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Venus Fights Back

Venus Williams was three points from losing but willed her way past Vera Dushevina on Monday.

Published August 31, 2009 11:59

Venus Fights Back
Venus Williams

NEW YORK, NY, USA - The favorites stepped out on Day 1 of the US Open and with just one exception they all cruised through their first round tests.

Serena Williams, a three-time champion here and the No.2 seed this year, had some tricky times with a tricky opponent in the first set but was in total control once she tucked that set away, beating young American countrywoman Alexa Glatch, a wildcard into this year's US Open draw, 64 61.

"I was a little surprised," said Glatch about when she saw the draw. "Playing Serena first round isn't the best draw you could possibly have, but I was excited and looked forward to it. I was nervous of course, but you try not to think about the occasion. It was pretty cool walking out there, I must say. Hopefully I'll play out there many more times. Serena is a great competitor. She's always very nice. I have a lot of respect for her. I like watching her on TV. She's probably one of my favorite players. It was pretty cool to get to play against her."

Williams is now 40-0 lifetime in Grand Slam first rounds. Only two active players who have played at least three Grand Slam main draw matches are perfect in Grand Slam first rounds (Ana Ivanovic is 15-0 in Slam openers).

Venus Williams, a two-time champion here and seeded No.3, was flying in the danger zone for most of her match against Vera Dushevina, who was coming in fresh off her first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles title on the hardcourts of Istanbul. But the American picked her level up when it counted, winning seven games in a row from a set and 5-4 down to make the second round, 67(5) 75 63.

"She was playing very well. I had a challenge on my hands today. But I wanted to win," Williams said. "Each good shot and each not-so-good shot I put behind me and looked forward to the next one. Most of all, I just enjoyed the moment."

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Other seeded winners on Day 1 were Vera Zvonareva, Victoria Azarenka, Flavia Pennetta, Agnieszka Radwanska, Marion Bartoli, Samantha Stosur, Amélie Mauresmo, Li Na, Anabel Medina Garrigues, Daniela Hantuchova, Francesca Schiavone and Elena Vesnina, who just reached the final of New Haven.

There were two minor upsets, with No.25 seed Kaia Kanepi losing to qualifier Chang Kai-Chen, 60 26 62, and No.28 seed Sybille Bammer losing to María José Martínez Sánchez, 64 16 76(5). Bammer's loss might bring a sigh of relief to Serena Williams, who was scheduled to play her in the third round; Williams is 0-2 against Bammer, including a loss just a few weeks ago in Cincinnati.

Another winner of note was Kim Clijsters, another wildcard and playing her first Grand Slam tournament since returning to the Tour in the summer. The Belgian rolled over Viktoriya Kutuzova of the Ukraine with ease, 61 61.

"It was really good today. Now it's a matter of trying to keep this going," said Clijsters, who hadn't played at the US Open since winning the title in 2005. "I'm definitely comfortable where I am right now, but I still feel like I can improve. The match rhythm is something I have to get used to again. Matches like today I didn't really get tested in, but the biggest key is playing those tough matches and when it becomes close, how do I react in those kinds of situations."

Clijsters will next face No.14 seed Bartoli, with Venus Williams as a potential fourth round opponent.

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