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Cilic, Khachanov join Murray with comebacks from two sets down

Marin Cilic and Karen Khachanov come back from two sets down as men’s first-round action wraps up at the US Open.

Karen Khachanov, US Open 2019 Karen Khachanov, US Open 2019

The matches that ended as we anticipated

Second seed Dominic Thiem is rightly many people’s pick to end his wait for grand slam glory and take the title here in New York, especially with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal out of the equation. There’s still the small matter of a certain Novak Djockovic to entertain, but a 7-6, 6-3 win due to Jaume Munar’s retirement at the end of the second set will have done his body a nice favour going into another week and a bit of hard tennis.

Big things have been expected from Andrey Rublev for a while, and his straight-set victory over the experienced Jeremy Chardy was indeed impressive, in what was, on paper, a tricky opening-round encounter.

Two players who fared well at the recent Western & Southern Open maintained their fine form. Cincinnati runner-up Milos Raonic made quick straight-set work of Leonardo Mayer and Dan Evans, who upset Rublev last week, rolled over Thiago Seyboth Wild.

The surprise of the day

Perhaps this was not so much of a surprise as the manner of a straight-set defeat in front of his home fans. Oh, hang on… Sam Querrey went down tamely to Russian Andrey Kuznetsov 6-4, 7-6, 6-2 in an hour and 44 minutes.

Like Querrey, Feliciano Lopez was unseeded–but he was also a considerable favorite in his match on Tuesday. Especially on a fast hard court about fellow Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena, Lopez would generally have an edge. Nonetheless, Carballes Baena took down the 38-year-old 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-3.

The hard-fought battles of the day

There can be only one! Yes, a quote from “Highlander,” but Scotsman Andy Murray seems to enjoy putting both himself and his fans through the mill, this time successfully fighting back from two sets down for the TENTH time to eek out a victory that hardly seemed possible. He now faces Felix Auger-Aliassime, who overcame a tough struggle against Thiago Monteiro, the Canadian winning 6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 7-6.

Actually, there were many more than one as Day 2 threw up a handful of five-set classics with big name players mage to sweat.

Norwegian Casper Ruud also took a leaf out of the Murray book, coming from two sets down to defeat Mackenzie McDonald 4-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. There were other five-setters that saw 11th seed Karen Khachanov also come from two sets down to beat Jannik Sinner 3-6, 6-7, 6-2, 6-0, 7-6 and Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori upset former Brit Alijaz Bedene 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 4-6, 6-1.

Former US Open champion Marin Cilic had to dig deep to avoid an early exit, as well, the Croat also fighting back from two sets down to beat Denis Kudla 6-7, 3-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-3. Gianluca Mager almost added another comeback from two sets down to the list, but Miomir Kecmanovic held off the clay-court specialist and prevailed 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(6), 3-6, 6-2.

Click here for the US Open Men’s singles draw.

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