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Big names off to a flying start at 2020 US Open

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Roar Guru
1st September, 2020
1

It was a mostly upset-free Day 1 at the 2020 US Open, with some of the sport’s biggest names advancing to the second round.

Among those to win were top seeds Novak Djokovic and Karolina Pliskova, as well as former champions Naomi Osaka and Angelique Kerber, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

But American marathon man John Isner wasn’t so lucky, living up to his name in a five-set thriller against compatriot Steve Johnson but eventually losing in a final-set tiebreak after having led by two sets to one.

On the women’s side, only one seed fell – 32nd-seeded Swede Rebecca Peterson, who lost to former Wimbledon semi-finalist Kirsten Flipkens in her opening match.

Teenage sensation Coco Gauff also saw her tournament end abruptly, going down to former semi-finalist and 31st seed Anastasija Sevastova in three sets.

Coco Gauff

Coco Gauff (Jason Heidrich/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kicking off action at an empty Arthur Ashe Stadium, top-seeded Pliskova wasted little time in disposing of Anhelina Kalinina in straight sets, for the loss of just four games.

The 2016 finalist now faces a tough second-round assignment, former French top ten player Caroline Garcia, as she closes in on a potential fourth-round rematch of the 2016 decider, against Angelique Kerber.

Kerber took just under 90 minutes to see off the challenge of Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic, winning 6-4, 6-4. Next for her is compatriot Anna-Lena Friedsam.

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30-year-old Kvitova was barely challenged against Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu, dropping just five games in a straight-forward 6-3, 6-2 victory.

However, her potential quarter-final opponent, 2018 champion Osaka, required three sets to defeat compatriot Misaki Doi – of the two sets she won, she lost just two games in each, but lost the middle set 7-5.

The high risk of COVID-19 transmission means that this is the first Major to ever be held without fans being permitted to attend and, in the absence of fans, screens were instead set up around Arthur Ashe Stadium showing fans cheering on from home.

Protocols are also in place so that if a player tests positive to coronavirus, they will be withdrawn from the tournament and their would-be opponent (from Round 2 onwards) would get a walkover into the next round.

This was enforced as Frenchman Benoit Paire withdrew from the tournament after testing positive to the disease, being replaced in the draw by Spaniard Marcel Granollers.

Further in the men’s division, world number one Novak Djokovic defeated Damir Dzumhur in straight sets for the loss of only six games.

Of his two biggest threats, fourth seed Tsitsipas dropped only four games in a straight-sets thrashing of Spaniard Albert Ramos Vinolas, while Zverev needed four sets to see off 2017 finalist Kevin Anderson, against whom he still remains undefeated.

13th-seed Cristian Garin was stretched to the limit, having to come from two-sets-to-love down to defeat American wildcard Ulises Blanch.

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The bottom halves begin their campaigns this morning (AEST), with former champions Andy Murray and Serena Williams headlining the daytime action.

Murray, who is competing in his first Major tournament since last year’s Australian Open, kicks off play when he comes up against Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka, while Williams is up against compatriot Kristie Ahn.

Serena Williams

Serena Williams (Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images)

In the evening, Serena’s elder sister Venus comes up against Karolina Muchova, then last year’s beaten finalist, Daniil Medvedev, takes on Federico Delbonis.

Both second seeds, Dominic Thiem and reigning Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, will feature on Louis Armstrong Stadium, as will two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza, 2017 runner-up Madison Keys and former world number three Grigor Dimitrov.

2017 champion Sloane Stephens, 2014 titlist Marin Cilic, former world number one Victoria Azarenka, and three-time champion Kim Clijsters begin their campaigns on the outside courts.

This is Clijsters’ first appearance at Flushing Meadows since 2012, where she retired from professional tennis for the second time after losing to Great Britain’s Laura Robson in the second round.

Australia’s highest-ranked representative, Alex de Minaur, is also in action this morning, as is 2018 quarter-finalist John Millman.

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Matches to watch on Day 2

Arthur Ashe Stadium
Day session – play starts at 12:00pm (2:00am AEST)
Andy Murray (GBR) vs Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN)
Kristie Ahn (USA) vs [3] Serena Williams (USA)

Night session – play starts at 7:00pm (9:00am AEST)
[20] Karolina Muchova (CZE) vs Venus Williams (USA)
Federico Delbonis (ARG) vs [3] Daniil Medvedev (RUS)

Louis Armstrong Stadium
Nao Hibino (JPN) vs [10] Garbine Muguruza (ESP)
Jaume Minar (ESP) vs [2] Dominic Thiem (AUT)
Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) vs [2] Sofia Kenin (USA)

Not before 5:00pm (7:00am AEST)
[7] Madison Keys (USA) vs Timea Babos (HUN)
[14] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) vs Tommy Paul (USA)

Court 5
Heather Watson (GBR) vs [9] Johanna Konta (GBR)
Victoria Azarenka (BLR) vs Barbara Haas (AUT)
Frances Tiafoe (USA) vs Andreas Seppi (ITA)

Court 11
[21] Alex de Minaur (AUS) vs Andrej Martin (SVK)
Kim Clijsters (BEL) vs [21] Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS)

Court 7
[31] Marin Cilic (CRO) vs Denis Kudla (USA)
[5] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) vs Oceane Dodin (FRA)
John Millman (AUS) vs [22] Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO)

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Please note: the Grandstand is not being used this year, as it was the main venue for the recently-concluded Cincinnati Masters.