Djokovic Begins US Open Title Bid With Win

Novak Djokovic and Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune (photo: Brad Penner/USTA)

NEW YORK/STARNBERG, September 1, 2021

Novak Djokovic began his 2021 US Open campaign with a 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-1 victory over in-form Danish teenager Holger Rune, who has captured three ATP Challenger titles this season, at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday evening.

The World No. 1 struck 17 aces and won 85 per cent of his first-service points to prevail after two hours and 15 minutes.

“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.”

Earlier in the day, Alexander Zverev defeated US-American Sam Querrey 6-4, 7-5, 6-2. The No. 4 seed from Germany fired 18 aces and didn’t face a break point to advance after one hour and 39 minutes. Seventh favourite Denis Shapovalov from Canada beat Federico Delbonis of Argentina 6-2, 6-2, 6-3. No. 6 seed Matteo Berrettini also booked his spot in the second round following a 7-6(5), 7-6(7), 6-3 win over Jeremy Chardy from France.

Thirteen US-American Men Advance to Second Round at the US Open

Thirteen US-American men advanced to the second round of the 2021 US Open, the most since 15 in 1994. Of the 13, seven are younger than 25 and six went to college:

Zach Svajda, 18, Jenson Brooksby, 20, Baylor, Brandon Nakashima, 20, Virginia, Taylor Fritz, 23, Frances Tiafoe, 23, Reilly Opelka, 24, Maxime Cressy, 24, UCLA, Ernesto Escobedo, 25, Mackenzie McDonald, 26, UCLA, Jack Sock, 28, Marcos Giron, 28, UCLA, Denis Kudla, 29, Steve Johnson, 31, USC.

Barty beats Zvonareva

In the women’s draw top seed Ashleigh Barty started her US Open title bid with a 6-1, 7-6(7) victory over Vera Zvonareva of Australia.

“I was disappointed not to be able to come and play last year but playing this time with the fans has made it all the better,” the 25-year-old Australian said in her on-court interview.

Next up for Barty is a second-round meeting with Danish teenager Clara Tauson.

Czech fourth seed and former finalist Karolina Pliskova fired eight aces, including one on her second match point, to edge out US-American Caty McNally 6-3, 6-4. No. 6 seed Bianca Andreescu from Canada fought past Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland 7-5, 4-6, 7-5.