Cilic wins on return
Marin Cilic overcame a third set wobble to defeat Tennys Sandgren 6-4 6-3 3-6 6-3 and reach the second round of the US Open
The 2014 champion, playing her first match since Wimbledon, was below par for the majority of the contest but he stuck to his task and recorded an important victory. He will take on Florian Mayer - who took out Rogerio Dutra da Silva 7-5 0-6 6-3 6-4 - in the second round on Wednesday.
After a six-week absence from the tour, a slow start was expected from Cilic however he settled quickly and bagged the first two sets without too much difficulty. He encountered problems in the third set though, and his forehand began to leak errors at an alarming rate.
Sandgren, who resembles a rock star with his ponytail and goatee beard, thrilled the spectators inside the Arthur Ashe Stadium as he capitalised on his opponent’s frailties to take the third set by six games to three.
The American, ranked No.105 in the world, fought valiantly in the fourth set however he cracked in the eighth game and his time on the big stage was soon over.
“He impressed me a lot [Sandgren],” admitted Cilic. “He battled quite hard and didn’t surrender when I was two sets up. He was fighting and made it very hard for me. I felt maybe a little rusty today, and I probably just need a few matches to find my rhythm.
“Things were a little up and down at times. I was hitting some good shots and the making some unforced-errors so I need to find good consistency.”
John Isner blasted 22 aces as he brushed past Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-1 6-3 4-6 6-3 to book his spot in the second round for a 10th time in New York.
“The court feels great and this crowd is great, so it’s a very good recipe for me to play some good tennis here,” remarked the American after a rare tiebreak-free victory. ”I was playing well out there and he played a very good game at four apiece in the third set, but that’s what happens in men’s tennis.
“He won the third set, but I knew I was still playing very well so I just had to keep doing what I was doing and keep the faith. I did that, and I’m moving on.”
There was delight for Britain’s Cameron Norrie as he secured his first ever main draw victory at a Grand Slam. The 22-year-old was leading Dmitry Tursunov 7-6(7) 6-1 when the veteran Russian retired with a right knee problem.
"I was really nervous this morning, so I just had to tough out the first set and I relaxed a bit in the second," said the world No.225. "I'm stoked to be through and in the second round."
No.13 seed, Jack Sock, was the highest ranked casualty on day one. Jordan Thompson held off a spirited fightback from the American to record a morale-boosting 6-2 7-6(12) 1-6 7-5 6-4 win.
David Ferrer impressed as he reached the last four of the Cincinnati Masters, but his stay in the Big Apple has been cut short.
Mikhail Kukushkin overcame the veteran Spaniard 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-1 to nab his third victory at a Grand Slam this year. The Kazakhstani, who came through qualifying, was outstanding from the second set onwards and he simply overpowered his flummoxed opponent.
Elsewhere on the grounds, Hyeon Chung was a 3-6 7-6(8) 6-4 6-3 winner over Horacio Zeballos, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga breezed past Marius Copil 6-3 6-3 6-4 and Ernests Gulbis took out Alessandro Giannessi 6-4 6-7(3) 6-2 7-5.
There were routine victories for Kevin Anderson, Pablo Carreno Busta, Diego Schwartzman, Steve Johnson, Benoit Paire and Denis Shapovalov.