Tuesday, August 31, 2010

US Open Day 1: Fed Works His Magic Under the Lights; Venus, Roddick & Clijsters Win

It looks as though Roger Federer is making a habit of hitting outrageous shots in Arthur Ashe Stadium. The Swiss hit yet another between-the-legs winner last night, against Brian Dabul, that brought back memories of the same shot against Novak Djokovic in last year's semifinals. Fed crushed his Argentine opponent 6-1, 6-4, 6-2. The world number 2's possible quarterfinal opponent, though, had much more difficulty. Robin Soderling, who hit 74 unforced errors, needed 5 sets to dismiss Andreas Haider-Maurer, a mainstay on the challenger tour. 13th seed Jurgen Melzer also needed to go the distance to earn his victory, while Marin Cilic cruised to a 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 win.

Venus Williams showed off her shiny black fringe dress under the lights with a 4 and 1 defeat of Roberta Vinci. Francesca Schiavone also impressed, surrendering just 1 game to Ayumi Morita in her opening match. Victoria Azarenka is considered a favorite to take home the title, but after a great start, bageling Monia Niculescu in the first set, the Belarusian suffered a lapse in concentration and had to go to 3 sets to advance. Both Flavia Pennetta and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova cruised into the second round with straight-set victories, and 32nd seeded Tsvetana Pironkova, a Wimbledon semifinalist, notched a 2-set win.

Andy Roddick didn't come into the Open with the preparation he would have liked, but the American made quick work of Stephane Robert, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, to move into the second round. Also in Roddick's quarter is Nikolay Davydenko, who won easy as well, taking out Michael Russell in straights. Gael Monfils and Robert Kendrick had a marathon match, lasting well over 4 hours, that included some controversy too. The Frenchman took out the crowd fave 6-4 in the fifth to advance. Other men's winners included Juan Carlos Ferrero, Albert Montanes and Richard Gasquet, while Lleyton Hewitt was upset by Paul-Henri Mathieu in 5 tough sets.

Defending champion Kim Clijsters was second on Ashe after American Melanie Oudin earned a 56 minute win. Clijsters defeated Greta Arn 6-0, 7-5 while her potential final 8 opponent, Sam Stosur, earned a 3-set comeback win over Elena Vesnina. Elena Dementieva trounced Olga Govortsova, 6-1, 6-2, and fellow Russian Alisa Kleybanova earned a 7-6 (4), 6-2 win over Joanna Larsson. Former number 1 Dinara Safina's struggles continued, as she crashed out to 24th seed Daniela Hantuchova 6-3, 6-4. Ana Ivanovic, Petra Kvitova and Gisela Dulko all triumphed as well.

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