Milos Raonic had some highlights at Monday's US Open, but not enough of them to upset seventh-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece.
Raonic, 32, of Thornhill, Ontario, lost 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 to Tsitsipas in the opening round of men's singles. The game lasted one hour and 56 minutes.
Raonic had eight aces and 32 winners, but he also had 48 unforced errors and eight double faults. He won just one of three break points.
Tsitsipas had seven aces, 24 winners and 10 unforced errors.
VIEW | Raonic eliminated by Tsitsipas:
Meanwhile, Montreal's Felix Auger-Aliassime played more than three hours but lost his opening game against American Mackenzie McDonald 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Auger-Aliassime, only recently feeling healthier after a string of injuries marred his season, was unlucky not to win the first set. In the third set, his team opted for match management after going behind, but the strategy didn't work out as McDonald eliminated the Canadian in the fourth set.
Auger-Aliassime finished with 13 aces, 11 double faults, 39 winners and 52 unforced errors.
On Tuesday, Leylah Fernandez of Laval, Que. will begin her US Open singles journey against 22nd-ranked Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia, while Rebecca Marino of Vancouver will take on Patricia Tig of Romania.
VIEW | Auger-Aliassime eliminated at the US Open:
No. 4 Rune turned off
The biggest surprise victim so far is number 4 seeded Holger Rune.
Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena, ranked 63rd, defeated Rune 6-3 4-6 6-3 6-2 to secure his first win over a top 10 player.
Rune, a 20-year-old Dane who made it into the top five after reaching the quarter-finals of the French Open and Wimbledon, had complained before the game about being assigned one of the outside courts and sarcastically tweeted a card from Flushing Meadows to help him fans find it.
“I just didn't expect to play on this pitch,” Rune said afterwards. “Obviously this is disappointing but I cannot blame the court for the loss.”
Spain's Rebeka Masarova defeated number eight seed Maria Sakkari 6-4, 6-4, with the Greek complaining afterwards that the smell of marijuana bothered her.
“The smell, oh my god,” Sakkari said to the chair umpire in the first sentence. “It was weed.”
Tenth seeded American Frances Tiafoe, a 25-year-old from Maryland who reached the semifinals at last year's US Open, had a 6-2, 7-5, 6-1 win over wildcard compatriot Learner Tien hardly any problems.
Dominic Thiem, the 2020 champion who is unseeded this year, defeated 25th-seeded Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 6-3 6-2 6-4. Thiem, an Austrian who had lost his last seven Grand Slam matches, next meets American Ben Shelton, who defeated Argentina's Pedro Cachin in four sets.
The longest game so far, four hours and 29 minutes, went to the Chinese Zhizhen Zhang, who defeated the American JJ Wolf 7:5, 7:5, 6:7 (5), 4:6, 6:3.
Gauff wins despite the drama
Meanwhile, Coco Gauff had already lost a set when she found herself in a marathon with 30 points and more than 25 minutes of play early in the second set. Sure, there was still plenty of time to return to Arthur Ashe Stadium, but this felt crucial.
The 19-year-old from Florida had lost her last two Grand Slam matches – including a first-round elimination at Wimbledon last month – and didn't want to go soft or fast this time. With thousands of partisan fans raising their voices, the number six-seeded Gauff finally converted her eighth break point of the game and ended up defeating German qualifier Laura Siegemund 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 to advance to the second round at Flushing Meadows.
Once she had the lead, Gauff's biggest disappointment was the way Siegemund made her wait until she played the next point. Siegemund always took his time and was warned by referee Marijana Veljovic at the beginning of the last sentence. Brad Gilbert, one of two coaches to have worked with Gauff recently, shook his head at how long it took Veljovic to step in and his reaction made Gauff smile.
But when Gauff was 3-0 up in that set, she had had enough and crossed over to make her point.
“She is never ready when I serve. … How is that fair?” Gauff told Veljovic. “I walk at a normal pace. Ask a referee here. … I was calm the whole game. …Now it's ridiculous. I don't care what she does on her serve, but [on] My serve, she must be ready.
Coco Gauff expressed her frustration to the referee after she thought her opponent, Laura Siegemund, was slowly preparing to serve on several occasions. pic.twitter.com/WjXz4bskkt
Gauff eventually dropped that game — but not another either. Later, Siegemund was deducted a point for delay, which gave Gauff a 5-1 lead. This prompted Siegemund to plead her case to Veljovic: “I can't go to the towel anymore?” – and caused some mockery from the crowd.
Towards the end there was another hiccup for Gauff: In the third game she was 5-2 for the game, but committed three double faults. Those were their only double faults in the entire game, which lasted two hours and 51 minutes.
In the end she persevered and it was Gauff's 12th win in 13 games since the disappointing performance at the All England Club. This latest run includes the two biggest titles of the American's career and a win over No. 1 Iga Swiatek.
Gauff and Swiatek could meet in the quarterfinals next week.
The first round is played on Monday and Tuesday. The tournament lasts two weeks and ends with the women's singles final on September 9th and the men's singles final on September 10th.