US Open ‘bubble within a bubble’ as stars embrace sound of silence

Top seeds including Novak Djokovic overcame eerily quiet stands as a “weird,” spectator-free

Several competitors including Richard Gasquet, Adrian Mannarino and Edouard Roger-Vasselin had been in contact with Paire, according to French sports publication L’Equipe, leading to doubts about their participation.

The USTA confirmed that a number of players were now being tested on a daily basis, rather than every four days.

They are now also only allowed to leave their hotel room to travel to the US National Tennis Centre. Previously they had been allowed in communal areas.

“We got some bad news two days ago and since then I’ve been living in a nightmare,” said 30th seed Mladenovic.

“I wasn’t even sure if I would able to play. We’ve been in a bubble inside a bubble. So I’m very grateful that we were able to play today,” she added.

Paire meanwhile was preparing to leave the tournament questioning the protocols put in place in New York.

“I’m fine for now I have no symptoms… I hesitate to tell what is really going on in this Fake Bubble,” Paire wrote on Instagram.

Djokovic defeated unheralded Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia-Herzegovina 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 as he launched his bid for an 18th Grand Slam with a win at an Arthur Ashe Stadium devoid of 23 000 screaming fans.

Pliskova made light work of 145th-ranked Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina 6-4, 6-0 in one of the early matches.

And German Angelique Kerber, the 2016 US Open champion, also progressed to the second round, thanks to a tightly fought 6-4, 6-4 victory against Australia’s Ajila Tomljanovic.

“It’s a little bit weird to play without fans and without the support and the atmosphere on the centre courts,” Kerber said.

There was disappointment for US starlet Coco Gauff, the 16-year-old who lit up Wimbledon last year with a run to the fourth round. Gauff fell at the first hurdle, losing to Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.

Black Lives Matter banners are on display in the main arenas and fourth seed Naomi Osaka wore a Breonna Taylor mask, days after she threatened not to play a semi-final to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man.

Osaka, of Haitian and Japanese heritage, said she had six other masks bearing the names of black people killed by police that she hoped to wear throughout the Grand Slam.

“So I have seven and it’s quite sad that seven isn’t enough for the amount of names,” said the 22-year-old after defeating Japanese compatriot Misaki Doi 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.

“Hopefully I’ll get to the finals and you’ll see all of them,” she added.

Zverev, Tsitsipas advance

In the men’s draw, fifth seed Alexander Zverev was made to work hard in a three-hour-long tussle with 2017 finalist Kevin Anderson, the German ultimately prevailing 7-6 (7/2) 5-7, 6-3, 7-5.

Fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas eased through with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 win over Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

The absence of defending champion Rafael Nadal and Swiss legend Roger Federer gives Djokovic a prime opportunity to gain ground on his rivals in the chase for the all-time men’s Grand Slam singles title record.

Djokovic currently has 17, behind Nadal on 19 and Federer on 20.

The US Open is the first Grand Slam since the Australian Open in January and February, after the global pandemic wiped out much of the season, including Wimbledon.

Serena Williams starts her bid for a 24th career Grand Slam women’s singles crown to match the all-time record set by Margaret Court on Tuesday.

Results from opening day of US Open tennis championship in New York on Monday (x-denotes seed):

Men’s singles

First round

Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 6-1, 6-4, 6-1

Kyle Edmund (GBR) bt Alexander Bublik (KAZ) 2-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-0

Jan-Lennard Struff (GER x28) bt Pedro Martinez (ESP) 6-0, 7-5, 6-4

Pablo Carreno-Busta (ESP x20) bt Yasutaka Uchiyama (JPN) 4-6, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3

Mitchell Krueger (USA) bt Pedro Sousa (POR) 3-6, 6-2, 7-5, 6-3

Ricardas Berankis (LTU) bt Federico Gaio (ITA) 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4

Steve Johnson (USA) bt John Isner (USA x16) 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 7-6 (7/3)

Denis Shapovalov (CAN x12) bt Sebastian Korda (USA) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2

Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) bt Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (USA) 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-1, 6-2

Gilles Simon (FRA) bt Mohamed Safwat (EGY) 6-1, 6-4, 6-4

Taylor Fritz (USA x19) bt Dominik Koepfer (GER) 6-7 (7/9), 6-3, 6-2, 6-4

Filip Krajinovic (SRB x26) bt Mikael Ymer (SWE) 6-2, 7-6 (7/3), 6-3

Marcos Giron (USA) bt Marc Polmans (AUS) 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 3-6, 6-4, 6-2

Lloyd Harris (RSA) bt Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 6-4, 7-5, 6-2

