Tsitsipas escapes Murray, Osaka advances at US Open

Published September 1, 2021
NEW YORK: Daniil Medvedev of Russia goes for a return against France’s Richard Gasquet during their first-round match at the US Open.—AP
NEW YORK: Daniil Medvedev of Russia goes for a return against France’s Richard Gasquet during their first-round match at the US Open.—AP

NEW YORK: Former world number one Andy Murray went down fighting in the first round of the US Open as third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas triumphed in a near five-hour contest on Monday.

As fans returned in numbers to Flushing Meadows for the first time in two years, they were treated to quality tennis at Arthur Ashe Stadium where Tsitsipas won 2-6, 7-6 (9-7), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, even as Murray fumed over what he saw as the Greek’s stalling tactics.

“I lost respect for him,” Murray said after Tsitsipas took a bathroom break and a medical timeout that broke the Scot’s momentum.

Told of Murray’s displeasure, the just-turned-23 Tsitsipas said: “If there’s something that he has to tell me, we should speak, the two of us, to kind of understand what went wrong. I don’t think I broke any rules.”

The whole thing lent some intrigue to the proceedings as the year’s last Grand Slam tournament got underway with fans in the stands at full capacity the combined attendance for the day and night sessions was 53,783 a year after all spectators were banned because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“When we didn’t have a crowd,” reigning women’s champion Naomi Osaka said after beating Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-1 at night, “I know it felt quite lonely for me.”

That was Osaka’s first Grand Slam match since she pulled out of the French Open in late May for a mental health break. She played rather well, compiling a 34-10 edge in total winners and saving all eight break points Bouzkova earned.

The 23-year-old Japanese star could become the first back-to-back US Open women’s champion since Serena Williams, out this year with a torn hamstring, won her third in a row in 2014.

With exits for Murray and 2014 champion Marin Cilic, who stopped playing because of an injury in the fifth set against Philipp Kohlschreiber, the only man left in the draw with even one Grand Slam title is top seed Novak Djokovic.

The last match on the Day One schedule didn’t get going until after 11 p.m. and ended after 1 a.m. on Tuesday, with second seed Daniil Medvedev, a two-time major finalist, overwhelming Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 and the Russian was relieved it did not go the distance after watching many players struggle physically.

“I’m happy that I didn’t stay out here for five hours,” Medvedev said.

Fans stayed well beyond midnight hoping to be entertained by Nick Kyrgios but the only fireworks the Australian provided were arguments with the chair umpire over towels while slumping to a 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 loss to Roberto Bautista Agut.

Far earlier, there were victories Monday for 2017 champion Sloane Stephens, who edged Madison Keys 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (9-7) in a rematch of their final four years ago; multiple Grand Slam title winners and former world number ones Angelique Kerber, Simona Halep and Garbie Muguruza; 2020 runner-up Victoria Azarenka and 17-year-old American Coco Gauff.

“I just remember, like, last year, not necessarily being bored, but it was just so quiet for the US Open,” the 21st-seeded Gauff said after advancing to face Stephens with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 comeback against Magda Linette. “I definitely missed the buzz.”

Second seed Aryna Sabalenka was given a scare when Nina Stojanovic took the match to a third set but the Belarusian dominated the decider to advance 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 6-0 while Russian men’s fifth seed Andrey Rublev ousted 221st-ranked Ivo Karlovic 6-3, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3.

Monday’s results (prefix number denotes seeding):

Men’s singles:

First round: 5-Andrey Rublev (Russia) bt Ivo Karlovic (Croatia) 6-3, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3; Pedro Martinez (Spain) bt James Duckworth (Australia) 4-6, 4-6, 7-6 (9-7), 6-2, 6-2; Frances Tiafoe (US) bt Christopher Eubanks (US) 7-6 (10-8), 5-7, 6-3, 6-4; Guido Pella (Argentina) bt 32-Filip Krajinovic (Serbia) 6-7 (2-7), 6-3, 6-2, 6-2; 18-Roberto Bautista Agut (Spain) bt Nick Kyrgios (Australia) 6-3, 6-4, 6-0; Emil Ruusuvuori (Finland) bt Kamil Majchrzak (Poland) 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1; Bernabe Zapata Miralles (Spain) bt Feliciano Lopez (Spain) 5-7, 7-6 (8-6), 4-6, 6-3, 6-3; 12-Felix Auger-Aliassime (Canada) bt Evgeny Donskoy (Russia) 7-6 (7-0), 3-6, 7-6 (7-1), 7-6 (10-8); 16-Christian Garn (Chile) bt Norbert Gombos (Slovakia) 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4); Henri Laaksonen (Switzerland) bt John Millman (Australia) 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-2), 6-1; Dusan Lajovic (Serbia) bt Benoit Paire (France) 6-3, 7-5, 2-6, 6-4; Peter Gojowczyk (Germany) bt 23-Ugo Humbert (France) 1-6, 6-1, 6-2, 5-7, 6-4; Carlos Alcaraz (Spain) bt 26-Cameron Norrie (Great Britain) 6-4, 6-4, 6-3;

