U.S. Open Day 1: Live Coverage

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Welcome to live coverage of day one of the U.S. Open. Here are the results so far:

11 p.m.

Novak Djokovic was bothered by his right arm during a first-round victory at the U.S. Open, getting treatment from a trainer, hitting slow serves and grimacing after some shots.

Still, the defending champion got through the match Monday night, beating Jerzy Janowicz of Poland 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1.

This was the No. 1-ranked Djokovic’s first Grand Slam match since losing to Sam Querrey in the third round of Wimbledon.

Djokovic spoke before the U.S. Open about dealing with a left wrist injury that flared up in the days before the Rio Olympics this month. But it was his right arm that was problematic against Janowicz, a former top-20 player who reached the semifinals at Wimbledon in 2013 and is now ranked 247th after his own series of injury issues.

9:40 p.m.

Jack Sock withstood Taylor Fritz’s repeated comebacks to win the second five-set match between American men Monday at the U.S. Open.

The 26th-seeded Sock took the first two sets, dropped the next two, then went up two breaks in the fifth only for the 18-year-old Fritz to erase both of those. But Sock broke Fritz’s serve again to clinch a 7-6 (3), 7-5, 3-6, 1-6, 6-4 win in 3 hours, 21 minutes.

Sock overcame 17 double-faults and 73 unforced errors to beat Fritz in five sets in the first round at a major for the second time this year – they also met at the Australian Open in Fritz’s Grand Slam debut. The players combined for 99 winners Monday.

Fritz, last year’s U.S. Open boys singles champ, is ranked a career-best 53rd.

9:10 p.m.

Fifth-seeded Milos Raonic advanced to the second round at the U.S. Open with a straight-set win.

The Wimbledon runner-up beat 86th-ranked Dustin Brown 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 on Monday. Raonic had 41 winners.

The U.S. Open is the only major at which the Canadian has yet to make at least the quarterfinals.

Brown upset Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in the second round last year.

7:55 p.m.

Arthur Ashe Stadium’s new roof has made its world premiere.

As Phil Collins sang the first notes of “In the Air Tonight” during the U.S. Open’s opening ceremony Monday night, the two retractable panels began to slide apart. Less than five minutes later, just after the song had ended, they had fully opened to reveal a hazy sky.

Many fans’ eyes and smartphones pointed upward instead of at the on-court stage as Collins performed. He was later joined by “Hamilton” original cast member Leslie Odom Jr.

There was no rain Monday to formally test the $150 million roof, but it still got a workout as part of the opening festivities. Officials closed it after the day session.

6:50 p.m.

Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig has lost in the first round of the U.S. Open.

The 32nd-seeded Puig was upset by 61st-ranked Zheng Saisai 6-4, 6-2 on Monday. Puig had insisted Saturday that she was mentally ready for the year’s final major after the whirlwind of the past couple of weeks, when she stunningly beat three Grand Slam champions to become Puerto Rico’s first gold medalist and was feted at a parade on the island.

Still, she recognized it was quite possible her U.S. Open trip wouldn’t go well, reminding herself that she’s just 22 years old. She’s now 1-3 at Flushing Meadows.

Zheng, also 22, upset Agnieszka Radwanska at the Olympics. She’ll be seeking to make it to the third round at a major for the first time.

6:20 p.m.

French Open champ Garbine Muguruza says she thinks the heat caused her to have trouble breathing early in her U.S Open first-round match.

The third-seeded Spaniard had to call for the trainer after dropping the first set to Belgian qualifier Elise Mertens with temperatures in the low 90s. Muguruza said after Monday’s three-set victory that she had forgotten there were towels with ice available to cool off during changeovers. She also was able to relax more, which helped.

Muguruza says she had some trouble breathing in practice a couple of days earlier as well, but she felt fine during her warmup Monday. The conditions reminded her of the Australian Open, though she never remembered it being this uncomfortable in New York.

Then again, the 22-year-old has never stuck around past the second round in singles at the U.S. Open.

5:35 p.m.

French tennis star Gael Monfils often brings down the house with his wild shots.

In the first round of the U.S. Open on Monday, his play took down a panel along the back of Court 17. Trying to chase an overhead, Monfils went leaping into the wall to attempt to reach the ball.

