ATP Tour wrap: Seeds scatter on opening day of US Open
A MIXED bag of results were had on the opening day of the men’s US Open draw, with all of the top 18 seeds paving the way into the second round, before a flurry of lower seeded losses proved that seeding is not everything. The New York heat made five set clashes intriguing, with a number of tough clashes going the distance.
A huge clash between former champion Andy Murray and Greek third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas proved to be one of the biggest of the day, going the full distance in a see-sawing 2-6 7-6(7) 3-6 6-3 6-4 result which went the way of Tsitsipas. While Murray got out to a daring start, the third seed was just as relentless and fired off 19 aces throughout a massive four hour and 49-minute match to claim the victory. Tsitsipas racked up 67 winners to Murray’s 42, and though he also made more unforced errors (51-38), the Greek talent was more efficient on serve. Tsitsipas’ fellow top five seeds in Russian duo Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev had little issue in comparison, both snagging straight sets victories as Casper Ruud, Diego Schwartzman, Grigor Dimitrov and Roberto Bautista Agut joined the straight sets winners club. Bautista Agut drew unconventional fan favourite Nick Kyrgios and looked to be in for a tough encounter early, however the Australian’s temper got the better of him throughout a 6-3 6-4 6-0 result as Bautista Agut sped through the one hour and 48-minute result.
12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime overcame a hefty effort from Russian Evgeny Donskoy to earn a second round berth, well and truly forced to work for the 7-6(0) 3-6 7-6(1) 7-6(8) victory and requiring a full four hours to claim the result. Despite racking up 48 unforced errors and seven double faults, Auger-Aliassime kept ahead of the Russian, who had 37 unforced errors in comparison, but hit less winners (39-53). Despite the closeness of the contest, Auger-Aliassime won 83 per cent of his first serve points on his way to a well-earned victory. Cristian Garin and Daniel Evans both claimed four set wins to round up the remaining winning seeds of the day, both requiring over three hours to complete their results.
Looking to the day’s losing seeds, and there were some intriguing names among the mix with burgeoning American talent Brandon Nakashima downing compatriot and hard-hitter John Isner 7-6(7) 7-6(6) 6-3 in just under two and a half hours. Nakashima weathered Isner’s 26 aces and 45 winners, hitting 15 and 38 in response, and most importantly, making very little errors with 16 to Isner’s 28. While Isner was more effective off his first serve in general, Nakashima won 91 per cent of his first serve points off a 58 per cent clip.Another young talent in Carlos Alcaraz claimed a straight sets win 6-4 6-4 6-3 over 26th seed Cameron Norrie, with the young Spaniard playing above his years and rank.
“I’ve played a lot of tournaments on hard court. I played Winston-Salem and Cincinnati. To be able to win… matches at each tournament made me feel more comfortable before coming here,” Alcaraz said. “Now I feel I can play against everyone. I feel that I’m playing a really good game.”
“Right now I feel very comfortable on court. I feel like I am playing [at a] good level… That means a lot to me,” Alcaraz said. “That means I’m playing really good and I’m doing the right things. So I’m really happy with that…I played a very serious match, focused all the time. I’m really happy with everything with the match.”
A couple of qualifiers downed seeds in exceptional results, as German Peter Gojowczyk overcame 23rd seed Ugo Humbert in five sets, 1-6 6-1 6-2 5-7 6-4 while Argentinian Marco Trungelliti impressed against 29th seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, with the ball well and truly in his court leading the fifth and final set before the Spaniard went down with a severe quad cramp. While Davidovich Fokina did play out the remainder of the match, he lacked movement to combat the Argentinian who came away with the 5-7 6-3 7-5 6-7(3) 6-4 upset. Meanwhile, another Argentinian in Guido Pella took out a 6-7(2) 6-3 6-2 6-2 victory over 32nd seeded Serbian Filip Krajinovic while German Philipp Kohlschreiber earned a second round berth off the back of a fifth-set retirement from his Croatian opposition Marin Cilic, coming from behind to clinch the default victory 6-7(4) 6-7(3) 6-2 6-1 2-0.