Arthur Rinderknech (France) bt Miomir Kecmanovic (Serbia) 6-7 (10-12), 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4; Adrian Mannarino (France) bt Pierre-Hugues Herbert (France) 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3; 3-Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece) bt Andy Murray (Great Britain) 2-6, 7-6 (9-7), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4; 8-Casper Ruud (Norway) bt Yuichi Sugita (Japan) 6-3, 6-2, 6-2; Botic van de Zandschulp (Netherlands) bt Carlos Taberner (Spain) 2-6, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-3; Facundo Bagnis (Argentina) bt Taro Daniel (Japan) 6-3, 6-3, 6-3; Marco Trungelliti (Argentina) bt 29-Alejandro Davidovich (Spain) 5-7, 6-3, 7-5, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4; Brandon Nakashima (US) bt 19-John Isner (US) 7-6 (9-7), 7-6 (8-6), 6-3; Alex Molcan (Slovakia) bt Cem Ilkel (Turkey) 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-1; Kevin Anderson (South Africa) bt Jiri Vesely (Czech Republic) 7-6 (7-1), 4-6, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-4); 11-Diego Schwartzman (Argentina) bt Ricardas Berankis (Lithuania) 7-5, 6-3, 6-3; 15-Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria) bt Sam Riffice (US) 6-1, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3; Alexei Popyrin (Australia) bt Radu Albot (Moldova) 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 6-3; Marcos Giron (US) bt Antoine Hoang (France) 6-3, 6-4, 7-5; 24-Daniel Evans (Great Britain) bt Thiago Monteiro (Brazil) 6-3, 6-7 (6-8), 6-4, 6-1; Philipp Kohlschreiber (Germany) bt 30-Marin Cilic (Croatia) 6-7 (4-7), 6-7 (3-7), 6-2, 6-1, 2-0 -- Cilic retired; Pablo Andujar (Spain) bt Mikhail Kukushkin (Kazakhstan) 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2; Dominik Koepfer (Germany) bt Quentin Halys (France) 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4; 2-Daniil Medvedev (Russia) bt Richard Gasquet (France) 6-4, 6-3, 6-1.

Women’s singles:

First round: 5-Elina Svitolina (Ukraine) bt Rebecca Marino (Canada) 6-2, 6-3; Rebeka Masarova (Spain) bt Ana Bogdan (Romania) 6-7 (9-11), 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (11-9); Marketa Vondrousova (Czech Republic) bt Gabriela Ruse (Romania) 7-5, 6-0; 25-Darya Kasatkina (Russia) bt Tsvetana Pironkova (Bulgaria) 6-2, 6-1; 19-Elena Rybakina (Kazakhstan) bt Aliaksandra Sasnovich (Belarus) 6-2, 6-3; Caroline Garcia (France) bt Harriet Dart (Great Britain) 6-7 (6-8), 6-4, 6-2; Kristina Kucova (Slovakia) bt Ann Li (US) 7-5, 6-1; 12-Simona Halep (Romania) bt Camila Giorgi (Italy) 6-4, 7-6 (7-3); 16-Angelique Kerber (Germany) bt Dayana Yastremska (Ukraine) 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) Anhelina Kalinina (Ukraine) bt Mayar Sherif (Egypt) 4-6, 6-1, 6-1; Sloane Stephens (US) bt Madison Keys (US) 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (9-7); 21-Cori Gauff (US) bt Magda Linette (Poland) 5-7, 6-3, 6-4; Kaia Kanepi (Estonia) bt 31-Yulia Putintseva (Kazakhstan) 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2; Leylah Fernandez (Canada) bt Ana Konjuh (Croatia) 7-6 (7-3), 6-2; Olga Danilovic (Serbia) bt Alycia Parks (US) 6-3, 7-5; 3-Naomi Osaka (Japan) bt Marie Bouzkova (Czech Republic) 6-4, 6-1; 8-Barbora Krejcikova (Czech Republic) bt Astra Sharma (Australia) 6-0, 6-4; Christina McHale (US) bt Emma Navarro (US) 6-1, 7-6 (7-5); Kamilla Rakhimova (Russia) bt Kristina Mladenovic (France) 2-6, 6-2, 6-3; 32-Ekaterina Alexandrova (Russia) bt Sara Errani (Italy) 6-3, 6-2; 18-Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) bt Tereza Martincova (Czech Republic) 6-4, 6-0; Jasmine Paolini (Italy) bt Yaroslava Shvedova (Kazakhstan) 6-3, 6-4; Andrea Petkovic (Germany) bt Irina Begu (Romania) 6-2, 7-6 (7-3); 9-Garbie Muguruza (Spain) bt Donna Vekic (Croatia) 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5); 15-Elise Mertens (Belgium) bt Rebecca Peterson (Sweden) 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5); Valentini Grammatikopoulou (Greece) bt Anna Blinkova (Russia) 6-3, 6-2; Mara Camila Osorio (Colombia) bt Ivana Jorovic (Serbia) 6-2, 6-2; 20-Ons Jabeur (Tunisia) bt Alize Cornet (France) 7-5, 7-5; 26-Danielle Collins (US) bt Carla Suarez (Spain) 6-2, 6-4; Kaja Juvan (Slovenia) bt Heather Watson (Great Britain) 6-1, 6-4; Tamara Zidansek (Slovenia) bt Bernarda Pera (US) 6-4, 7-6 (7-4); 2-Aryna Sabalenka (Belarus) bt Nina Stojanovic (Serbia) 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 6-0.

Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2021

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