That was a very nice glass of red wine, but now I am back and just in time to witness what could be a long one on Arthur Ashe Stadium as 2017 US Open finalist Kevin Anderson levels Alexander Zverev at one set all, 6-7 7-5.
Elsewhere, Denis Shapovalov leads youngster Sebastian Korda 6-4 4-6 6-3 *2-1.
Cam Norrie beats Diego Schwartzman 6-3 6-4 2-6 1-6 5-7
What a comeback! From losing the first two sets, Norrie has managed to beat the ailing Argentine. The final set was pretty low quality but the Briton will not mind having battled his way to victory. Norrie gets three match points but loses the first two. He holds his nerve in the end as ninth Schwarztman uses his last ounce of energy to tamely hit the ball into the net.
Norrie is making the most of his opponent’s physical limitations at the moment, brushing him aside to love, an incredible feat considering how dire his service games have been. 6-3 6-4 2-6 1-6 *5-6
Norrie hits the ball into the net to gift match point and the Briton lets out an almighty scream. He makes amends by taking the game to deuce, helped by Schwartzman looking dead on his feet. The Argentine is swinging from the hip and avoiding all leg movement, resulting in him gifting Norrie advantage but he quickly brings it back to deuce. Norrie gets another shot and takes the break. 6-3 6-4 2-6 1-6 5-5*
The game goes to deuce, which is about the best Norrie can hope for off his own serve at the moment. Schwartzman saves a game point as Norrie finds the net. Then the Argentine goes down after losing the next point, he gets up, only to see Norrie smash a winner from the net. 6-3 6-4 2-6 1-6 *5-4
The physio does his work and it pays off for Schwartzman who manages to hold his serve, a rare thing in this match. Now just needs one more game to progress. 6-3 6-4 2-6 1-6 5-3*
Schwartzman has called for the physio, just to add to the drama.
Another service game from Norrie which he will want to forget as Schwarzman breezes to 0:40. There is no coming back from that and Argentine completes the job with a fine return. 6-3 6-4 2-6 1-6 *4-3
Norrie seems happier to receive the serve at the moment, easing to 0:30. Sadly, he then misses the target a couple of times by sending the ball wide. A fine rally ends with Schwartzman sprinting to the net to tap one over but he slips and sends his shot well wide. Break point No 50 of the match is won by Norrie as he takes the game. What a silly match this is. 6-3 6-4 2-6 1-6 3-3*
A bad game for Norrie who is broken by Schwartzman to take the lead in the final set. Norrie’s serve is looking incredible vulnerable here and he needs to up to up his game. He survives two break points but the third does for him as he eventually thrashes one long. 6-3 6-4 2-6 1-6 *3-2
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Schwartzman hits a big forehand to level things up at 30:30 and a mishit from Norrie loops long to put him a point away from the win but the Argentine then smashes a backhand into the net for even more deuce action. A long rally ends with Norrie hitting the net from the baseline to give the game to Schwartzman 6-3 6-4 2-6 1-6 2-2*
Another game goes to deuce as both men struggle to hold serve at this crucial point int he match. Schwarztman gives Norrie the advantage with a cross-court backhand which lands just out, allowing his opponent to complete the job with an ace. 6-3 6-4 2-6 1-6 *1-2
Tumaini has wandered off for a sandwich and a large glass of red (I think he has to write an article), which means I will be here for a while wishing I had a sandwich and a large glass of red. In more pressing matters, Norrie has broken straight back to level things up in the fifth. 6-3 6-4 2-6 1-6 1-1*
Cameron Norrie battled hard, but after an epic game he loses his serve to open the fifth set. In total, Norrie courageously saved six break points with three aces down the T, an unreturned lefty slider out wide, an excellent low backhand volley and a fizzing backhand down the line. But he just could not find the court at deuce and fell on the seventh. This could be the moment momentum changes. Schwartzman leads 6-3 6-4 2-6 1-6 *1-0.
Petra Kvitova marches into the second round with a 6-3 6-2 win over Irina-Camelia Begu. If she can hit the ground running on these fast courts, watch out.
If Cameron Norrie can pull this off, it would comfortably be the biggest win of her career. He has only ever beaten 3 top 20 players and none at a slam, his biggest ever victory being No 10 John Isner. At a slam and with so much on the line against No 13 Schwartzman, this would outdo them all.
