Favorites Win On Day 1
Published July 27, 2009 11:59
STANFORD, CA, USA - The US Open Series kicked off in fine style on Monday, as six first round matches took the courts at the Bank of the West Classic, as well as one of the all-time greatest teams putting on a show.
Three seeded players were in action and they all advanced, the highest of which being No.3 seed Elena Dementieva, who rebounded from a recent dramatic semifinal defeat at Wimbledon to beat Britain's Anne Keothavong in straight sets, 61 64. Joining her in the seeded winner's circle were No.5 seed Nadia Petrova, a 63 36 63 winner over American Bethanie Mattek-Sands, and No.7 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who crushed Romania's Sorana Cirstea, 60 61.
"Everything worked today. I'm happy to have played such a good match," said Radwanska, who, like Dementieva, was competing for the first time since Wimbledon. "After Wimbledon, the plan was to take time off from matches and practice a lot. I've been happy with my game and my year so far, but there are improvements I can make and I just want to practice and get better."
In other matches, Monica Niculescu beat Meghann Shaughnessy, 61 60; Melinda Czink rallied from 3-5 in the second set to beat Alisa Kleybanova, 60 75; and Maria Sharapova beat Ai Sugiyama under the lights, squandering a 5-2 lead in the second set and two match points at 6-4 in the ensuing tie-break before finally closing the Japanese veteran out, 64 67(6) 61.
"I had so many chances to close it out in the second set and I didn't, but I came out and played a really good third set," Sharapova said. "I didn't do too many things wrong in the second set. She really stepped it up and I couldn't raise my level. But in the third I was playing steady and did all the right things. I'm feeling really good. I could have gone a few more sets."
"In the second set I was fighting every single point. Even though she had match points I hung in there and stayed mentally really tough," Sugiyama said. "My energy went down in the third set and my movement dropped a little bit. If I can't move my best it's really tough to play Maria. She played tough until the very end. She's one of the most mentally tough players out there."
Doubles matches also began, and the Williams sisters - the Top 2 seeds in singles and the No.2 seeds in doubles, behind co-world No.1s Cara Black and Liezel Huber - were pushed in the first set but eased through their opener in straight sets, beating Chen Yi and Mashona Washington, 64 62. Venus and Serena Williams have won nine Grand Slam doubles titles together, including two this year - the Australian Open and, just a few weeks ago, Wimbledon.