US Open 2021: First round summary as seeds succeed and Murray seethes

Can you tell it’s been a while? Apologies for the naff headline, but here we are at the final major of the year and there are already talking points aplenty.

Firstly, the general theme on the women’s side at least saw the favourites and wider seeded contingent survive more or less unscarred. The men could not say the same as Fognini, Cilic, Isner, Goffin, de Minaur and Carreno Busta all fell at the first hurdle. Elsewhere there were a few scares: Djokovic dropped a set amidst what were likely boos from the crowd and the likes of Sabalenka, Andreescu, Gauff and Mertens we’re all taken to deciders. And of course there was the titanic headliner of Tsitsipas Vs Murray – and that is where we start with the talking points of the opening round.

Murray right to be aggrieved as Tsitsipas chooses his moments.

I won’t say too much more than what has been widely commented here, it was a great match and a fine throwback of prime Murray. Did Tsitsipas (who ultimately deserved the win) break any rules with his all-too-convenient toilet trips? Well no. And that is the problem with the modern game of course. It is and always will be wholly tactical, and Murray was just one of countless victims.

Stephens repeats her 2017 title win over friend and compatriot Keys.

It was another standout fixture, both players irresistible at their best but both so inconsistent. At least Sloane has produced her best on the biggest stagesore often, and so it proves again here in an entertaining 3 setter. It doesn’t get any easier for Stephens who has Gauff up next.

Veterans bid farewell

Three household names may well have hit their final major singles groundstrokes in anger. Carla Suarez Navarro, Ivo Karlovic and Feliciano Lopez all bowed out with the usual level of grace and professionalism that has made them such credits to both tours for so long.

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