NEW YORK—Before they stepped on court, there was nothing to suggest Andy Murray would have any trouble against Adrian Mannarino in the U.S. Open’s second round.
Murray, after all, is seeded No. 3, owns two major championships including at Flushing Meadows in 2012, and had reached at least the quarterfinals at the last 18 Grand Slam tournaments he’d entered.
Mannarino, meanwhile, is ranked 35th, has never won a tour-level title, and only three times in his career even has managed to win more than one match at a major.
So it certainly came as a surprise when, in yesterday’s opening game, Mannarino broke Murray.
About an hour later, Mannarino grabbed the opening set. And 45 minutes after that, the Frenchman took the second set, too.
“I just had to kind of tell myself that I would get there eventually,” Murray said.
“I had time to get back into it.”
Despite a stuffy nose and scratchy throat, and generally looking as if he might be ready to wilt on another steamy day at Flushing Meadows, Murray put together his eighth career comeback from a two-set deficit and beat Mannarino 5-7, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-1.
“He was looking for his rhythm and then I think that finally he found it,” Mannarino said.
Roger Federer had his rhythm from the start—compiling a 46-8 edge in winners in beating Steve Darcis of Belgium 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 at night.
But 2014 runner-up Caroline Wozniacki was stunned by 149th-ranked Petra Cetkovska of the Czech Republic 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (1) in the day’s final match, which ended after midnight.
Wozniacki held four match points but each was erased by a winner from Cetkovska.
Jack Sock of the United States, seeded 28th, took the opening two sets against 107th-ranked Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium, and was three games away from winning in the third.
But his body seized up because of cramps—unable to deal with the heat that topped 90 degrees F (32 C).
In a scary scene early in the fourth set, less than two hours in, Sock froze in place, his legs locked.
A trainer helped the 22-year-old American sit down near the baseline, and Sock appeared to have trouble even extending his arm when Bemelmans walked around the net and leaned over for a handshake.
“I didn’t have too much difficulty,” said Bemelmans, who next will face French Open champion Stan Wawrinka.
Sock didn’t hold a news conference, instead releasing a statement that called his retirement “extremely disappointing.”
There only are two American men remaining of the 16 who were in the draw—No. 13 John Isner and unseeded Donald Young.
Including two retirements by women, 14 players have stopped playing during matches because of injury or illness, tying the 2011 U.S. Open for the most through the first two rounds at a Grand Slam tournament.
“Maybe it’s the end of the year—players are not as fit . . . as in the beginning of the year,” said Bemelmans.
“It’s the humidity, the heat—it’s all these combinations,” he added.