The Canadian has fond memories in New York, having enjoyed a run to his first major quarter-final last season at Flushing Meadows. The 22-year-old set the wheels in motion for another strong performance this year as he won 87 per cent (39/45) of his first-serve points against Delbonis to advance in one hour and 48 minutes.
“It is always tough to come out in the first match,” Shapovalov said. “It is a place I have always played well, but you don’t know what form you will be in. There were a lot of tough games I was able to win. I am very happy to just capitalise on the chances and I am so happy to be back here with all the fans.”
Shapovalov, who suffered disappointing second-round defeats on home soil in Toronto and in Cincinnati earlier this month, will be eager to regain the form that he showed at Wimbledon in July, when he advanced to his maiden major semi-final.
Zverev Begins US Open Campaign
The World No. 10 has never fallen before the third round in four previous appearances at the US Open. The Geneva finalist will look to maintain this record against Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena or 24-year-old Tommy Paul in the second round.
“There are so many top players in the world, it is super tough,” Shapovalov added. “As soon as the tournament gets started, you get into your little bubble to prepare. It is so great to see so many familiar faces and I really appreciate the support.”
In a dominant performance against Delbonis, Shapovalov looked to step inside the baseline and fire his backhand early down the line to manoeuvre the Argentine around the court. The 22-year-old hammered 24 winners in the first two sets as he pinned Delbonis behind the baseline, before sealing his victory when the 30-year-old found the net with his forehand.
Delbonis was aiming to break a four-match US Open losing streak, having recorded his previous victory in New York in 2016. The World No. 47, who has yet to win a match on hard this season, has reached semi-finals on clay in Santiago, Belgrade and Hamburg this year.