The top seed, however, often saves his best for the heat of a grand slam and he never had to leave first gear against Souza, who is ranked 91st in the world and looked out of his depth from the start. He came into this contest on an 11-match losing streak and has never advanced past the first round at a Grand Slam, so if he had so much as won a set against Djokovic, it would have been considered a shocking result. No. 2 seed and former champion Roger Federer will play his opening round match Tuesday morning. She is set to face Jessica Pegula in her next game. The victor of their match could meet Serena Williams in the third round.
Others, including Novak Djokovic, survived a topsy-turvy afternoon.
Djokovic needed only one hour and 11 minutes to capture a 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 victory over Brazil’s Joao Souza.
Elsewhere a number of seeded players comfortably strolled through their matches to avoid more upsets on day one. “I had matched point and kind of lost a little bit of my forehand”. You can beat Kei’.
Paire, however, swept the next four points before letting out a mighty roar as the match went to a fifth set. “He hits a lot of drop shots and good serves”.
“It was tough to get a rhythm”, Nishikori said.
He was cramping at the end of the nearly 3-hour match and said afterward it had probably been a couple of years since he had been on court that long.
Injuries have slowed, but not stopped Nishikori this summer, as he successfully defended his title in Barcelona and did well at the French Open before a calf injury weakened him ahead of Wimbledon.
“He was causing me trouble with his serve. I’m really happy”, said Paire, who scored 21 aces while Nishikori only fired three. “I think it was more because of him that I wasn’t playing 100 percent”. He assessed the victory as the most significant of his career.
Paire later added: “When I saw the draw against Kei I said, “bad luck”.
No. 29 Sloane Stephens, who beat Williams at the 2013 Australian Open and was a potential third-round opponent in New York, lost to CoCo Vandeweghe 6-4, 6-3. She gets Cibulkova next.
“It was extra energy, extra motivation”, Cibulkova said of the new environs at Ashe.
It was another early departure for Ivanovic, whose career has been wildly inconsistent.
Rafael Nadal managed to win his first U.S. Open match since 2013, despite dropping a set along the way. Monday afternoon delivered another dose of frustration.
“It s definitely very disappointing with the loss because I felt like I had great preparation”, Ivanovic said. It remains the only major where Raonic has failed to reach the quarter-finals. After having Achilles tendon surgery in February, Cibulkova made a halting return in June.
Paire appeared discombobulated after embracing Nishikori at the net, clarifying with the chair umpire that he had actually defeated the world no. 4.