*Zverev, Tsitsipas cruise into Round 2
World number one Novak Djokovic began his pursuit of an 18th Grand Slam title yesterday with a straight-set win over Damir Dzumhur in the US Open first round.
The Serb, 33, raced through the opening set before being tested in the second on his way to a 6-1 6-4 6-1 win.
Djokovic is seeking to capitalise on the absence of fellow greats Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in New York.
Among those likely to challenge him are Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas, who also won their openers.
Both of those players are chasing a maiden Grand Slam title, with Spain’s defending champion Nadal not playing because of coronavirus concerns and Swiss 20-time major champion Federer missing following knee surgery.
Djokovic will play Kyle Edmund in the second round after the British number two came from behind to beat Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik.
It will be the seventh meeting between the two – and their second at Flushing Meadows – with Edmund’s only victory over Djokovic coming on the Madrid clay in 2018.
“He has a really good serve and forehand, those are two big weapons,” said Djokovic. “I’ve had some really good matches in the past against him at Wimbledon, a tough four-setter a few years ago.
“He doesn’t feel so much pressure playing on the big court, obviously it’s different circumstances here, but he actually likes the challenge.
“His results were kind of up and down a little bit but I think he does have the game and the potential to be in the top 20 without a doubt, where I expect him to be soon.
“It’s going to be a tough one, I’m sure he has not so much to lose in that match and it’s important for me to start off well.”
After an assured start where Djokovic took the first set in just 24 minutes, the top seed found he was not going to get everything his own way as Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Dzumhur began to exert some pressure.
Djokovic was broken in the fourth game of the second set and saved three break points on his next service game but stepped up a gear to regain control against the world number 109.
The Serb has won all 24 of his matches in 2020, which has included titles at the Australian Open, Dubai Tennis Championships and last week’s Western and Southern Open.
Fifth seed Zverev overcame a tough challenge from South African Kevin Anderson to reach the second round with a 7-6 (7-2) 5-7 6-3 7-5 win.
The 23-year-old German stuttered as he lost the second set, but regained control to beat the 2017 finalist.
Greece’s Tsitsipas, the fourth seed, sailed through his opening match, beating Spain’s Albert Ramos Vinolas 6-2 6-1 6-1.
The 22-year-old world number six will face American Maxime Cressy in the second round, while Zverev plays American 19-year-old Brandon Nakashima.