Tennis

US Open 2019: Nishikori cruises into second round

Australia’s Ashleigh Barty plays a shot during the first round of the US Open tennis tournament, in New York on August 26, 2019.

Australia’s Ashleigh Barty plays a shot during the first round of the US Open tennis tournament, in New York on August 26, 2019.   | Photo Credit: AP

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Ashleigh Barty skyrocketed to fame in June at Roland Garros.

Kei Nishikori became the first man to advance to the U.S. Open second round as the 2014 finalist beat qualifier Marco Trungelliti, who was forced to retire with the Japanese leading 6-1 4-1 on Monday.

Nishikori's serve clicked from the start and the seventh seed won 90% of his first-serve points while never facing a break point against the Argentine in 47 minutes on Grandstand.

The seventh seed said the abbreviated match was probably better for his body but not entirely to his liking.

“That's going to help me physically,” he told reporters.

“But honestly I wanted to play a little more because I was feeling good on the court and I wanted to get a little more confidence and play more points. I think my rhythm was going.”

Nishikori said the path to his first Grand Slam title would go through the “big three” of Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer, who are the tournament's top three seeds.

“I hope I can be the one to beat the top three but I feel like those three guys are still at a different level,” he said, adding that he thought the long-awaited changing of the guard in men's tennis was brewing.

“I think a couple of guys are getting closer,” he said, mentioning himself, Dominic Thiem, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov, Daniil Medvedev and Nick Kyrgios as players on the rise.

Next up for Nishikori is a second-round clash with Bradley Klahn on Wednesday after the American defeated Thiago Monteiro 6-3 6-2 6-3 in the first round.

Barty survives first-round fright

French Open champion Ash Barty survived a first-round scare at the U.S. Open on Monday, staving off 25-year-old Zarina Diyas 1-6 6-3 6-2 after struggling to find her footing as the action kicked off at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The unseeded Diyas, from Kazakhstan, took five straight games in the first set, as the world No.2 committed a string of unforced errors and got in just 25% of her first serves.

Barty was able to stop the pain midway through the second set, converting on a crucial break-point opportunity to take a 5-3 lead and reverse the momentum in what had been a one-sided match.

The 23-year-old Australian, who reached the fourth round here last year, appeared to be back on form by the third set, getting in nearly two-thirds of her first serves and firing off 12 winners.

Barty skyrocketed to fame in June at Roland Garros, where she became the first Australian woman in 46 years to win a Grand Slam after downing Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova in straight sets.

She followed up that performance with a win at the Birmingham Classic and a brief stint atop the WTA singles rankings, before bowing out of the Eastbourne grass court tournament with an arm injury.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 11:14:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/us-open-tennis-tournament-2019-day-1/article29263449.ece

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