A sublime shot through the legs was part of a remarkable 46-4 edge in winners for Federer during his 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 victory against Argentina’s Brian Dabul. It also was the highlight at Flushing Meadows on Day 1 of the tournament, when past U.S. Open champions Andy Roddick, Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters all advanced, while 2001 champion Lleyton Hewitt lost in the first round at New York for the first time.
More Grand Slam champions were slated to play first-round matches Tuesday, including Djokovic, Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova during the day, and No. 1-seeded Rafael Nadal at night. The top-seeded woman, 2009 U.S. Open runner-up Caroline Wozniacki, was to play 2010 NCAA singles champion Chelsey Gullickson in Tuesday's last scheduled match.
Williams won titles here in 2000 and 2001, had two runner-up finishes and nothing worse than a fourth-round loss.
She looked pretty impressive Monday, becoming only the fifth woman with 200 Grand Slam match wins by beating Roberta Vinci of Italy 6-4, 6-1.
It was Williams' first match since a June 29 loss at Wimbledon; she missed time because of a sprained left kneecap, and landed awkwardly on that leg early in the second set.
Roddick turned 28 on Monday, and after beating Stephane Robert of France 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, was asked what significance he attributes to his age.
“Obviously, I know I’m probably closer to the finish than I am to the start,” he said.
“But it’s a number. I’m barely older than I was yesterday.”
He is, however, seven years older than he was when he won his lone Grand Slam title at the 2003 U.S. Open.
The No. 2-seeded Belgian Kim Clijsters, winner in 2005 and 2009, began her title defense with a 6-0, 7-5 victory over 104th-ranked Greta Arn of Hungary.
It was an afternoon of mostly straightforward results, though two-time French Open runner-up Robin Soderling was stretched to five sets before edging 214th-ranked Andreas Haider-Maurer.