Spaniards No. 2 Rafael Nadal and No. 4 David Ferrer dodged the rains and the upsets Monday on Day 1 of the US Open amidst a handful of upsets and suspended matches.
Nadal rolled American Ryan Harrison 6-4, 6-2, 6-2, and Ferrer tamed Aussie comer Nick Kyrgios 7-5, 6-3, 6-2.
“Always the first round is not easy,” Nadal said. “The conditions out there today were difficult, so happy to be through. Win in straight sets, so is a good start for me…I am enjoying the week before practicing. Today the first match after two years in Arthur Ashe, so it’s a great feeling.”
Nadal will next face Canadian Vasek Pospisil or Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil, who will resume their first-round match Tuesday, after rain cancelled play with Pospisil leading two sets to one.
Orchestrating upsets were Brit Daniel Evans easily over No. 11 Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-4, 6-2; Croat Ivan Dodig winning a slugfest over No. 27 Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 4-6, 6-3; and Austrian Andreas “Don’t Be a” Haider-Maurer toppling No. 30 Ernests Gulbis 3-6, 6-2, 1-6, 7-6(4), 6-4.
“I knew I was a good player, but I just hadn’t put it all together,” Evans said after dispatching of Nishikori. “I was pretty calm today. It wasn’t that much of a big deal what was happening on the court. I wasn’t nervous serving it out. I’ve played some good matches for the last five weeks. I really want to go far in the tournament, win a few more matches.”
Other notables finishing matches and advancing were Nikolay Davydenko over American Rhyne Williams 6-0 in the fifth, and Bernard Tomic in five over Albert Ramos.
Among other seeded winners were No. 8 Richard Gasquet, No. 18 Janko Tipsarevic, No. 19 Tommy Robredo, No. 23 Feliciano Lopez, and No. 32 Dmitry Tursunov.
If there was any doubts about world No. 1 Serena Williams’ focus at the onset, it was dispelled in her first round 6-0, 6-1 beating of former French Open winner Francesca Schiavone.
“I definitely was good off the ground,” Serena said. “But I tell you, it wasn’t very easy out there. We were both grunting and running and fighting. I just wanted to stay really focused out there.”
Joining Serena in the second round were Top 10 seeds No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska cruising past Silvia Soler-Espinosa 6-1, 6-2; No. 5 Na Li handling Olga Govortsova 6-2, 6-2; No. 8 Angie Kerber a 6-1, 6-1 winner over Lucie Hradecka, and No. 9 Jelena Jankovic subduing American Madison Keys 6-3, 6-4.
Other seeded winners were No. 15 Sloane Stephens in three over Mandy Minella, No. 16 Sabine Lisicki, No. 18 Carla Suarez Navarro, No. 19 Sorana Cirstea, No. 23 Jamie Hampton, No. 24 Ekaterina Makarova, No. 25 Kaia Kanepi 6-1 in the third over Vania King, No. 30 Laura Robson, and No. 32 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
There were only two upsets on the day after former No. 1 Venus Williams gained revenge with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over No. 12 seed Kirsten Flipkens after losing to the Belgian over the summer, and Austrian Patricia Mayr-Achleitner outlasted No. 29 Magdalena Rybarikova in three sets.
“My serve was a lot better,” Venus said. “In Toronto I wasn’t really feeling that great about my serve. Just coming back I’ve had to do a lot of work on my serve. Honestly, I think that made a huge difference. I think I was serving in the 40 percentages all my matches this summer, so it was very challenging…I haven’t had a lot of chances to play this year or a lot of chances to play healthy this year, have had injuries and what have you, so I’m just going to have to keep working my way into it maybe more than some of the other players, but I know I can do that.”
Unseeded winners of note into the second round were Eugenie Bouchard, Coco Vandeweghe, and comeback player Alisa Kleybanova in three sets over Puerto Rican comer Monica Puig.
Highlights to watch for on Tuesday include (7) Roger Federer vs. Grega Zemlja, (1) Novak Djokovic vs. Ricardas Berankis, American Victoria Duval vs. (11) Samantha Stosur, Julia “Gorgeous” Goerges vs. American Christina McHale, (12) Tommy Haas vs. French veteran Paul-Henri Mathieu, (27) Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. American Mallory Burdette, (14) Maria Kirilenko vs. Yanina Wickmayer, and (22) Elena Vesnina vs. German comer Annika Beck.
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