OPEN­ING PLAY IN NEW YORK

The Kansas City Star (Sunday) - - DAILY DEUCE -

De­fend­ing cham­pion Kim Cli­jsters briefly lost her step on a windy day be­fore re­cov­er­ing in time to win her 15th straight match at the U.S. Open in New York.

Cli­jsters, the sec­ond seed, beat Hun­gary’s Greta Arn 6-0, 7-5 in the first round Mon­day. She fell be­hind 4-0 in the sec­ond set, and Arn, ranked 104th, had a chance to serve out the set at 5-4. But Cli­jsters got the break and then did it again to clinch the straight-set vic­tory.

Cli­jsters said she wasn’t ag­gres­sive enough play­ing with the wind at her back early in the sec­ond set, wait­ing for the ball in­stead of mov­ing up for it.

“She kind of put me un­der pres­sure a lit­tle bit where it should have been the other way around,” she said.

A year ago, Cli­jsters was a wild-card en­try in only her third tour­na­ment back af­ter 21⁄ years away from the sport. Now she’s one of the fa­vorites to win the Open.

Melanie Oudin and Francesca Schi­avone also know how quickly per­cep­tions can change. Oudin, an Amer­i­can, has strug­gled with higher ex­pec­ta­tions since her crowd-pleas­ing run to the U.S. Open quar­ter­fi­nals last year. So has Schi­avone af­ter her break­through French Open ti­tle in June.

But nei­ther showed any signs of the pres­sure in cruis­ing to dom­i­nant first-round wins.

Oudin, 18, needed just 56 min­utes to beat Olga Savchuk 6-3, 6-0. Schi­avone dis­patched Ayumi Morita 6-1, 6-0 in 58 min­utes.

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