Thu, Aug 30, 2012 - Page 20 News List

Djokovic and Serena win easily in Open first round

AGONY OF DEFEAT:The former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki was beaten by world No. 96 Irina-Camelia Begu, while Djokovic and Serena cruised in straight sets

Reuters, NEW YORK

Serena Williams of the US serves to compatriot Coco Vandeweghe during their women’s singles match at the US Open in New York on Tuesday.

Photo: reuters

Defending champion Novak Djokovic and three-time winner Serena Williams each dropped just two games against bewildered opponents at the US Open on Tuesday, leading a procession of top seeds into the second round of the year’s final Grand Slam.

Joining Djokovic in the winner’s circle at Flushing Meadows were No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 6 Tomas Berdych and former champion Andy Roddick, the 20th seed.

On the women’s side, former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki was a first-round casualty, while second seed Agnieszka Radwanska and No. 6 Angelique Kerber advanced easily.

Djokovic took just an hour and 13 minutes to blitz Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi 6-1, 6-0, 6-1 in his first-round match under the lights on a cool evening at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The charismatic Serb’s win was so one-sided that it was difficult to tell if last year’s US Open champion was that good or Lorenzi had perhaps the worst evening of his life on a tennis court.

“My game was great from the start to the end,” said the second-seeded Djokovic, who won three of four majors last year. “It’s also important for me to try to be as economical with the time I spend on the court as possible, but obviously not underestimating any opponent. I played really focused, tried to get to the net also. It was great, all in all.”

The 69th-ranked Lorenzi said he had trouble with the blustery conditions before a sell-out crowd of nearly 24,000 at cavernous Ashe Stadium.

“I had never played on the center court and there was a lot of wind,” he said. “So sometimes I’d miss an easy ball because the ball was flying a lot, but he’s playing so good. I tried my best.”

Fourth-seeded Williams followed Djokovic on the court and produced a 6-1, 6-1 rout of 75th-ranked American Coco Vandeweghe, who committed 22 errors and produced only nine winners against the 30-year-old, 14-time Grand Slam champion.

Williams said the conditions were tough on both players.

“I usually gauge the wind by my hair,” she said. “If it’s really going forward, I’m thinking: ‘It’s really windy.’ It was really gusty, so at some points it would be really windy, at some points it wouldn’t be ... I didn’t hit anything too hard because the ball, I wouldn’t have known where it was going to go.”

World No. 2 Radwanska of Poland showed no signs of a shoulder injury that forced her out of the New Haven tournament last week as she routed 91st-ranked Nina Bratchikova 6-1, 6-1.

Hampered by a knee problem, eighth-seeded Wozniacki never broke the serve of world No. 96 Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania and lost 6-2, 6-2.

“You always want to go in and do your best no matter what’s happening out there,” Wozniacki said. “I tried. I didn’t play particularly well, made too many errors. It’s unfortunate because it’s a huge tournament, a tournament you want to play well in.”

Venus Williams overpowered Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-3, 6-1 and in the process clocked the fastest women’s serve of the tournament to date at 124kph.

Now ranked No. 46, Venus said she yearned to get back into the world top 10, but added: “It never happens the way you want it to.”

“That’s one thing I found out throughout my whole career,” said Venus, who was forced to withdraw from the tournament shortly before her second-round match last year after discovering she had an autoimmune disease. “When you don’t make it to one goal, just make some more, but, of course, I’m looking forward to the top 10, all that great stuff. I feel like I have it in me.”

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