Cilic packs off American Harrison

Cilic packs off American Harrison

Sunny skies greet Flushing Meadows as seeded players face little trouble

Briton Andy Murray wil be one of the favourites to win this year’s US Open. AFP

Marin Cilic got the ball rolling after Hurricane Irene stayed away from Flushing Meadows, with a clinical three-set 6-2, 7-5, 7-6 victory over local hope Ryan Harrison on the opening day here on Monday.

Cilic, seeded 27th, got off to the perfect start, rolling four straight games to clinch the first set 6-2. Harrison, who upset 15th-seeded Ivan Ljubicic last year in his debut at Flushing Meadows, however, had chances to serve out both the second and third sets but was broken each time. He squandered a 4-1 lead in the third-set tiebreaker before going down 6-8.

Among the other seeded players already to advance to the second round were 20th seed Janko Tipsarevic, Alexandr Dolgopolov, seeded 22, 31st seed Marcel Granollers. Tipasrevic eased past Augustin Gensse of France 6-2, 7-5, 6-0 while Granollers beat Belgian veteran Xavier Malise 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. Dolgopolov toppled Frederico Gil 6-2, 6-4, 7-5.

Although she was not playing, Serena Williams also made her first return to Flushing Meadows since her foul-mouthed exit in 2009 to speak to the media after her weekend news conference was cancelled because of the approaching storm.  The American was fined after infamously threatening a line judge during her loss to eventual champion Kim Clijsters two years ago. She did not play at the US Open last year because of a foot injury but is one of the favourites this year.

Quizzed at a news conference on Monday about her actions from two years ago, Williams remained coy about the incident.

"I don't think about it. Are you still thinking about it?" she said. "That was like two years ago. This is like two years later."

First round results (prefix denotes seeding): Men: 27-Marin Cilic (Cro) bt Ryan Harrison (US) 6-2, 7-5, 7-6 (8-6);  31-Marcel Granollers (Esp) bt Xavier Malisse (Bel) 6-4, 6-4, 6-4; 22-Alexandr Dolgopolov (Ukr) bt Frederico Gil (Por) 6-4, 6-2, 7-5; 20-Janko Tipsarevic (Ser) bt Augustin Gensse (Fra) 6-2, 7-5, 6-0; Flavio Cipolla (Ita) bt Kei Nishikori (Jap) 6-4, 6-2.

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