Djokovic, top two Americans advance
Top-seeded Novak Djokovic saved seven of eight break points Tuesday night to start the US Open with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 victory over former junior world No. 1 Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania.
The victory took only 82 minutes for Djokovic, seeking his second title and fourth straight final at Flushing Meadows.
It was a quiet evening at Arthur Ashe Stadium, where the packed crowd barely cheered during the most routine of matches.
One of the few exciting moments came on the first point of the third set, when Berankis chased down a lob and replied with a backward shot between his legs that Djokovic calmly flicked away for a volley winner.
The top-seeded Djokovic hit 28 winners, with only nine unforced errors.
”I played every point like it’s a match point,” Djokovic said.
Roger Federer easily won his delayed first match at the Open. The Swiss great needed just 93 minutes to beat Grega Zemlja in straight sets. Federer defeated the 62nd-ranked Slovenian 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 in a matchup postponed from Monday night because of rain.
Jerzy Janowicz, who reached the semifinals at Wimbledon, was done in straight sets, too. But his US Open is over.
The 14th-seeded Pole felt as if a knife were stabbing him in his right side every time he tried to serve. After hurting his lower back Saturday, he lost 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 to qualifier Maximo Gonzalez.
Ranked 247th, the 30-year-old Argentine hadn’t won a main draw match on the ATP Tour since April 2011.
"I couldn’t jump," Janowicz said. "I couldn’t make a service movement. It’s still better than yesterday."
He had a painkiller injection Monday, which allowed him to rotate so he could hit his backhand. But he described his serve during his match as "a push." At one point in the third set, he even tried one underhand.
Janowicz took an injury timeout in the second set for a trainer to massage his back.
Janowicz had never been past the third round at a major tournament before his run at Wimbledon, which ended with a loss to eventual champion Andy Murray. The combustible 22-year-old fell in the first round at Flushing Meadows last year in his only previous appearance in the US Open.
He had 11 double-faults and 53 unforced errors Tuesday.
America’s top two men, John Isner and Sam Querrey, each won their first-round matches.
No. 13 seed Isner beat Filippo Volandri of Italy 6-0, 6-2, 6-3, and No. 26 seed Querrey eliminated Guido Pella of Argentina 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.
When Isner lost a first-round match in Montreal earlier this month, he dropped to No. 22, marking the first time no American man was listed in the top 20 since the start of the ATP computer rankings in 1973. Isner reached the final the next week in Cincinnati to move back into the top 20.
Querrey fell out of the top 20 at the end of July. He hasn’t been past the third round in a Grand Slam since the 2010 US Open.