Djokovic, Federer, Medvedev advance While Fognini Falls at US Open
(August 26, 2019) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic is now 34-1 in his last 35 matches at majors. The Serbian defeated Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena 6-4, 6-1, 6-4.
In his on-court interview after the victory, the 16-time major winner admitted to dancing in Central Park as part of his pre-match preparation.
Djokovic talked about his friend and countryman Janko Tipsarevic who lost on Monday and who will be retiring in a few months.
“Because of my friendly relationship I knew that before his announcement, a little bit before.
“Obviously he’s emotional, and we all are too as his close friends and colleagues and compatriots for many years. I have known Janko, played on the same side of the court, opposite side of the court with him. I shared with him a lot of wonderful emotions in my life. Privately, as well. I have known him since I was nine, ten years old.
“He was, like, always a role model for all of the young players in Serbia and my generation because he was doing so well. He was the best junior of the world and he was someone that, you know, had a very promising career in front of him in professional tennis, judging by his results in junior tennis and had a really good professional career, two top 10 year-end finishes and also quarterfinals of slams. You know, he had some marathon, epic matches with Roger and myself here and so forth.
“Very outspoken guy, very honest, someone that, you know, speaks his mind. Cares a lot about integrity of the sport, as well. Was very vocal always for, you know, for the players and what they deserve.
“It’s sad to see him leave, but at the same time, considering what he has been through with his body in the last three years, it’s kind of understandable. He had a lot of surgeries and injuries. And he just didn’t manage, unfortunately, to get back on that track where, you know, where he was top-10 player.
“I wish him obviously all the best. I know he has a tennis academy that he’s taking care of now in Belgrade and expanding Mexico, worldwide, China. He’s doing a great job. He’s someone that he’s very devoted and also very smart and surrounds himself with the right mentors and people. I’m sure he’s going to do very well in anything he does after tennis.”
Five-time US Open winner Roger Federer overcame a shaky start to oust qualifier Sumit Nagal, ranked 190th in the world, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in the last match of the night session on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“Never easy to come out and play your best,” Federer said in his news conference. “Even though it’s kind of what you live for, you dream about, playing on the big stage. So I think he did that very well.
“I think his game is based on being really consistent, moving well, moving the ball around well. Sort of very much a clay-courter. That’s also the surface he’s played basically the entire year almost.
“I think he knows what he can bring. That’s why I think he’s going to have a very solid career. But, of course, it’s not the game that comes out with the biggest surprises. It’s really consistent. I think he did it very well tonight.”
Fifth seed Daniil Medvedev needed just 85 minutes to beat India’s Prajnesh Gunneswaran 6-4, 6-1, 6-2. The Russian who comes into Flushing Meadows as the ATP player with the most match wins on the year, says don’t call him a Grand Slam contender yet- “I always say at this moment of my career I haven’t even been in the quarters of a slam yet,” he said. “So that’s the first step to make, and if I make this step, then I can talk about bigger goals and bigger achievements.”
Reilly Opelka provided the upset of the day on the men’s side of the draw, beating No. 11 seed Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3 on Court 17. The almost seven-foot American who is at a career-high No, 42, hit 26 aces against Fognini.
“I’ve done a great job staying within myself, within my limits, against those [top] guys,” said Opelka, “The margins, the gap, is so small between top 10 and top 20 and whatnot. For example, today, I did a great job of staying within myself.”
Other seeds to lose on the first day were No. 19 Guido Pella, and No. 26 Taylor Fritz,