Thompson wins five-set battle in US Open opening round
Australian Jordan Thompson overcomes Italy's Gianluca Mager in a hard-fought opening-round match in New York.
Jordan Thompson never shies from hard work – and he certainly had to dig deep today to advance to the US Open second round.
The 27-year-old Australian battled for three hours and 30 minutes to overcome Italian Gianluca Mager in first-round action in New York, eventually prevailing 4-6 6-3 7-5 2-6 7-6(3).
It is the fourth five-set win of the world No.59’s career – and the first decided in a fifth-set tiebreak.
Thompson did not make it easy for himself in a tense deciding set. He was unable to convert two break point opportunities he earned on world No.71 Mager’s first two service games and also had to save four break points on his own serve in the fourth game.
With neither player able to edge ahead, it forced a deciding tiebreak.
Under pressure, it was Thompson who thrived. He opened the tiebreak with a backhand winner and quickly raced to a 4-0 lead.
From there, the determined Thompson held on to win – sealing victory when Mager hit his fifth unforced error of the tiebreak.
Thompson’s consistency proved telling in the end. He committed only 35 unforced errors throughout the match, compared to 71 from his 26-year-old opponent.
This is the fourth time, from six appearances, that Thompson has advanced to the US Open second round. The world No.59’s best result at the tournament is a fourth-round run last year.
If Thompson is to better that effort this year, he’ll need to defeat Australian Open 2021 semifinalist Aslan Karatsev in the second round. It will be his first career meeting with the world No.25.
In other men’s singles action today, Australian wildcard Max Purcell pushed world No.16 Jannik Sinner to four sets in his main draw debut.
However, the 20-year-old Italian, who hit 48 winners and only 16 unforced errors, eventually closed out a 6-4 6-2 4-6 6-2 victory in a two-hour and 32-minute battle.
In the women’s singles competition, Australians Ash Barty and Ajla Tomljanovic both advanced to the second round.
World No.1 Barty survived a test against 2010 finalist Vera Zvonareva, while Tomljanovic lost only nine points on serve in a dominant display against American wildcard Katie Volynets.
However, Sam Stosur’s 10-year anniversary celebrations of her US Open 2011 triumph were spoiled by Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit. The world No.28 scored a 6-3 6-0 win against the 37-year-old Australian.
Storm Sanders was also beaten in her main draw debut, with Japan’s Misaki Doi recording a 7-6(3) 6-3 win against the Australian wildcard.
Aussies in action – US Open
Men’s singles, first round
Jordan Thompson (AUS) d Gianluca Mager (ITA) 4-6 6-3 7-5 2-6 7-6(3)
 Jannik Sinner (ITA) d [WC] Max Purcell (AUS) 6-4 6-2 4-6 6-2
Women’s singles, first round
 Ash Barty (AUS) d Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 6-1 7-6(7)
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) d [WC] Katie Volynets (USA) 6-3 6-1
 Anett Kontaveit (EST) d Sam Stosur (AUS) 6-3 6-0
Misaki Doi (JPN) d [WC] Storm Sanders (AUS) 7-6(3) 6-3
Men’s singles, first round
 Alex de Minaur (AUS) v Taylor Fritz (AUS)
Men’s singles, second round
Jordan Thompson (AUS) v  Aslan Karatsev (RUS)
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) v  Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)
Women’s singles, second round
 Ash Barty (AUS) v Clara Tauson (DEN)
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) v  Petra Martic (CRO)