That was a bit of a sad performance at the end of the fourth set from Diego Schwartzman, who threw in two double faults and then sprayed a forehand error on set points to drop his third service game of the set.
His stats in that set are appalling: 5 winners and 16 unforced errors. We’re off to a decider after a really impressive recovery from Norrie. 3-6 4-6 6-2 6-1.
Goodness. This has been so emphatic from Norrie, who continues to control the baseline while limiting his errors. He is up to a 5-1* lead in the fourth set, having won 9 of the last 10 games from 2-2 in the third. Schwartzman is making so many errors right now and he looks like he is already let this set go. It looks like we are heading for a fifth set. 3-6 4-6 6-2 5-1*.
Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic confirms that she has been isolated from the rest of the players after being identified as a close contact of Benoit Paire: “I’m allowed to play my match, I’m literally not allowed to do anything else.”
Petra Kvitova, who lost early in the Western & Southern Open but should really love these fast courts, leads Irina Begu 6-3 0-2.
Elsewhere, we have our first upset: 72-ranked Egor Gerasimov defeats 18th seed Dusan Lajovic 6-1 4-6 6-4 6-4.
This is an excellent effort from Norrie, who swept into the net and then dispatched a slick backhand volley to move up *2-1 in the fourth set. Early days still, but as Norrie has tightened up his errors and looks extremely focused, this has frankly been a terrible run of form by Schwartzman. The score is now 3-6 4-6 6-2 *2-1 as Norrie continues his attempts to mount a comeback.
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27th seed Borna Coric, who was Benoit Paire’s opponent in his retirement during the Winston & Southern Open and Grigor Dimitrov’s opponent when the Bulgarian contracted coronavirus during the ill-fated Adria tour, moves on with a 7-5 6-3 6-1 win over Pablo Andujar.
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We’re into a fourth set on court 5 after Norrie very easily swept up the third. He finished with 12 winners and 5 unforced errors, which is excellent and an enormous improvement. Can he continue to compete at this level and how long will Schwartzman help his cause with uncharacteristic errors? 3-6 4-6 6-2 *0-1.
Another dimension of this tournament is that the ATP and WTA rankings are currently semi-frozen. Normally, players defend the points earnt from a year ago at each tournament, but last year’s points will not be removed from their rankings until 2021. Players can only gain points if they better their efforts from last year.
Diego Schwartzman looks rattled. He is spraying numerous errors now and another forehand mistake on break point offers Norrie a double break. The Brit will attempt to serve out the set at 3-6 4-6 *5-2. A lifeline, perhaps.
Karolina Pliskova kicks off another go at winning her first slam title in style, beating Anhelina Kalinina 6-4 6-0. Exactly what she needed after an early loss in these same courts last week in the Western & Southern Open.
Over on Ashe, Karolina Pliskova is rolling. She leads 6-4 5-0 and a game away from her first win in six months.
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Some drama and hope for Norrie on court five. In yet another long Schwartzman service game, the Argentine was seething after Norrie didn’t receive a code violation for some bad language, then again when he received a time violation after taking too long between points. Distracted, Schwartzman sprayed a forehand error on break point to hand Norrie a *3-2 lead in the third set. Two sets down, but fighting.
Yep. On the positive side, they will be $60k richer.
A solid first set from Karolina Pliskova over on Ashe, who leads 6-4 on Kalinina.
Meanwhile, that was a really encouraging return to competition for Angelique Kerber, who moved on 6-4 6-4 against the tricky Ajla Tomljanovic. We’ll see if Kerber can play herself into form after six months.
After all of the chances Norrie created in return games towards the end of the second set, Diego Schwartzman holds on to take a 6-3 6-4 lead over the Brit. It is tough to see a way back for Norrie, but he will certainly try.
Once again, Cameron Norrie puts Schwartzman under immense pressure but then balked on a big point. At 30-30, in the middle of a neutral rally, Norrie sprayed a foehand well out before streaming in disgust. With an ace on game point, the Argentine held.
Cameron Norrie is giving Schwartzman a lot of grief in this second set, pushing him to multiple deuces in a tough seventh game. However, Schwartzman eventually secured another hold to lead 6-3 4-3. The Brit will need to be careful here…
We have our first winner of the day. 12th seed and last year’s French Open finalist, 20 year old Marketa Vondrousova, beats Greet Minnen 6-1 6-4. Minnen tossed her racquet to her chair after missing an easy volley on match point, only to remember that she needed to collect it for the post-match “racquet tap”.
