US Open: Barty and Djokovic deliver the goods

The world No.1 duo opened their US Open title charge amongst a series of captivating contests in New York.

Ashleigh Barty / US Open 2021Darren Carroll / USTA
 - Alex Sharp

Two days in and the US Open has already produced a mosaic of memorable moments.

The majority of the top players have cleared the first hurdle. Here is a round up of the action over at Flushing Meadows.

Barty resets in style

World No.1 Ash Barty defied a spirited fight from 2010 finalist Vera Zvonareva 6-1, 7-6(7) to earn a second-round spot.

The Australian, arriving off the back of lifting the Cincinnati title, surrendered a break lead at 2-1 in the second set and failed to serve out the match at 5-4 before securing the compelling win.

“I think when my back was against the wall late in that buster, I came up with some really good stuff,” said the top seed after a thrilling tie-break.

“I was able to find some good tennis when it mattered most. I started well, and in the end was able to play some good aggressive tennis towards the end of the match. It's certainly nice knowing that we can reset now.”

Next up is former junior world No.1 Clara Tauson, who dispatched France’s Clara Burel 7-5, 6-0. Barty isn’t too aware of the young Dane’s game, ready for some “homework” for a fresh challenge.

Tyzz (coach) and I to go to the drawing board and see what she can offer,” stated the 25-year-old. “I like all the different challenges that come with tennis. I think a new one is exciting. We go into it and hopefully we're clear as a bell, and we can just go out and there and try and execute.”

Quest for 21 has begun

Fellow world No.1 Novak Djokovic also propelled onto the next stage, remaining unbeaten in 16 US Open first round bouts.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion, off the mark in the pursuit of completing the Calendar Grand Slam, quelled the firepower of another former junior world No.1 Holger Rune 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-1.

Djokovic appeared to be experimenting against the young Dane, frequently popping into the net (18/24 success) and testing out his full artillery.

Rune played some sublime front-foot tennis to steal the second set, but was impeded by cramp in the next two, whereas Djokovic dictated.

So much scrutiny, so much history on the line, the three-time champion is doing everything in his power to stay in the moment.

“There is no secret potion,” said the Serbian, facing world No.121 Tallon Griekspoor next.

“It's a combination of various factors and elements in my life, in my approach to everyday life, my training, my recovery, my mental work, an environment.

“But then also we have to consider the fact that when you're on the court, also there are some unpredictable things that can happen. Just every time I lose that concentration and focus, I try to bounce back and bring my attention back to the moment.”

Over to 25-year-old Griekspoor, seeking his maiden Grand Slam third round ticket, to try and nudge Djokovic off kilter.

Showtime on day three

Marquee names such as Naomi Osaka, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas return to action on Wednesday at Flushing Meadows.

There is also a massive second round to open up the night session with American interest on both sides of the net.

2017 champion Sloane Stephens and teenage sensation Coco Gauff go way back and now they’re going to be battling on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“I've known her for a long time… I do remember when I was 10 years old, I had a birthday party at a water park, and she came to it, which is really cool. All my friends were excited that Sloane Stephens is at your birthday, professional tennis player. It was really cool,” stated world No.23 Gauff, reflecting on their long-standing friendship.

“Facing her I guess is going to be a full-circle moment just because I was young when I met her, and now we're going to be playing on one of the biggest stages.”

20 feeling fine in New York

Across the opening round of play all of the women’s Top 20 seeds advanced.

On Tuesday, it was Bianca Andreescu’s turn, returning to the site of her maiden Grand Slam for the first time to prevail past Viktorija Golubic 7-5, 4-6, 7-5. The 2019 champion was joined by 2020 Roland-Garros winner Iga Swiatek, who earned a second round facing France’s Fiona Ferro.

2016 finalist and recent Wimbledon runner-up Karolina Pliskova moved past home hope Caty McNally 6-3, 6-4. The likes of Olympic champion Belinda Bencic, Roland-Garros finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Petra Kvitova all enjoyed straight set wins too.

Home feels for home contingent


Thirteen American men have advanced to the second round, which is the most since 15 players in 1994.

Maxime Cressy and Taylor Fritz were the pick of the bunch. The towering. 6’ 6” Cressy saved four match points to pip Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist Pablo Carreno Busta in a fifth set tie-break all the way from two sets down. Meanwhile Fritz enjoyed an entertaining all-court four set triumph over No.14 seed Alex de Minaur.

Key names hoping to wrestle away the trophy from Djokovic, including Alex Zverev and Denis Shapovalov advanced with consummate ease.

Flying the flag for France


No.6 seed Matteo Berrettini played clutch tennis in the vital moments to overcome Jeremy Chardy 7-6(5), 7-6(7), 6-3. The Italian will now meet another Frenchman Corentin Moutet, the gregarious French youngster posting a straight sets passage past Stefano Travaglia.

The rejuvenated Gael Monfils played some explosive tennis to fend off Federico Coria 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, however, Lucas Pouille had two match points dissolved in a five-set tussle with Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas.