Roberto Carballes Baena stuns Holger Rune at U.S. Open

League: Tennis

Posted on: 29 Aug, 2023 at 05:12 AM

Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Roberto Carballes Baena had seven aces while delivering a huge upset of fourth-seeded Holger Rune 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 on Monday in the opening round of the U.S. Open at New York.

It marks the first time the 30-year-old Carballes Baena has beaten a Top 10 player in 14 career attempts.

Baena converted 7 of 14 break points and committed just 21 unforced errors to Rune's 43. The Spaniard also converted 75.9 percent of his first-serve points.

Rune had a 37-31 edge in winners but said he wasn't at his best. The Denmark native took a timeout during the third set to get treatment for a leg injury and is still bothered by a back ailment sustained earlier this month.

"Disappointing day today," Rune said. "I had, as you know, a setback after the tournaments in Toronto and (Cincinnati), where I had to retire. Not the best preparation I had.

"Not satisfied with the result, obviously, but also with my tennis. There is only one way, and it's to work."

While crediting Carballes Baena, Rune also pointed to the physical issues as the reason for the defeat.

"I think also one of the reasons, you know, it's not ideal that I didn't get more matches coming into this tournament, because the body, it's hard if you're not in the rhythm for the body," Rune said.

Carballes Baena, who has reached the second round in four straight U.S. Opens, will next play Aslan Karatsev of Russia in the second round. Karatsev was a 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 winner over Jiri Lehecka of the Czech Republic.

Second-seeded Novak Djokovic began his big for a third U.S. Open championship by routing France's Alexandre Muller 6-0, 6-2, 6-3. Djokovic won 85 percent of his first-serve points and faced only one break point.

Fifth-seeded Casper Ruud, a finalist in last year's U.S. Open, began his tournament with a 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5) victory over qualifier Emilio Nava. It was Ruud's 200th tour-level victory.

Ruud made just 21 unforced errors while Nava had 49. The American had 72 winners -- including 13 aces -- while Ruud had 27 and four, respectively.

Ninth-seeded Taylor Fritz rolled to a 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 victory over Steve Johnson in a clash of Americans. No. 10 Frances Tiafoe advanced with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-1 victory over Learned Tien.

Former U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem swept past No. 25 Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. Thiem was helped by Bublik's 17 double faults.

The 2020 U.S. Open champ has been bothered by injuries over the past two-plus years. It was the Austrian's first Grand Slam victory since the 2021 Australian Open. He had failed to win a single match in his last six Grand Slam appearances.

"It's a pretty special victory because it's the first since two-and-a-half years on Grand Slams," Thiem said. "Especially here at the U.S. Open with all the past and all the memories I have here."

No. 21 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina knocked off Marcos Giron 6-4, 6-4, 6-2, while No. 22 Adrian Mannarino of France registered a 7-5, 6-7 (3), 6-3, 7-5 victory over Japan's Yosuke Watanuki.

No. 32 Laslo Djere of Serbia was a 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 over Brandon Nakashima.

Ben Shelton recorded a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Argentina's Pedro Cachin. But fellow American J.J. Wolf went down as China's Zhizhen Zhang outlasted him 7-5, 7-5, 6-7 (5), 4-6 and 6-3.

Seventh-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who reached the Australian Open final this year, rolled past Canada's Milos Raonic 6-2, 6-3, 6-4.

Joining the list of U.S. players to reach the second round were 14th-seeded Tommy Paul, 28th-seeded Christopher Eubanks and Mackenzie McDonald. French players Titouan Droguet, Benjamin Bonzi and Hugo Gaston won their opening matches.

Also advancing were Argentina's 20th-seeded Francisco Cerundolo and Juan Manuel Cerundolo, Hungary's Fabian Marozsan, Austria's Sebastian Ofner, the Czech Republic's Jakub Mensik and Jiri Vesely, Australia's Rinky Hijikata, Hungary's Marton Fucsovics, Peru's Juan Pablo Varillas, Spain's Bernabe Zapata Miralles, Russia's Roman Safiullin, Switzerland's Dominic Stricker and Croatia's Borna Gojo.

--Field Level Media