Photo: Paul ZimmerNovak Djokovic (SRB)
Novak Djokovic, the reigning men’s champion, made an impressive start to his title defence with a comprehensive 61 60 61 victory over Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi in a little over an hour.
Djokovic, who won the US Open for the first time last year, along with the Australian Open and Wimbledon, did not get off to the best of starts as Lorenzi broke in the very first game of the match. However, that was to be the highlight of the day for the Italian who then lost the next twelve games to drop two sets behind.
Lorenzi won one more game at the start of the third set but that was to be it as Djokovic eased into the next round.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the fifth seed, is also through to the second round following a straight-sets victory over Karol Beck. After taking the first two sets comfortably, Tsonga found himself a break down in the third set but rallied to take it in a tiebreak and complete his 63 61 76(2) victory.
Elsewhere, world No. 7 Tomas Berdych earned a pleasing win against the up-and-coming David Goffin 75 63 63. Berdych sent down 17 aces and will undoubtedly be pleased to come through a particularly tough first round encounter after having fallen in the first round at Wimbledon and the Olympics.
In the women’s draw, there were comfortable wins for the Williams sisters who dropped a total of six games combined in their first round matches. Both were involved in all-American clashes, with Venus, who is unseeded at this year’s US Open, overcoming Bethanie Mattek-Sands 63 61 and Serena, the fourth seed, comfortably defeating Coco Vandeweghe 61 61. The Williams sisters would face each other in the semifinals, should they both reach that stage.
Aside from the Williams sisters, the American fans had a lot to celebrate. Andy Roddick, a crowd favourite ever since he won his home Grand Slam in 2003, beat compatriot Rhyne Williams 63 64 64 during which time Roddick sent down 20 aces. And Sloane Stephens, America’s brightest teenage talent, and a favourite ever since she burst onto the scene last year, making the third round in her US Open debut, is also through after an impressive 63 64 victory over Francesca Schiavone.
The shock of the day came in the women’s draw as eighth seed Caroline Wozniacki lost to Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania 62 62. Begu, who is ranked No. 96 in the world, took advantage of an underperforming Wozniacki to earn one of the biggest wins of her career. Wozniacki, who also lost in the first round of Wimbledon this year, is now in danger of dropping out of the Top 10 and will do so if Marion Bartoli manages to win her second round match.
World No. 2 Agnieszka Radwanska had no such issues, despite having some strapping on her shoulder, as she overcame Russia’s Nina Bratchikova 61 61. Urszula Radwanska won’t be joining her sister in the second round though after losing 61 61 to Italian Roberta Vinci. Former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic is also through to the second round as she beat young Ukrainian Elina Svitolina 63 62.
Also through to the second round are Germany’s Angelique Kerber who beat Anne Keothavong of Great Britain 62 60, Sofia Arvidsson who beat Kimiko Date-Krumm, the oldest competitor in this year’s competition at 41 years old, 64 62, Maria Kirilenko, who eased past South African Chanelle Scheepers 62 61, and Jelena Jankovic who beat Kateryna Bondarenko 61 62.
In the men’s draw, there were wins for big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic who was pushed all the way by Santiago Giraldo before winning 63 46 36 64 64, Stanislas Wawrinka, who beat Sergiy Stakhovsky 67(8) 76(2) 64 62, Nicolas Almagro who overcame Radek Stepanek 64 67(5) 63 64 and Philipp Petzschner who outlasted Nicolas Mahut in a gruelling five-set match which finished 16 46 64 75 76(3).
Unfortunately, David Nalbandian was forced to withdraw from this year’s competition because of a rib injury.
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