NEW YORK, NY, USA - Serena Williams made a slamming start to her US Open campaign on a windy Tuesday night, crushing Coco Vandeweghe in 55 minutes to move through to the second round of her home Grand Slam event.
In the pair's only previous meeting Vandeweghe gave Williams all she could handle, leading 5-3 in the first set with set point at 5-4 before falling in a tight two-setter, 75 63; but this time Williams didn't have any of it, overpowering her countrywoman for the loss of just two games in under an hour, 61 61.
"The wind was blowing a lot at the Olympics, but I think this may have been more than the Olympics," Williams said after the match. "I usually gauge the wind by my hair. If it's really going forward, I'm thinking it's really windy.
"To adjust I try to take pace off my serve. I didn't hit too many aces. I didn't hit anything too hard because I wouldn't have known where the ball was going.
"The match was so weird because the conditions were so tough out there, and I really couldn't play my game. She couldn't play her game either."
Having won 37 of her last 39 matches and her last 13 matches in a row against Top 5 players, Williams' No.4 ranking may be deceptive - she talked about that.
"My thing is just to be the best player I can be. If that means I'm winning and not No.1, that's fine," she said. "These players now have had really consistent years. They didn't lose in the first round of Paris, so maybe they're No.1."
Other Top 8 seeds in action included No.2 seed Agnieszka Radwanska and No.6 seed Angelique Kerber, who both won, Kerber setting up a second round blockbuster against Venus Williams (read about all of their wins here). No.8 seed Caroline Wozniacki was also in action but had a tough day against Irina-Camelia Begu, who scored her first Top 10 win (read more here).
Other seeds moving through were Sara Errani, Ana Ivanovic, Dominika Cibulkova, Maria Kirilenko, Roberta Vinci and Jelena Jankovic. Ivanovic had only played one match in the US Open lead-up season, and it wasn't pretty - she was double bageled by Vinci; but this time the No.12-seeded Serb was all over it, cruising past young Ukrainian qualifier Elina Svitolina, 63 62.
"I'm actually very happy the way I played, considering it's the first match and especially because I only had one match on hardcourts coming in, which wasn't very representative," Ivanovic said. "It was tough going on court today because I didn't know much about the opponent. She had a few matches behind her from qualifying, but I focused on my game and I did really well today.
"In the first game I was like, 'Oh my God, at least I should win a game."
A number of other seeds lost, namely Christina McHale, Francesca Schiavone, Klara Zakopalova, Monica Niculescu, Tamira Paszek and Peng Shuai. Schiavone lost a tight two-setter to Sloane Stephens, 63 64 - the American rifled a forehand winner up the line on the last point.
"I lost last week to Bartoli, the week before to Radwanska. I played well, I did exactly what my coach told me to do. I was like, 'Man, I didn't win.' I was kind of down about that," Stephens said. "When they told me I was playing Schiavone, it was time. It's go big or go home. If you lose, you lose. If you win, you win."
And that confidence shone through even more as one reporter asked, 'Is Sloane Stephens going to be our next superstar?' "She is," she replied.