US Open: Williams Advance, Rafa Silences Coric, Djokovic And Cilic In It

Top seed Serena Williams can reserve her powerful serves for her next opponent after crushing an injured Vitalia Diatchenko on Monday.

men’s singles top seed seed Novak Djokovic and defending champion Marin Cilic avoided an opening round bug against subdued South Americans Joao Souza and Guido Pella respectively.

Last year finalist Kei Nishikori could not advance beyond the first round; hunted by Frenchman Bennoit Paire at Louis Armstrong Stadium.

No. 8 seed Karolina Pliskova gave up to the upset trend on Day 1 at Flushing Meadow, suffering a 6-2 6-1 defeat to qualifier Ana Tatishvili.

USA’s Tatishvili was playing her fourth match at this year’s U.S. Open against the Czech Republic’s Pliskova. Instead of letting tiredness creep into her game, the 25-year-old offered little opportunities for a player ranked in first place in the Emirates Airline US Open Series Bonus Challenge standings, looking to claim the additional prize money with a triumph in the women’s singles.

Next up for Tatishvili is Madison Brengle, who beat China’s Saisai Zheng 6-2 5-7 7-5.

Rafael Madal Needed Four Sets To Go Past Bona Coric. image: AFP/Getty.
Rafael Madal Needed Four Sets To Go Past Bona Coric. image: AFP/Getty.

Cilic may not have had it all his way against Argentine qualifier Guido Pella on Monday, but he was able to power to 6-3 7-6(7-3) 7-6(7-3) win in Louis Armstrong.

“I feel that this tournament could give me also some extra. And just feeling that I have won last year over here gives me more belief, you know, that I’m [in] a special place and that I can play my best tennis over here.” – Cilic, on what it’s like to return to the US Open as the defending champion.

The ninth seed made just 58 percent of his first serves and gave up 27 unforced errors against a player ranked No. 94 in the world, also winning just two of the seven break points opportunities on Pella’s serve.

Just one break of his opponent’s serve in the first set and the reigning champion reeled off a 1-game-to-love lead.

Marin Cilic Started His U.S. En Defence With a Laboured Win. Image: USTA.
Marin Cilic Started His U.S. En Defence With a Laboured Win. Image: USTA.

In the second set tie-break, Cilic was up 4-2 when he smashed an ace to reclaim initiative; going on to move within a set of his first win on his title defense.

The third set did not go as planned for Cilic, who found himself down a break at 4-3 with Pella serving for set point. A net approach by Pella at 30-all offered the Croat with an opportunity to pass him with a forehand cross-court to earn a break point, which he claimed to level at 4-all.

That was again the turning point for Cilic, who closed out the tie-break to book his place in the second round.

The 26-year-old is having the best of the draws so far as he faces another unseeded player; Russia’s Evgeny Donskoy, who topped a 6-2 7-6(7-3) 6-2 6-4 match against France’s Lucas Pouille.

Canadian Milos Raonic dismissed American Tim Smyczek 6-4 7-6(10-8) 6-1, while eighth seed Rafael Nadal and seventh seed compatriot David Ferrer got the best of Bona Coric (6-3 6-2 4-6 6-4) and Radu Albot (4-6 7-5 6-1 6-0) respectively.

Top seed advance

Dominant Djokovic needed just 71 minutes to put paid to the ambitions of 27-year-old Brazilian Souza, 6-1 6-1 6-1, on his return to the Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The Serb smashed five aces and dropped just four points on his serve to claim the opening set.

No. 91 ranked Souza was totally a mismatch for the world No. 1, after spraying 27 unforced errors to go with a pair of double faults, amid just 10 winners.

Djokovic on the other hand came up with 24 winners to just seven unforced errors, claiming 92 percent of his first-serve points.

From Serena Slam to calendar slam?

Defending women’s singles champion Williams made a light work of her opening match, losing just five points in eight games to see off Diatchenko, 6-0 2-0 (ret).

The 33-year-old, who is aiming to become the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1988 to win all four Grand Slam women’s singles titles in one year, is now 29-0 in Grand Slam matches and 22-0 at the U.S. Open – her last defeat dates back to the 2011 final by Samantha Stosur.

