Parent power ruled the U.S. Open hard courts on Monday as champion Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters put their young upstart opponents firmly in their places to storm into the second round at Flushing Meadows.
Federer, seeking his third successive major following his triumphs at the French Open and Wimbledon, and Clijsters were both playing their first Grand Slam tournament following the births of their respective children.
For Clijsters, it marked her first major since the 2007 Australian Open but it seemed difficult to believe she had been away for more than two years as she pulverised 21-year-old Ukrainian Viktoriya Kutuzova 6-1, 6-1 in 58 minutes.
New father Federer, who celebrated the arrival of twin daughters five weeks ago, took an 88-minute break from nappy changing duties to down American Grand Slam debutant Devin Britton 6-1, 6-3, 7-5.
Clijsters and Federer were just two of five U.S. Open champions gracing the Arthur Ashe Stadium on a blockbuster opening day of the hardcourt major.
Women’s champion Serena Williams walloped fellow American Alexa Glatch 6-4, 6-1 but her elder sister Venus Williams, the 2000 and 2001 winner, was just three points from suffering her earliest-ever defeat at the Open before the hollering crowd carried her to a 6-7, 7-5, 6-3 win over Russian Vera Dushevina.
“I had a lot of help from the fans. I felt so much energy from everyone when I was serving to stay in the match in the second set. It feels good to play at home,” Venus, who needed a medical time out to treat a sore left knee, told the crowd.
Andy Roddick, being tipped to win a second title here following his gut-wrenching five-set loss to Federer in the Wimbledon final, spared the fans another rollercoaster of emotions as he swept past Germany’s Bjorn Phau 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.
Clijsters showed she could be challenging for the top prize despite playing in only her third event this year.
Crediting part of her fitness to “chasing around after (18-month-old daughter) Jada” she gave the hapless Kutuzova the run around with her solid groundstrokes to set up a re-match with Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli, whom she beat in her comeback match at Cincinnati earlier this month.
“(I was) a little more nervous than usual,” Clijsters, dressed for the occasion in a red, white and blue outfit, said after returning to Flushing Meadows for the first time since winning her only Grand Slam title here in 2005.
“Driving up here this morning, just seeing the court, the memories came back. It’s a very special court to me and I really enjoyed it.”
Those sentiments were shared by Federer, who is not only looking to extend his record Grand Slam haul to 16 but is also eager to match Bill Tilden’s 1920s feat of winning six U.S. championships in a row.
“That’s what I’m here for, trying to equal Bill Tilden’s record,” said Federer, who became the first tennis player to earn more than $50 million in prize money. “You can set different types of goals. Mine are at a very, very high level.”
The Swiss World No.1 made no allowances for a 1,370th-ranked opponent contesting only his second tour-level match at the tender age of 18.
Playing before a crowd of 23,000, the American wildcard suffered a bad case of stage fright in the opening set as he saw it flash by in 18 breathtaking minutes.
Simply in awe
He recovered slightly and even had the audacity to break Federer’s serve twice in the next two sets. “My goal was to not get crushed... I was pretty scared,” Britton said as he summed up the match.
Joining him at the exit was Japan’s Ai Sugiyama, whose record 62nd consecutive appearance in a Grand Slam ended with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 defeat by Samantha Stosur. Former world number ones Amelie Mauresmo and Lleyton Hewitt also progressed. — Agencies
Prefix denotes seeding
Men’s singles: First round: 5-Andy Roddick (U.S.) bt Bjorn Phau (Ger) 6-1, 6-4, 6-2; 15-Radek Stepanek (Cze) bt Simone Bolelli (Ita) 6-4, 6-4, 6-4; Marc Gicquel (Fra) bt Dmitry Tursunov (Russia) 6-2, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3; Juan Ignacio Chela (Arg) bt Oscar Hernandez (Esp) 6-4, 6-4, 6-2; 23-Philipp Kohlschreiber (Ger) bt Andreas Seppi (Ita) 6-0, 6-4, 6-4; 21-James Blake (U.S.) bt Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo (Esp) 6-1, 6-4, 7-5; 31-Lleyton Hewitt (Aus) bt Thiago Alves (Bra) 6-0, 6-3, 6-4; 20-Tommy Haas (Ger) bt Alejandro Falla (Col) 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-2; Marsel Ilhan (Tur) bt Christophe Rochus (Bel) 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5, 7-5; Somdev Devvarman (Ind) bt Frederico Gil (Por) 6-3, 6-4, 6-3; 14-Tommy Robredo (Esp) bt Donald Young (U.S.) 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3; John Isner (U.S.) bt 28-Victor Hanescu (Rom) 6-1, 7-6(14), 7-6(5).