Elsewhere, Frances Tiafoe staved off a hefty effort from developing compatriot Christopher Eubanks while Marcos Giron joined Tiafoe and Nakashima on the American winners list. Three more Spaniards joined Bautista Agut and Alcaraz in the second round, with all three of Pablo Andujar, Bernarbe Zapata Miralles and Pedro Martinez claiming straight sets wins, with Zapata Miralles knocking compatriot Feliciano Lopez from contention and Dutch talent Botic Van de Zandschulp overcame the remaining Spaniard Carlos Taberner in yet another third setter. A couple of Frenchmen in Arthur Rinderknech and Adrian Mannarino made the winners list while Benoit Paire, Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Quentin Halys fell alongside Richard Gasquet, Antoine Hoang and Humbert while Kevin Anderson fired off a whopping 49 aces to defeat Jiri Vesely in five, as Alex Molcan, Facundo Bagnis, Emil Ruusuvuori, Alexei Popyrin and Henri Laaksonen completed the day’s winners.
US OPEN ROUND OF 128 RESULTS:
 Daniil Medvedev (RUS) defeated Richard Gasquet (FRA) 6-4 6-3 6-1
 Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) defeated Andy Murray (GBR) 2-6 7-6 3-6 6-3 6-4
 Andrey Rublev (RUS) defeated Ivo Karlovic (CRO) 6-3 7-6 6-3
 Casper Ruud (NOR) defeated Yuichi Sugita (JPN) 6-3 6-2 6-2
 Diego Schwartzman (ARG) defeated Ricardas Berankis (LTU) 7-5 6-3 6-3
 Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) defeated Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) 7-6 3-6 7-6 7-6
 Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) defeated Sam Riffice (USA) 6-1 7-6 6-3
 Cristian Garin (CHI) defeated Norbert Gombos (SVK) 6-3 4-6 6-4 7-6
 Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) defeated Nick Kyrgios (AUS) 6-3 6-4 6-0
Brandon Nakashima (USA) defeated  John Isner (USA) 7-6 7-6 6-3
Peter Gojowczyk (GER) defeated  Ugo Humbert (FRA) 1-6 6-1 6-2 5-7 6-4
 Daniel Evans (GBR) defeated Thiago Monteiro (BRA) 6-3 6-7 6-4 6-1
Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) defeated  Cameron Norrie (GBR) 6-4 6-4 6-3
Marco Trungelliti (ARG) defeated  Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) 5-7 6-3 7-5 6-7 6-4 cramp
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) defeated  Marin Cilic (CRO) 6-7 6-7 6-2 6-1 2-0 RET
Guido Pella (ARG) defeated  Filip Krajinovic (SRB) 6-7 6-3 6-2 6-2
Frances Tiafoe (USA) defeated Christopher Eubanks (USA) 7-6 5-7 6-3 6-4
Dusan Lajovic (SRB) defeated Benoit Paire (FRA) 6-3 7-5 2-6 6-4
Marcos Giron (USA) defeated Antoine Hoang (FRA) 6-3 6-4 7-5
Pablo Andujar (ESP) defeated Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 3-6 4-6 6-4 6-4 6-2
Bernabe Zapata Miralles (ESP) defeated Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 5-7 7-6 4-6 6-3 6-3
Arthur Rinderknech (FRA) defeated Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 6-7 3-6 7-5 6-3 6-3
Kevin Anderson (RSA) defeated Jiri Vesely (CZE) 7-6 4-6 3-6 7-6 7-6
Alex Molcan (SVK) defeated Cem Ilkel (TUR) 4-6 6-3 6-1 6-1
Adrian Mannarino (FRA) defeated Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) 3-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-3
Dominik Koepfer (GER) defeated Quentin Halys (FRA) 6-4 3-6 4-6 6-3 6-4
Facundo Bagnis (ARG) defeated Taro Daniel (JPN) 6-3 6-3 6-3
Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) defeated Kamil Majchrzak (POL) 6-4 6-2 3-6 6-1
Pedro Martinez (ESP) defeated James Duckworth (AUS) 4-6 4-6 7-6 6-2 6-2
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) defeated Radu Albot (MDA) 6-3 6-7 6-3 6-3
Henri Laaksonen (SUI) defeated John Millman (AUS) 7-6 7-6 6-1
Botic Van de Zandschulp (NED) Carlos Taberner (ESP) 2-6 3-6 6-4 7-5 6-3
Picture credit: Garrett Ellwood / USTA