ATP Tour wrap: Americans star as Djokovic fires past Danish teen
A HUGE second day of US Open seeded to go to plan for home nation hopefuls and a number of the top seeds, as a number of exciting clashes went ahead.
Just one of the day’s top 10 seeds was challenged, with top seed and world number one Novak Djokovic escaping virtually unscathed with a first round win despite dropping a set to up-and-coming Danish teen Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune, who fought hard throughout a 6-1 6-7(5) 6-2 6-1 finish. Unfortunately for 18-year-old Rune, severe cramping made it hard to retain momentum in the third and fourth sets as Djokovic’s experience reigned supreme.
“It’s tough to talk about [the] 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.”
Despite having to fight through cramps and the resulting loss, Rune said he “tried to give the crowd something” in return for their unwavering support.
“I never felt anything like this. It was [an] unbelievable feeling staying there. I tried to give the crowd something, fight for every point, be pumped and everything,” Rune said. “The crowd was unbelievable. I couldn’t have asked for more. I never tried anything like this. It was a pretty sick feeling.”
“Unfortunately, my fitness let me down. I started cramping already in the beginning of the third set. From there on, it was tough,” Rune said. “I knew if I [wanted] to win, I really had to fight for every point. With my body at this point, it was impossible.”
Comparatively, fourth seed Alexander Zverev had little issue disposing of American Sam Querrey. Querrey was just one of four Americans to fall on the second day of events in New York, with a whopping 10 Americans joining the day one winners. One of those was qualifier Maxim Cressy who took every chance against ninth seed Pablo Carreno Busta, firing up after dropping the first two games to come from behind to steal the 5-7 4-6 6-1 6-4 7-6 victory in three hours and 33 minutes flat. He fired off an unbelievable 44 aces to sway the momentum away from the Spaniard, registering 81 winners for 35 unforced errors in the process.
Cressy’s impressive effort was mirrored by both Taylor Fritz and Mackenzie McDonald, who upset 14th seed Alex de Minaur and 27th seed David Goffin, respectively on their way to second round berths. Four American wildcards contributed to the winners list as in-form Jenson Brooksby, Ernesto Escobedo, Jack Sock and Zachary Vajda all overcame higher-ranked opposition – Brooksy taking out recent finalist and Swede Mikael Ymer as Vajda played well above his rank to down Italian Marco Cecchinato. Rounding out the American victors in the opening round were 22nd seed Reilly Opelka who rattled off a comfortable 33 aces on his way to a straight sets blitz of Korean Soonwoo Kwon, joined by Steve Johnson and Denis Kudla who claimed a four set victory apiece.
It was a mixed bag of results for the 10 Italians in the draw, with four earning wins – and most intriguingly, just two of the four seeds. Those two were sixth seed Matteo Berrettini and 13th seed Jannik Sinner, with the former disposing of Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 7-6(5) 7-6(7) 6-3 and the latter requiring four to overcome Australian Max Purcell. 20th seed Lorenzo Sonego was under pressure from the get-go though, only just taking out the first set against German qualifier Oscar Otte before falling 6-7(8) 7-5 7-6(4) 7-6(1) in just over four hours on court. Sonego was riddled with errors throughout the clash, managing 60 winners but also wasting 62 unforced errors as Otte controlled proceedings. 28th seed Fabio Fognini blasted through the first two sets in his encounter with Vasek Pospisil with relative ease before the Canadian decided enough was enough, biting back in the third and well and truly turning the momentum to eventually claim the 2-6 3-6 6-1 6-3 7-6(4) victory. Joining Fognini on the sidelines were Salvatore Caruso – who went down in a tough encounter with former champion Kei Nishikori – Gianluca Mager and Stefano Travaglia, as Lorenzo Musetti and Andreas Seppi reversed the nation’s fortunes with first round wins.
