Tennis

Serena Williams into U.S. Open second round

Serena Williams of the U.S. hits a return to Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia during their match at the U.S. Open Championships tennis tournament in New York, August 31, 2015.

Serena Williams of the U.S. hits a return to Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia during their match at the U.S. Open Championships tennis tournament in New York, August 31, 2015.   | Photo Credit: ADREES LATIF

Beats 86th-ranked Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia who stopped playing while behind 6-0, 2-0.



Serena Williams was not tested one bit by a woman who appeared overwhelmed by her opponent, the occasion and, to make matters worse, an injured left foot.

Williams moved a step closer to tennis’ first calendar-year Grand Slam since 1988 without much of a workout, reaching the second round when 86-ranked Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia stopped playing while behind 6-0, 2-0. Williams was out there for only 27 minutes and took 32 of the 37 points that were played.

“It was definitely different and bizarre,” Williams said. “But at the same time, I was still focused. I kept thinking - just stay focused; don’t lose it. You never know what can happen.”

Diatchenko, who wore a walking boot to her news conference, said she hurt herself running sprints before the match and that she felt “sharp pain” chasing a backhand during a point. When she was drawn to face Williams, Diatchenko was happy to finally get a chance to meet a player she grew up admiring, but the experience turned out to be “terrible.”

“So painful, every step,” Diatchenko said.

Next up for Williams is Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands, who is ranked 110th, who picked up just the second U.S. Open match victory of her career by eliminating Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 on Monday.

The only real surprise in men’s action was 2014 runner-up Kei Nishikori’s 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4 loss to Benoit Paire, who never before had beaten someone ranked in the top five.

It’s the first time since 1999 that a man who played in the previous year’s U.S. Open final exited in the first round.

The fourth-seeded Nishikori withdrew from a hard-court tournament at Cincinnati in August, citing a hip injury, but said he felt okay. Still, he wilted in the 3-hour, 14-minute match on muggy day.

The man who beat Nishikori for last year’s U.S. Open title, Marin Cilic, won in straight sets, as did No. 1 Novak Djokovic. Two-time U.S. Open champion Rafael Nadal met teenager Borna Coric in Monday’s last match.

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Printable version | Jun 7, 2020 12:14:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/serena-williams-into-us-open-second-round/article7602633.ece

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