Five-time champions Serena Williams and Roger Federer won their first-round matches on Day 2 of the U.S. Open, while 15-year-old Catherine Bellis became the youngest player to win a women’s singles match at the season’s final Grand Slam tennis tournament in 18 years.
Williams, 32, the No. 1 women’s seed and two-time defending champion, cruised past fellow American Taylor Townsend 6-3, 6-1 last night at the National Tennis Center in New York. She has a 73-9 career record at the U.S. Open dating back to 1998, the year before Bellis was born.
Williams’s 55-minute victory came after Federer, seeded second in the men’s draw, defeated Marinko Matosevic of Australia 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Switzerland’s Federer, 33, improved his record to 23-1 in night matches on the main court at the National Tennis Center.
“It’s never easy playing first-round matches, regardless of who it is,” Federer said in a televised on-court interview. “I’m happy I came through. It was a bit more difficult than I thought it was going to be in the third set because I had the lead, but he fought well to come back in it. It’s always good to win tiebreakers, that’s for sure.”
John Isner, at No. 13 the only seeded American man at the U.S. Open, beat college tennis singles champion Marcos Giron in straight sets yesterday afternoon in Arthur Ashe Stadium to advance to the second round. Third-seeded Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic and No. 8 Ana Ivanovic also won in straight sets on Ashe, dropping a total of four games between them.
On a small side court outside the 23,771-seat main stadium, Bellis, an American ranked 1,208th in the world, upset 12th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova 6-1, 4-6, 6-4. Bellis, who earned a wild-card entry into the tournament by capturing the U.S. Tennis Association Girls’ 18s national championship, is the youngest women’s winner at the U.S. Open since Russia’s Anna Kournikova also won as a 15-year-old in 1996.
“I went into the match thinking it was going to be such a great experience, but I never thought I would come out on top,” Bellis said at a news conference. “I’m still in shock.”
Cibulkova, 25, from Slovakia, was a finalist at the Australian Open in January and has earned $1.8 million this year. Bellis, as an amateur, can’t receive the $60,420 that goes to first-round winners at the U.S. Open.
Bellis next faces 20-year-old Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan as she seeks to become the youngest American to win her first two matches at the U.S. Open since 1986, when 15-year-old Mary Joe Fernandez reached the third round.
Former champions Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams return to the court today for second-round matches in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Sharapova, the fifth seed from Russia, meets Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania in the last of today’s three feature court matches during the day session. Venus Williams, seeded 19th in the women’s draw, plays Timea Bacsinzky of Switzerland in the first match of the night session on Ashe.
No. 21 Sloane Stephens of the U.S. and men’s third seed Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland also are scheduled to play second-round matches in Arthur Ashe Stadium today.
Sixth seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic plays his opening match against Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt, who won the 2001 U.S. Open, while No. 7 Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria and No. 14 Marin Cilic of Croatia also have first-round matches.
Women’s No. 2 seed Simona Halep of Romania, No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, No. 9 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia and No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark are also in action.
Fourth-seeded David Ferrer of Spain reached the second round with a four-set win yesterday, while No. 10 Kei Nishikori of Japan and No. 12 Richard Gasquet of France each won in three sets. Isner had 26 aces and never allowed a break point on his serve while sending Giron, a 21-year-old American, to a 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, 7-6 (7-2) loss in his Grand Slam debut.
Sam Querrey of the U.S. also advanced, outlasting Maximo Gonzalez of Argentina in five sets.
Last year, no U.S. man reached the fourth round of the tournament for the first time in its 133-year history. American Jack Sock, who reached the third round the past two years in New York, withdrew with a strained calf trailing two sets to one in his opening-round match against Spain’s Pablo Andujar.
“When you’re playing in a one-on-one sport like this and you get hurt, you’re on an island out there,” Isner said. “It’s so tough. The last thing you want to do is retire, but he had no choice. I hate to see that for Jack.”
Women’s seventh seed Eugenie Bouchard of Canada, who lost this year’s Wimbledon final to Kvitova, won in straight sets. Victoria Azarenka, the 16th seed from Belarus who has lost in the final of the last two U.S. Opens, needed three sets to advance, while No. 20 Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia -- the 2004 U.S. Open champion -- was ousted yesterday by Marina Erakovic of New Zealand in a third-set tiebreaker.