Serena stays hot, Venus rolls in US Open return - NBC Sports

Serena stays hot, Venus rolls in US Open return
Williams sisters breeze in openers, while No. 8 seed Wozniacki ousted
Serena Williams returns a shot to CoCo Vendeweghe during her first-round win at the U.S. Open on Tuesday.
August 28, 2012, 11:08 pm

Leave it to Serena Williams to come up with a creative way to judge just how much the air was whipping around at the U.S. Open on Tuesday night.

"I usually gauge the wind by my hair," Williams said. "If it's really going forward, I'm thinking, `It's really windy."'

That it was. It just didn't bother Williams too much in a 6-1, 6-1 victory over 75th-ranked CoCo Vandeweghe of the U.S. in the first round at Flushing Meadows.

Williams needed less than an hour to move into the second round of a tournament she won in 1999, 2002 and 2008.

Coming off titles at Wimbledon and the London Olympics, Williams looked sharp against Vandeweghe, committing only nine unforced errors despite the tricky conditions.

"I didn't hit anything too hard, because the ball - I wouldn't have known where it was going to go," Williams said.

In search of her 15th Grand Slam title, Williams improved to 48-1 in first-round matches at major tournaments. The only loss was at this year's French Open.

During her on-court interview after Tuesday's match, she gave a shout-out to another Olympic gold medalist, New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, who was in the stands cheering for Williams.

Vandeweghe, who fell 7-5, 6-3 to Williams in the Bank of the West Classic final earlier this summer, had trouble dealing with her toss in the blustery wind. She finished with six double-faults and only held serve once in seven tries.

Serena's win wasn't that much different from her sister's match. Venus Williams overcame an early deficit for an easy win in her return to the U.S. Open.

The seven-time Grand Slam champion pulled out of the tournament before her second-round match last year because of an autoimmune disease. Williams was back Tuesday, and she beat fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-3, 6-1.

Williams, unseeded with a ranking of No. 46, was broken in her first game. But after going down 0-2 in the first set, she won 12 of the last 14 games.

She'll next face sixth-seeded Angelique Kerber. The German beat Britain's Anne Keothavong 6-2, 6-0 in 54 minutes Tuesday. Keothavong, ranked 81st, had 25 unforced errors to Kerber's nine.

Ranked outside the top 100 at the start of 2010, Kerber is now a career-best sixth. She reached her first Grand Slam semifinal at Flushing Meadows last year.

Mattek-Sands is ranked 212th after a series of injuries this year and got in on a wild card.

At age 32, Williams has been learning to deal with the effects of Sjogren's syndrome, which causes exhaustion and joint pain.

Earlier, second-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska needed just 54 minutes to advance.

Radwanska beat Nina Bratchikova of Russia 6-1, 6-1 on Tuesday to start play at Arthur Ashe Stadium. The 91st-ranked Bratchikova had 28 unforced errors to only six for Radwanska.

The Polish star is coming off her first Grand Slam final, a three-set loss to Serena Williams at Wimbledon. She has never made it past the fourth round at Flushing Meadows. Radwanska retired from her previous match with a sore shoulder while trailing qualifier Olga Govortsova in her opener at New Haven.

Bratchikova was making her U.S. Open debut, but reached the third round at the Australian and French this year.

Also in action, Sloane Stephens defeated 22nd-seeded Francesca Schiavone in the first round of the U.S. Open - technically an upset since the American is ranked 44th, a career best, while eighth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki failed to make it out of the first round of her second straight Grand Slam tournament, falling 6-2, 6-2 to 96th-ranked Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania at the U.S. Open on Tuesday.

Also, No. 12 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia defeated Ukraine's Elina Svitolina, 6-3, 6-2.

Ivanovic is coming off a 6-0, 6-0 loss to Roberta Vinci at a tuneup match in Montreal - not exactly the confidence builder the former French Open champion and top-ranked player was looking for.

"In that first game, I was like, `Oh my God, at least I should win a game first,"' she said. "It's a lot different. Taking all into consideration, I'm really happy with today's performance."

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