NEW YORK, August 31, 2016
Stan Wawrinka, the third seed of the US Open, defeated his bogeyman Fernando Verdasco 7-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the Arthur Ashe Stadium on Tuesday. The Swiss player had lost three of his previous five matches against Verdasco, but fended off a late break point to secure victory in two hours and 17 minutes.
“I’m really happy,” said Wawrinka. “I think it was a great match, especially for first round. You never expect to play your best game and full of confidence, but I think the level was quite high.
“Fernando is a tough player to play. He can be really aggressive. He don’t give you so much rhythm, so it’s not easy. But I think in general I’m happy with what I did. I was really focused on myself. I was moving really well for first one. I’m getting some confidence from that match.”
The 31-year-old Swiss will next meet Italian qualifier Alessandro Giannessi, who made a winning US Open debut by defeating US-American Denis Kudla 0-6, 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-0.
Number six seed Kei Nishikori fell in the opening round three times in last five years but not this time, as he defeated Benjamin Becker 6-1, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
“I’m very satisfied with my tennis today,” Nishikori said. “I think in the third set he started playing more aggressively, which he didn’t do in the first and second… It was a great match and I think a good start to the week.”
The Japanese will next take on NextGen member Karen Khachanov, who won his Grand Slam main draw debut at the US Open 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 over Thomas Fabbiano. The 20-year-old Russian qualifier had lost in qualifying at the last five majors.
It was all going so well for 12th seed David Goffin, who led by a set and a break, but Jared Donaldson staged a remarkable recovery to complete the biggest win his career. The US-American teenager rallied from a set down and raced through the fourth set to seal a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-0 win.
“It was a really, really special victory for me,” the 19-year-old said after winning his first Grand Slam match.
Donaldson will next play number 32 Viktor Troicki, who required five sets, a tiebreaker and four hours and 23 minutes to defeat Radu Albot, 7-5, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 7-6.
“Now, it’s kind of on to my next round,” Donaldson told. “I have to get ready for my next opponent, just do all the right things to be 100 per cent ready mentally, physically for Thursday.”
Former Champions Advance
Former champion Juan Martin del Potro has made a successful return to Flushing Meadows in his first match in New York since 2013. In an all-Argentine affair, the 2009 US Open champion posted a 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 first round result over Diego Schwartzman on Louis Armstrong Stadium.
“This means a great deal,” del Potro said. “I am so glad to be part of this tournament once again after three years. I really appreciate the tournament for the wild card, for giving me the chance to play.
“Always, in every match here at the US Open, the crowd make me feel special … It’s amazing for me just having the chance to play here once again. I was really close to quitting tennis because after the first surgery, the second one, and in the end the third one, there were really, really sad moments for me.”
— Juan M. del Potro (@delpotrojuan) 31. August 2016
In the night session, world number two Andy Murray achieved a convincing 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 first round victory over Lukas Rosol. The Brit hit 11 aces and 27 winners to advance in one hour and 51 minutes.
“I served very well. I don’t think I had any break points against me so that was good,” Murray said on court after the encounter.
“I used good variation on the second serve as well, which is important against someone going for big returns.
“It was a tough start to the match. He had a few chances early on but once I got a break up I started to relax and played well.”
Next up for the 2012 US Open champion will be Marcel Granollers from Spain, who beat Juan Mónaco 7-6, 7-6, 6-4. Murray holds a commanding 6-1 lead in the pair’s head to head rivalry.