Djokovic survives brutal climate

AFP
Novak Djokovic suffered in sweltering US Open conditions on Tuesday but battled through to the second round with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 victory over Hungarian Marton Fucsovics.
AFP
Reuters

Novak Djokovic takes a heat break during his US Open first-round match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on Tuesday.

Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic suffered in sweltering US Open conditions on 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 the 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.

“We both struggled. We were not the only ones today. Brutal conditions,” said Djokovic, who called for trainers who enveloped him in ice packed towels late in the second set.

“I had to find a way to dig myself out of the trouble.”

Until late in the third it was “survival mode” said Djokovic, who endured a rocky start to the season after elbow surgery before breaking through for a 13th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon.

Roger 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.

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.

Italy’s Stefano Travaglia, Argentine Leonardo Mayer, Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis, Russian Mikhail Youzhny and Serbian Filip Krajinovic were all victims of the heat while Romanian Marius Copil succumbed to an arm injury in the third set of his match with seventh-seeded former champion Marin Cilic.

Cool thoughts

Women’s second seed Caroline Wozniacki tried to “think cool thoughts” as she defeated 2011 champion Samantha Stosur 6-3, 6-2.

For Alize Cornet, however, the steamy conditions were a “nightmare” that had her weeping courtside during a three-set loss to Johanna Larsson.

In other women’s matches, reigning Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber, seeded fourth, defeated Russian Margarita Gasparyan 7-6 (5), 6-3.

Two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova beat Belgian Yanina Wickmayer 6-1, 6-4 and 2017 runner-up Madison Keys downed France’s Pauline Parmentier 6-4, 6-4.

Maria Sharapova, who won the last of her five Grand Slam titles in 2014, advanced 6-2, 7-6 (6) over Patty Schnyder, out of retirement and at 39 the oldest player to qualify for a Grand Slam main draw.


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