Fifth seed Alexander Zverev beat 2017 US Open finalist Kevin Anderson in a first-round match-up which would more normally have been a quarter or semi-final.
The German advanced 7-6(2), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 over the 2018 Wimbledon runner–up who has had a season or more of recent knee problems and surgery.
Zverev now leads the series 6-0; he took just over three hours to move into the second round at the no-fan tournament being played in a “bubble” due to COVID-19.
The winner produced 19 aces to Anderson’s 20, with Zverev tossing in six double-faults.
“I didn’t want to go down two sets to one,” Zverev said. “If he’s on his game, Kevin swings quite freely.
“I’m quite happy with a first round like this; it would normally be a quarter-final or semi.”
No. 4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas made light work of Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-2, 6-1, 6-1, with the Greek sweeping the final six games.
Tsitsipas moves to 2-2 at this event and aims to reach the third round in New York for the first time. He awaits the winner of Maxime Cressy and Jozef Kovalik.
No. 9 Diego Schwartzman became the first seed to fall as Brit Cameron Norrie rallied from two sets to love down to emerge into the second round of the US Open 3-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 7-5 on Monday.
Norrie, ranked 76th, won a match riddled with 57 break point chances, saving two match points as well.
The knockout took nearly three hours at the socially distanced and quarantined event.
Norrie performed his heroics while trailing 3-5 in the final set, saving a match point in each succeeding game to level and 5-all. A tenth break of the South American’s serve gave the challenger a 6-5 lead, with Norrie serving out the victory.
He will next play Federico Coria, who advanced when opponent Jason Jung retired, 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, 2-0.
Denis Shapovalov , the 12th seed, put out Czech Sebastian Korda 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, leaving the Canadian needing one more win to duplicate his previous third-round showings here.
Shapovalov was helped by 50 unforced errors from his opponent, son of former ATP No. 2 Petr Korda in their battle lasting two and three-quarter hours.
Egyptian Mohamed Safwat was plagued by 46 unforced errors as he went down to France’s Gilles Simon 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.
Croat Borna Coric advanced 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 over Pablo Andujar thanks in part to 42 winners; he next plays Juan Ignacio Londero.