Thanks to the players fighting for a spot in the tournament, the US Open wheelchair events have gotten underway, and—though not in the way fans would expect—there was drama from the very start.
Upon taking the court against 23-time Grand Slam singles champion and all-time great Shingo Kunieda, world No. 7 Nicolas Peifer experienced quite a serious eqpuipment issue, when a loud blast of air escaped from his tire.
Scared me to death— Blair Henley (@BlairHenley) September 10, 2020
Fortunately for the Frenchman, the tournament was able to help him get back inflated and rolling relatively quickly.
Not enough people have seen one of these and it's quite something to watch, so here... https://t.co/SdYaI8ti43— Kamakshi Tandon (@Kamakshi_Tandon) September 10, 2020
Peifer then managed to break Kunieda at love in the opening game with a ripped backhand winner, but the upset wouldn't come to fruition. The world No. 1 found his game and wound up winning, 6-3, 6-2.
The draws held to form throughout Thursday, with the established seeds all coming through. The men's No. 2, Argentina's Gustavo Fernandez, won 6-4, 6-1. The two top women's players, Diede De Groot and Yui Kamiji, both moved on in straight sets as well.
De Groot also became part of a new US Open tradition, being pictured in a pancake:
The Quad division, for competitors with a disability affecting at least three extremities, went as expected too, with Dylan Alcott and Andy Lapthorne each winning their round-robin matches.
Alcott went on to win his second round-robin matchup, 6-1, 7-6 (4), against No. 2 seed Andy Lapthorne on Friday.