Benoit Paire, ranked no. 41 in the world, beat Kei Nishikori in the first round of the US Open on a sweltering Monday afternoon. Despite Nishikori’s success last year making it to the finals before losing to Marin Cilic, the Japanese sensation played his first round match on the Louis Armstrong court, not the main Arthur Ashe venue. Cilic, despite coming in as the defending champion, will get the same treatment — opening up at Louis Armstrong instead of Ashe. Nishikori was mum about whether the less-than-star-treatment bothered him.
At any rate Nishikori could not make music at Louis Armstrong, dropping a hard five-setter: 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-4 to the veteran Paire. Paire saved two match points to advance. “To beat Nishikori, for me, it was impossible to imagine this,” said Paire. “I’m really happy.”