• US Open, Day Two

Djokovic races through as Niland retires

ESPN staff
August 30, 2011
Novak Djokovic looked in top form as he cruised into round two © Getty Images

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Novak Djokovic spent just 44 minutes on court in his first round encounter at the US Open, as his opponent Conor Niland was forced to retire to due to illness.

Irishman Niland battled through to the first round at Flushing Meadows for the first time in his career and was handed a big stage on Arthur Ashe Stadium, after pulling out Djokovic.

But his preparations for the biggest game of his career were hit by a bout of food poisoning on the eve of the game and he was sick on court during the warm-up.

Niland looked completely drained, which was understandable given his plight, and he found an opponent unwilling to give any mercy as Djokovic ground him into submission.

Djokovic had questions of his own to answer, having retired against Andy Murray in Cincinnati on account of a shoulder injury, and he went some way to answering them with a strong service hold in the opening game - powering the ball down at his usual pace.

The Serb raced through the opening set to love in 21 minutes, at which point Niland called the trainer for assistance.

The 29-year-old Irishman attempted to play on and thrilled the crowd with a brilliant forehand, as he held serve at the start of the second set. But that was as good as it got, as a merciless Djokovic dragged his opponent around court and Niland's tank ran empty at 6-0 5-1.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga produced a near-textbook opening match of a grand slam, cruising to a 6-4 6-4 6-4 win over Yen-hsun Lu.

Much of the talk has been about the 'big four' but Tsonga has proved in the past he has the game to challenge the elite and he made the ideal start to his US Open quest. In each of the first two sets, Tsonga worked a break of serve at a key stage. He raced into a 4-0 lead in the third and only some back-to-the-wall hitting from Lu staved off a bagel in the third.

Ernests Gulbis climbs into a smash © PA Photos

David Ferrer recovered from a sluggish opening to claim a 2-6 6-3 6-0 6-4 win over Igor Andreev. Russian baseliner Andreev caught fire early in the match, with his hitting causing problems for Ferrer who threatened to blow his top at one stage early in the second set. But the No. 5 seed dug in to weather the storm and ultimately ran out a comfortable winner.

Ernests Gulbis is a potential threat in Rafael Nadal's quarter of the draw and the unseeded Latvian proved the point with a crushing victory over Mikhail Youzhny. Russian No. 16 seed Youzhny never looked comfortable and Gulbis was on one of his hot days as he claimed a 6-2 6-4 6-4 victory.

Stanislas Wawrinka recovered from the loss of the first set to beat Maximo Gonzalez 3-6 6-4 6-1 6-1, while No. 17 seed Jurgen Melzer eased past Eric Prodon in three sets.

Fernando Verdasco was another player to recover from a sluggish start to claim a 3-6 6-4 6-1 6-4 win over Jarkko Niemenen.

Nikolay Davydenko is looking to rebuild his career following an injury problem and he showed some good form to claim a 6-7(6) 6-3 6-0 2-6 6-2 win over No. 32 seed Ivan Dodig.

Juan Ignacio Chela was 3-1 up when his opponent Marinko Matosevic retired, while Florian Mayer dropped just three games in beating Adrian Mannarino. Home favourite James Blake claimed a 6-2 6-4 4-6 6-4 over Dutchman Jesse Huta Galung.

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