A right shoulder injury that contributed to a Rio Olympics loss nor a tough first-round opponent bothered world No. 1 Serena Williams on Tuesday as she moved safely into the second round at the US Open, defeating Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-3.
“I got off to a fast start, because I knew she was a really tough opponent,” Serena said of the former world No. 8 and Rio Olympics gold medal winner in doubles. “I didn’t want to start off slow, and so I tried to get some momentum. That’s all I could do today.”
The American will next meet countrywoman and wildcard Vania King.
Other Top 10-seeded winners on Day 2 were No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska rocking American Jessica Pegula 6-1, 6-1; No. 5 Simona Halep destroying Belgian Kirsten Flipkens 6-0, 6-2; No. 6 Venus Williams forced to work past unheralded Kateryna Kozlova of the Ukraine 6-2, 5-7, 6-4; and No. 10 Karolina Pliskova beating U.S. wildcard Sofia Kenin 6-4, 6-3.
“The errors told the story today,” Venus Williams said of her three-set struggle. “Once you’re at this level everyone can play. Today I had to hit a lot of balls and I think that will help me going into the rest of the tournament.”
Radwanska will face Brit Naomi Broady in the second round.
“The most important thing that I have quick, nice first round,” Radwanska said. “Just very happy to have this quick match just to be ready and fresh for the next one.”
Other seeded winners were No. 11 Carla Suarez Navarro double-bageling Brazil’s Teliana Pereira, No. 15 Timea Bacsinszky, No. 16 Samantha Stosur surviving Camila Giorgi 6-1 in the third, No. 17 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, No. 19 Elena Vesnina beating Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit in three, No. 25 Caroline Garcia beating French countrywoman Pauline Parmentier from a set down, No. 26 Laura Siegemund beating Romanian Patricia Tig from a set down, and No. 31 Timea Babos from a set down taking out Austrian Barbara Haas.
Upset-makers on the day were Croat Ana Konjuh outlasting No. 20 Kiki Bertens 6-3, 2-6, 6-4; China’s Wang Qiang doing the same to No. 23 Darya Kasatkina 6-4, 2-6, 6-2; and Czech Denisa Allertova showing the exit to former No. 1 and No. 29 seed Ana Ivanovic 7-6(4), 6-1.
“No, not at all,” the confidence-challenged Ivanovic said of retirement rumors. “I just need to really see why is this happening, you know. Because, I mean, I had struggles throughout my career; I had some tough times. This is not the first time I’m going through this. It just hurts because I know what I invested.”
Matches to watch for on Wednesday at Flushing Meadows include (9) Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, (2) Angie Kerber vs. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, CiCi Bellis vs. Shelby Rogers in an all-American, (8) Madison Keys vs. Kayla Day in an all-American, (24) Belinda Bencic back from injury vs. Andrea Petkovic, and (13) Johanna Konta vs. upset specialist Tsvetana Pironkova.
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