Seventh—seeded Petra Kvitova needed nearly two hours to win her first match at the Grand Slam tournament that has always bedeviled her.
The 2011 Wimbledon champ beat 92nd—ranked Misaki Doi of Japan 6—2, 3—6, 6—1 on Tuesday at the U.S. Open. Kvitova has reached at least the semifinals at the other three major events; she has never made it past the fourth round at Flushing Meadows.
The final set was closer than the score in this rare matchup of two lefties. After Kvitova went up a break at 2—0, Doi had a chance to break right back but couldn’t convert.
Two years ago, Kvitova became the first reigning Wimbledon women’s champion to lose her first U.S. Open match in the same season. On a windy day at Arthur Ashe Stadium, the Czech star was in danger of another early exit when she made 15 unforced errors in the second set.
But she’s hardly fazed by three—set matches. Kvitova recently played six straight across three tournaments, winning four of them.
Doi fell to 0—4 against top 10 opponents.
Later on Ashe, 17—time major champion Roger Federer will play his first—round match originally scheduled for Monday night. His opener against 62nd—ranked Grega Zemlja of Slovenia was postponed by rain.
Others in action Tuesday included top—seeded Novak Djokovic and two—time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka.
No. 10—seeded Roberta Vinci, a quarterfinalist at Flushing Meadows last year, beat Timea Babos 6—4, 6—2. She’s reached a career—high ranking this summer at age 30 after making the round of 16 at the French Open and Wimbledon.
No. 13—seeded Ana Ivanovic and 14th—seeded Maria Kirilenko got off to quick starts, each winning in under an hour. Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open champ, beat Anna Tatishvili 6—2, 6—0. Kirilenko won 6—1, 6—1 against Yanina Wickmayer, a semifinalist at Flushing Meadows four years ago whose ranking has fallen to 57th.
On the men’s side, Milos Raonic won his first Grand Slam match while seeded in the top 10. The 22—year—old Canadian defeated qualifier Thomas Fabbiano of Italy 6—3, 7—6 (6), 6—3.