In seeded games, seventh seed Denis Shapovalov had little issue disposing of Argentinian Federico Delbonis, as both 10th seed Hubert Hurkacz and 17th seed Gael Monfils joined Shapovalov on the straight sets winners list. 31st seed Alexander Bublik was also successful, stopping German Yannick Hanfmann in his tracks, as just one of two seeded Russians on day two survived, with 21st seed Aslan Karatsev claiming a victory over Jaume Munar, though 25th seed Karen Khachanov was not quite so lucky, unable to compete with the heavy serve of South African Lloyd Harris.
Rounding out the remaining winners on day two were a couple of Spaniards in Roberto Carballes Baena and Albert Ramos-Vinolas to see Spain go two from four for the day, joined by Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili, Dutch talent Tallon Griekspoor and Belarusian Ilya Ivashka, who continued his winning form on from his maiden title over the weekend.
US OPEN ROUND OF 128 RESULTS:
 Novak Djokovic (SRB) defeated Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune (DEN) 6-1 6-7 6-2 6-1
 Alexander Zverev (GER) defeated Sam Querrey (USA) 6-4 7-5 6-2
 Matteo Berrettini (ITA) defeated Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 7-6 7-6 6-3
 Denis Shapovalov (CAN) defeated Federico Delbonis (ARG) 6-2 6-2 6-3
Maxim Cressy (USA) defeated  Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) 5-7 4-6 6-1 6-4 7-6
 Hubert Hurkacz (POL) defeated Egor Gerasimov (BLR) 6-3 6-4 6-3
 Jannik Sinner (ITA) defeated Max Purcell (AUS) 6-4 6-2 4-6 6-2
Taylor Fritz (USA)  defeated Alex de Minaur (AUS) 7-6 6-2 1-6 6-4
 Gael Monfils (FRA) defeated Federico Coria (ARG) 6-3 6-2 6-2
Oscar Otte (GER) defeated  Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) 6-7 7-5 7-6 7-6
 Aslan Karatsev (RUS) defeated Jaume Munar (ESP) 7-5 1-6 6-3 6-2
 Reilly Opelka (USA) defeated Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) 7-6 6-4 6-4
Lloyd Harris (RSA) defeated  Karen Khachanov (RUS) 6-4 1-6 4-6 6-3 6-2
Mackenzie McDonald (USA) defeated  David Goffin (BEL) 6-2 7-4 6-3
Vasek Pospisil (CAN) defeated  Fabio Fognini (ITA) 2-6 3-6 6-1 6-3 7-6
 Alexander Bublik (KAZ) defeated Yannick Hanfmann (GER) 6-0 4-6 6-2 6-1
Kei Nishikori (JPN) defeated Salvatore Caruso (ITA) 6-1 6-1 5-7 6-3
Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) defeated Sebastian Korda 6-2 2-1 RET
Jack Sock (USA) defeated Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) 6-7 6-2 6-4 6-2
Jenson Brooksby (USA) defeated Mikael Ymer (SWE) 7-5 6-2 1-6 6-3
Steve Johnson (USA) defeated Maximilian Marterer (GER) 5-7 7-6 7-6 6-3
Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) defeated Emilio Nava (USA) 6-7 6-4 6-1 6-3
Andreas Seppi (ITA) defeated Marton Fucsovics (HUN) 2-6 7-5 6-4 2-6 7-6
Zachary Svajda (USA) defeated Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 7-6 5-7 6-4 6-4
Ernesto Escobedo (USA) defeated Pablo Cuevas (URU) 6-1 6-3 6-1
Tallon Griekspoor (NED) defeated Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 2-5 7-6 4-6 6-4 7-5
Ilya Ivashka (BLR) defeated Tennys Sandgren (USA) 7-6 6-3 6-4
Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) defeated Tommy Paul (USA) 7-6 6-2 1-6 6-3
Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) defeated Lucas Pouille (FRA) 6-1 5-7 5-7 7-5 6-4
Corentin Moutet (FRA) defeated Stefano Travaglia (ITA) 6-4 7-5 7-6
Denis Kudla (USA) defeated Laslo Djere (SRB) 4-6 6-3 7-5 7-6
Jordan Thompson (AUS) defeated Gianluca Mager (ITA) 4-6 6-3 7-5 7-6
Picture credit: Garrett Ellwood/USTA