US Open favourites cruise through first round

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

WIM­BLE­DON cham­pi­ons Andy Mur­ray and Ser­ena Williams pow­ered into the sec­ond round of the US Open as the stars came out on Arthur Ashe Sta­dium court on Au­gust 30.

Williams, launch­ing her lat­est bid to re­write the record books, started strong and didn’t let up in 6-3, 6-3 vic­tory over 29th-ranked Eka­te­rina Makarova.

The US world num­ber one ap­peared un­trou­bled by the balky right shoul­der that has hin­dered her in re­cent weeks, de­liv­er­ing a dozen aces and 27 win­ners over­all in the 63-minute con­test.

“I knew to­day I needed to be fo­cused be­cause I’ve played her. She’s got­ten to the semi-fi­nals. She goes deep in ma­jors,” Williams said of the Rus­sian left-han­der who beat her in the fourth round of the 2012 Aus­tralian Open.

“She knows how to play big matches on big courts. She’s not in­tim­i­dated. I knew I had to re­ally come out to­day. It was my only op­tion re­ally.”

Williams said she wouldn’t know un­til she’d slept on it how her shoul­der might re­spond to the ef­fort.

“Ev­ery day, I’ll just see how it goes,” said Williams, who is chas­ing a record sev­enth ti­tle on the hard­courts of Flush­ing Mead­ows where she first tri­umphed in 1999.

A vic­tory would see her break the Open Era record of 22 Grand Slam ti­tles she now shares with Ger­man St­effi Graf and close in on Mar­garet Court’s all-time mark of 24 ma­jor ti­tles.

While Williams has strug­gled since Wim­ble­don, Mur­ray went from claim­ing a sec­ond ti­tle at the All Eng­land club to a suc­cess­ful de­fence of his Olympic gold in Rio.

Vy­ing to be­come the fourth man in the Open Era to reach all four ma­jor fi­nals in a cal­en­dar year, Mur­ray, too, pro­duced a dom­i­nant ser­vice per­for­mance in a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 vic­tory over Czech Lukas Rosol.

“I don’t think I had any break points against me, which is very good,” the Scot said.

Be­fore the flood­lights came up, Ser­ena’s el­der sis­ter Venus claimed a Grand Slam record of her own as her 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 vic­tory over Ukraine’s Kateryna Ko­zlova marked her 72nd ap­pear­ance in the main draw of a ma­jor.

The 36-year-old Venus, en­joy­ing a resur­gence in a 2016 sea­son that in­cludes a WTA ti­tle in Tai­wan, sur­vived 63 un­forced er­rors against the ris­ing 22-year-old, al­though she was pleased that her ag­gres­sive ap­proach also yielded 46 win­ners.

“The good part is I’m play­ing the game I want to play, I’m play­ing ag­gres­sively and mov­ing for­ward,” Venus said.

“It’s just about mak­ing a few less er­rors and it’s a com­pletely dif­fer­ent story.”

Fourth seed Ag­nieszka Rad­wan­ska of Poland, try­ing to make it to the quar­ter-fi­nals in New York for the first time, breezed past US qual­i­fier Jessica Peg­ula 6-1, 6-1 and fifth-seeded Ro­ma­nian Si­mona Halep also eased through with a 6-0, 6-2 vic­tory over Bel­gian Kirsten Flip­kens.

Men’s third seed Stan Wawrinka of Switzer­land, a two-time semi-fi­nal­ist, reached the sec­ond round with a 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, 6-4 win over Spain’s Fer­nando Ver­dasco.

Kei Nishikori, who be­came Asia’s first men’s Grand Slam fi­nal­ist in New York in 2014, when he fell to Marin Cilic in the fi­nal, also ad­vanced, down­ing Ger­man Ben­jamin Becker 6-1, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

Eighth-seeded Do­minic Thiem of Aus­tria needed five sets to se­cure his sec­ond-round spot, down­ing Aus­tralia’s John Mill­man 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.

Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 US Open cham­pion whose ca­reer was nearly ended by three wrist surg­eries, ad­vanced with a 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) vic­tory over fel­low Ar­gen­tine Diego Schwartz­man.

There was a lit­tle record-set­ting on the men’s side as well, with Croa­t­ian Ivo Karlovic belt­ing a US Open record of 61 aces in a 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 win over Tai­wan’s Lu YenHsun.

Karlovic, 37, beat the pre­vi­ous best of 49 aces for one match in New York es­tab­lished by Richard Kra­jicek in 1999.

“I knew there were a lot of aces be­cause there was a pe­riod when al­most ev­ery serve was an ace,” Karlovic said.

Cap­tion Ser­ena: Ser­ena Williams crushes a serve from her op­po­nent, Eka­te­rina Makarova, dur­ing her first round vic­tory.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.