NEW YORK, NY, USA - The top two doubles seeds advanced in emphatic fashion to kick off the US Open doubles weekend at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, with Wimbledon champions Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina dismissing Americans Jennifer Brady and Alison Riske, 6-2, 6-3, and No.2 seeds Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-Jan knocking out Yulia Putintseva and Arina Rodionova, 6-2, 6-2.
"I think it’s never easy to play the first match of a Grand Slam," said Hingis after the match. "It’s normal to see how the opponents are playing, how we’re doing. Of course it’s normal to be a little bit nervous in the first match. But after that, I think once we broke the opponents, it started to be a smoother ride, and we picked up from there."
The cool and breezy conditions required Chan and Hingis to modify their play. "It’s windy," continued Hingis, "so we really just have to move around, move your feet and get the rhythm going. And I think we adjusted pretty well to that."
Another adjustment the No.2 seeds had to make was to overcome Chan's quick turnaround after playing the 2017 Summer Universiade in her homeland of Taiwan last week, where she won the women's doubles gold medal with her sister, Hao-Ching.
"Since the Universiade doesn’t happen every year in my hometown, it would be really special for me to go back to play," explained Chan. "I know that I’m taking the risk of my body, and the jet lag."
"Of course I need to tell Martina how my schedule’s gonna be," Chan continued. "So she needs to cover me a little more when I get back -- which she did a lot during the match today, so I’m very thankful for her!"
Hingis praised her partner's effort. "She did great, considering all the effort that she had to go: winning Cincinnati, going back to Taiwan, getting the gold medal with her sister, coming back -- I mean, I was like, 'I’m so proud of her!'"
"We still gotta get through the first couple matches and I think after, everything will start to be better," concluded Hingis. The two teams in this match each had 21 unforced errors, but Chan and Hingis hit 20 winners, compared to Putintseva and Rodionova's 10.
Meanwhile, Makarova and Vesnina, the No.1 seeds, were never broken in their win, saving five break points in total. The Russians hit four aces and won 72 percent of the points when they got their first serves in.
No.3 seeds Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova also won their first round match, defeating Christina McHale and Heather Watson, 6-2, 6-4.
Also, in second round play, No.7 seeds Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova took out Mona Barthel and Carina Witthoeft, 6-2, 6-4, and No.9 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yifan ousted Lara Arruabarrena and Arantxa Parra Santonja, 6-4, 7-6(4).
Additionally, the first round of the mixed doubles tournament opened with a shock, as the unseeded pairing of Jelena Ostapenko and Fabrice Martin stunned No.2 seeds Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig, 5-7, 6-3, 10-6.