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U.S. Open: Novak Djokovic wins easy opener; Donald Young too

August 30, 2011 |  2:50 pm

Novak Djokovic, owner of a 58-2 record this year, was able to get in and out of the first round of the U.S. Open on Tuesday with little trouble. His Irish opponent, Conor Niland, was ill with food poisoning and the precision shots of top-seeded Djokovic did not make Niland feel any better.

After losing 11 of 12 games,  Niland bent over and then shook his head and Djokovic's hand and retired, a 6-0, 5-1 loser. Djokovic  spent only 44 minutes on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court, a circumstance that did not bother the world's No. 1.

"I don't think I'm lacking any time on the court or matches. This year has been a very long year. So I really don't mind that I spend less time on the court," the 24-year-old Djokovic said.

"I think I played well for these [44] minutes that we had.... I felt great on the court and that's something that's really important for the start of the tournament."

Djokovic had withdrawn from the final of the last tournament he played before the Open, complaining of a sore shoulder. "After that," Djokovic said, "I took some time off and I did everything in order to recover. Today I didn't feel any pain. I served well and I played well so I have no concern."

Donald Young, the 22-year-old American who had gotten in some trouble earlier this year when he sent an obscenity-filled Twitter message expressing displeasure when he didn't get the U.S. wild-card berth into the French Open, played his way into the second round of the U.S. Open. Young achieved a tidy and confident 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 win over Lukas Lacko, a 23-year-old from Slovakia who had gotten into the main draw as a lucky loser (the highest-ranked loser in the final round of qualifying who earns a berth when someone withdraws after the main draw is made).

Young had lost in the first round here the past three years, a trend he said was troubling. "This is my favorite event," he said. Young said he arrived here with more confidence after he advanced this summer to his first ATP Tour-level semifinal, in Washington, D.C.

"To win four matches at that level was great," Young said. "It made me really feel like after all this time that I really belonged and could beat the guys on a consistent basis."

Young will likely get a much tougher test in the second round when he meets 14th-seeded Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland.


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-- Diane Pucin, reporting from New York

Photo: Novak Djokovic returns a shot during his first-round match against Conor Niland at the U.S. Open on Tuesday. Credit: Susan Mullane / U.S. Presswire