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US Open | Highlights of Day 2

In every Grand Slam, 127 matches are contested in both the men’s and women’s singles draws as a field of 128 is paired down to one champion.

More than half of those matches have now been played, after Day 2 of the 2018 US Open concluded the opening round of both tournaments.

We were naked next to each other in the ice baths after battling for three sets, and it was a magnificent feeling I must say Novak Djokovic

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic win: Djokovic had to sweat his opening-round match in the midday heat, as he found himself down a break to Marton Fucsovics in a crucial third set, but the Serb regained the upper hand to go up two sets to one, then recovered his fitness thanks to a 10-minute heat break.

After they returned to the court, Djokovic won six straight games to close out the victory 6-3 3-6 6-4 6-0.

“Obviously, I haven’t experienced that before,” Djokovic said about the break. “That was the first time. I want to thank the US Open for allowing us to have the 10-minute break, because we both needed it.

“But we were not allowed to talk to any of our team in the locker room.

“We were naked next to each other in the ice baths after battling for three sets, and it was a magnificent feeling I must say,” laughed the Djoker.

Federer, on the other hand, breezed through his first-round match.

Ten years on from the last of his five consecutive US Open titles, the 20-time Grand Slam champion opened his 2018 campaign with an efficient three-set victory over Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan under the lights in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Federer and Djokovic are now three rounds away from a potential quarter-final showdown.

The two champions have split their 6 US Open meetings to date, with Djokovic taking the last three, including a four-set victory in the in the 2015 US Open final, their most recent New York encounter.

 

Extreme Heat Policy: As temperatures approached 100 degrees at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the USTA made the unprecedented decision to implement an Extreme Heat Policy for men’s matches on Day 2.

Similar to the WTA’s policy, this afforded players the opportunity to take a 10-minute break in between sets three and four of a split-sets match.

With similar conditions forecasted for through Thursday, this discretionary policy may come into play again during Round 2.

 

Four players fail to complete matches: How hot is too hot was the subject up for debate at the US Open on Tuesday after brutal conditions took their toll.

Four men were unable to complete their matches because of the effects of the heat and humidity, while Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic was also in trouble before recovering to beat Marton Fucsovics.

Stefano Travaglia complained he could not walk straight before he pulled the plug against Hubert Hurkacz.

Leonardo Mayer and Ricardas Berankis also succumbed while veteran Mikhail Youzhny was consoled by opponent Marcos Baghdatis as he lay stricken on court with cramp.

Several players claimed conditions were too extreme and that matches should not have been played at all.

Julien Benneteau, who defeated Marco Cecchinato, told French reporters: “With this heat and humidity, I think that they shouldn’t play between noon and 4pm. They were lucky. They only had retirements.”

Fucsovics was tied at one-set all and up a break on Djokovic when he also began to struggle with the heat, going on to lose 6-3 3-6 6-4 6-0.

He said: “It was fun to play in the Arthur Ashe Stadium, the first time for me, first time against Djokovic, but it wasn’t fun to play in the heat. I was dying after each point. It was too hot for tennis. It’s dangerous.”

Djokovic called for the doctor during the second set and asked for a bin to be placed next to his seat because he felt so nauseous.

With temperatures potentially even higher on Wednesday, a US Open spokesman said: “We will be doing this on a case-by-case basis, and so tomorrow we will be making that determination whether we will implement an extreme heat policy for the men for a second time.”

 

CoCo Vandeweghe exits early:  Kirsten Flipkens knocked out last year’s US Open semi-finalist CoCo Vandeweghe, 6-3 7-6, on Court 17.

The Belgian picked up her first career win over the big-serving American as well as her 25th career victory in the first round of Slams.

Vandeweghe, who was one of four American women to reach the US Open semi-finals last year, managed just 6 aces to 12 double faults.

The New York City native is currently on a five match losing streak, her last win coming back on 15 June over Alison Riske in s-Hertogenbosch.

 

Frances Tiafoe notches first US Open victory: In his fourth US Open main-draw appearance, 20-year-old Frances Tiafoe upset No. 29 seed Adrian Mannarino of France for his first victory in Flushing Meadows.

On Day 2 last year, the Maryland native pushed Roger Federer to five sets in Arthur Ashe Stadium as he announced himself to the tennis world.

He wouldn’t have to settle for a moral victory this time, as he fired 45 winners to the delight of a vocal Grandstand crowd on his way to Round 2.

 

Eugenie Bouchard rolls despite being hidden on a back court: The USTA didn’t give Eugenie Bouchard a wild card last week, making her fight her way into the main draw via last week’s qualifiers.

Then it placed the 24-year-old Montreal native on tiny Court 12 with its 1,700 seats for her first-round match, the last on the day’s card, but she is still around – six months after her USTA lawsuit over her infamous locker-room tumble was settled.

Bouchard, whose ranking has plummeted to 137, won 6-3 6-1 over Harmony Tan of France, the 20-year-old Tan, ranked 396th, who, ironically, did receive a wild card.

“I felt really bad coming here since the accident in 2015,’’ Bouchard said. “This year is the first year I’ve won a match since then. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. I’m happy that’s behind me — the lawsuit.’’

Bouchard, once ranked fourth in the world, sued the USTA six weeks after the 2015 Open, alleging she slipped on cleaning fluid in a darkened locker room. She withdrew from the Open and didn’t play the rest of the year after reportedly sustaining a concussion.

In 2014, she made the Wimbledon finals and semi-finals of the Australian Open and French Open.

 

Top-20 players complete perfect day: After a Day 1 that saw it’s fair share of upsets, all 18 Top 20 players safely passed through the the second round on Day 2.

All nine seeded players in action in Arthur Ashe and Louis Armstrong Stadium lived up to their billing, including Caroline Wozniacki, Madison Keys, Jelena Ostapenko, Angelique Kerber and Alexander Zverev.

No 22 Marco Cecchinato was the highest-seeded player to fall.

 

Day 3 will serve up more highlights as the top half of the men’s and women’ singles draws contest Round 2 on Wednesday.

Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams will once again headline the Arthur Ashe Stadium evening session, after Andy Murray battles No 31 Fernando Verdasco during the day.

Sloane Stephens will play in Ashe for the first time since she won her title there one year ago, as she opens the day’s slate on the show court.

Men’s and women’s doubles action will also get underway on Day 3, ensuring that the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center will be abuzz with action deep into the night.

 






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