Sharapova, Venus advance at U.S. Open

08/25/2014 10:09 PM

08/25/2014 10:09 PM

Flushing Meadows, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Former champions Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams were among the first-round winners Monday at the U.S. Open.

Second-seeded Simona Halep and fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska also advanced on the first day of play at the year's fourth Grand Slam, as did former world No. 1 and U.S. Open runner-up Caroline Wozniacki.

There wasn't much drama in the women's draw Monday, as only one seeded player was beaten, although Sharapova was down a break early to start the night session at Ashe Stadium against fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko.

The 2006 U.S. Open champ trailed 2-4 in the opening set, then ripped off 10 straight games to complete the 6-4, 6-0 triumph. Sharapova, seeded fifth this year, missed the 2013 U.S. Open with a shoulder injury and hasn't been to the final at Flushing Meadows since capturing the title eight years ago.

"I was happy I was able to step it up and play well," said Sharapova, who improved to 17-0 in night matches at the U.S. Open.

Sharapova won the French Open this spring for her fifth career Grand Slam title and suffered a fourth-round exit at Wimbledon. She was a third-round loser at the Rogers Cup and fell to Ana Ivanovic in the semifinals at Cincinnati in her two U.S. Open tune-up events.

Williams rallied for a 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over 43-year-old Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm. The 34-year-old American claimed two of her seven Grand Slam titles at the U.S. Open, winning it all in 2000 and 2001 while also finishing as the runner-up in 1997 and 2002. She has, however, lost in the second round in each of her last three trips to Flushing Meadows.

"Not the ideal start, but she's a tricky player," said Williams. "I think she started coming up with some really good shots off my serve. She just goes for runs, and I give her a lot of credit for winning the first set and really making it extremely challenging."

Halep, the French Open runner-up, came from behind to beat 20-year-old NCAA champion Danielle Rose Collins of the United States, 6-7 (2-7), 6-1, 6-2. The Romanian has never advanced past the fourth round at the U.S. Open.

"There's a lot of pressure on me. Everyone is telling me that I have chances to win," said Halep, who will next play Slovakia's Jana Cepelova.

Radwanska, the former Wimbledon runner-up from Poland, pasted helpless Canadian Sharon Fichman, 6-1, 6-0, in a mere 47 minutes. She'll next face China's Peng Shuai.

The 10th-seeded Wozniacki had her hands full on Monday and held a 6-1, 3-6, 2-0 advantage against Magdalena Rybarikova when the Slovak had to call it quits because of a right thigh injury.

"It's unfortunate that she had to retire," said Wozniacki, the 2009 U.S. Open runner-up. "It would've been a good finish, especially for the crowd."

Meanwhile, sixth-seeded German left-hander Angelique Kerber snuck past Russian Ksenia Pervak, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, and ninth-seeded former top-ranked star Jelena Jankovic subdued fellow Serb Bojana Jovanovski, 6-2, 6-3. Jankovic was a U.S. Open runner-up back in 2008.

In other action involving seeds, No. 13 Sara Errani of Italy claimed a 6-1, 7-5 triumph over Belgian Kirsten Flipkens; No. 14 Czech Lucie Safarova handled Hungarian Timea Babos, 6-4, 7-5; No. 18 German Andrea Petkovic got past Tunisian Ons Jabeur, 7-6 (9-7), 1-6, 6-3; No. 21 American Sloane Stephens grounded German Annika Beck, 6-0, 6-3; No. 22 Alize Cornet leveled fellow Frenchwoman Amandine Hesse, 6-1, 6-2; No. 26 Sabine Lisicki of German beat Canadian qualifier Francoise Abanda, 6-3, 7-5; No. 28 Roberta Vinci of Italy dismantled Argentine Paula Ormaechea, 6-3, 6-3; and No. 31 Japanese Kurumi Nara drilled Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak, 6-2, 6-1.

Only Spain's Garbine Muguruza was a beaten seed on Monday. Croatian qualifier Mirjana Lucic-Baroni pulled off the minor upset with a 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) win.

Several other women reached the second round, including Puerto Rico's Monica Puig, Israeli Shahar Peer, Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova and Slovakian veteran Daniela Hantuchova.

Five-time titlist Serena Williams is the two-time reigning champion, having beaten former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in the last two finals. Serena will open defense of her titles against fellow American Taylor Townsend on Tuesday.

Join the Discussion

The Wichita Eagle is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service