His right foot kicked a clock apparatus, and a moment later as he was reaching down to pick up his racket, the whole panel tumbled forward, spilling out wires from behind and clipping the back of his heels.

Monfils was feeling fortunate afterward that he hadn’t been seriously injured. The digital panel was in worse shape from the collision, with the pieces all askew.

Asked if he had realized how hard he hit the wall, Monfils said: “When you are in the moment you don’t feel really anything. Just jump.”

The 10th-seeded Frenchman went on to beat Gilles Muller 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (5).

5:15 p.m.

In a matchup of American tennis present and future, 31-year-old John Isner rallied from down two sets to edge 18-year-old Frances Tiafoe in the first round of the U.S. Open.

The 125th-ranked Tiafoe had a chance to serve out the match in the fifth set Monday, but Isner broke back then pulled away in the final tiebreaker to win 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2, 7-6 (3) in 3 hours, 27 minutes.

It was just the second career comeback from two sets down for Isner. Tiafoe had never before played a five-set match.

The 20th-seeded Isner has finished each of the last four years as the top-ranked U.S. man and has now won 11 straight Grand Slam first-round matches. He’s 5-0 against fellow Americans at majors.

Tiafoe, who got in with a wild card, has just two career tour-level wins. He had played in two previous Grand Slam tournaments, losing in the first round both times.

4:50 p.m.

French Open champ Garbine Muguruza lost the first set, called for the trainer and complained about trouble breathing. She won the second set without dropping a game, then pulled out a tough third set to move on at the U.S. Open.

The third-seeded Spaniard beat Belgian qualifier Elise Mertens 2-6, 6-0, 6-3 in the first round Monday. She had to save a break point at 3-3 in the third.

The 22-year-old Muguruza went just 3-3 in her next six matches after winning her first major title at Roland Garros, before making a semifinal run at Cincinnati.

With temperatures in the low 90s, the heat rule went into effect before the third set, giving the players a 10-minute break.

The 137th-ranked Mertens is 20 years old and was making her Grand Slam debut. This was the first time she faced a top-20 opponent.

Muguruza has never gone past the second round at the U.S. Open.

4:45 p.m.

Playing with his left wrist heavily bandaged, Rafael Nadal won his first Grand Slam match in more than three months, easily beating Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 at the U.S. Open.

Nadal’s first-round victory in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday was straightforward. He produced 14 of his 21 winners via his forehand, which showed little sign of being troubled by a wrist he says is still not completely healed.

Nadal hadn’t played at a major since winning his second-round match at the French Open on May 26. He then withdrew from Roland Garros before the third round and sat out Wimbledon because of the problematic wrist.

3:20 p.m.

American teen CiCi Bellis is now 2 for 2 in the first round of the U.S. Open.

The darling of the 2014 tournament after she stunned Australian Open runner-up Dominika Cibulkova as a 15-year-old, Bellis is back in the main draw this year and beat 65th-ranked Viktorija Golubic 6-2, 6-3 on Monday.

Bellis, now 17, is ranked 158th and advanced through qualifying to make the field. She next faces another American, Shelby Rogers, who upset 27th-seeded Sara Errani.

2:45 p.m.

Polona Hercog says she had been sick for several days before her first-round U.S. Open match, in which she retired after suffering from dizziness and cramping.

The 120th-ranked Slovenian was trailing 6-0, 1-0 to second-seeded Angelique Kerber on Monday. Hercog says she felt dizzy after long rallies, and her legs started cramping in the fourth or fifth game. The 90-degree heat didn’t help.

Had Hercog withdrawn before the match, a “lucky loser” who fell in qualifying could have replaced her. Told that Croatian player Donna Vekic had sarcastically tweeted “classy” about the match, Hercog said: “It’s not my fault she lost in the last round of qualies.”

Hercog says she felt OK during warmups and wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to face the Australian Open champ on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

2:05 p.m.

Two-time U.S. Open runner-up Caroline Wozniacki rallied from a set down for her first Grand Slam match win of 2016.

Wozniacki beat American qualifier Taylor Townsend 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Monday in the first-ever match at the new 8,000-seat Grandstand. She lost in the first round at this year’s Australian Open and Wimbledon and skipped the French Open because of a right ankle injury that forced her to miss 2+ months. The former No. 1 player’s ranking has slipped to 74th, and she’s unseeded at Flushing Meadows for the first time since her debut in 2007.