David Goffin (BEL x7) bt Reilly Opelka (USA) 7-6 (7/2), 3-6, 6-1, 6-4

Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE x4) bt Albert Ramos (ESP) 6-2, 6-1, 6-1

Maxime Cressy (USA) bt Jozef Kovalik (SVK) 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4

Juan Ignacio Londero (ARG) bt Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) 6-3, 6-3, 7-5

Borna Coric (CRO x27) bt Pablo Andújar (ESP) 7-5, 6-3, 6-1

Egor Gerasimov (BLR) bt Dusan Lajovic (SRB x18) 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4

Jordan Thompson (AUS) bt Stefano Travaglia (ITA) 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2

Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) bt Attila Balazs (HUN) 6-4, 7-5, 6-4

Christian Garin (CHI x13) bt Ulises Blanch (USA) 4-6, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2

Cameron Norrie (GBR) bt Diego Schwartzman (ARG x9) 3-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 7-5

Federico Coria (ARG) bt Jason Jung (TPE) 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, 2-0 abandon

Alejandro Davidovich (ESP) bt Dennis Novak (AUT) 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 1-6, 6-0

Hubert Hurkacz (POL x24) bt Peter Gojowczyk (GER) 6-3, 6-4, 6-4

Adrian Mannarino (FRA x32) bt Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) 6-1, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3

Jack Sock (USA) bt Pablo Cuevas (URU) 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7/2)

Brandon Nakashima (USA) bt Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7/3)

Alexander Zverev (GER x5) bt Kevin Anderson (RSA) 7-6 (7/2), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5

Women’s singles

First round

Karolina Pliskova (CZE x1) bt Anhelina Kalinina (UKR) 6-4, 6-0

Caroline Garcia (FRA) bt Jasmine Paolini (ITA) 6-3, 6-2

Catherine Bellis (USA) bt Tamara Korpatsch (GER) 6-7 (13/15), 6-3, 6-2

Jennifer Brady (USA x28) bt Anna Blinkova (RUS) 6-3, 6-2

Angelique Kerber (GER x17) bt Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 6-4, 6-4

Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) bt Caroline Dolehide (USA) 6-2, 6-2

Ann Li (USA) bt Arantxa Rus (NED) 6-4, 2-6, 6-1

Alison Riske (USA x13) bt Tatjana Maria (GER) 6-3, 6-2

Marketa Vondrousova (CZE x12) bt Greet Minnen (BEL) 6-1, 6-4

Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) bt Francesca Di Lorenzo (USA) 2-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-0

Vera Lapko (BLR) bt Viktorija Golubic (SUI) 1-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-2

Yulia Putintseva (KAZ x23) bt Robin Montgomery (USA) 6-1, 6-3

Kristina Mladenovic (FRA x30) bt Hailey Baptiste (USA) 7-5, 6-2

Varvara Gracheva (RUS) bt Paula Badosa (ESP) 6-4, 7-5

Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) bt Alexandra Kiick (USA) 3-6, 6-3, 6-1

Petra Martic (CRO x8) bt Tereza Martincova (CZE) 5-7, 6-2, 6-4

Naomi Osaka (JPN x4) bt Misaki Doi (JPN) 6-2, 5-7, 6-2

Camila Giorgi (ITA) bt Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) 2-6, 6-1, 7-5

Marta Kostyuk (UKR) bt Darya Kasatkina (RUS) 6-1, 6-2

Anastasija Sevastova (LAT x31) bt Cori Gauff (USA) 6-3, 5-7, 6-4

Magda Linette (POL x24) bt Maddison Inglis (AUS) 6-1, 4-6, 6-4

Danka Kovinic (MNE) bt Lizette Cabrera (AUS) 6-4, 3-6, 6-2

Kaja Juvan (SLO) bt Usue Arconada (USA) 6-4, 7-6 (7/2)

Anett Kontaveit (EST x14) bt Danielle Collins (USA) 5-7, 6-2, 6-2

Elena Rybakina (KAZ x11) bt Katarina Zavatska (UKR) 6-3, 6-0

Shelby Rogers (USA) bt Irina Khromacheva (RUS) 6-2, 6-2

Madison Brengle (USA) bt Arina Rodionova (AUS) 6-2, 6-2

Dayana Yastremska (UKR x19) bt Astra Sharma (AUS) 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/2)

Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) bt Rebecca Peterson (SWE x32) 7-6 (7/1), 6-4

Kateryna Kozlova (UKR) bt Whitney Osuigwe (USA) 6-3, 7-5

Petra Kvitova (CZE x6) bt Irina Begu (ROU) 6-3, 6-2

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