CAPE TOWN – South Africa’s Lloyd Harris, one of the stars on Day 1 of the US Open in New York on Monday, will be facing a formidable opponent in seventh-seeded Belgian David Goffin today.
The 23-year-old Harris made light work of disposing of Italian Marco Cecchinato, 27, in straight sets after less than two hours of first-round play.
He looked in superb condition and seems to have benefited from additional matches played in the qualifying rounds of last week’s Cincinnati Open.
Against Goffin, a former world No 7, Harris will be looking to cut down on unforced errors (29 in three sets against Cecchinato) and be more clinical at the net.
Kevin Anderson produced passages of excellent play in a gruelling four-setter against the fifth-seeded German Alexander Zverev. After each won a set, there was still no hint of what the eventual outcome would be.
In the end, Anderson did not play the big points well, and that led to his demise. He squandered breakpoints (2/5) which could have made a difference if he had taken advantage.
Doubles specialist Raven Klaasen is South Africa’s best chance for silverware at this major. He joins the action today with Austrian partner Oliver Marach. They are seeded seventh and go up against the unseeded Austrian Philipp Oswald and New Zealander Marcus Daniell.
Because of disruptions this year, many of the teams are not at their best and Klaasen’s coach Stephan de Kock says there will be some tough first-round shoot-outs today.
“This draw is a tough one, although Grand Slam matches are never easy,” said De Kock.
“As the seventh seeds, we are in the bottom half of the draw, and there are some exciting match-ups.
“The boys are confident and have been working hard for two weeks in the bio bubble in New York.
“There has been some drama around the players’ association (talk of Novak Djokovic forming a breakaway player association), but we will remain focussed on the job at hand.
“There are also players who are unhappy with some protocols, but we won’t be distracted.
“We are just so happy to be back on court after a five-month lay-off.”
Seven players at the tournament have tested positive for Covid-19 and will be allowed to compete. However, they have massive restrictions placed on them, and that includes not using an elevator, even if they live on the seventh floor at one of the players’ hotel.