The 20-year-old Townsend, ranked 146th, was playing her second U.S. Open.

1:50 p.m.

Australian Open champ Angelique Kerber advanced to the second round at the U.S. Open when her opponent retired early in the second set without winning a game.

The second-seeded Kerber led 6-0, 1-0 after 33 minutes when Polona Hercog stopped. The 120th-ranked Slovenian won just nine points in seven games.

After the first set on a 90-degree day, Hercog took a medical timeout. Trainers checked her blood pressure and rubbed ice bags on her legs.

Hercog, who’s never been past the third round at a major, came in 2-1 against Kerber in tour-level matches, though they hadn’t met since 2011.

Kerber, who lost to Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final, has a chance to overtake her for the No. 1 ranking depending on their results at Flushing Meadows.

1:30 p.m.

Richard Gasquet, the first seeded player to lose at the U.S. Open, summed up his quick exit this way: “Not sure I could do worse.”

The 13th-seeded Gasquet, a semifinalist at Flushing Meadows in 2013, hadn’t lost in the first round at a Grand Slam tournament since the French Open 6+ years ago.

His 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 loss Monday was the first career victory over a player ranked in the top 15 for No. 84 Kyle Edmund of Britain.

1:25 p.m.

Marin Cilic, the 2014 U.S. Open champ, is through to the second round with a straight-set win.

The seventh-seeded Cilic beat 108th-ranked Rogerio Dutra Silva 6-4, 7-5, 6-1 on Monday despite posting more unforced errors than winners (24-23). Cilic is coming off his first Masters title, beating Andy Murray in the final at Cincinnati.

Dutra Silva is now 0-3 against top-10 players. He came in 3-3 in his career at the U.S. Open and 0-5 in the other majors.

1:05 p.m.

In his U.S. Open debut, Kyle Edmund has upset 13th-seeded Richard Gasquet.

The 21-year-old Brit won 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 on Monday against the 2013 U.S. Open semifinalist. Edmund, ranked 84th, had 40 winners, 21 on his forehand. He has twice made it to the second round at the French Open.

Gasquet hadn’t lost in the first round at a major since 2010 at Roland Garros.

12:45 p.m.

The woman who stunned Serena Williams at last year’s U.S. Open en route to the final, Roberta Vinci of Italy, won the first match in the tournament’s refurbished Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Vinci, who is seeded No. 7, overcame some second-set jitters to beat 46th-ranked Anna-Lena Friedsam of Germany 6-2, 6-4 on Monday.

In the 2015 semifinals at Flushing Meadows, Vinci – unseeded and ranked 43rd at the time – upset Williams, ending the American’s bid for tennis’ first calendar-year Grand Slam in 27 years. That put Vinci into her first major final, where she lost to another Italian, childhood friend Flavia Pennetta.

The temperature hit 90 degrees Monday, but the new retractable roof atop Ashe provided some shade for spectators – and, on one side of the court, players.

11:20 a.m.

Play has started at the 2016 U.S. Open under sunny skies with no rain in the forecast for days, which could delay the first official use of the new retractable roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The $150 million roof, which can close in about seven minutes, is to be used, according to tournament officials, only “in the event of inclement weather or the strong possibility of inclement weather.”

Neither is expected in the next few days, with forecasts calling for clear skies and highs in the 80s.

The roof is still set to make its debut, of sorts, at Monday night’s opening ceremony. The U.S. Tennis Association plans to shut the roof after the day session and open it for effect while Phil Collins performs “In the Air Tonight.”

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Aryna Sabalenka wins 1st Grand Slam title at Australian Open

2023 Australian Open - Day 13
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MELBOURNE, Australia – One point away from her first Grand Slam title, Aryna Sabalenka faulted. And then she faulted again. She grimaced. She yelled and turned her back to the court. She wiggled her shoulders and exhaled.

Clearly, this business of winning the Australian Open was not bound to happen without a bit of a struggle Saturday night. Sabalenka knew deep inside that would be the case. She also knew that all of the effort she put in, to overcome self-doubt and those dreaded double-faults, had to pay off eventually. Just had to.

