27 Aug 2012

Stosur starts title defence with easy win

News Article

Photo: Paul ZimmerSamantha Stosur (AUS)

Reigning women’s champion Samantha Stosur got the US Open under way on Monday as she claimed a 61 61 victory over Petra Martic in the opening match inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, before Andy Murray and Roger Federer followed with routine wins in the men’s event.

Stosur, who claimed her maiden Grand Slam triumph at Flushing Meadows 12 months ago, started her title defence in the perfect fashion by brushing aside her Croatian opponent in just 51 minutes.

In a one-sided affair, the No. 7 seed from Australia won the opening 19 points of the match to lead 4-0 (40-0), only for a double fault to hand Martic her first point and quash the chance of a golden set.

“It pops into your head and you think, 'Oh, that would be cool,'” said Stosur, speaking about the possibility of winning the first set without losing a point. “I knew that I hadn't missed a point and the match had been going pretty quick and obviously in my favour, then I hit the double fault.”

Martic responded by holding serve to get her first game on the board, but it did little to stop the Aussie wave of dominance and Stosur quickly wrapped up victory to book a second round meeting with Romanian qualifier Edina Gallovits-Hall, the world No. 135.

Former US Open champions Maria Sharapova and Kim Clijsters also recorded comfortable wins inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. Sharapova, chasing her second Grand Slam title of the year after lifting the Roland Garros trophy, eased past Melinda Czink 62 62, while Clijsters, playing in her last professional tournament before retirement, defeated Victoria Duval 63 61.

Victoria Azarenka is also safely through to the second round after her 61 60 demolition of Alexandra Panova. The world No. 1, who won her maiden Grand Slam title at this year’s Australian Open, will be hoping to improve on her disappointing record in New York, where she has never been past the fourth round.

Petra Kvitova and Li Na, the Wimbledon and Roland Garros champions in 2011, were pushed a little more in their first round matches. Kvitova came through a first set tiebreak to beat Polona Hercog 76(6) 61, while Li fought back from a break down in the second set to beat Heather Watson 62 63.

It was a bad day for the German women as Sabine Lisicki, Julia Goerges and Andrea Petkovic all crashed out. Lisicki surrendered a first set advantage to lose 46 62 62 against Sorana Cirstea, Goerges went down 76(4) 61 versus Kristyna Pliskova, and Petkovic bowed out 62 75 to Romina Oprandi.

Murray and Federer were both on target inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. The British world No. 3 followed Stosur on court with a 62 64 61 triumph over Alex Bogomolov Jr, while the Swiss world No. 1 was the headline act in the opening night session as he knocked out Donald Young 63 62 64.

Murray wasn’t at his best against Bogomolov, losing his opening two serves of the match and also going a break down in the second set. However, the Olympic gold medalist eventually found his feet and won nine of the last ten games to set up a second round clash with Ivan Dodig.

Despite the scoreline being similar, Federer had an easier time in his match against Young. The 17-time Grand Slam champion, bidding for a sixth US Open title, lost his serve just once during a comfortable run out. He marches on to meet Bjorn Phau.

There were also wins for Mardy Fish, Gilles Simon, Fernando Verdasco, Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic, who battled back from two sets down to outlast Marinko Matosevic 57 26 64 62 64. Meanwhile, James Blake rolled back the years as he defeated Lukas Lacko 75 62 36 63 inside Louis Armstrong Stadium.

The action continues on Tuesday when Novak Djokovic, Tomas Berdych, Andy Roddick, Agnieszka Radwanska, and Serena and Venus Williams all get their US Open campaigns under way.

Follow all the action on the official US Open website: USOpen.org