Indian star Sania Mirza won two sets on a canter but lost one between the two in a tiebreak as she advanced to the second round of the US Open on Tuesday.
Sania beat Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 6-1 in an hour and 40 minutes on a hot day at the Flushing Meadows. On a day when her serve proved quite effective she sent down eight aces to Kanepi’s two — Sania won the first set in just 26 minutes after twice breaking her opponent’s service. When she herself was under pressure, Sania hit her way out of trouble with powerful groundstrokes.
In the second set, the game was even Kanepi had more winners (15 to 9) but the two had one break opportunity each. Both converted the break-points and the set thus went to tiebreak, which Kanepi took 7-5. Sania’s serve was firing again in the third set her first serve percentage was 63 and she sent down three aces. Sania had three chances to break Kanepi, she converted two of them to win the set in 26 minutes.
Serena shoots in ‘dark’
Serena Williams kept picking at that pesky pink bow, then pulled it completely off the front of her black dress. On a night when so much had gone right, she wasn’t about to let any wardrobe malfunction stop her on Monday. With Janet Jackson in the stands for a tribute to Althea Gibson, the Williams sisters honoured the trailblazer in their own way with wins.
“My outfit was dark, and I definitely played a dark match,” Serena said. Aretha Franklin got the evening off to a rollicking start, belting out “Respect.”
Then Venus Williams beat Kira Nagy of Hungary 6-2, 6-1 highlighted by a Grand Slam-record 129 mph (203 kph) serve and Serena finished off a full opening day with a forehand smash to down German teenager Angelique Kerber 6-3, 7-5.
“I know every time I step out on the court I play for me and I play for all the other African-American kids out there who have a dream and might not have the means,” Serena said.
Roger Federer played up to his No 1 ranking with straight-set victory. Three-time defending champion, seeking his 12th Grand Slam singles crown, opened the year’s final Grand Slam event on Monday with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 victory over 320th-ranked American Scoville Jenkins in 92 minutes.
There were few upsets. Among the seeded players who lost were No 17 Tatiana Golovin on the women’s side and crowd favorite No. 18 Marcos Baghdatis in the men’s draw.
Hewitt back in business
The Lleyton Hewitt revival gathered pace here on Tuesday as he got his US Open campaign off to a confident start with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 win over American Amer Delic.
Joining him in the second round were two of the 13-strong Argentine contingent — Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina who beat Michael McClune of the United States 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (7/0) and Juan Monaco who eased past France’s Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-2, 3-6, 6-1, 7-5.
There was an impressive start also for another former winner in the women’s tournament when Russia’s 2004 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova trounced Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-3.
Switzerland’s Martina Hingis coasted along with a straight-set victory over Frenchwoman Mathilde Johansson. She won 6-0, 6-3. Her compatriot, eleventh seed, Patty Schnyder too won in straight sets. She beat Czech Republic’s Iveta Benesova 6-3, 6-0.
Martina Hingis (SUI x16) bt Mathilde Johansson (FRA) 6-0, 6-3, Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS x4) bt Klara Zakopalova (CZE) 6-2, 6-3, Nicole Vaidisova (CZE x13) bt Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS) 6-1, 6-2, Virginie Razzano (FRA) bt Emilie Loit (FRA) 6-1, 6-2, Agnieszka Radwanska (POL x30) bt Akiko Morigami (JPN) 6-2, 6-1, Laura Granville (USA) bt Olivia Sanchez (FRA) 6-2, 6-2, Camille Pin (FRA) bt Tatiana Perebiynis (UKR) 6-1, 6-2, Victoria Azarenka (BLR) bt Emmanuelle Gagliardi (SUI) 6-1, 6-1, Sania Mirza (IND x26) bt Kaia Kanepi (EST) 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 6-1
Lleyton Hewitt (US x16) bt Amer Delic (USA) 6-2, 6-4, 6-2, Arnaud Clement (FRA) bt Ivo Karlovic (CRO x32) 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 4-6, 6-7 (6/8), 6-4, Juan Ignacio Chela (ARG x20) bt Michael McClune (US) 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (7/0), Thomas Johansson (SWE) bt Nicolas Massu (CHI) 2-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-3, 6-3, Juan Monaco (ARG x23) bt Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA) 6-2, 3-6, 6-1, 7-5, Roger Federer (SUI x1) bt Scoville Jenkins (USA) 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.