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Djokovic Cruises In Opener; Raonic Claims First-Round Battle

New York, U.S.A.

Djokovic© Getty ImagesTop seed Novak Djokovic has reached the US Open final in the past four years.

Top seed Novak Djokovic opened his 2014 US Open campaign with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 win over Argentine Diego Schwartzman under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday.

The World No. 1 was in control during the 97-minute duel, though broken once in both the first and third sets by his 5'7" opponent.

"I thought I hit the ball very well throughout the whole match," said Djokovic. "Diego is a talented player. [He is] very quick on the court."

The Serb cruised through the opening set until his service game at 4-0, when Schwartzman hit consecutive lob and passing shot winners to rally the crowd and set up his first break point, at 30/40. Djokovic erased the opportunity with a service winner, but ceded the game two points later by committing back-to-back errors.

In the third set, Djokovic was broken while serving up a break at 3-2, but rebounded by breaking Schwartzman at love in the following game to regain the lead.

The 6'2" Djokovic experienced a disappointing hard court season leading up to the US Open, making third-round exits in Cincinnati (l. to Robredo) and Toronto (l. to Tsonga), but hopes to do well in New York. Djokovic has reached the final in Flushing Meadows in the past four years (five overall) - winning in 2011 - and aims to add an eighth Grand Slam crown to his trophy case.

"The last three weeks actually, Toronto and Cincinnati, were a bit tough emotionally for me. I wasn't finding my game. I wasn't able to feel comfortable on the court," said Djokovic. "But now it's different. I feel emotionally recharged and ready to go"

Read: Djokovic - 'Everybody Is Starting From Scratch'

He next faces Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu, who edged Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 6-7(7), 7-5, 7-6(6), 6-7(5), 6-1.

Fifth seed Milos Raonic began his quest for a $4 million payout at the US Open with a 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(1) win over qualifier Taro Daniel on Louis Armstrong Stadium.

Raonic blasted 20 aces during the contest lasting one hour and 55 minutes, and goes on to face German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk, a 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 winner over countryman Benjamin Becker.

"I was feeling comfortable.I was feeling like I'm doing things well," said Raonic. "I just [need to improve] my mental discipline and physical discipline. I've got to play a high level throughout the entire match. I felt I fluctuated a little bit too much today."

The 23-year-old Raonic clinched the 2014 Emirates Airline US Open Series Bonus Challenge by claiming the Washington crown, reaching the quarter-finals in Toronto (l. to Lopez) and making a semi-final run into in Cincinnati (l. to Federer). John Isner finished second and Roger Federer third.

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