Venus, Radwanska sparkle
Little-known Daniel Evans knocks out 11th seed Nishikori; easy outing for Gasquet
Venus Williams of old showed up on Monday, as the two-time US Open champion dispatched 12th-seeded Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2.
Williams, who has never lost an opening round match here, came out firing, winning the first four games in impressive fashion. Flipkens hardly seemed awake for the first set at all, making a number of unforced errors.
A few weeks back, however, Williams found herself in a very similar situation with Flipkens after winning the first set in Toronto 6-0. Flipkens, though, came back to win the match in three sets.
It appeared Flipkens was trending towards a repeat of that performance, coming out much more energized in the second set.
At 2-2 in that set, the two battled in a marathon game that went to six deuces. Williams ended up holding serve, and Flipkens looked broken after that, never coming close to taking another game. Williams will face the winner of Kiki Bertens and Jie Zheng in the second round.
Meanwhile, British qualifier Daniel Evans stunned 11th-seeded Kei Nishikori in straight sets for the first big upset of the US Open.
The 179th-ranked Evans won 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 on Monday. He was making his debut at the Flushing Meadows and had been 0-2 in Grand Slam matches, both at Wimbledon. The 23-year-old had to rally from a set down in his final match of qualifying to make the field.
Also 23, Nishikori was already playing in his 17th major tournament. He was a quarter-finalist at the 2012 Australian Open. Both players faced nine break points Monday, but Evans converted six and to just two for Nishikori. Eighth seeded French man Richard Gasquet is through to the second round of the US Open beating Michael Russell 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.
Both players held serve early in the match, trading blows at 2-2. Gasquet then held again before going 40-0. The Frenchman subsequently broke his opponent to take a 4-2 lead midway through the first set. A hold of serve put Gasquet 5-2 ahead, but Russell was able to win the next game to stay in the set. Gasquet appeared to be on course to win the first set with a 40-0 lead on his serve, but Russell fought back to deuce. However, Gasquet maintained his composure to win the opening set 6-3. A lengthy opening game of the second ensued before Russell held. Gasquet broke his opponent again at 2-1, before winning a six-shot rally to edge further ahead.
Russell, playing in front of his home crowd, felt further disappointment soon after as Gasquet broke for the second time in the set at 4-1. Russell managed to claw back into the set however, breaking the Gasquet serve and holding to narrow the deficit to 4-3. Both players then held their service games, leaving Gasquet to serve out the second set 6-4. The third set was far more comfortable for Gasquet after breaking in the first game. He then held serve to complete the win.