New York | Alcaraz gets off to a good start as do the four Brits in action

The bottom half of the men’s draw was successfully completed on Monday, the opening day of the US Open, the fourth and final major of the season leaving the top half to follow suit on Tuesday, despite the threat of rain which was expected later but never arrived.

It’s very unfortunate for him but I was feeling really good on court. It’s a court I love playing in. I felt the same energy I felt last year Carlos Alcaraz

The second day’s schedule included the top seed and defending champion Carlos Alcaraz, plus the third seed and 2021 champion Daniil Medvedev and two former champion, Britain’s Andy Murray (2012) and the Swiss star Stan Wawrinka (2016), both respectively aged 38 and 36 and veterans of Flushing Meadows playing the event for a 17th and 16th time.

Also playing for a 17th time is John Isner, the former top American who announced on the eve of this year’s event, that it would be his last tournament on the pro tour.

All secured second round places as did the four Brits that were in action in an unprecedented day for Britain; all securing their wins without dropping a set.

Former world No.1 Murray kept himself in tight control while his volatile French opponent Corentin Moutet lost his cool in a fiercely entertaining match 6-2 7-5 6-3.

Earlier in the day Cameron Norrie had dispatched Alexander Shevchenko 6-3 6-2 6-2 while Jack Draper took out Rado Albot of Moldovia 6-1 6-4 6-3 and Dan Evans completed an excellent day of results for Britain with a 6-4 6-2 7-5 victory over Colombian Daniel Elehi Galan.

Murray’s experience prevailed over the combustible Moutet world ranked 72, and to the delight of his fans, there were no signs of the abdominal injury which had plagued him over recent week as he was pushed to the limit in humid conditions.

Andy Murray leads the British challenge

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Murray saved two set points as he recovered from a break down in the second set to close it out with a run of four consecutive games.

Moutet was frustrated by his inability to make any marked impression on the Murray game and at one point smashed his racket as he struggled to level the match.

In an action packed third set, Moutet took a fall, landing awkwardly on his left wrist as Murray seemed to be dealing with cramp and the umpire called on VAR (being used for the first time at a major), to clear up a double bounce query.

“It was an amazing match,” Murray said after his two-hour, 56-minute victory, his 200th at grand slam level and only the ninth player to achieve that singles milestone.

“He is one of the most skilful players on the tour, he has so many different ways to disrupt you.

“He always causes a bit of chaos out there. I hope it was entertaining, there were a lot of fun points. I’m happy to get through because the second set was so tight.”

Next up for Murray is Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov who will need a day’s rest after battling for four-hours and 38-minutes to defeat the Slovak, Alex Molcan from two sets down and saving three match points for his 6-7(9) 6-7(5) 6-1 7-5 7-6(9) victory.

Norrie admitted later that he had been nervous at the start of his match as his results since Wimbledon had left a lot to be desired.

Despite his poor and winless run, he produced, as the 16th seed, a confident performance to take out the Russian Shevchenko, world ranked 83, in 91-minutes.

The 28-year-old left-handed British No.1 will play Taiwanese qualifier Hsu Yu-hsiou, who beat Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-3 6-4 3-6 6-3, in round two.

As with Murray, Draper’s form was very much under scrutiny having suffered a series of injuries this year which have hampered his progress, more recently a shoulder problem which forced him to retire from the Winston-Salem Open last week.

The 21-year-old, who was ranked 38th at the start of the season, said he will be dealing with the issue “day by day” at Flushing Meadows and there was little suggestion that he had a problem as he powered his way past Albot for the loss of just 8 games.

The powerful leftie goes on to face Polish 17th seed Hubert Hurkacz who eventually got the better of Swiss Marc-Andrea Huessler 4-6 5-7 7-6(0) 6-3 6-1 after three-hours and 12-minutes.

British men’s number two Evans, who is seeded 26th, secured a routine victory over world number 71 Galan in a first meeting between the pair.

The 33-year-old will now face Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp in the next round with the possibility of facing Carlos Alcaraz in the third!

The Spanish 20-year-old, who had faced seven three set-matches in his build up to Flushing Meadows, eased himself into the defence of his title helped by Germany’s Dominik Koepfer who retired after and hours play with an ankle injury, which he had picked up during the first game of the match.

He received treatment but was unable to continue and threw in the towel with the score standing 6-2 3-2 in favour of Alcaraz.

“It’s obviously not the best way to get through to the next round,” Alcaraz said. “It’s very unfortunate for him but I was feeling really good on court. It’s a court I love playing in. I felt the same energy I felt last year.”

Jannik Sinner, the Canadian champion, is on a roll

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

At the same time, Jannik Sinner, the Italian seeded six, also faced a German and dropped just five games to roll through 6-3, 6-1 6-1.

“I was playing good, I was returning good,” Sinner said. “Sometimes the serve could be a little bit better. But the atmosphere is obviously very nice. I know physically I’m healthy, which is most important.”

In the afternoon, Daniil Medvedev got things started by hammering the 34-year-old Attila Balasz over 74-minutes, 6-1 6-1 6-0 for what must have been the easiest win of the day.

“It is always good to start well,” the Russian, seeded three, “I am happy with my performance. I am looking forward to the next matches and to play for as long as possible in New York. I hope I can play better and better each match as each one is going to be more difficult.”

Elsewhere, Andrey Rublev (8) cruised past Lucky Loser Arthur Cazaux of France 6-4 7-6(5) 6-1. Michael Mmoh of the US upended last year’s semi-finalist Karen Khachanov 6-2 6-4 6-2 Alex De Minaur (13) of Australia bested Kazakhstani Timofey Skatov 6-2 3-6 6-1 7-5.

Former finalist Alexander Zverev continues to post some positive results this time beating Australia’s Aleksandar Vukic 6-4 6-4 6-4 and the French 19-year-old Arthur Fils posted a strong win in his debut upsetting Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor (24) 4-6 6-3 5-7 6-4 7-5.

The Chilean Nicolas Jarry (23) got the better of(Luca Van Assche of France 6-3 3-6 6-2 7-6(3), while Argentina’s Tomas Martin Etcheverry (30) was pushed all the way by qualifier Otto Virtanen of Finland 6-3 6-7(3) 1-6 6-4 7-6(10-5) and Italy’s Matteo Berrettini upset Poland’s Ugo Humbert (29), 6-4 6-2 6-2.

Finally John Isner, aged 38, delayed his retirement by at least one match by beating Argentina’s Facundo Diaz Acosta 6-4 6-3 7-6(1).

John Isner celebrates with his family following his opening round win on what will be his last appearance at Flushing Meadows.

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)



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