FLUSHING MEADOWS, New York – Day one at the US Open saw a former champions struggle, a Wimbledon champ ousted and US No. 1 sail on Monday.
No. 3 womenâ€™s seed Maria Sharapova survived a major challenge from British teen Heather Watson 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 to advance to the second round on Monday.
Sharapova on the match, â€œno doubt that it was one of the toughest that I’ve had.Â To be honest, it’s quite expected.Â Obviously not really knowing too much about my opponent and not facing against her before, I don’t know, she just came out and played really smart.
â€œThere’s no doubt that I wasn’t playing my best tennis.Â She was smart in making me hit another ball.Â I was making so many errors out there.Â She stuck to her game plan.Â She kept grinding.
â€œFor me it was just a matter of trying to be consistent out there and winning not just one, two, but three points in a row.
Sharapova on Watsonâ€™ s play: â€œ I thought she did many things well.Â She’s a great mover on the court.Â She made me hit a lot of balls.Â She was really, really steady.Â She handled pace pretty well.
â€œBut on the other side, I don’t think I did enough to make her feel like she had any pressure in the first set.Â You know, I’d hit one, two good balls, then hit an error.Â Whether it was a centimeter or two out, it doesn’t matter, it’s still an error.
â€œFor me it was just getting that consistency in the match.Â And she was smart because, you know, she stuck with her game plan.Â She was steady.Â She made me play.Â She saw that I was making those errors, and she just kept doing the same thing.Â She wasn’t trying to do something else.â€
US No. 1 and number 8 seed Mardy Fish surrendered a mere five games in his defeat of Tobias Kamke of Germany 6-2, 6-2, 6-1.
Fish commented on if he has ever come into the US Open as confident as he is now: “No, it’s pretty fair to say.Â Look, I have played well in Cincinnati before.Â I played well at the Olympics in ’04, as well.Â But, no, overall, even without a good Cincinnati, I still would have felt pretty good.Â You know, still would have felt great.
“Sometimes I feel like it’s a great experience for me to be in this position.Â I’m having a ton of fun with it.Â But sometimes I feel like I’m playing with house money a little bit just because I just would never have imagined two years ago, in 2009, not even having to come back here, you know, to be in this position.”
Wimbledon Champion Kvitova Bounced in First Round
Czech Petra Kvitova sprayed 52 unforced errors in a 7-6(3), 6-3 loss to Romaniaâ€™s Alexandra Dulgheru. This was her third loss in five matches since she captured the Wimbledon title in July.
â€œIf you are thinking on the court negatively, itâ€™s bad.â€
â€œThis is something new for me,â€ said Kvtova. â€œIâ€™ve got to fight through this.â€
No problems for Zvonareva
Second ranked Vera Zvonareva had few problems with qualifier StÃ©phanie Foretz Gacon stopping the French wonmand6-3, 6-0.
â€œWell, it was a firstâ€‘round.Â It is never easy to start a tournament, but I think I played pretty well.Â I played her a long time ago so I didn’t really know, what to expect.Â It took me some time to adjust, to try a few shots, but then I figured it out.
I think I did pretty well.Â I tried to stay, you know, aggressive throughout the match. Â Had a few unforced errors, but overall was pretty good.
Bright night session for Venus Williams and Federer
Roger Federer ties Andre Agassi for the second highest number of Grand Slam wins in the Open era when the Swiss, despite being broken three times, pushed back Colombiaâ€™s Santiago Giraldo 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. Federer is just nine wins away from record holder Jimmy Connors.
â€œIâ€™ve played many Slams in a row already. Iâ€™m healthy. Itâ€™s just another way of saying, â€˜Roger, youâ€™ve been doing many right things throughout your careerâ€¦it gives me good satisfaction and points me in the right direction.â€
Federer now has a 57-6 record at Flushing Meadows and is a perfect 12-0 io first round matches.
Venus Williams began the evening by defeating 91st-ranked Vesna Dolonts of Russia 6-4, 6-3 in her first match since Wimbledon. â€œItâ€™s always nerve-racking to play the first match after a layoff in a major. Itâ€™s not really my first choice at all,â€ said Williams. â€œBut I just tried to rely on experience and, I donâ€™t know, just tried to get after it. So I was pleased with the level.â€ Williams had to withdraw from tournaments due to a virus.
Old school new school
In Â battle of wildcards, Sixteen-year-old US Open debutant Madison Keys became the youngest player since 2005 to win a US Open match when she beat 37-year-old Jill Crabas 6-2, 6-4.
“Obviously it was a good first day. It’s just been awesomeâ€¦.I’m really excited, and hopefully I have another good match Wednesday.”
She credits her interest in the sport to watching Venus Williams on TV at home.
“I was 4, and I walked through my parents’ bedroom – I think they were watching Wimbledon or something – and I decided I wanted Venus’ dress. They told me if I played tennis, they’d buy me a tennis dress. I said, ‘All right, I’ll try it.’ I have been playing ever since.”
Japanâ€™s Kei Nishikori was forced to retire with a back injury against Cippola trailing 6-4, 6-2. â€œIt started Saturday, two days ago.Â I practiced in the morning and start hurting, and I stopped practice and got better yesterday a little bit.
â€œBeginning was okay today, but the pain was increasing every point, and, yeah, I had to retire.
â€œPlayed six match last week in Winstonâ€‘Salem.Â Then I got a little bit tired.Â I think that’s from last week”
Other retirements on Monday:
Laura Pous-Tio (ESP) d. Misaki Doi (JPN) 62 67(12) 52 ret. (cramping)
(Q) Laura Robson (GBR) d. Ayumi Morita (JPN) 76(5) 10 ret. (right shoulder injury)
(2) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) d. (Q) StÃ©phanie Foretz Gacon (FRA) 63 60
(3) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. Heather Watson (GBR) 36 75 63
(8) Marion Bartoli (FRA) d. (Q) Alexandra Panova (RUS) 75 63
(9) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) 62 63
(12) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. (Q) Urszula Radwanska (POL) 62 63
(13) Peng Shuai (CHN) d. Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 63 64
(14) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. Zhang Shuai (CHN) 63 64
(19) Julia Goerges (GER) d. Kristina Barrois (GER) 63 62
(24) Nadia Petrova (RUS) d. (Q) Chan Yung-Jan (TPE) 63 16 64
(25) Maria Kirilenko (RUS) d. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 46 61 76(3)
(27) Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) 26 63 62
(30) Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) d. (Q) Karin Knapp (ITA) 67(4) 64 63
 R Federer (SUI) d S Giraldo (COL) 64 63 62
 G Monfils (FRA) d G Dimitrov (BUL) 76(4) 63 64
 M Fish (USA) d T Kamke (GER) 62 62 61
 T Berdych (CZE) d R Jouan (FRA) 62 76(4) 61
 R Gasquet (FRA) d S Stakhovsky (UKR) 64 64 60
 J Tipsarevic (SRB) d A Gensse (FRA) 62 75 60
 A Dolgopolov (UKR) d F Gil (POR) 64 62 75
 R Stepanek (CZE) d P Kohlschreiber (GER) 64 61 63
 M Cilic (CRO) d R Harrison (USA) 62 75 76(6)
 M Llodra (FRA) d V Hanescu (ROU) 62 46 46 63 62
 M Granollers (ESP) d X Malisse (BEL) 64 64 64
Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU) d. (5) Petra Kvitova (CZE) 76(3) 63
A Falla (COL) d  V Troicki (SRB) 36 63 46 75 75 â€“ saved 3 M.P.