And so, as she wasted a second match point by flubbing a forehand, and a third by again missing another, Sabalenka did her best to stay calm, something she used to find quite difficult. She hung in there until a fourth chance to close out Elena Rybakina presented itself – and this time, Sabalenka saw a forehand from her similarly powerful foe sail long. That was that. The championship belonged to Sabalenka via a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 comeback victory over Wimbledon winner Rybakina.

“The last game, yeah, of course, I was a little bit nervous. I (kept) telling myself, like, ‘Nobody tells you that it’s going to be easy.’ You just have to work for it, work for it, ’til the last point,” said Sabalenka, a 24-year-old from Belarus who is now 11-0 with two titles in 2023 and will rise to No. 2 in the WTA rankings on Monday.

“I’m super happy that I was able to handle all those emotions,” she said, “and win this one.”

The only set she has dropped all season was the opener on Saturday against Rybakina, who eliminated No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the fourth round.

It was telling that Sabalenka’s remarks during the post-match ceremony were directed at her coach, Anton Dubrov, and her fitness trainer, Jason Stacy – she referred to them as “the craziest team on tour.”

“We’ve been through a lot of, I would say, downs last year,” said Sabalenka, who was appearing in her first major final and had been 0-3 in Slam semifinals until this week. “We worked so hard and you guys deserve this trophy. It’s more about you than it’s about me.”

Well, she had a lot to do with it, of course. Those serves that produced 17 aces, helping erase the sting of seven double-faults. Those hammered groundstrokes and relentlessly aggressive style that produced 51 winners, 20 more than Rybakina’s total. And, despite her go-for-broke shotmaking, somehow Sabalenka limited her unforced error count to 28. One more key statistic: Sabalenka managed to accrue 13 break points, converting three, including the one at 4-3 in the last set that put her ahead for good.

“She played really well today,” said Rybakina, who has lost all four matches she’s played against Sabalenka, all in three sets. “She was strong mentally, physically.”

While the latter has long been a hallmark of her game, even Sabalenka acknowledges that the first has been an issue.

Her most glowing strength was also her most glaring shortfall: her serve. Capable of delivering aces, she also had a well-known problem with double-faulting, leading the tour in that category last year with nearly 400, including matches with more than 20.

After much prodding from her group, she agreed to undergo an overhaul of her mechanics last August. That, along with a commitment to trying to keep her emotions in check – she used to work with a sports psychologist but no longer, saying she relies on herself now – is really paying off.

“She didn’t have great serve last year, but now she was super strong and she served well,” said Rybakina, a 23-year-old who represents Kazakhstan. “For sure, I respect that. I know how much work it takes.”

With seagulls squawking loudly while flying overhead at Rod Laver Arena, Rybakina and Sabalenka traded serious racket swings for nearly 2 1/2 hours.

The serves were big. So big. Rybakina’s fastest arrived at 121 mph (195 kph), Sabalenka’s at 119 mph (192 kph).

The points were over quickly. So quickly: Seven of the first 13 were aces.

Sabalenka had been broken just six times in 55 service games through the course of these two weeks, but Rybakina did it twice in the opening set.

And never again. Sabalenka resolved to take the initiative even more, and the payoff for her high-risk, high-reward attitude was too much for Rybakina to withstand over the last two sets.

Sabalenka said ahead of time that she expected to feel some jitters. Which makes perfect sense for anyone: This was the most important match of her career.

At the end, when it mattered more than ever, Sabalenka was able to steady herself. After the final point, she dropped to her back on the court and stayed down for a bit, covering her face as her eyes welled with tears.

Quite a difference from a year ago at Melbourne Park, when Sabalenka departed after 15 double-faults in a fourth-round loss.

“I really feel right now that I really needed those tough losses to kind of understand myself a little bit better. It was like a preparation for me,” Sabalenka said at her post-match news conference, her new trophy nearby and a glass of bubbly in her hand. “I actually feel happy that I lost those matches, so right now I can be a different player and just a different Aryna, you know?”

Rybakina, Sabalenka to meet in Australian Open women’s final

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MELBOURNE, Australia — What all seemed so different, so daunting, even, about trying to win a Grand Slam title to Elena Rybakina a little more than six months ago is now coming rather naturally.

And if she can win one more match, she will add a championship at the Australian Open to the one she collected at Wimbledon.

Rybakina, a 23-year-old who represents Kazakhstan, reached her second final in a span of three major tournaments by beating Victoria Azarenka 7-6 (4), 6-3 at Melbourne Park on Thursday, signaling a rapid rise toward the top of tennis.

