Top seed Caroline Wozniacki powered her way into the third round of the US Open on Thursday, handing out a 6-0, 6-0 whitewash to Taiwan’s Chang Kai-chen.
It was an impressive performance by the 20-year-old Dane, a surprise finalist here last year who, in the space of the last 12 months, has established herself among the elite in the sport.
She needed just 47 minutes to record her 11th straight win, which includes back-to-back titles in Montreal and New Haven, her third and fourth of the year, the most of any woman.
In two matches at Flushing Meadows, she has lost just two games.
“I go out there and I don’t give up. I don’t give any free points away and that is one of my strong points,” Wozniacki said of her merciless display against Chang
“I am feeling fresh, all recovered [from an ankle injury], from everything. I am happy to be playing injury-free. It’s perfect,” she said.
Wozniacki had only seven winners but wore down her opponent with her unerring groundstrokes while waiting for Chang to misfire. The Taiwanese complied with 26 unforced errors.
Wozniacki, aiming for her first Grand Slam title and a US$1 million bonus that would come with it since she won this summer’s US Open Series standings, said she was confident and eager for the upcoming challenges.
“When you’re winning, you have that confidence. You go out on the court and you know what to do. You’re in your own bubble,” she said. “That’s what I’m aiming for.”
Chang, 19, said she had never been beaten love-love on the professional circuit but was not embarrassed by the drubbing and would use it as a learning experience.
“It’s like playing against a wall,” Chang said. “She is a very consistent player. She doesn’t give you any points or mistakes. Yeah, she is a wall.”
Her mother had come over from Taiwan to share in the US Open experience only to see her daughter suffer a dreaded “double bagel.”
“She saw a pretty ugly match,” Chang said, “but I’m happy she’s here with me.”
In other matches Maria Sharapova belted Czech Iveta Benesova 6-1, 6-2, while Russia’s Vera Zvonareva, Wimbledon finalist this year, and Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer, semi-finalist at the US Open last season, also registered easy wins.
Seeded players Agnieszka Radwanska, Aravane Rezai and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez were sent tumbling out of the women’s draw.
Roger Federer cruised into the third round of the men’s singles while Novak Djokovic and Robin Soderling showed why they are title contenders as well.
Swiss second seed Federer, seeking his 17th Grand Slam crown and a seventh consecutive trip to the US Open final, beat Germany’s 104th-ranked Andreas Beck 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 41 minutes at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Five-time US Open champion Federer will face 109th-ranked Paul-Henri Mathieu to decide a fourth-round berth on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts.
“It’s the perfect start,” Federer said. “Body is well. Mentally obviously I’m fresh, too. I haven’t played too much, so I’m really eager. I’m ready for tough matches coming around. It’s good I’m saving myself, really, and my game is fine.”
Serbian third seed Djokovic advanced 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) over German Philipp Petzschner, saying, “I was shaky the whole match but I was able to hold on.”
Djokovic reached the 2007 US Open final and the Flushing Meadows semi-finals the past two years, each time losing to Federer, whom he could again face in the semi-finals.
“It’s important to save energy in the opening rounds,” Djokovic said. “Overall I can be satisfied with how I played. I played well when I needed to and was a little bit lucky.”
Swedish fifth seed Soderling downed American Taylor Dent 6-2, 6-2, 6-4. The French Open runner-up meets Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker next.
“I’m pretty confident. I know I can do well when I play well,” Soderling said. “But you need to play well. No one can play well every match. So anything can happen. I can lose first round. I can go on really deep as well.”
Russian sixth seed Nikolay Davydenko, a 2006 and 2007 US Open semi-final loser to Federer, was ousted 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 by 38th-ranked Richard Gasquet in the biggest upset of the day.
Gasquet, among a record 12 Frenchmen to reach the second round, lost only seven of 52 points on his first serve as Davydenko made his quickest US Open exit since 2005.
Davydenko joined a US Open seeded scrap heap that includes No. 7 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, US ninth seed Andy Roddick and Croatian 11th seed Marin Cilic, who lost to Japanese qualifier Kei Nishikori 5-7, 7-6 (8/6), 3-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-1 in an exhausting five-hour duel.
“I was cramping from the second set but I kept fighting and fighting and got the fourth set tie-breaker. That was key for me,” Nishikori said.
“It was hot but I feel good now,” he said
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