Sharapova sizzles in win over Vinci
The defending champion paces three fellow Russian seeds into the second round with a devastating 6-0, 6-1 rout of Roberta Vinci.sports Updated: Aug 29, 2007 11:24 IST
Defending champion Maria Sharapova paced three fellow Russian seeds into the second round of the US Open tennis with a devastating 6-0, 6-1 rout of Roberta Vinci.
The Russian second seed won 19 of the last 24 points on Tuesday, allowing the out-classed Italian to finally get onto the scoreboard at the last possible moment in the 50-minute contest.
"In every corner of this court, I get goose bumps," said the winner, who claimed her second Grand Slam title at the venue last year. "I try to avoid them but it's hard because of all the great memories.
"It's pretty incredible," said Sharapova, who hit 30 winners to her opponent's three.
"It's been great to feel healthy, this year's been up and down. When I'm healthy I'm happy," said the world number two who was forced to take cortisone injections in May in order to play the French Open.
Fourth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2004 US Open champion, credits smart summer scheduling for her 6-2, 6-3 win over Klara Zakopalova, an encounter that went only slightly longer than Sharapova's.
Sixth seed Anna Chakvetadze dispatched American Ashley Weinhold 6-1, 6-1 while number seven seed Nadia Petrova beat injured Swiss Timea Bacsinszky 6-3, 6-1.
Kuznetsova won the New York trophy in a surprise finish three years ago and comes in after capturing the title in New Haven, Connecticut.
The 22-year-old was the first woman from her country to lift the US Open crown when she did it three years ago, capping a season in which Russians won three of the four women's Grand Slam titles.
Kuznetsova ended her victory feeling fully refreshed. Amid the chronic injury dramas of the WTA, her top fitness is a talking point.
"The difference is I didn't play any tournaments before, I played only Toronto (a fortnight ago). After Wimbledon I took a break," she said. "It was very important to rest after Wimbledon. For me it was good. I don't feeling tired or anything."
Slovak ninth seed Daniela Hantuchova fell victim to Julia Vakulenko 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 while the Swiss pair of Patty Schnyder and 1997 winner Martina Hingis also advanced.
Men's third seed Novak Djokovic took advantage of a last-minute change of opponent to pound into the second round as he dominated Dutchman Robin Hasse 6-2, 6-1, 6-3.
The third-seeded Serb, who won Montreal this month after beating both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer back-to-back, had avoided a potentially tricky first round encounter with Mario Ancic.
The Croatian had to withdraw with a shoulder injury only a few weeks since coming back after missing half a year with a virus infection.
"It's always good to get the first matches done in the fastest possible way. It's good to win the first round in straight sets," said Djokovic.
"I had a little bit less pressure because I played against a lucky loser. But I've known him for long time, he's my generation," he added.
Last weekend's New Haven champion James Blake continued his recent run of form, beating fellow American Michael Russell 7-6 (8-6), 6-3, 7-6 (7-4).
Croatian 12th seed Ivan Ljubicic crushed Belgian Kristof Vliegen 6-1, 7-6 (7-1), 6-1.
The 2001 winner Australian Lleyton Hewitt, whose summer momentum has been building on hard courts, reached the second round in resounding style over American Amer Delic 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.
"I felt comfortable enough if I went out there and did what I needed to do, executed the way that I did, that things were going to go in my favour," said winner of two Grand Slam titles.
Hewitt has been beaten on hard courts only twice in the run-up to New York, losing to Roger Federer in the Montreal quarter-finals and semi-final a week later in Cincinnati.
The Australian 16th seed is on a mission after reaching the quarter-finals in New York last year for the seventh time in a row.
Hewitt needed just over 90 minutes to move through, firing seven aces and 31 winners against 71st-ranked Delic, who was playing only his fourth match in New York at age 25.
Hewitt's victory was his 30th win of the season.