Sisters Venus and Serena Williams, who have combined for five U.S. Open singles titles, advanced to the second round of the year’s final Grand Slam tennis tournament with straight-set victories.
Men’s defending champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia dropped two games in a 6-1, 6-0, 6-1 defeat of Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi in a night match at the National Tennis Center in New York, and American Andy Roddick, the 2003 men’s winner, also won today.
Venus Williams, 32, who won the championship in 2000 and 2001, beat fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-3, 6-1 in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Williams lost the first two games of the match before cruising to the win in 62 minutes.
Williams, who won the women’s doubles gold medal at the London Olympics with Serena, last year was diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, an energy-sapping autoimmune disease. The seven-time Grand Slam champion lost her opening-round match at Wimbledon in June and fell in the second round at the French Open in May.
“Everybody has their lot in life, and I’ve had mine,” Williams said in a news conference. “I’ve had an unbelievable lot. I’m living my dream every day for the last 15 years, so I can’t complain.”
Unseeded at this year’s U.S. Open, she advanced to meet sixth-seeded Angelique Kerber, 24, of Germany, who beat Anne Keothavong of Britain 6-2, 6-0.
Serena Williams, 30, a three-time champion seeded fourth this year, won 6-1, 6-1 against compatriot Coco Vandeweghe in a night match amid swirling wind at Ashe stadium. She next faces Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, 30, of Spain.
Roddick, the men’s No. 20 seed, beat fellow American Rhyne Williams 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 on the Ashe Stadium court. Roddick had 20 aces and a top serve speed of 141 miles per hour (227 kph).
“I haven’t hit 140 for about three years, so that was nice,” Roddick said in a televised courtside interview.
Rhyne Williams was making his debut in the main draw of a Grand Slam after getting through the qualifying rounds. The 21- year-old from Knoxville, Tennessee, is ranked 289th on the ATP World Tour.
“I feel like I always play the young American guys here in the early rounds,” said Roddick, who turns 30 in two days. “He did a great job. He didn’t get a wild card. He did it the hard way.”
Roddick advanced to play Australian Bernard Tomic in the second round.
Agnieszka Radwanska, the No. 2 women’s seed from Poland, also posted a straight-set first-round victory today. Radwanska, 23, beat Nina Bratchikova, a 27-year-old Russian, 6-1, 6-1 in 54 minutes on the Ashe Stadium court to open Day 2 play.
Bratchikova made 28 unforced errors to six for Radwanska, who will take on Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain in the next round. Suarez Navarro advanced when Ksenia Pervak of Kazakhstan quit their match in the second set.
Sloane Stephens, a 19-year-old American who reached the third round last year, upset 22nd-seeded Francesca Schiavone, 32, of Italy, 6-3, 6-4. Eighth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, who reached the semifinals the past three years, lost 6-2, 6-2 to Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu.
Men’s No. 5 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France beat Karol Beck of Slovakia 6-3, 6-1, 7-6 (7-2); sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic topped David Goffin of Belgium 7-5, 6-3, 6-3, and Nicolas Almagro, the No. 11 seed from Spain, eliminated Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-4.
Ana Ivanovic, the women’s 12th seed from Serbia, beat Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-3, 6-2.
Tournament referee Brian Earley announced tonight that David Nalbandian of Argentina had withdrawn before his first- round match set for tomorrow against countryman Juan Martin Del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion. Del Potro’s new first-round opponent will be announced tomorrow morning.
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