US Open: Djokovic storms back, Chinese players advance

Novak Djokovic marked his return on Monday with a 6-0, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Alexandre Muller of France in the first round of the US Open, following a one-year hiatus. The 23-time Grand Slam champion missed last year's tournament, as he could not travel to the US due to not being vaccinated against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). In the 2021 US Open, the Serbian finished as the runner-up, losing to Russia's Daniil Medvedev in the final. With this win, Djokovic will next face Spain's Bernabe Zapata Miralles. If successful, he stands to reclaim the world No. 1 ranking from Carlos Alcaraz. Alcaraz will defend his title against Germany's Dominik Koepfer on Tuesday. Also on Monday, China's Zhang Zhizhen celebrated his first main draw win at the US Open, defeating Jeffrey John Wolf of the United States 7-5, 7-5, 6-7 (5), 4-6, 6-3 in a grueling match that lasted four hours and 29 minutes. "I told myself before the decider: There is no problem, there is still one set to fight. I don't have a lot of negative thoughts," said Zhang. He is slated to play against sixth-seed Casper Ruud of Norway in Round 2. World No. 7 Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece advanced, besting Canada's Milos Raonic 6-2, 6-3, 6-4. However, fourth-seeded Holger Rune of Denmark was upset by Spain's Roberto Carballes Baena, who won 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. On the women's side, all the Chinese participants competing Monday clinched their opening matches. Wang Xiyu mounted a comeback to beat Viktoria Hruncakova of Slovakia 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6), while Zhu Lin and Wang Xinyu dispatched their opponents in straight sets. Elsewhere, Coco Gauff rallied into the second round, coming from behind to outpace Laura Siegemund of Germany. The 19-year-old, viewed as a potent threat to champion Iga Swiatek, lost the opening set 6-3 but responded with scores of 6-2, 6-4 in the subsequent sets. World No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland dominated, crushing Sweden's Rebecca Peterson 6-0, 6-1 in just under an hour. Fourth-seeded Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan progressed smoothly, defeating Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk 6-2, 6-1.

Source: Philippines News Agency