Novak Djokovic beats Alexandre Muller in straight sets to ease into round two of US Open, will return to world No. 1

Novak Djokovic booked his place in the second round of the US Open after a “lights-out” display saw him cruise past Alexandre Muller.

The world No. 2 kicked off his campaign in New York in blistering fashion, seeing off his French opponent 6-0 6-2 6-3 in just 96 minutes.

Djokovic, winner of the Australian and French Open titles earlier in the year saw his chances of a Calendar Slam dashed with defeat in the Wimbledon final to Carlos Alcaraz but appeared to have to buried that loss deep in his mind as he took on Muller.

“It was a great joy to be stepping out on the court,” said Djokovic, who couldn’t play in the United States last year because he is not vaccinated against Covid-19.

“I think the performance explains how I felt tonight, particularly in the first two sets. It was kind of lights-out tennis really, almost flawless, perfect first set.

“I’ve probably had the answer for every shot he had in his book. Overall I’m very, very pleased with the way I feel, with the way I’m playing.

“Hopefully I can maintain that level. It’s just the beginning of the tournament, but I already like the level of tennis.”

The result ensures Djokovic will return to world No. 1 after the tournament ahead of Alcaraz.

An immediate break in the opening match set Djokovic on his way and the Serb followed this up with two further breaks and a pair of easy holds before serving out the set in under 25 minutes.

An imperious Djokovic broke again at the start of the second set on his third break point of the game before another straightforward hold as Muller threatened to be overwhelmed by his illustrious opponent.

However, the world no. 76 finally got on the board with a love hold, bringing the Arthur Ashe crowd to their feet to applaud his efforts.

This proved a minor reprieve as Muller was broken again for 1-4 but immediately broke back – including winning the point following an impressive ‘tweener’ to put on his own personal highlight reel – perhaps giving the three-time champion in New York something to think about.

But Djokovic broke back straight away before serving out the set.

Muller seemed to have found his way into the match and had three consecutive love holds as the third set went with serve until 3-3.

Djokovic then stepped up the gears and the writing was on the wall as he broke in the very next game before a final decisive break for victory.

The Serb, gunning for a record-equalling 24th grand slam singles title, will face unseeded Bernabe Zapata Miralles in round two following the Spaniard’s 6-4 6-4 6-3 win over Ethan Quinn.

Elsewhere, Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Milos Raonic 6-2 6-3 6-4, while Casper Ruud came through a hard-fought 7-6(5) 3-6 6-4 7-6(5) battle with Emilio Nava.

Frances Tiafoe is also into round two after a 6-2 7-5 6-1 win over Learner Tien, as Taylor Fritz beat Steve Johnson 6-2 6-1 6-2.

There was a something of shock however as 15th seed Felix Auger Aliassime was beaten by Mackenzie McDonald 7-5(5) 4-6 6-1 6-4.

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