On Ashe, women’s top seed Karolina Pliskova is about to take the court against Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine. This is clearly a big opportunity for the 2016 US Open finalist and former No 1, who is the only European top 10 player to make the trip to New York and only 1 of 4 top 10 players in total.
Pliskova continues to chase her first slam despite four years of consistently reaching the final stages of big tournaments. Still, she probably isn’t a big fan of these new fast courts in Flushing Meadoes.
Cameron Norrie can never be accused of not trying hard enough. After Diego Schwartzman consolidated his lead by rolling up to 6-3 2-0, winning 6 of the prior 7 games, Norrie just ground out a long return game to push the second set back on serve. As Schwartzman’s final forehand flew long, Norrie punctuated the break-back with a roar of ‘c’mon’. We’ll see what he can do.
Meanwhile on Armstrong, Angelique Kerber has taken the first set 6-4 on Ajla Tomljanovic.
So much of this tournament is hard to call because we just don’t know what form players are in. Kerber hasn’t competed since the Australian Open in January, over 7 months ago, and she didn’t enter the Western & Southern Open that preceded this event.
On one hand, the former No 1 and 2016 US Open champion has fallen all the way down to 23rd and she has struggled over the past year. On the other hand, she has rehired coach Torben Beltz, with whom she reached No 1 in 2016, she loves fast courts and this break may have been precisely what she needed to escape her slump. Your guess is as good as mine in regards to how she fares this week.
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Diego Schwartzman takes the first set 6-3 on Cameron Norrie. After a tough start, the Argentine rolled through the second half of the set, winning four of the last five games.
Norrie hit just 3 winners and 17 unforced errors, which clearly isn’t good enough against a top 15 player. Those stats are partially explained by numerous long rallies ending in errors, but Norrie still cannot afford to give away so many free points.
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Needless to say, people are not happy about the decision to keep players in the draw who came in contact with Paire. Here is a statement from Ellen Perez, a doubles entrant who was also hoping to make the singles draw:
Diego Schwartzman currently leads Cameron Norrie 5-3 after breaking in a long, gruelling 2-2 game before twice holding serve. Norrie is going to need to find more forehands and the courage to take his favourite shot on as Schwartzman just looks to be finding a rhythm and he is striking the ball beautifully. After a slick crosscourt forehand winner from the Argentine, he held after forcing a Norrie backhand error.
Here is tournament director Stacey Allaster on recent events.
The news has taken a further turn this morning. Paire is one of the most sociable players and so numerous other players have been deemed his close contacts. Although they were supposed to be withdrawn from the tournament, the USTA has instead decided to isolate them from other players. They will be tested daily, they will have to remain in their hotel rooms at all times aside from practice. In an interview with l’Equipe, Edouard Roger-Vasselin said: “To sum up, we are in the bubble of the bubble.”
It is a complete departure from the US Open’s original protocols, which stated that close contacts would have to quarantine for 14 days. Nobody knows if any of these players will eventually fail a test themselves. 30th seed Kiki Mladenovic, one of the rumored isolated players, is currently competing now on court 17 against US wildcard Hailey Baptiste. She leads 5-3.
As play begins across the grounds, the big news on the eve of the tournament was Frenchman Benoit Paire testing positive for coronavirus and being withdrawn from the tournament. Here is the story by Kevin Mitchell last night.
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Over on court 5, Diego Schwartzman and Britain’s Cam Norrie have traded breaks with the score at 2-2.
This will be an incredibly tough matchup for the Brit, particularly because Schwartzman does so much of what Norrie does but better. Norrie is a fast and durable retriever with an excellent heavy topspin forehand, but Schwartzman can match him physically with more firepower and some of the best returning in the world. These rallies are already long and look exhausting, and Norrie will have to find away to control them.
Here is the order of play on the top courts of this opening day of action. Karolina Pliskova, Novak Djokovic, Naomi Osaka, Angie Kerber and Coco Gauff will be competing on those empty, echoing stadium courts. Kyle Edmund will play later against Alexander Bublik.
Hello! Welcome to our coverage on day one of this very surreal 2020 US Open in the controlled environment of a crowd-less Flushing Meadows. As usual, there is a heck of a lot going on across the grounds during the opening rounds but we’ll kick things off today with a particular focus on Cameron Norrie’s incredibly tough first round against 9th seed Diego Schwartzman.
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