Novak Djokovic battled a with a low-voltage game, with the top seed advancing over towering Pole Jerzy Janowicz 6-3, 4-7, 6-2, 6-1 on Monday to start the US Open with a win. Djokovic, an early loser at Wimbledon and the Rio Games, is still struggling to find the winning level which took him to three grand slam titles in 2015 and the first two of this season.
Djokovic sidestepped any detail on his repored wrist and arm problems after two and a half hours: “There are periods when you are not feeling your 100 per cent, It’s not necessary to talk about this now.”
“I’m taking it day by day. So let’s keep winning. “Jankowicz, a former number 14, turned in a patchy performance and was swept away at the end by the number one.
“Overall my level was good,” Djokovic, 20-1 career at night at the Ashe stadium, said. “When the ball comes to you at such speed, all you can do is pray and hope you can get it back.”
Rafael Nadal beat Denis Istomin 6-1, 6-4, 6-2. The 2013 champion won his 44th match of 2016, an effort which the 30-year-old characterized as average “not very good, not very bad.”
Nadal ran his record in New York first-round contests to 12-0; Istomin has now lost 21 straight matches against top-10 opponents. Nadal could not avoid queries about the left wrist injury that forced him from the game during the French Open.
“It’s not easy to go two months-and-a-half out of competition in the middle of the season without hitting a forehand,” he said. “I need to have the confidence again with my wrist. That is coming, I feel the wrist much better, and every day I feel that the wrist is a little bit better.”
The 2014 winner and Cincinnati champion Marin Cilic showed his seventh seed status by beating Rogerio Dutra Silva 6-4, 7-5, 6-1. Gael Monfils found his trademark athleticism a bit too strong for a courtside clock in a defeat of Gilles Muller 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5).
The 10th seed leapt up to retrieve a shot and crashed a foot into the two-metre square apparatus. A second later, the computerized works fell onto the court in a mass of circuits and semiconductors, splintering the glass and leaving the clock totalled.
“When you are in the moment you don’t feel really anything. Just jump. I saw a wall, it was quite lucky. It hurt me a little bit,” Monfils said. “It could have been pretty bad, could have fallen on my ankle or calf.”