Roger Federer took aim at US Open organizers after an easy win, Maria Sharapova overcame a fright, Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was a shock elimination and Taiwan’s Chan Yung-jan fell at the first hurdle at the US Open on Monday.
Federer was more worried about the playing surface than his opponent as he breezed past Santiago Giraldo of Colombia 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.
Gael Monfils, Mardy Fish and Thomas Berdych also won in straight sets on a comfortable day for the big names in the men’s draw. Serbia’s Viktor Troicki was the only seeded player to lose.
Vera Zvonareva and Sharapova both progressed, as did Marion Bartoli and Sam Stosur, while Kvitova departed.
Taiwan’s Chan was ousted from the women’s singles when she lost her first-round match to 24th seed Nadia Petrova in a tight three-set battle.
Chan, who had to qualify to make the main draw, was up 3-1 in the final set, before losing five of the last six games to succumb 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 to the Russian veteran in 99 minutes.
Petrova won by capitalizing on all five of her break points, while Chan was only able to convert five of 10 break opportunities.
“It was very close. It’s too bad. I wasn’t at my best because I rested for two days, but I think I tried my best,” Chan said in a Facebook post after the match.
Federer joined Andre Agassi on 224 victorious singles matches at Grand Slam tournaments, putting them equal second, nine behind Jimmy Connor’s record total. Federer will next play Israel’s Dudi Sela.
However, the third-seeded Swiss showed he was still eager for more challenges, complaining that organizers had made the courts too slow and too similar to those at the Australian Open — not providing enough variety for Federer’s liking.
“Did they make a mistake? Maybe they did paint the court a bit too rough. It’s just unfortunate that maybe all the Slams are too equal,” the 16-time major champion said. “They should feel very different to the Australian Open and now I don’t feel it really does. The night session just feels like you can take huge cuts at the ball, you can run everything down. It’s great for tennis, but I’m not sure if it’s really what the game needs. The game needs different speed at Slams and so forth. I don’t feel we quite have that at the moment, especially if the US Open is getting slower.”
Sharapova, shrieking as loudly as ever, came from a set and a break down against 19-year-old Heather Watson of Britain to win 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, improving to 12-0 this year in three-setters. Her second-round opponent will be Bulgaria’s Anastasiya Yakimova.
“It’s just a matter of belief within myself, that no matter how well or bad or good I’m playing, or my opponent is playing, I know I can tough it out,” the third-seeded Sharapova said after her two-and-a-half-hour victory. “No matter what the situation is, I have the belief.”
Sharapova will be eager to go one better than she did at Wimbledon, where she lost in the final to Kvitova. Fresh off that triumph, Kvitova — a 21-year-old from the Czech Republic seeded No. 5 at Flushing Meadows — failed to follow it up, flopping at the US Open with a 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 loss to 48th-ranked Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania.
Kvitova is the first reigning Wimbledon women’s champion to lose her first match at the US Open in the same season. Only three times had the Wimbledon winner bowed out as early as the third round in New York — Sharapova in 2004, Conchita Martinez in 1994 and Billie Jean King in 1973.