(August 31, 2021) FLUSHING MEADOWS, New York – One win down and six to go for history. No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia beat up-and-coming Danish teenage qualifier Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-1 in Arthur Ashe Stadium to begin the Evening Session at Tuesday’s US Open.
The 34th-year-old Djokovic is aiming to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win the calendar Grand Slam.
Rune had his moments taking a set off of the best player in the world and Djokovic said that it wasn’t his best match. “It wasn’t the best of my performances,” he said.
The 18-year-old Rune had the crowd on his side, had to battle with cramps from the third set until the end. This was his first-ever best of five set match of his career.
“Yeah, it was crazy experience, playing against Novak on Arthur Ashe is probably one of the dream come true,” Rune said during his media conference.
“To be able to win one set as well was great. I had high beliefs in myself throughout the whole match. First set, I thought the score was pretty easy for him, but I thought it was a pretty good level of tennis for both.
“Unfortunately my fitness let me down. I started cramping already in the beginning of the third set. From there on was tough. I knew if I had to win, I really had to fight for every point. With my body at this point, it was impossible.”
“You always wish to have crowd behind you, but it’s not always possible,” the 20-time major winner said. “That’s all I can say. I mean, I don’t know. I’ve been focusing on myself and what I need to do. I guess I have to just see how it feels on the court and try to keep it together. That’s all I can do.”
“My side, I started great. 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 a tough rule, as well. If you have cramps like this, that is creating such a hindrance to your game, you’re unable to move, unfortunately the rule is such that you can’t get any medical timeout for cramps.”
The top seed in the ladies draw got out of a tight second set to advance to the second round with a 6-1, 7-6 victory over 2010 finalist Vera Zvonareva.
“Obviously a tough one against Vera straight up,” Barty said to media. “She’s an experienced campaigner. She knows how to get herself into matches. I think all in all, adapting to conditions was a little bit slower than I probably would have liked. We’re through. We have another chance to improve on that in the next round.”
“Vera without a doubt she’s an experienced campaigner and she understood what she was doing in the first set wasn’t working for her and she was able to adapt and to change that.
“I think in the first set I served exceptionally well. She was a little bit loose off her racquet and she gave me a few cheapies. And in the second, the 2-1 game serving and 5-4 game serving I just played two poor service games. She was able to take advantage of some second serves and a few cheapies from my end.
“I think all in all being able to work my way around that and kind of get through that in straight sets was really pleasing. I think when my back was against the wall late in that buster, I came up with some really good stuff.
“That’s all we can ask is when your back is against the wall, you trust yourself, you go out there and pick your spots and hit them.”
Barty to meet Danish teenager Clara Tauson in the second round.
In one of the upsets of the day, American Maxime Cressy, came back from two sets down and saved four match points in the fifth set tiebreak to beat No. 9 seed and Olympic Bronze medalist Pablo Carreno Busta 5-7, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7). He joins two other UCLA tennis alumni in the second round. Mackenzie McDonald, once a roommate of Cressy’s, knocked out 27th seed David Goffin in straight sets. another Bruin, Marcos Giron advanced to the second round on Monday.
More to follow…