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Lloyd Harris carries SA’s singles hopes into US Open second round

South Africa’s number two-ranked men’s singles player Lloyd Harris reached the second round of a Grand Slam for just the second time on Monday with a straight-sets 6-4 7-5 6-2 victory over Italian Marco Cecchinato in the US Open in New York.

In a tough draw Kevin Anderson went down to fifth-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany in four sets at Flushing Meadows.

Harris carries South Africa’s hopes

Harris defeated the Italian World No 108 Cecchinato in one hour and 54 minutes to book his place in the US Open second round for the first time.

The 23-year-old from Cape Town overpowered his Italian foe serving 12 aces compared to the Cecchinato’s three and hit 32 winners to his opponent’s 14.

Harris is set for a major test in the second round in the form of a meeting with seventh-seeded Belgian David Goffin. Harris will likely look to his power game to give him the edge against the world number ten. The match will be the first between the two on the ATP Tour.

Zverev happy to get past Anderson

Zverev was relieved to get past Anderson in the opening round recognising the threat the two-time Grand Slam finalist posed.

”I am actually quite happy with a first round like that,” said Zverev. “Kevin is not someone you usually play in a first round. This is a fourth round, quarter-final, semi-final match normally against him. I am extremely happy to be through.”

Zverev has now won all six meetings with Anderson, who underwent right knee surgery on 19 February. The German will face American youngster Brandon Nakashima, who defeated Paolo Lorenzi 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(3), for a spot in the third round.

It was Zverev’s first victory since the resumption of the ATP Tour, having lost his opening match at the Western & Southern Open to former World No. 1 Andy Murray.

”[My volley] is something that I worked on in these six months,” said Zverev. “It was my serve, my volleys that I worked on. In the [Western & Southern Open] match, I thought I did those two things well until the really important moments and I wanted to do it differently to finish off the match today.”

US Open Tuesday

Murray, the 2012 champion, will contest the opening match of Day two on Arthur Ashe Stadium. He will face Yoshihito Nishioka in his first US Open appearance since 2018.

Second seed Dominic Thiem will begin his US Open campaign against Spain’s Jaume Munar on Louis Armstrong Stadium.

Grigor Dimitrov faces Tommy Paul in the final match on Louis Armstrong Stadium. 

Matteo Berrettini, who also reached the 2019 semi-finals, opens his US Open campaign on Court 17 against Go Soeda of Japan.

Canadians Milos Raonic and Felix Auger-Aliassime will also feature on Court 17. Raonic, who advanced to his fourth Masters 1000 final at the Western & Southern Open, meets Leonardo Mayer for a spot in the second round. Auger-Aliassime faces Thiago Monteiro of Brazil for the first time.

In two of the matches of the first round, eighth seed Roberto Bautista Agut will face Tennys Sandgren and reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannik Sinner will meet 11th seed Karen Khachanov.

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