The top-seeds in both the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles draws kicked off their 2021 U.S. Open campaigns on Tuesday, and while both were tested, both came through to advance and secure their spots in the second round.
Up first was Australian Ash Barty, and she carried momentum from her Cincinnati title last week to defeat former finalist Vera Zvonareva 6-1, 7-6(7).
“I think in the first set I served exceptionally well. She was a little bit loose off her racquet and she gave me a few cheapies. And in the second, the 2-1 game serving and 5-4 game serving I just played two poor service games. She was able to take advantage of some second serves and a few cheapies from my end,” explained Barty. “I think all in all being able to work my way around that and kind of get through that in straight sets was really pleasing. I think when my back was against the wall late in that [breaker], I came up with some really good stuff.
That's all we can ask is when your back is against the wall, you trust yourself, you go out there and pick your spots and hit them.”
Barty is in search of her third career Slam title this fortnight in Flushing Meadows. The second part of her quest will be a matchup with Danish teenager Clara Tauson, who recorded a 7-5, 6-0 win over France’s Clara Burel.
“We have to have a look and go in with a clear game plan and then try and execute for us, even though we haven't seen her play or come up against her or hit with her,” said Barty. “That doesn't change our planning and preparation going into it.”
Djokovic was first up on the Arthur Ashe Stadium Night Session on Tuesday evening, and was pushed a bit by young Dane Holger Rune. Djokovic had a dip of form in the second set which allowed a fired up Rune to battle into a tiebreak with the 20-time major champion.
Rune played exceptional in the breaker and took the second set, but he cramped as the third set went on and was hobbled the rest of the way, unable to move without any discomfort. Djokovic routinely won the final two sets and advanced 6-1, 6-7(2), 6-2, 6-1.
“Credit to him for fighting. He had the crowd behind him. It was tough to play in my first match, even though I had tons of experience playing on this court, for him it was the first one,” said Djokovic. “Still, you get nerves. You still are feeling a little bit rusty at the beginning. Obviously I'm pleased with the way I finished the match. Again, it was not a fair battle on the court with his unfortunate injury and cramping."
Novak Djokovic and Holger Rune shake hands after a hard-fought four-set match on Tuesday night. (Photo Credit: Garrett Ellwood/USTA)
Djokovic is aiming to make history in Queens as he seeks his record-tying 21st major, but is also looking to become the first man to win the Calendar Slam since Rod Laver in 1969. He plays Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands next.
The final match of Day Two saw former champion and ninth-seed Bianca Andreescu outlast Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic 7-5, 4-6, 7-5.
"I definitely haven't had a lot of matches in but I feel very comfortable playing on this court," said Andreescu. "I'm able to go back to the feelings that I had in 2019 and that confidence a little bit more than other tournaments, maybe it's the court, the tournament, all of that. I channeled a lot in the match and honestly, it was super, super close. It really came down to a couple of points. I just fought the hardest, honestly. It could have gone both ways."
Bianca Andreescu hung on to advance to the second round on Tuesday night. (Photo Credit: Manuela Davies/USTA)
Andreescu will play American Lauren Davis next as the American defeated Bulgaria’s Viktoriya Tomova 6-2, 2-6, 6-3.