Favorites Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams, with 28 Grand Slam titles between them, cruised into the US Open on Monday, but 17-time major winner Roger Federer was thwarted by rain.
Nadal, the second-seeded 2010 champion who watched last year’s US Open from his home in Spain as he endured a seven-month injury layoff, cruised to a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 win over Ryan Harrison of the US to record a 16th win on hard courts this year.
The 27-year-old Spaniard has captured nine trophies since his return from injury in February, building up a 54-3 record in the process, and he went into New York having won back-to-back Masters titles in Montreal and Cincinnati, comfortably erasing his shock first-round exit at Wimbledon.
“It’s a special emotion to be back in New York. It’s a special atmosphere,” said Nadal, who next tackles either Canada’s Vasek Pospisil or Brazilian qualifier Rogerio Dutra Silva.
Defending women’s champion Serena Williams, a four-time winner, needed just an hour to see off Italian veteran Francesca Schiavone 6-0, 6-1.
The top seed fired 13 winners and broke the former French Open champion six times on her way to a second-round match against Kazakhstan’s Galina Voskoboeva.
“I’m really excited,” Williams said. “I knew playing a former Grand Slam champion the first round was a tough draw, so I just tried to be super serious.”
Venus Williams, the back-to-back champion in 2000 and 2001, and the oldest woman left in the draw at 33, started her 15th US Open with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Belgian 12th seed Kirsten Flipkens, a semi-finalist at Wimbledon.
Venus Williams, ranked 60th in the world, next faces China’s Zheng Jie after avenging a loss to Flipkens in Toronto earlier this month.
“It’s just good to be here, see familiar faces since my first time in 1997 with the beads and the braces,” Venus Williams said.
Federer, the former five-time champion seeded a lowly seventh, was due to take on Slovenia’s Grega Zemjla in the late match, but heavy late evening rain meant the Swiss star, still bruised by his second-round loss at Wimbledon — his worst All England Lawn Tennis Club defeat in a decade — would have to try again yesterday.
However, there were no such problems for Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer, a semi-finalist in 2007 and last year, who defeated teenage Australian qualifier Nick Kyrgios 7-5, 6-3, 6-2 and next faces compatriot Roberto Bautista.
British qualifier Daniel Evans, the world No. 179, stunned Japanese 11th seed Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in the day’s biggest shock.
The 23-year-old Evans had never won a main draw match at a Grand Slam until Monday and his reward is a second-round clash against Australia’s Bernard Tomic, who needed five sets to see off Albert Ramos of Spain.
Monday’s win guaranteed Evans at least US$53,000 — US$10,000 more than he has made in all of this year so far.
“I really want to be top 100, so that’s when the money will start to come in, is when I’m top 100 consistently,” Evans said. “It is an added bonus, but it would be a bit strange if I was just thinking about the money after I’ve just beat the 11th seed.”
Fernando Verdasco, the 27th-ranked Spaniard, was beaten by Croatia’s Ivan Dodig 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 4-6, 6-3.
Latvian 30th seed Ernests Gulbis also went out, losing 3-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4 to Austria’s Andreas Haider-Maurer.
Polish women’s third seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who has never gotten beyond the round-of-16, eased past Silvia Soler-Espinosa 6-1, 6-2 and next faces another Spaniard, Maria Teresa Torro-Flor.
Chinese fifth seed Li Na also reached the second round with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Olga Govortsova of Belarus. Li next plays Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden.
Laura Robson, the first British woman to be seeded at a major for 26 years, won nine games in succession to beat Spanish veteran Lourdes Dominguez Lino 7-5, 6-0.
The 30th seed next faces France’s Caroline Garcia.
There was also an emotional win for Russia’s Alisa Kleybanova, with the former world No. 20 beating Monica Puig of Puerto Rico 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 in her first match at a major since beating cancer.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday said that he had called in the “third umpire” as he announced that recreational cricket would be allowed to resume next weekend. In a radio interview earlier on Friday, Johnson angered thousands of club cricketers by saying that the amateur game was still not safe to play amid the COVID-19 pandemic because of issues surrounding communal teas and dressing rooms. “It’s the teas, it’s the changing rooms and so on and so forth. There are other factors involved that generate proximity which you might not get in a game of tennis,” he said. Johnson had already
Hong Kong media reported that police briefly detained a man in a Liverpool team jersey who shouted “long live Liverpool” during anti-government protests on Wednesday, over suspicion that he was inciting independence. In-Media reported that the man was across the street from police officers who were conducting stop-and-searches on a group of protesters, when he shouted: “Long live Liverpool.” Others reportedly cheered and joined in the chant, before officers detained him. The man told In-Media that police had accused him of inciting Hong Kong independence, which now is a punishable crime. He said that he has been a fan of the English soccer
Indian police are investigating an alleged betting scandal in which a sham cricket tournament was held in an Indian village and passed off as a Twenty20 contest played in Sri Lanka. Players portrayed as Sri Lankan cricketers played two matches on Monday last week that were broadcast with live commentary on YouTube, media reports said, along with ball-by-ball coverage on top Indian sports Web sites. The organizers hung Sri Lankan advertisements at the ground for added authenticity and put up tents to block the view from outside the remote rural venue, set in farmland next to a busy highway. Police said that they
Taipower on Sunday charged to their third straight win and took over first place in the Taiwan Football Premier League as previous leaders Taichung Futuro suffered their first defeat of the season, while Hang Yuan rallied from two goals down to complete a thrilling 3-2 victory over National Taiwan University of Sport (NTUS). Heading into the 10th round of matches, unbeaten Taichung Futuro led the league with 21 points, but they fell to their first defeat of the season, a 1-0 loss to Tatung at the National Stadium in Kaohsiung. In a match in which both defenses were on top and there