NEW YORK – A recap of the action on Day 1 on Monday at the 2016 U.S. Open, including results, tweets, hot shots, photos and more.
• In his first Grand Slam match since withdrawing in the third round at the French Open, No. 4-seed Rafael Nadal looked in-form and healthy, beating Denis Istomin 6-1, 6-4, 6-2. After pulling out of the tournament in Paris, Nadal skipped Wimbledon to continue healing his left wrist and he returned to action earlier this month at the Rio Olympics, where he lost in the bronze medal match in singles to Kei Nishikori and won the gold in doubles with partner Marc Lopez.
"You need to find what's the motivation of yourself for everything, no? For me personally, Olympics is the closest thing to a Grand Slam," Nadal said of his decision to return to action in Rio. "Is not easy to go two months-and-a-half out of competition in the middle of the season without hitting a forehand. I need to have the confidence again with my wrist. That is coming, because I feel the wrist much better, and every day feel that the wrist a little bit better.
"Even if I played very well in Rio, you know, when you have pain you try to change the movement to avoid a little bit that pain. So I need to find again the normal movement. But I am [on] the way."
Nadal, who lost to Fabio Fognini in the third round at the U.S. Open last year, will face Italy's Andreas Seppi in the second round on Wednesday.
• Last year’s runner up Roberta Vinci opened up her 2016 campaign on Arthur Ashe Stadium, defeating Germany’s Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-2, 6-4. The No. 7-seed enters the tournament with some pressure to defend the points she earned as a finalist in 2015, after defeating Serena Williams in the semifinals and eventually falling to countrywoman Flavia Pennetta.
“Was great to be back here to play on center court first match…it’s incredible to be here,” Vinci said after the match. “It's tough to repeat of course the results of last year. But I'm No. 7, so of course I have a lot of pressure. They expect me semifinal, quarterfinal, step by step and match by match.”
In the second round, Vinci will face American Christina McHale, who beat Germany’s Mona Barthel 6-2, 6-2 in the opening round on Monday.
• Great Britain’s Kyle Edmund sent the first men’s seed home on Day 1, knocking out No. 13-seed Richard Gasquet 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 in his first-ever main draw match at the U.S. Open. The Frenchman and three-time Grand Slam semifinalist seemed noticeably fatigued early in the match and Edmund took advantage of his opponent’s struggling form in the extreme heat to storm to a straight-sets win in one hour and 41 minutes. He’ll next face 20-year-old Ernesto Escobedo, who won the USTA's wildcard challenge to get a spot in the main draw. He beat Lukas Lacko in his opening match after Lacko retired in the fifth set.
Mikhail Youzhny knocked out another men’s seed on Monday, defeating No. 28-seed Martin Klizan 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 to advance to the second round.
• Two players who have struggled in 2016 needed three sets to get through their opening matches on Monday. No. 24-seed Belinda Bencic dropped the first set to 21-year-old American Samantha Crawford before rallying to win 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-4. Bencic has only played two matches since retiring from her second round match at Wimbledon with a wrist injury.
Former World No. 1 and two-time U.S. Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki needed two hours and 12 minutes to survive a heated battle against American Taylor Townsend on the new Grandstand court. Now ranked No. 74, Wozniacki will play No. 9-seed Svetlana Kuznetsova in the next round after the Russia beat Francesca Schiavone on Monday.
• No. 20-seed John Isner needed almost three and a half hours to defeat the youngest player in the draw, 18-year-old Frances Tiafoe. After dropping the first two sets, Isner came back to beat his fellow American 3-6, 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2, 7-6(3). The pair embraced at the net at the end of the match and Isner said Tiafoe he has a “great future” ahead of him.
• It was smooth sailing for three Grand Slam champions on Monday, as 2014 U.S. Open winner Marin Cilic cruised to a 6-4, 7-5, 6-1 win over Rogerio Dutra Silva and two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova beat Jelena Ostapenko 7-5, 6-3 to advance to the second round.
This year’s Australian Open champion and No. 2-seed Angelique Kerber was only on court for 33 minutes—and up 6-0, 1-0—when her opponent Polona Hercog retired in the second set. The German advances to the second round where she’ll face Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who defeated France's Alize Cornet 6-4, 6-1.
• No. 10-seed Gael Monfils made his presence known on Court 17 on Monday, and not just for his 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 win over Gilles Muller. Early in the match, the Frenchman jumped upwards to reach overhead for a ball headed towards the back wall of the court. Monfils knocked into the wall on his descent and also took down the court’s clock on his way down.
He was able to pull out the victory in just over two hours thanks to hot shots like this one:
• American Catherine “CiCi” Bellis is back into the second round at the U.S. Open after making headlines in New York in 2014 when the then-15-year-old beat Dominika Cibulkova in the first round. Now 17, Bellis beat Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic 6-2, 6-3 on Monday on Court 6, the same court she won on in 2014. But Bellis played through qualifying to earn a spot in the main draw this year and she says she doesn't look back on her triumphs from two years ago.
"It was so long ago. I don't think it really has anything to do with me or my game right now," she said after the match. "I think I have grown as a person and as a player last couple of years. I think my game has matured a lot....Back when I was younger I could have some good wins here and there, but now I can consistently, I think, have better results."
Bellis will face fellow American Shelby Rogers on Wednesday after Rogers took out No. 27-seed Sara Errani 6–4, 7–6.
No. 28-ranked American CoCoVandeweghe had a more difficult time in her opening match, as the 24-year-old lost to World No. 81 Naomi Osaka 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-4.
• 2016 French Open champion Garbine Muguruza fought back from a slow start in the opening set to defeat Elise Mertens 2-6, 6-0, 6-3. After the match, Muguruza said the heat affected her in the first set.
I started and it was difficult a little bit to breathe for me. It was really humid....When you feel the heat that makes you a little bit, like, down kind of," she said. "Today in the warmup I didn't feel it. It's only half an hour in a warmup...But as soon as I started the match moving and running, also with the competition makes you more tense...I went to the court and I didn't really know the opponent. You play and you do your stuff. You kind of see a little bit during the match how she plays, but you cannot know anything before."
• Victoria Azarenka may not be playing in this year’s U.S. Open but you can be sure she is watching lots of tennis. The current World No. 7 was providing some quality live-tweeting of matches and results on Day 1.
• More notable results: Cagla Buyukakcay d. Irina Falconi 6-2, 6-1; Guido Pella d. Bjorn Fratangelo 6-3, 6-4, 6-4; Andrea Petkovic d. Kristina Kucova 7-6, 6-3; Carina Witthoeft d. Misaki Doi 6-4, 6-1; Andrey Kuznetsov d. Thomaz Bellucci 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6; Yulia Putintseva d. Sabine Lisicki 6-1, 6-2; Steve Darcis d. Jordan Thompson 5-7, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4, 7-5; Nicolas Almagro d. Marton Fucsovics 6-1, 6-4, 7-6; Albert Ramos-Vinolas d. Julien Benneteau 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 2-6, 6-1; Svetlana Kuznetsova d. Francesca Schiavone 6-1, 6-2; Dominika Cibulkova d. Magda Linette 6-2, 6-3; Lesia Tsurenko d. Irina-Camelia Begu 6-0, 6-4; Evgeniya Rodina d. Danielle Collins 6-1, 6-2; Federico Delbonis d. Brian Baker 3-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2
Tweets of the Day
Photos of the Day
U.S. Open 2016 Day 1
Daily Data Viz
Heading into the U.S. Open, Andy Murray has had a dominant season, but he's still joined at the top by Novak Djokovic.
This post will be updated.