Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic suffered in sweltering US Open conditions Tuesday but battled through to the second round with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4,6-0 victory over Hungarian Marton Fucsovics.
Djokovic, playing his first match on Arthur Ashe Stadium since falling to Stan Wawrinka in 2016 final, received a brutal welcome back to Flushing Meadows as soaring temperatures and high humidity prompted organizers to offer the men a 10-minute mid-match heat break for the first time ever.
His Cincinnati Masters victory over Roger Federer stamped him a US Open favorite along with defending champion Rafael Nadal, despite his modest sixth seeding.
He certainly looked a contender as he reeled off the last 10 games against Fucsovics, showing signs of sharper focus even before the 10-minute heat break between the third and fourth sets.
Federer, the second seed, escaped the worst of the conditions as he headlined the night session on Ashe.
Nor did he meet much resistance from Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka in a 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 victory.
Fourth-seeded German Alexander Zverev kept his time in the sun to a minimum with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 victory over Canadian lucky loser Peter Polansky.
And Australian Nick Kyrgios, opening the evening action on Louis Armstrong stadium, fired 25 aces and 48 total winners in a 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Moldova’s Radu Albot.
Women’s second seed Caroline Wozniacki took the weather in stride, trying, to “think cool thoughts” as she defeated 2011 champion, Samantha Stosur 6-3, 6-2.
Maria Sharapova, who won the last of her five Grand Slam titles in 2014, advanced 6-2, 7-6 (8/6) over Patty Schnyder, out of retirement and at 39 the oldest player to qualify for a Grand Slam main draw.
Meanwhile, India’s top singles player Yuki Bhambri once again failed to clear the first round hurdle of a Grand Slam losing to Frenchman Pierre Hugues Herbert in straight sets.
Bhambri lost 3-6, 6-7 (3/7), 5-7 to Herbert in a match that lasted nearly two and half hours.
Men’s 1st rd: Marin Cilic (CRO x7) bt Marius Copil (ROM) 7-5, 6-1, 1-1 – retired; Kei Nishikori (JPN x21) bt Maximilian Martere (GER) 6-2, 6-2, 6-3; Alexander Zverev (GER x4) bt Peter Polansky (CAN) 6-1, 6-2, 6-2; Novak Djokovic (SRB x6) bt Marton Fucsovics (HUN) 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0; Nick Kyios (AUS x30) bt Radu Albot (MDA) 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2; Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) bt Yuki Bhambri (IND) 6-3, 7-6 (7/3), 7-5; Roger Federer (SUI x2) bt Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) 6-2, 6-2, 6-4.
Women’s 1st rd: Caroline Garcia (FRA x6) bt Johanna Konta (GBR) 6-2, 6-2 Carla Suarez (ESP x30) bt Nicole Gibbs (USA) 5-7, 6-3, 6-4; Maria Sharapova (RUS x22) bt patty schnyder (SUI) 6-2, 7-6 (8/6); Jelena Ostapenko (LAT x10) bt Andrea Petkovic (GER) 6-4, 4-6, 7-5; Angelique Kerner (GER x4) bt Margatita Gaspryan (RUS) 7-6 (7/5), 6-3; Petra Kvitova (CZE x5) bt Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 6-1, 6-4.
From Online Sources