US Open PIX: Opening round wins for Medvedev, Murray

Images from Day 1 of the 2022 US Open tennis tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows in New York on Monday.

Medvedev whacks aside American Kozlov to begin US Open title defence

World number one Daniil Medvedev opened his US Open title defence by walloping American Stefan Kozlov 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 in sweltering conditions on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday.

The Russian had an inconsistent run-up to Flushing Meadows but was back to top form on the court where he won his maiden Grand Slam title a year ago, sending across 10 aces and neutralising Kozlov’s serve.

“Most pleased to win first of all… not easy conditions,” said Medvedev, who repeatedly wrapped an ice towel around his neck to keep cool in the humid, 85-degree Fahrenheit (29.4 Celsius) conditions. “Serve was quite the key today.”

The pair traded breaks early in the first set before Medvedev got his motor running, clinching the next four games as Kozlov won fewer than half of his first-serve points.

Kozlov was no match for Medvedev’s raw power in the second set. The American scraped his wrist and knee after he dived to retrieve the ball, but ended up falling to the ground heavily in the ninth game that saw Medvedev break him to love.

He called on the trainer to tend to the injuries but Medvedev showed no mercy as he raced through the final set like a bullet train in just 27 minutes to set up a meeting with Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech in the second round.

Murray downs error-prone Cerundolo to reach second round

Andy Murray powered into the second round of the US Open with a comfortable 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 win over Argentine Francisco Cerundolo on Monday, as the former world number one rolled back the years at the scene of his first Grand Slam triumph a decade ago.

The 35-year-old Scot, who has battled various injuries in recent years, raced to a 5-2 lead early in the match but dropped his level slightly before edging a tight first set and breaking quickly in the next to put 24th seed Cerundolo under pressure.

Murray staved off a comeback attempt by Cerundolo to take the second set for a commanding lead and showed little signs of stepping off the gas pedal, as his opponent continued to make life difficult for himself with unforced errors.

A double break in the third set allowed twice Wimbledon champion Murray to surge ahead 4-1 and he sealed the win when Cerundolo sent a return long. Murray faces Australian John Millman or American Emilio Nava in the second round.

Wu ends China’s 63-year wait for men’s Grand Slam match win

Qualifier Wu Yibing gave China reason to cheer when he became the first man from the country in 63 years to win a men’s Grand Slam match after he beat Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 in the first round of the US Open on Monday.

Wu, who came through three qualifying matches, beat the 31st seed Basilashvili to walk in the footsteps of Fu Chi Mei, who overcame Ron Barnes in five sets in the first round of the 1959 Wimbledon Championships.

The 22-year-old Wu has come into the US Open in a rich vein of form having won two ATP Challenger titles back-to-back while he has also seen a steep rise in the rankings, moving from 1,869 in March to a career-high 174 now.

He was the world’s number one junior and no stranger to winning at Flushing Meadows after clinching the boys’ singles and doubles titles in 2017 to become the first Chinese male to win a Grand Slam title of any kind.

But it has not been plain sailing for the Chinese prodigy, however, as he did not play from March 2019 to January 2022 due to injuries to his elbow — which required surgery — back, shoulder and wrist.

“I don’t really like to talk about those injuries in too (much) detail because every player has injuries,” Wu had told the ATP website.

“The mental strength that you have to go through the pain is part of the game.”

Wu was almost joined in the second round by compatriot and Chinese number one Zhang Zhizhen but the 25-year-old was beaten by Tim van Rijthoven, who saved seven match points in the third set to seal an improbable 3-6 6-7(4) 7-6(9) 6-1 6-4 victory.

But Wu has hope they can both do well to keep China’s flag flying high.

“We are both pushing Chinese men’s tennis levels and we’re still young… I think we’re going to get to the Top 100,” he added.


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