American teen sensation Coco Gauff was eliminated from the first round of a Grand Slam for the first time as a fan-less US Open got underway on Monday.
The 16-year-old Gauff, who had rode a wave of crowd support into the third round of the Open last year, lost 3-6, 7-5, 4-6 to former semi-finalist Anastasija Sevastova at an empty Louis Armstrong Stadium.
“I could have played better today,” Coco Gauff told reporters. “I just got on Tour a little over a year ago, so I still have a lot to learn and a long ways to go.”
Gauff struck 13 double-faults and surrendered the error-strewn contest with a service break against 30-year-old Sevastova, the 31st seed in a women’s draw lacking about a quarter of the Tour’s top 100 players.
In another upset, Steve Johnson defeated fellow American and 16th seed John Isner 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(3) in a clash that lasted nearly four hours.
It was smooth sailing as expected for World No 1 Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic eased past Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 to reach the second round in just under two hours. The result extends the Serb’s winning streak to 24 matches in 2020.
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The 17-time Grand Slam champion, however, had some awkward moments due to the behaviour of his support staff during the match against Dzumhur, who is a close friend.
“Sometimes you don’t want your box to clap when your opponent makes a mistake. Damir is a very good friend and it was a little bit awkward,” Djokovic said.
Germany’s fifth seed Alexander Zverev got through a tricky first-round encounter against 2017 finalist Kevin Anderson in four sets, winning 7-6(2), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 to move into the second round.
Anderson fired 20 aces to Zverev’s 18 in the battle of the big servers but the South African, who returned to the tour after a series of injuries, was no match for the German’s groundstrokes.
Argentine ninth seed Diego Schwartzman squandered a two-set lead to go down 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 1-6, 5-7 to Brit Cameron Norrie.
Both players served poorly with more than 50 break points in the match in total. Norrie, however, cracked 39 winners and saved two match points in the decider to claim his biggest win at a Grand Slam.
Men’s first round
5-Alexander Zverev d Kevin Anderson 7-6(2), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5
1-Novak Djokovic d Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 6-4, 6-1
Cameron Norrie d 9-Diego Schwatzman 3-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 7-5
Steve Johnson d 16-John Isner 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(3)
4-Stefanos Tsitsipas d Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-2, 6-1, 6-1
Jack Sock d Pablo Cuevas 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(2)
7-David Goffin d Reilly Opelka 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-1, 6-4
12-Denis Shapovalov d Sebastian Korda 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
Women’s first round
1-Karolina Pliskova d Anhelina Kalinina 6-4, 6-0
17-Angelique Kerber d Ajla Tomljanovic 6-4, 6-4
4-Naomi Osaka d Misaki Doi 6-2, 5-7, 6-2
31-Anastasija Sevastova d Coco Gauff 6-3, 5-7, 6-4
8-Petra Martic d Tereza Martincova 5-7, 6-2, 6-4
6-Petra Kvitova d Irina-Camelia Begu 6-3, 6-2
14-Anett Kontaveit d Danielle Collins 5-7, 6-2, 6-2