Novak Djokovic continued his quest to match Margaret Courts all- time record haul of 24 Grand Slams on Arthur Ashe Stadium with a comfortable 6-0 6-2 6-3 win over Frenchman Alexandre Muller in first round at the Flushing Meadows.
Djokovic who was prevented from last year’s US Open due to being unvaccinated against COVID-19 started brilliantly in the first set firing on all cylinders to break debutant Muller in less than 24 minutes with a thunderous ace.
The Serbian who never took his foot off the gas in closing out the first set, continued in similar momentum in the second set to lead 2-0. But Muller waddled, held serve for the first time excitedly raising both hands for the step up as the crowd roared watching the 84th ranked Frenchman.
But Djokovi showed no mercy knowing the top spot ambition is up to be cemented, closed out the second set with an unstoppable forehand in record crowd that included former US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle.
In the third set Muller displayed ambition taking the set to 3-3 before Djokovic with the aura as Cincinnati Open champion took control by breaking twice on the way to closing out the match.
With the win Djokovic is set to return as World No.1 when the ranking is updated by September 11.
Meanwhile, Denmark Holger Rune, 20, crashed out in the first round match to Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena 6-3 4-6 6-3 6-2. While Dominic Thiem picked up first win at the Flushing Meadows since he won the title in 2020 beating 25th seed AAlexander Bublik 6-3 6-2 6-4.
The Austrian who is working on his way back up the rankings was sidelined after a long spell out injured.
‘’It’s a pretty special victory, because it’s the first since two-and- a-half years on the Grand Slam.’’ The 29 year-old and former World No.3, Thiem said.
Last year’s runner up Casper Ruud beat Emilio Nava 7-6 [7-5] 3-6 6-4 7-6 [7-5] and Christopher Eubank who achieved Wimbledon quarter finals this season, beat South Korean Kwon Soon-wo 6-3 6-4 0-6 6-4.
In battle of compatriots, American Taylor Fritz crushed Steve Johnson 6-2 6-1 6-2, while Frances Tiafoe beat American Learner Tien 6-2 7-5 6-1 in their open bids round matches.