December 6, 2013
TENNIS — US OPENTuesday, August 27, 2013
Nadal cruises, Venus turns back clock
Rafael Nadal improved to 16-0 this year on the hard surface, defeating Ryan Harrison. Venus Williams, whose ranking down to No. 60, beat the 12th-seeded Flipkens for one of her biggest wins since she pulled out of the US Open two years ago because of Sjogren’s syndrome.
NEW YORK — Rafa Nadal made an ominous return to the US Open yesterday after Venus Williams rolled back the years as the last grand slam of the year burst into life.
Roared on by the energetic New York crowds, Nadal and Williams both turned on a masterclass of power hitting at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Nadal, who missed last year’s US Open because of a chronic knee problem, showed his intentions to make up for lost time as he demolished US wildcard Ryan Harrison 6-4 6-2 6-2.
Bouncing around the unforgiving Flushing Meadows hardcourt like a kangaroo, the Spaniard chalked up 28 winners despite the blustery conditions at the US National Tennis Center.
Always a showstopper, Williams made a dramatic entrance to the centre court, arriving with her hair braided and dyed a deep purple. Her fingernails were also polished in the same vivid fuschia and she showed no signs of the back problems that have sidelined her for most of the year as she dispatched Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens 6-1 6-2.
The 33-year-old US player provided a glimpse of the form that saw her win the US Open in 2000 and 2001 as she romped to victory in just one hour and 24 minutes.
Williams has only played 18 matches this year and slipped to 60th place in the world rankings while Flipkens is enjoying the best season of her career. The 27-year-old made the semifinals at Wimbledon in July, her best result at any grand slam, and was seeded 12th for the US Open. Earlier this month, she beat Williams in Toronto after losing the first set 6-0.
Argentine Paula Ormaechea reached the second round after beating veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan 6-3 7-6 (9-7) in one hour and 53 minutes of play to next meet German 16-seeded Sabrine Lisicki, who beat Russian Vera Dushevina 6-2 7-6 (7-3).
Carlos Berlocq faced Colombian Santiago Giraldo yesterday but the match was delayed due to rain at the press time. The winner sets up a second-round match against Roger Federer or Grega Zemlja, who played in yesterday’s last match.
Argentines Juan Mónaco, Horacio Zeballos, Guido Pella and Máximo González will play their openers today while Juan Martín del Potro and Leonardo Mayer will debut tomorrow. Mónaco will face German Florian Mayer while Zeballos will play Frenchman Adrian Mannarino. Pella will meet Sam Querrey of the US and González will face Jerzy Janowicz of Poland.
There was an early upset in the men’s draw when Japan’s Kei Nishikori, Asia’s highest-ranked man, was beaten by British qualifier Dan Evans 6-4 6-4 6-2 to set up a second-round meeting with combative Australian Bernard Tomic, who won a five-set slugfest with Spain’s Albert Ramos.
Defending champion Serena Williams beat Francesca Schiavone 6-0 6-1.