well, but then I just lost the first serve,” Djokovic said. “Credit to him for fighting. He had the crowd behind him. It was tough to play in my first match, even though I had tonnes of experience playing on this court, for him it was the first one.
“Still, you get nerves. You still are feeling a little bit rusty at the beginning. Obviously I’m pleased with the way I finished the match. Again, it was not a fair battle on the court with his unfortunate injury and cramping.”
Djokovic moves to 22-0 on the season in Slams and closes within 6 of the Calendar Slam. But it wasn’t vintage Djokovic.
Djokovic will be heavily favored again on Thursday against Tallon Griekspoor.
Alexander Zverev continued his strong summer crushing Sam Querrey 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 to extend his win streak to 12.
“For a first round I think it was good,” Zverev said. “Sam is somebody that on a hard court is extremely dangerous. Especially on a fast surface. I think Wimbledon he was in the semifinals.
“So he was serving extremely well today. I’m happy to win in three sets, because a match like that can get out of your hands very quickly, and I’m happy to kind of have it under control.”
The German, who won the gold in Tokyo and Cincinnati last week, could face Djokovic in the semifinals.
“To be honest, I think I was the first person to beat him on a hard court or grass court this season, and I was also the only person to beat him at a very, very big event this year,” Zverev added.
“Everything else he’s won. I mean, yeah, he’s the favorite. No question about that. But I think other guys are very hungry.
“I hope I can keep the level up and maybe even play better, because to beat Novak here is going to be an extremely difficult task.
Italians Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner both were winners while Fabio Fognini from 4-1 in the fifth to Vasek Pospisil in a final set breaker. And Marco Cecchinato fell to 18-year-old Zach Svajda in four sets.
The drama continued with the five setters. American qualifier Maxime Cressy stunned 2-time semifinalist Pablo Carreno Busta from two sets down. Carreno Busta failed to convert on four match points in the fifth set tiebreaker, smashing the racquet in disgust following his second straight blown two set lead in New York. The 24-year-old Cressy who starred at UCLA took the win 5-7, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(7) in three-and-a-half hours. Cressy slammed 44 aces and serve/volleyed exclusively throughout the match, confounding the Spaniard.
Cressy’s countrymen Jenson Brooksby, Reilly Opelka, Jack Sock and Mackenzie McDonald were also winners.
Moments before Cressy’s win, Andreas Seppi saved five match points in a 15-13 fifth set breaker win over Marton Fucsovics.
Tomorrow, the second round begins with Daniil Medvedev meeting Dominik Koepfer in a rematch of their 4-setter from 2019 when the German was up a set and a break.
Stefanos Tsitsipas is back on Ashe hoping to avoid any controversy this time against France’s Adrian Mannarino. The lefty is returning after that scary injury he suffered against Roger Federer at Wimbledon.
WEDNESDAY US OPEN SCHEDULE
Arthur Ashe Stadium, Day Session – 12:00 PM Start
Olga Danilovic (SRB) (Q) vs. Naomi Osaka (JPN) 
Dominik Koepfer (GER) vs. Daniil Medvedev (RUS) 
Arthur Ashe Stadium, Night Session – 7:00 PM Start
Sloane Stephens (USA) vs. Coco Gauff (USA) 
Adrian Mannarino (FRA) vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 
Louis Armstrong Stadium, Day Session – 11:00 AM Start
Andrea Petkovic (GER) vs. Garbine Muguruza (ESP) 
Victoria Azarenka (BLR)  vs. Jasmine Paolini (ITA)
Frances Tiafoe (USA) vs. Guido Pella (ARG)
Louis Armstrong Stadium, Night Session – 7:00 PM Start
Kevin Anderson (RSA) vs. Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 
Angelique Kerber (GER)  vs. Anhelina Kalinina (UKR)
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