“Everything was new at Wimbledon,” Rybakina said after hitting nine aces in the semifinals to raise her tournament-leading total to 44. “Now I more or less understand what to expect.”

That could come in handy Saturday, when she will face No. 5 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus. Sabalenka reached her first Grand Slam title match at age 24 by beating unseeded Magda Linette 7-6 (1), 6-2 in Thursday’s second semifinal.

Sabalenka improved to 10-0 in 2023, winning all 20 sets she has contested this season.

More importantly, the victory over Linette gave Sabalenka her first taste of success in a Slam semi after going 0-3 at that stage until now, losing each previous attempt by a 6-4 score in the third set.

Rybakina and Sabalenka employ a somewhat similar brand of tennis, relying on big serves and big hitting at the baseline. Sabalenka is far less cautious, though, and her penchant for high-risk, high-reward play was evident against Linette, who had never before been past the third round in 29 appearances at majors.

Sabalenka finished with a whopping 33-9 edge in winners, but also compiled more unforced errors – including a trio that led to a break at love by Linette in the opening game.

The key to both semifinals turned out to be a first-set tiebreaker. Azarenka lost the mark on her strokes, for the most part, making things smoother for Rybakina, while Sabalenka raced to a 6-0 lead in hers. It wasn’t the case that each and every shot Sabalenka hit landed right on a line, but it must have seemed that way to Linette.

“In the tiebreaker, I really found my rhythm,” Sabalenka said. “Started trusting myself. Started going for my shots.”

Rybakina’s win over Azarenka, the champion at Melbourne Park in 2012 and 2013, added to what already was an impressive run through a string of top opponents. She also beat No. 1 Iga Swiatek and No. 17 Jelena Ostapenko – both owners of major titles – and 2022 Australian Open runner-up Danielle Collins.

“For sure, they’re very experienced players,” said Rybakina, whose parents and sister have been in town throughout the Australian Open. “I knew that I have to focus on every point.”

She delivered serves at up to 117 mph (189 kph) and stinging groundstrokes that she used to close points seemingly at will on Thursday. Her performance was particularly noteworthy against a returner and defender as established on hard courts as Azarenka, a former No. 1 and a three-time runner-up at the U.S. Open.

“Kind of hard to digest,” Azarenka said. “Obviously, I had quite a few chances that I gave myself.”

Rybakina is just 23, 10 years younger than Azarenka, and the future sure looks bright at the moment.

Rybakina might be seeded just 22nd in Melbourne, and ranked just 25th, but those numbers are rather misleading and not indicative at all of her talent and form. She did not get the usual bump from her title last July at Wimbledon, where zero rankings points were awarded after the All England Club banned players from Russia and Belarus because of the invasion of Ukraine.

Rybakina was born in Moscow; she switched to Kazakhstan in 2018, when that country offered to fund her tennis career.

It was breezy and chilly at Rod Laver Arena from the start of Rybakina vs. Azarenka, with the temperature dipping below 70 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius).

That had a role in the way the first set was as much of a seesaw as can be, with each player seeming to gain the upper hand – and then ceding it just as quickly. Both found the conditions slowed down the tennis balls.

“Kind of misjudged a lot of balls,” Azarenka said.

Rybakina encountered similar issues and her occasional inconsistency was encapsulated by the very first game. She began, inauspiciously enough, with a double-fault, before holding with the help of three aces.

Azarenka nosed ahead by breaking for a 3-2 lead on a leaping, full-extension volley winner with both women at the net. Rybakina, though, broke right back, and then once more to go up 5-3.

Azarenka saved a set point at 5-3 with a terrific down-the-line forehand passing shot, wound up taking the game with a backhand she accented with a shout of “Let’s go!”

A mistake-filled tiebreaker ended with Azarenka pushing a forehand wide to cap an 11-shot exchange, and the set belonged to Rybakina. She broke at love for a 2-1 lead in the second, and while they competed for another 25 minutes, the outcome was never really much in doubt.

Sure, Rybakina again faltered for a bit while trying to serve out the victory at 5-2. No one expected Azarenka to go quietly. But one last break, aided by a double-fault from Azarenka, allowed Rybakina to take another step toward another trophy.

“Ready,” she said, “to give everything I have left.”