Djokovic drops a set but gets past Rune to kick off US Open campaign

Novak Djokovic is off and running at the US Open with a four-set victory over Holger Rune on Tuesday. Tallon Griekspoor is next up for the top-ranked Serb.

US Open 2021, men’s singles, 1st round

Djokovic (1) d. Rune (Q) : 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-1

  • What happened: Djokovic endured an early scare but raced away for a four-set win in the first round.
  • You will also learn: Rune cramped throughout the third and fourth sets to end his upset bid.
  • Why you should read this: It was the beginning of Djokovic’s quest for history — the calendar-year Grand Slam.

Novak Djokovic wasn’t particularly pleased with his own play or a crowd that was clearly supporting his opponent, but nonetheless he got off to a victorious start at the US Open on Monday night. Djokovic recovered from a second-set hiccup to defeated qualifier Holger Rune in four sets after two hours and 15 minutes.

The reigning Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon champion stormed out of the gates for a set and a break lead. However, his serve and groundstroke game suddenly betrayed him and he ended up dropping the set in a tiebreaker.

Rune was growing in confidence and getting the crowd energized, and it propelled him to that brief surge of momentum. Playing in his first best-of-five-set match, though, the 18-year-old Dane could sustain his level from a physical standpoint. Cramps plagued him throughout the final two sets, leaving him unable to put up much of a fight.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia wipes his face between points against Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune (© Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports / REUTERS / PANORAMIC)

started great,” Djokovic assessed. “Played a really, really good first set. After that, I don’t know, I was 4-3 serving in the second set. Everything was working well, but then I just lost the first serve; very low percentage of first serves. Credit to him for fighting. He had the crowd behind him. It was tough to play in my first match, even though I had till tonight tons of experience playing on this court, for him it was the first one.

“Still you get nerves. You still are feeling a little bit rusty at the beginning. Yeah, obviously I’m pleased with the way I finished the match. Again, it was not a fair battle, so to say, on the court with his unfortunate injury and cramping…. It’s tough to talk about third and fourth set because he barely moved.”

I never felt anything like this. It was unbelievable.

Holger Rune

It was an unfortunate ending but overall a great experience for Rune.

“I never felt anything like this,” the world No 145 reflected. “It was (an) unbelievable feeling staying there. I tried to give the crowd something, fight for every point, be pumped and everything. The crowd was unbelievable. I couldn’t have asked for more. I never tried anything like this. It was a pretty sick feeling.

“Unfortunately, my fitness let me down. I started cramping already in the beginning of the third set. From there on, it was tough. I knew if I [wanted] to win, I really had to fight for every point. With my body at this point, it was impossible.”

Day two – Full list of men’s seeds already eliminated from the 2021 US Open

9 – Pablo Carreño Busta
14 – Alex de Minaur
19 – John Isner
20 – Lorenzo Sonego
23 – Ugo Humbert
25 – Karen Khachanov
26 – Cameron Norrie
27 – David Goffin
28 – Fabio Fognini
29 – Alejandro Davidovich Fokina
30 – Marin Cilic
32 – Filip Krajinovic

Full summary of Tuesday’s action at the US Open

  • Seeds winning on Tuesday at the US Open (1st round): Novak Djokovic (1), Alexander Zverev (4), Matteo Berrettini (6), Denis Shapovalov (7), Hubert Hurkacz (10), Jannik Sinner (13), Gael Monfils (17), Aslan Karatsev (21), Reilly Opelka (22), , Alexander Bublik (31)
  • Seeds losing on Tuesday at the US Open (1st round): Pablo Carreño Busta (9), Alex de Minaur (14), Fabio Fognini (28)
  • To follow our full coverage of the 2021 US Open, please visit this page.
  • To follow live results, to see the men’s draw and women’s draw, we recommend you follow the official US Open website.
  • Tomorrow’s programme at the US Open is available here (and by the way, today’s schedule is here).
  • All the practical information – how to watch the tournament, how to buy tickets and everything else you could possibly need to know – is hopefully in this page.
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