Hewitt, Hingis, Kuznetsova advance at Open
Vail, CO Colorado
NEW YORK ” Lleyton Hewitt served up a shutout, Martina Hingis needed only an hour and Svetlana Kuznetsova neatly slid into the second round Tuesday at the U.S. Open.
Maria Sharapova and Andy Roddick hoped to keep up that run by former champions in the featured night matches.
A day after Roger Federer, Justine Henin and the Williams sisters breezed, the favorites followed with straight-set victories.
Hewitt won all 16 points on serve in the final set and beat Amer Delic 6-2, 6-4, 6-2. The 16th-ranked Australian hit winners from all over and never faced a break point.
“I felt like I was moving incredibly well,” Hewitt said.
Kuznetsova also coasted, defeating Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-3. The fourth-ranked Russian covered the court exceptionally well, especially in the final game when she did a full split going to her right and again to her left.
Despite losing both points, she quickly closed out the match. She showed a slight hobble walking off the court, but seemed fine a few minutes later.
Kuznetsova said she tried “to get to every ball back because she was missing a lot.”
“So I had to slide for the balls. I have to really be careful about my feet,” he said.
Hingis, back for her 10th U.S. Open, beat Mathilde Johansson 6-0, 6-3. The 16th-ranked Swiss player had just eight unforced errors to 23 by her opponent.
On Monday night, Serena Williams kept picking at that pesky pink bow, then pulled it completely off the front of her black dress. After so much had gone right, she wasn’t about to let any wardrobe malfunction stop her.
With Janet Jackson in the stands for a tribute to Althea Gibson, the Williams sisters honored the trailblazer in their own way ” with wins.
“My outfit was dark, and I definitely played a dark match,” Serena said.
Aretha Franklin got the evening off to a rollicking start, belting out “Respect.” Then Venus Williams beat Kira Nagy of Hungary 6-2, 6-1 ” highlighted by a Grand Slam-record 129 mph serve ” and Serena finished off a full opening day with a forehand smash to down German teenager Angelique Kerber 6-3, 7-5.
“I know every time I step out on the court I play for me and I play for all the other African-American kids out there who have a dream and might not have the means,” Serena said.
Federer and Henin played up to their No. 1 rankings with straight-set victories, and American prospects Donald Young and John Isner played up to their potential.
There were few upsets. Among the seeded players who lost were No. 17 Tatiana Golovin on the women’s side and crowd favorite No. 18 Marcos Baghdatis in the men’s draw.
Back in 1957, Gibson became the first black player to win the championship at the U.S National Championship, which became the U.S. Open.
“I have all the opportunities today because of people like Althea,” Venus Williams said. “Just trying to follow in her footsteps.”
But stepping onto the Ashe court after the tribute wasn’t easy, especially after wrist and knee problems limited her to one tournament since she won Wimbledon.
“It was definitely a tough act to follow. … It was really moving,” she said.
“It’s like, ‘OK. Williams can’t lose tonight. That’s not part of the plan. It’s supposed to be an all-American win tonight.’ I was definitely thinking that.”
Serena won in her first match since injuring her left thumb at Wimbledon.
“I didn’t play well at all. It was a crazy match out there,” she said.
Isner and Young were more in a celebrating mood, as was Ahsha Rolle. Playing in her third Grand Slam match, the 22-year-old Rolle upset Golovin 6-4, 1-6, 6-2.
“I was watching a little bit of the (Gibson) tribute. I thought that of all the nights, I’ve got to do it tonight,” Rolle said. “I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t nervous. I was ready to bring it.”
At 6-foot-9, so was Isner. Playing in his first Slam match, he rocketed serves up to 140 mph and beat 26th-seeded Jarkko Nieminen 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5), 6-4.
“To be able to beat a guy like that means a lot, says a lot: No matter who I’m playing, seeded or not … I feel like I can go out there and compete,” said Isner, who led Georgia to the NCAA tennis title.
When he was done, he stood tall. He barely had to reach to shake the chair umpire’s hand.
Another American who got a wild card for the year’s last major tournament was Young. The Wimbledon junior champion recalled writing a biography about Gibson when he was in sixth grade.
“When you play out here, there’s not that much pressure, because I’m (ranked) like 200 in the world, and everybody’s top-100,” the 18-year-old Young said after beating Chris Guccione 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.
Fourth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko felt a little uneasy, though ” even with a 6-4, 6-0, 6-1 victory over Jesse Levine.
When he was done, Davydenko talked about the gambling probe surrounding a match he played early this month. The Russian reiterated he did not bet and did nothing wrong.
“I try to say every week, ‘I don’t do anything like this,”‘ he said. “I never did.”