August 31, 2015 / 10:07 PM / 2 years ago

Nishikori, Ivanovic out as U.S. Open starts with upsets

Kei Nishikori of Japan reacts after losing a point to Benoit Paire of France during their match at the U.S. Open Championships tennis tournament in New York, August 31, 2015.Mike Segar Picture Supplied by Action Images

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Kei Nishikori was back in the U.S. Open spotlight on Monday but for all the wrong reasons as last year's runner-up headlined a day of first-round upsets at Flushing Meadows.

Fourth seed Nishikori, who last year became the first Asian man to reach a grand slam final, found defeat hard to swallow after squandering two match points in the 6-4 3-6 4-6 7-6(6) 6-4 loss to Frenchman Benoit Paire.

The 25-year-old Japanese had plenty of company at the exit following a string of opening-day upsets that included Serbian seventh seed and former world number one Ana Ivanovic, eighth seeded Czech Karolina Pliskova and 10th-seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain.

A hot, muggy day that attracted a record first session crowd of over 37,000 got off to an ominous start when 50th-ranked Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova dispatched Ivanovic 6-3 3-6 6-3 on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court.

Anna Tatishvili gave the home fans a reason to get excited as the 121st-ranked American qualifier destroyed Pliskova 6-2 6-1 while Frenchwoman Oceane Dodin kept the upsets trending with 2-6 7-5 6-3 victory over Jelena Jankovic, the 21st seed and 2008 U.S. Open runner-up.

It was Nishikori, however, who generated the opening day buzz as his hopes of making another magical U.S. Open run came to a quick end.

Marin Cilic, who beat Nishikori in last year's final, had no opening day hiccups as the ninth-seeded Croat began defense of his title with a 6-3 7-6(3) 7-6(3) win over Argentine qualifier Guido Pella.

Recovering from a wobbly first set Nishikori had looked ready to survive the opening test taking a 6-4 lead in the fourth set tiebreak.

But the 41st-ranked Paire would fight off two match points then take the tiebreak and carry the momentum into the fifth set where he recorded the decisive break to go up 3-2 before finishing off Nishikori with a booming ace.

"It's always very sad to lose in the first round, but I think he was playing good tennis," said Nishikori. "I don't think I played badly. Didn't play great, but still, it's never easy first match."

Venus Williams, a two-time U.S. Open champion, scrapped to a center court 6-4 6-7(7) 6-3 win over Puerto Rico's Monica Puig hours before sister and world number one Serena launches her bid to complete a calendar year sweep of the grand slams against Russia's Vitalia Diatchenko.

Editing by Frank Pingue

0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below