Djokovic cruises into US Open second round

Published by Reuters

Novak Djokovic celebrates his first-round victory over Roberto Carballes Baena in the opening round of the US Open (Getty Images)
Top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic drops just nine games in his opening match at Flushing Meadows to Roberto Carballes Baena.

World No.1 Novak Djokovic was among a string of seeded players to win their first-round matches at the US Open on Monday.

The Serb begun his US Open title defence in style with a straight-sets win over Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena.

World No.5 Daniil Medvedev continued his recent good form with a 6-4 6-1 6-2 defeat of India’s Prajnesh Gunneswaran, despite taking a medical timeout during the match.

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Seventh-seeded Kei Nishikori became the first player into the second round when qualifier Marco Trungelliti had to retire with the 2014 US Open runner-up leading 6-1 4-1.

Belgian 15th seed David Goffin needed four sets to account for Corentin Moutet while other seeded players to advance were

Borna Coric, Lucas Pouille, Nikoloz Basilashvili and Dusan Lajovic.

Reilly Opelka fired 26 aces in his upset 6-3 6-4 6-7(6) 6-3 victory over 11th-seeded Fabio Fognini in the American’s first main-draw match at the tournament.

Teenage qualifier Jenson Brooksby beat former world No.4 Tomas Berdych 6-1 2-6 6-4 6-4 for his first career win at a Grand Slam. The 33-year-old Berdych said after the match he was “very close” to considering retirement after battling injuries for much of this year.

Djokovic cruises

Top seed Djokovic, who has claimed four of the past five Grand Slam titles, took some time to settle in his first career meeting with Carballes Baena but ultimately romped to a 6-4 6-1 6-4 victory in less than two hours in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“I really like the conditions of the balls, the speed of the court, the weather is fantastic. You know, it’s just very enjoyable,” said Djokovic, who beat Juan Martin del Potro in last year’s final.

Djokovic remains undefeated in 14 opening-round encounters at Flushing Meadows and that streak was never in doubt against world No.76 Carballes Baena.

“Obviously it’s not the first time to be in the second round so I know what I need to do,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview.

Up next for Djokovic will be Argentine Juan Ignacio Londero, who overcame American Sam Querrey in four sets.

“I’m grateful that at this stage of my life and career I am still competing at a Grand Slam at a high level,” said Djokovic, who has 16 major titles to his name.

“We sometimes have to remind ourselves of these blessings.”

Medvedev, meanwhile, charged through the third set in Louis Armstrong Stadium in the latest of a series of impressive performances for the rising Russian, who contested three successive ATP singles finals this month and won his maiden Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati.

Asked if he could challenge Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, Medvedev said he was not going to get ahead of himself.

“At this moment of my career I haven’t even been in the quarters of a slam yet,” he said.

“So that’s the first step to make, and if I make this step, then I can talk about bigger goals and bigger achievements.”

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