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American men shine on Day 1 of the US Open as hopes for ending 20-year drought rise

The top four American men, Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul and Chris Eubanks, all won their first-round matches at the US Open on Monday as local fans hope for a first American men’s champion at their home Grand Slam since Andy Roddick in 2003. The quartet were joined by Ben Shelton and Mackenzie McDonald in the second round as play got underway at the final Grand Slam of the season.

Chris Eubanks, ‘The Rocket’, who will be playing in UTS Frankfurt later this year, scored a 6-3, 6-4, 0-6, 6-4 win over Kwon Soon-woo “The Machine”. The 27-year-old, who has rocketed up the rankings over the past few months after winning his first ATP singles title and reaching his first Grand Slam quarter-final at Wimbledon, said he was happy with the way he played in his first match as a seeded player.

“I thought I played relatively well. I felt like I played well in spots, the spots that I needed to play well. Obviously I think Soonwoo is one of the best ball strikers on tour. When he gets in the mode, he was in in the third set, it’s tough for everybody. Kind of able to keep my composure, reset myself a little bit, be able to, like I said, hold serve, allowed that to kind of be a catalyst for me getting some momentum in the fourth. Not very often I get broken three times in one set. When that happened, All right, let’s throw that one out the window, start fresh in the fourth. Everything else kind of took care of itself,” the 6ft 7inch Eubanks said after his win.

Fritz dispatches compatriot Johnson

Taylor ‘The Hotshot’ Fritz, seeded No 9 and the top-ranked American male player in the world, scored a rather comfortable 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 win over countryman Steve Johnson to move into the round of 64; 10th seed Frances ‘Big Foe’ Tiafoe also scored a straight sets 6-2, 7-5, 6-1 win over Learner Tien; 14th seed Tommy Paul needed four sets to beat Stefano Travaglia 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1; and Ben ‘The Mountain’ Shelton came from a set down to beat Pedro Cachin 1-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4.

Fritz, who won the title in Atlanta last month, said he would like to the one who breaks the 20-year drought for American men at Flushing Meadows but, at the same time, is not thinking too much about it.

“Obviously, I want to be the one that ends it, but, I mean, so does Frances, so does Tommy, so do all the other Americans. That doesn’t really change anything. I guess that’s not on my mind. I want to win a slam (smiling),” Fritz said. “In doing that, then all the other stuff. But it’s not as much pressure as I guess you’d say like the Tim Henman thing, because it’s not just me. There’s several of us. We share that, and we share the hopes of it, I guess.”

Meanwhile, Mackenzie McDonald caused one of the upsets of the day beating 15th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 to also reach the second round.