U.S. Open Day 1 after dark: Serena, Nadal advance; Monfils retires
NEW YORK – Serena Williams made her 2015 U.S. Open debut under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium. Check out the Day 1 day session recap here, and catch up with news and results from Day 1 after 7 p.m. at the U.S. Open below.
Serena Williams dominates and advances: On the cusp of history, Serena is rightfully generating more excitement than any other player at the U.S. Open. But if you closed your eyes for a moment on Monday night, you might have missed all the excitement. Serena dominated her first-round opponent Vitalia Diatchenko 6-0, 2-0 before Diatchenko retired with an injury after just 30 minutes.
Williams finished the match with six aces and just four unforced errors. A clearly hobbled Diatchenko recorded 14 unforced errors and only won five points over the course of the match.
Gael Monfils retires due to injury: Vitalia Diatchenko wasn’t the only player who retired on Monday night due to injury. Monfils, the tournament’s No. 16 seed, was down 2–6, 6–4, 5–0 when he was forced to stop playing. The defeat leaves his quarter of the draw without two of its marquee players, Monfils and No. 4 Kei Nishikori, who was upset in five sets by Monfils’ countryman Benoit Paire earlier on Monday.
The Dog lies down: Retiring due to injury is apparently the hottest trend of the U.S. Open after dark. Alexandr Dolgopolov won the first set against Sam Groth 6–4, but after losing the next two sets, the Ukrainian retired with an injury. Groth, who advances to the second round for the second straight year, will face Tommy Robredo on Wednesday.
Steve Johnson bows out to Fabio Fognini: Johnson became the fourth American to bow out of the 2015 U.S. Open on its opening day as No. 32 Fabio Fognini advanced to the second round. After winning the first set 6–2, Johnson lost the next two sets 6–3, 6–4 before losing a more than hour-long fourth set 7–6 (2). Johnson’s defeat marked the third straight year he has fallen in the first round after making it to the third round in 2012. Fognini advances to play Pablo Cuevas, who defeated Dudi Sela on Monday afternoon.
Rafael Nadal wins in his U.S. Open return following his 2014 absence: After pulling out of last year’s U.S. Open due to injury, Rafa Nadal returned to Flushing and resumed his winning ways. He advanced to the second round with a 6–3, 6–2, 4–6, 6–4 victory over Croatian teenager Borna Coric.
After Nadal dominated early, winning the first two sets with ease, Coric played an excellent, aggressive third set, smashing four aces and 13 winners. But Nadal rebounded in the fourth set to seal the win. One potential area of concern: Nadal won just 10 of 28 (36%) of his second serves. The really good news: He converted 72% of his first serves and won 88% of first serve points.
Nadal has had his worst season in more than a decade, so it can be easy to forget his recent success in New York: In his last three U.S. Opens (2010, 2011, 2013; he pulled out in 2012 and 2014 due to injury), Nadal has two titles and one finals appearance. He'll play Argentina's Diego Schwartzman in the second round.
SNAPSHOTS FROM DAY 1