The American needed just 21 minutes to claim a first set bagel, during which her No. 86 ranked opponent needed the attention of her trainer for a left ankle injury.

The Russian could not continue offering tons of unforced errors – notably via her poor serves – before calling it a day (not a memorable one against the top seed though).

Some women in action

Eugene Bouchard stopped American Alison Riske 6-4 6-3

Venus Williams accounted for Monica Puig 6-4 7-6(9-7) 6-3

Coco Vandeweghe defeated home girl Sloane Stephens [29] 6-4 6-3

Madison Keys beat Klara Koukalova 6-2 6-4

Denisa Allertova stunned Carla Suarez Navarro [10] 6-1 7-6(7-5)

Belinda Bencic beat Sesil Karatantcheva 6-1 6-2

Irina Falconi saw off Samantha Crawford 6-4 6-2

Annet Kontaveit defeated Cassey Dellacqua 7-5 6-2

Kiki Bertens beat Mirjana Lucic Baroni 3-6 6-4 6-2

Oceane Dodin defeated Jelena Jankovic [21] 2-6 7-5 6-3

Ekaterina Makarova [13] beat Teliana Pereira 6-3 6-3

Day 1 Singles – First Round

Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] d. Joao Souza (BRA) 61 61 61
Benoit Paire (FRA) d. Kei Nishikori (JPN) [4] 64 36 46 76(6) 64 – saved 2 MP
David Ferrer (ESP) [7] d. Radu Albot (MDA) 46 75 61 60
Rafael Nadal (ESP) [8] d. Borna Coric (CRO) 63 62 46 64
Marin Cilic (CRO) [9] d. Guido Pella (ARG) 63 76(3) 76(3)
Milos Raonic (CAN) [10] d. Tim Smyczek (USA) 64 76(8) 61
David Goffin (BEL) [14] d. Simone Bolelli (ITA) 64 61 62
Illya Marchenko (UKR) d. Gael Monfils (FRA) [16] 26 64 50 ret.
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) [17] d. Matthew Ebden (AUS) 64 62 64
Feliciano Lopez (ESP) [18] d. Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 76(5) 61 63
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) [19] d. Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) 63 61 61
Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) [23] d. Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) 63 62 76(7)
Andreas Seppi (ITA) [25] d. Tommy Paul (USA) 64 60 75
Tommy Robredo (ESP) [26] d. Michael Berrer (GER) 62 62 64
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) [27] d. Ryan Shane (USA) 62 61 67(6) 62
Fabio Fognini (ITA) [32] d. Steve Johnson (USA) 26 63 64 76(2)
Mardy Fish (USA) d. Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 67(5) 63 61 63
Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) d. Jerzy Janowicz (POL) 63 46 62 64
Sam Groth (AUS) d. Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) 46 61 75 ret.
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) d. Tommy Haas (GER) 36 61 67(3) 63 61
Andreas Haider-Maurer (AUT) d. Vasek Pospisil (CAN) 64 36 67(0) 60 61
Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) d. Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) 63 63 30 ret.
Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) d. John Millman (AUS) 61 36 76(3) 64
Martin Klizan (SVK) d. Florian Mayer (GER) 67(5) 63 63 30 ret.
Marcel Granollers (ESP) d. Lukas Lacko (SVK) 62 63 61
Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) d. Lucas Pouille (FRA) 62 67(3) 62 64
Marsel Ilhan (TUR) d. Radek Stepanek (CZE) 60 26 64 32 ret,
Diego Schwartzman (ARG) d. Elias Ymer (SWE) 63 62 62
Ricardas Berankis (LTU) d. Joao Sousa (POR) 62 62 46 26 76(4)
Pablo Cuevas (URU) d. Dudi Sela (ISR) 62 36 64 61
Teymuraz Gabashvili (RUS) d. Pablo Andujar (ESP) 76(6) 06 46 64 ret.
Filip Krajinovic (SRB) d. Alejandro Gonzalez (COL) 64 60 64