Déjà Vu All over Again – Wawrinka Beats Eighth Seed Dimitrov in First Round of the US Open
(August 27, 2018) I was just last month when No. 8 Grigor Dimitrov drew Stan Wawrinka in the first round of Wimbledon and lost to the three-time major winner. Forward to the first round of the US Open and it was as Yogi Berra once said “deja vu all over again.”
“For sure was a tough match,” said the Swiss, who won the US Open in 2016. “I knew it would be a difficult match. Playing first round in a Grand Slam, you need to be ready for it. You need to play best tennis from the first point.
“We played already in Wimbledon, so it was a surprise again to play each other. But I’m really happy first with the victory, that’s for sure, but with my level in general. I think I have been practicing well.
“I have been playing some good tournaments, Cincinnati, Toronto, and keep improving there day by day. I arrive here a week early to practice, get a lot of time on the court, and I’m happy with today’s match.
“I think it’s a great start.”
Wawrinka skipped last year’s title defense, when he had to have knee surgery, so now he has won 8 straight matches at Flushing Meadows.
“I think generally I’m feeling really good on the practice court with some really good level of practice. Physically, tennis-wise, I’m happy with where I am right now.
“Again, it’s been a long year since my surgery. For me, I need to keep working day by day, keep trying to improve, keep being patient and see what’s gonna happen this year.
“So far it’s a great start here, but I’m just happy where I am right now. My level, my tennis, my fitness and everything. Doesn’t matter what will be the result after tomorrow or longer. If I can stay longer, I’m happy where I am and I need to keep pushing in that direction.”
Andy Murray who also last played the US Open in 2016, won his first match at a major since 2016, with a 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 over James Duckworth of Australia.
The Scotsman said: “I actually felt like I could have moved better. I struggled a little bit with that earlier in the match. I don’t know for what reason, it was extremely lively, conditions out there. It was a lot quicker for me, anyway, than what we have been practicing in since we got here. I felt a little bit slow at the beginning.
“And then the positive was that actually towards the end of the match, I made some quite good moves. Like the second to the last point of the match, I moved pretty quickly up to the drop volley and stuff and kind of maintained my serving speeds throughout the match, as well.
“So there was some good stuff, but I think I can get better.”
He’s back on the tour since June after being sidelined by hip surgery for almost a year.
“I hit the ball a lot better than I did in Cincinnati,” Murray said. You know, I mean, like there was at points in the match, like, I didn’t play amazing. I’m not expecting to play, like, my best tennis right now. But just in terms of the way I was hitting the ball and constructing some of the points, I felt like, as the match went on, I started to dictate more, was getting myself a bit closer to the baseline.
“I think tactically, I did well and made some adjustments on the return from the first set, which is a really positive thing. I think when you haven’t played loads, it can be easy to just get wrapped up in how you’re actually hitting the ball rather than thinking about the strategy and what you’re trying to do out there.
“So I made some adjustments on the return game, and that helped me a lot. I created a lot of chances on return.
“I could have done better in the fourth set. The games where I got broken, I was up in those games, I think maybe not the first game. But certainly the second game where I got broken, I was up. You know, apart from that, I don’t think he had many opportunities on my serve throughout the match, so that was positive.”
Jack Sock ended an eight-match losing streak with a 6-0, 7-6, 6-2 win over Guido Andreozzi.
“Yeah, relieved, obviously,” said the 18th seeded American.” Yeah, you guys follow tennis throughout the year, so you know it’s been a tough road for a little bit here. A little bit for nine months (smiling).
“Yeah, it hasn’t been my best result, but that’s why you have a good team, good family, good support system around you, kept me positive. Obviously doubles has kept me in some tournaments, gave me confidence. Gave me confidence and motivation just to be on court in general.
“And obviously I love the game, I have loved it my whole life. I wouldn’t be here without the support system I’ve had. So they just kept pushing me. It was only a matter of time I think for it to turn around.
“I know the level of tennis I can play. And, you know, it hasn’t shown in every match this year. But you know one week it was going to turn and I’m glad it’s at least started here, and hopefully I can keep it going.”
No. 1 Rafael Nadal defeated former French Open finalist Spanish countryman and friend David Ferrer, when Ferrer was forced to retire with a left calf injury with Nadal leading 6-3, 3-4. This was Ferrer’s last match at a major as he will be retiring sometime next year.
“Well, of course I’m sad because it’s my last Grand Slam,” Ferrer said. “I was enjoying playing the match against Rafa. I was playing good. But anyway, I am proud with myself, with my career. Is not a problem.
“I will have chance next year to finish in Spain with my people. I will try to be there with recovery. I played a lot in all of my career, and I never stop one month, two months. My career was really intensitive [. This for me now is normal.”
“I am 36 years old. It’s time to be home. It’s time to rest three, four months, the time that I will need, and playing next year the tournaments that I would like play.”