Ashleigh Barty nearly became an opening-day casualty but bounced back from 5-0 down to win 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 against Zarina Diyas. The Kazakh player was ranked 78 places below her first-round opponent but found little resistance in the opening stages to claim the first set and raise hopes of a dramatic upset. However, Barty bounced back from a set down to take the match in just over 100 minutes and set up a second-round clash with either Lauren Davis or Johanna Larsson. But the Australian started the match in nightmare fashion, missing 12 of 13 first serves and allowing Diyas to open up a 4-0 lead in the opening set. The French Open champion had been tipped by many to make a deep run at Flushing Meadows but has never made it past the fourth round – her opponent though had never been past the third. Had you not known their names or faces, you would have assumed Diyas was the Grand Slam winner and Barty the minnow watching the first set as the latter narrowly avoided the dreaded bagel. Her level increased – it hardly could have dropped – and the first serve started to land, although the percentage was still below 50 per cent. Diyas fought hard to stay with a player who should have been far above her level and did so until finally being broken at 3-4, allowing Barty to serve out the set. Any sniff of an upset was extinguished when the No 2 seed – whose 2018 equivalent was also a shock first-week loser – started to produce her best tennis and break early on in the decider. Barty added a second break minutes later to ensure she could serve the match out and prove that the early gremlins in her serve had been well and truly banished.