1-Roger Federer (Sui) bt Devin Britton (U.S.) 6-1, 6-3, 7-5; Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (Esp) bt Peter Polansky (Can) 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 6-1; Jan Hernych (Cze) bt Rainer Schuettler (Ger) 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-4, 2-6, 6-3; 8-Nikolay Davydenko (Rus) bt Dieter Kindlmann (Ger) 6-3, 6-4, 7-5; 12-Robin Soderling (Swe) bt Albert Montanes (Esp) 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4; Mikhail Youzhny (Rus) bt 26-Paul-Henri Mathieu (Fra) 2-6, 7-5, 6-0, 6-2.
Women’s singles: First round: 3-Venus Williams (U.S.) bt Vera Dushevina (Rus) 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-3; 18-Li Na (China) bt Raluca Olaru (Rom) 7-6(4), 6-3; Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (Esp) bt 28-Sybille Bammer (Aut) 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(5).
22-Daniela Hantuchova (Svk) bt Meghann Shaughnessy (U.S.) 6-2, 4-6, 6-1; 31-Elena Vesnina (Rus) bt Lucie Hradecka (Cze) 6-4, 7-6(5); Kirsten Flipkens (Bel) bt Jelena Dokic (Aus) 6-3, 6-4; Michelle Larcher de Brito (Por) bt Mathilde Johansson (Fra) 1-6, 7-5, 6-1; Anna Chakvetadze (Rus) bt Yurika Sema (Jpn) 4-6, 6-1, 6-2; Bethanie Mattek-Sands (U.S.) bt Iveta Benesova (Cze) 6-3, 6-4.
20-Anabel Medina Garrigues (Esp) bt Gail Brodsky (U.S.) 6-4, 6-4; Jill Craybas (U.S.) bt Carly Gullickson (U.S.) 6-3, 7-6(5); Sania Mirza (Ind) bt Olga Govortsova (Blr) 6-2, 3-6, 6-3; 7-Vera Zvonareva (Rus) bt Nuria Llagostera Vives (Esp) 6-0, 6-4; 17-Amelie Mauresmo (Fra) bt Tatjana Malek (Ger) 6-3, 6-4; 2-Serena Williams (U.S.) bt Alexa Glatch (U.S.) 6-4, 6-1; Kai-chen Chang (Tpe) bt 25-Kaia Kanepi (Est) 6-0, 2-6, 6-2; 10-Flavia Pennetta (Ita) bt Edina Gallovits (Rom) 6-0, 6-4; 14-Marion Bartoli (Fra) bt Rossana De Los Rios (Par) 6-1, 6-0.
15-Samantha Stosur (Aus) bt Ai Sugiyama (Jpn) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4; 26-Francesca Schiavone (Ita) bt Yvonne Meusburger (Aut) 6-1, 6-2; Maria Kirilenko (Rus) bt Mariya Koryttseva (Ukr) 6-2, 6-1; Kim Clijsters (Bel) bt Viktoriya Kutuzova (Ukr) 6-1, 6-1; 8-Victoria Azarenka (Blr) bt Alexandra Dulgheru (Rom) 6-1, 6-1; 12-Agnieszka Radwanska (Pol) bt Patricia Mayr (Aut) 6-1, 6-2.