Canada’s Milos Raonic advanced to the second round of the U.S. Open with a 7-6 (4), 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 victory over Argentine qualifier Carlos Berlocq on Monday.
The hard-serving star from Thornhill, Ont., fired 26 aces past Berlocq and won 91 per cent of his first service points.
It wasn’t a clean win for Raonic, who committed 45 unforced errors compared to Berlocq’s 11.
Raonic, the 25th seed in New York, will next face France’s Gilles Simon. Raonic owns a 4-1 advantage in the head-to-head series with Simon, including both meetings on hardcourts.
Raonic was originally scheduled to face Jared Donaldson in the first round before the American withdrew due to a knee injury.
In other men’s action on Monday, Stan Wawrinka, the 2016 U.S. Open champion, won his return to the tournament with a 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 victory over No. 8 seed Grigor Dimitrov.
Wawrinka also ousted the Bulgarian in the first round at Wimbledon.
Wawrinka couldn’t defend his U.S. Open title last year, forced to miss the tournament following two left knee surgeries. The three-time Grand Slam champion from Switzerland’s ranking fell so low that he needed a wild card to make the U.S. Open field.
He easily won the first two sets, then rallied to take the third after receiving treatment on his legs early in the set.
Later, Briton Andy Murray beat Australia’s James Duckworth 6-7(5) 6-3 7-5 6-3 in a fiery match marked by long rallies in sweltering heat.
It was Murray’s first appearance in a Grand Slam since last year’s Wimbledon quarterfinals, nearly a year since he underwent hip surgery.
Duckworth, who has also struggled with injuries, clawed his way back in the first set against a visibly frustrated Murray who dug deep to take the next three sets.
Murray, a former U.S. Open champion, said on Friday he didn’t expect to win the tournament this year, calling it “unrealistic” after recovering from hip surgery.
American Jack Sock also finally made it back into the singles win column on Monday.
The No. 18-seed snapped a seven-match losing streak in singles matches on tour with a 6-0, 7-6 (4), 6-2 victory over Guido Andreozzi of Argentina.
It was Sock’s first victory in singles since beating David Ferrer in Rome in May. He is just 6-15 this year after finishing 2017 with a career-best ranking of No. 8.
It’s been a much better year in doubles, where Sock is 26-10 with four titles, including the Wimbledon championship alongside partner Mike Bryan.