Murray/Soares Begin US Open Title Defence
Fourth seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares made a winning start to their US Open title defence as doubles action got under way Thursday at Flushing Meadows. The British-Brazilian duo closed out a 6-4, 7-6(6) win over Austrians Julian Knowle and Alexander Peya. Knowle won the US Open title in 2007 with Simon Aspelin, while Peya finished runner-up in 2013 alongside Soares (l. to Paes/Stepanek).
Murray and Soares, who finished 2016 as the No. 1 duo, have won three titles from five finals this year. Ahead of the US Open, they reached the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final at the Western & Southern Open (l. to Herbert/Mahut).
Top seeds and reigning Australian Open champions Henri Kontinen and John Peers cruised in their first-round match against Americans William Blumberg and Spencer Papa, dismissing the US Open debutants 6-3, 6-3 in 59 minutes. The Finnish-Australian duo will next face Russians Mikhail Elgin and Daniil Medvedev, who defeated Dominic Inglot and Daniel Nestor 6-4, 7-5. The 44-year-old Nestor was making his 24th straight appearance in the doubles draw and won the title in 2004 with Mark Knowles.
Second seeds and Wimbledon champions Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo fought for a win in their opener against Guillermo Duran and Neal Skupski. They prevailed 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in one hour and 54 minutes to set a second-round meeting with Frenchmen Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, 6-4, 6-2 winners over Teymuraz Gabashvili and Andreas Haider-Maurer.
Kubot and Melo have already clinched their place at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held this November at The O2 in London, and defending champions Kontinen and Peers are next in line to qualify at No. 2 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Race to London.
Five-time US Open champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan also needed three sets to get through their first-round match, defeating Czechs Roman Jebavy and Jiri Vesely 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. Mike will go for match win number 1050 – one shy of Nestor's all-time record – when the Bryans next play Nick Kyrgios and Matt Reid. The Australians came back to beat Joao Sousa and Jan-Lennard Struff 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 in one hour and 58 minutes.
American Ryan Harrison and New Zealand’s Michael Venus, currently sixth in the Race standings, saw their US Open campaign come to an early end. The eighth seeds, who enjoyed a dream run to the Roland Garros title earlier this year, suffered a 6-3, 6-3 loss to Frenchmen Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin.