Monday, 31 August 2009


Serena gets off to winning start

Defending champion Serena Williams cruised into round two of the US Open with a 6-4 6-1 win over Alexa Glatch.
The second seed raced 5-1 ahead but allowed her 19-year-old opponent to close the gap to 5-4 before serving out the first set.
Serena, 27, rallied in the second and came through to set up a meeting with Maria Elena Camerin or Melinda Czink.
Earlier, Kim Clijsters marked her Grand Slam return with a 6-1 6-1 thumping of Ukraine's Viktoriya Kutusova.
Former world number one Clijsters retired in 2007 and is making her first appearance in New York since winning the 2005 title.
After a two-year break, during which she got married and had her first child, she has dropped to 9999 in the rankings and gained entry to Flushing Meadows via a wildcard.
But she produced a devastating display of movement, timing and power to destroy Kutusova and looked no less dominant than in her last US Open appearance - a 6-3 6-1 victory over Mary Pierce in the 2005 final.
With five breaks of serve, the 26-year-old Belgian stormed to victory in just 54 minutes and will now play 14th seed Marion Bartoli, who thrashed Rossana De Los Rios 6-1 6-0.
"It was nice to come out here on centre court (Arthur Ashe Stadium) and open the tournament, as I didn't get to do so as defending champion a few years ago," said Clijsters.
Lovely to see Kim back and playing so well!
"I'm glad I won in two sets without wasting too much energy. I had a few butterflies, more than I normally do because it was centre court and my first match back at a Grand Slam.
"My serve hasn't been going the way I wanted it to but today it was really good.
Bidding for her third Grand Slam title of 2009, a 12th in total and her fourth US Open, Serena survived a lapse in concentration midway through the first set to advance in just over an hour.
She began strongly but was broken when serving for the set at 5-2 as world number 103 Glatch settled after a nervous start.
Serena made no mistake at the second time of asking, however, and then powered through the second set.
Elsewhere, seventh seed Vera Zvonareva beat Nuria Llagostera Vives 6-0 6-4 and eighth seed Victoria Azarenka made light work of Alexandra Dulgheru.
Azarenka has been tipped by many as an outsider for the title and the Belarusian won 6-1 6-1 to set up a second round meeting with Poland's Marta Domachowska or Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic.
Agnieszka Radwanska, the number 12 seed from Poland, saw off Patricia Mayr 6-1 6-2 and she will now play Maria Kirilenko after the unseeded Russian beat Mariya Koryttseva 6-2 6-1.
Another comfortable victor was Italy's Francesca Schiavone, the 26th seed easing to 6-1 6-2 win against Yvonne Meusburger.
But things were far tougher for 15th seed Samantha Stosur, who battled to a 6-4 4-6 6-4 victory over Ai Sugiyama of Japan.
Stosur converted seven of 13 break points and Sugiyama six of 16, but it was the Australian who prevailed to set up a second-round meeting with unseeded American Vania King.
King's passage was secured by the withdrawal of Anastasiya Yakimova when trailing 2-1 in the opening set.
"I am very happy to go through and winning was the main thing," said Stosur. "There were so many momentum changes and I got the last one.
"I will have to play better in the next round. I just don't know why this tournament has never been good to me."
Amelie Mauresmo, the 2006 champion and 14th seed, overcame Tatjana Malek 6-3 6-4 and now plays Aleksandra Wozniak, a 6-1 7-6 (9-7) victor over Laura Granville.

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