Milos Raonic had some flashes of brilliance at the U.S. Open on Monday, but not enough of them to upset seventh-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece.
The 32-year-old Raonic, from Thornhill, Ont., was bounced 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 by Tsitsipas in the opening round of men’s singles action. The match took one hour, 56 minutes to complete.
Raonic had eight aces and 32 winners, but he also had 48 unforced errors and eight double faults. He only won one of three break points.
Tsitsipas had seven aces, 24 winners and 10 unforced errors.
WATCH | Raonic eliminated by Tsitsipas:
Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., falls to Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 in the opening round of the U.S. Open.
Meanwhile, Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal played for more than three hours but lost his opening-round match to American Mackenzie McDonald 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Auger-Aliassime, who only recently started to feel healthier after a rash of injuries undermined his season, was unfortunate not to win the first set. In the third set his team opted for match management after he fell behind, but the strategy didn’t work out as McDonald eliminated the Canadian in the fourth set.
Auger-Aliassime finished with 13 aces, 11 double faults, 39 winners and 52 unforced errors.
On Tuesday, Leylah Fernandez of Laval, Que., will start her U.S. Open singles journey against 22nd-ranked Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia, while Rebecca Marino of Vancouver will play Patricia Tig of Romania.
WATCH | Auger-Aliassime knocked out of U.S. Open:
Mackenzie McDonald of the United States defeats 15th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the opening round of the U.S. Open.
No. 4 Rune knocked out
The biggest upset victim so far is No. 4 seed Holger Rune.
Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena, ranked 63rd, downed Rune 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, for his first-ever victory over a top-10 player.
Rune, a 20-year-old Dane who cracked the top 5 after reaching the quarterfinals of the French Open and Wimbledon, had complained before the match about being assigned to one of the outer courts, sarcastically tweeting a map of Flushing Meadows to help his fans find it.
“I just didn’t expect to play on that court,” Rune said afterward. “That’s obviously disappointing, but not going to blame the court on the loss.”
On the women’s side, No. 1-ranked defending champion Iga Swiatek needed just 58 minutes to beat Swede Rebecca Peterson 6-0, 6-1, 19th-seeded Beatriz Haddad Maia took out 2017 champion Sloane Stephens 6-2, 5-7, 6-4, and fourth-seeded Elena Rybakina, last year’s Wimbledon champion, defeated Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine 6-2, 6-1.
Spaniard Rebeka Masarova upset eighth-seeded Maria Sakkari 6-4, 6-4, with the Greek complaining afterward she was bothered by the smell of marijuana.
“The smell, oh my gosh,” Sakkari said to the chair umpire in the first set. “It was weed.”
Tenth-seeded American Frances Tiafoe, a 25-year-old from Maryland who reached the semifinal at last year’s U.S. Open, had little trouble in a 6-2, 7-5, 6-1, victory over wild-card countryman Learner Tien.
Dominic Thiem, the 2020 champion who is unseeded this year, downed 25th-seeded Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. Thiem, an Austrian who had lost his previous seven Grand Slam matches, next faces American Ben Shelton, who defeated Argentine Pedro Cachin in four sets.
The longest match so far, four hours and 29 minutes, went to Zhizhen Zhang of China, who outlasted American J.J. Wolf 7-5, 7-5, 6-7 (5), 4-6, 6-3.
Gauff gets win despite drama
Meanwhile, Coco Gauff already was down a set when she found herself locked in a marathon of a 30-point, 25-plus-minute game to begin the second set. Sure, there still was plenty of time to come back in Arthur Ashe Stadium, but this felt pivotal.
The 19-year-old from Florida had lost her past two Grand Slam matches — including a first-round exit at Wimbledon last month — and did not want to leave quietly or quickly this time. With thousands of partisan fans getting rowdier by the moment, the sixth-seeded Gauff finally converted on her eighth break point of that game, and wound up beating German qualifier Laura Siegemund 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 and reaching the second round at Flushing Meadows.
Once she had the lead, the biggest frustration for Gauff was the way Siegemund would make her wait to play the next point. Siegemund repeatedly took her sweet time and, early in the last set, was warned by chair umpire Marijana Veljovic. Brad Gilbert, who is one of two coaches working with Gauff lately, shook his head at how long it took Veljovic to intervene, and his reaction drew a smile from Gauff.
But serving while ahead 3-0 in that set, Gauff had enough and went over to make her case.
“She’s never ready when I’m serving. … How is this fair?” Gauff told Veljovic. “I’m going a normal speed. Ask any ref here. … I’ve been quiet the whole match. … Now it’s ridiculous. I don’t care what she’s doing on her serve, but [on] my serve, she has to be ready.”
Gauff wound up dropping that game — but then not another. Later, Siegemund was docked a point for delaying, which put Gauff up 5-1. That prompted Siegemund to argue her case to Veljovic — “I can’t go to the towel anymore?” — and drew some jeers from the crowd.
There was another hiccup for Gauff toward the finish: She served for the match at 5-2 in the third, but double-faulted three times. Those were her only double-faults of the entire 2-hour, 51-minute match.
In the end, she held on, and it was Gauff’s 12th victory in 13 matches since the disappointing showing at the All England Club. This recent run includes the two biggest titles of the American’s career and a win over No. 1 Iga Swiatek.
Gauff and Swiatek could meet in the quarterfinals next week.
The first round is played over Monday and Tuesday. The tournament lasts two weeks and wraps up with the women’s singles final on Sept. 9, and the men’s singles final on Sept. 10.