Murray, Serena cruise into second round

Nishikori, Venus make progress

Murray, Serena cruise into second round

Wimbledon champions Andy Murray and Serena Williams powered into the second round of the US Open as the stars came out on Arthur Ashe Stadium court.

Williams, launching her latest bid to rewrite the record books, started strong and didn’t let up in 6-3, 6-3 victory over 29th-ranked Ekaterina Makarova.

The US world number one appeared untroubled by the balky right shoulder that has hindered her in recent weeks, delivering a dozen aces and 27 winners overall in the 63-minute contest.

“I knew today I needed to be focused because I’ve played her. She’s gotten to the semifinals. She goes deep in majors,” Williams said of the Russian left-hander who beat her in the fourth round of the 2012 Australian Open.

A victory would see her break the Open Era record of 22 Grand Slam titles she now shares with German Steffi Graf and close in on Margaret Court’s all-time mark of 24 major titles.

While Williams has struggled since Wimbledon, Murray went from claiming a second title at the All England club to a successful defence of his Olympic gold in Rio.

Vying to become the fourth man in the Open Era to reach all four major finals in a calendar year, Murray, too, produced a dominant service performance in a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Czech Lukas Rosol.

Before the floodlights came up, Serena’s elder sister Venus claimed a Grand Slam record of her own as her 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 victory over Ukraine’s Kateryna Kozlova marked her 72nd appearance in the main draw of a major.

The 36-year-old Venus, enjoying a resurgence in a 2016 season that includes a WTA title in Taiwan, survived 63 unforced errors against the rising 22-year-old, although she was pleased that her aggressive approach also yielded 46 winners.

Fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, trying to make it to the quarterfinals in New York for the first time, breezed past US qualifier Jessica Pegula 6-1, 6-1 and fifth-seeded Romanian Simona Halep also eased through with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Belgian Kirsten Flipkens.

Men’s third seed Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, a two-time semifinalist, reached the second round with a 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, 6-4 win over Spain’s Fernando Verdasco.

Japan’s Kei Nishikori also advanced, downing German Benjamin Becker 6-1, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion whose career was nearly ended by three wrist surgeries, advanced with a 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) victory over fellow Argentine Diego Schwartzman.

Djokovic through

World number one and defending champion Novak Djokovic reached the third round of the US Open without swinging his racquet on Wednesday when scheduled opponent Jiri Vesely pulled out injured.

Serbia's Djokovic won by walkover when left forearm inflammation prompted Czech Vesely to withdraw prior to the afternoon second round clash.

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