US Open gets going
Kei Nishikori and Ana Ivanovic both made early exits on the opening day of the US Open in New York today.
Japan’s Nishikori, last year’s runner-up and the fourth seed, lost 6-4 3-6 4-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 to Frenchman Benoit Paire.
Serbia’s Ivanovic, the seventh seed, was beaten 6-3 3-6 6-3 by Dominika Ciblukova of Slovakia.
But men’s top seed Novak Djokovic made easy progress, defeating Brazil’s Joao Souza 6-1 6-1 6-1 to reach round two.
Defending champion Marin Cilic, who overpowered Nishikori in straight sets in last year’s final, beat Argentine Guido Pella 6-3 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-3).
Serena Williams’ chances of reaching the women’s final were boosted even before the world number one began her title defence as seeds tumbled to leave the American with no other top-10 player in her half of the draw.
As well as Ivanovic, eighth seed Karolina Pliskova –– who lost 6-2 6-1 to Anna Tatishvili –– and 10th seed Carla Suarez Navarro failed to progress, while Maria Sharapova withdrew on the eve of the tournament because of injury.
Williams’ sister Venus, the two-time champion, did advance to the second round, beating Monica Puig –– only her second victory since losing in the last 16 at Wimbledon.
Williams is expected to face little trouble in her opening match, and men’s top seed Djokovic should see off Brazil’s Joao Souza in the day’s third match on Ashe, but there is danger lurking for two-time champion Rafael Nadal on day one.
The Spaniard has slipped to eighth in the seedings and faces 18-year-old Croat Borna Coric in the second night match on Tuesday.
Nadal is struggling to recapture his best form, and lost his only previous meeting with Coric last year.