India's Sania Mirza is set to meet Italian 14th seed Francesca Schiavone in the second round of the $5,690,000 US Open after one of her best wins of the year.
The 19-year-old Sania, who lost in the quarter-finals at the Forest Hills US Open primer last week, beat experienced Croat Karolina Sprem 6-4, 6-2 in 75 minutes in the first round at Flushing Meadows Monday.
Steadier on her serve and more aggressive with her ground strokes, Sania got the breakthrough she was looking for in the 10th game to take the opening set 6-4. Quickly pushing home her advantage, she jumped out into a 4-1 lead to take the set 6-2 and move into the second round.
Apart from singles, Sania has entered the women's doubles event with Liezel Huber of South Africa and the mixed doubles event with Pavel Vizner of the Czech Republic.
Sania became the first Indian woman to reach the women's singles fourth round at her first US Open in 2005. She then lost to Maria Sharapova of Russia in the pre-quarterfinals in the singles, but could not go beyond the first round in the doubles.
Meanwhile, World No. 1 star Amelie Mauresmo and former top-ranked players Martina Hingis and Serena Williams also posted first round wins on Wednesday.
The reigning Wimbledon, Australian Open and WTA Championships title holder, Mauresmo needed two days to get past qualifier Kristina Barrois 6-1, 7-5.
The match was suspended because of rain on Tuesday, with Barrois leading 5-2 in the second set, but the top-seeded French star returned to the court to win five straight games, and the match, on Day 3 of the Open.
An eighth-seeded Hingis snuck past Chinese Shuai Peng 4-6, 6-1, 6-3. The five-time Grand Slam champion Hingis titled here in 1997 and was the back-to-back runner-up in 1998 and 1999.
An unseeded Williams trounced Spaniard Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-1, 6-2 in 55 minutes. The seven-time Grand Slam title holder Serena captured the US Open in 1999 and 2002 and was the runner-up to her big sister Venus in 2001.