Federer cruises; Baghdatis falls

Tennis: US Open: Venus through; Somdev knocked out

Federer cruises;  Baghdatis falls

Prized scalp: Paul Henri-Mathieu whips a forehand during his first-round win over Lleyton Hewitt on Monday. AP

Five of the former champions were on court playing matches while another, Martina Navratilova, was the guest of honor during a glitzy opening night celebration recognising people who had overcome adversity.

Belgium's super-mom Kim Clijsters and the Americans Venus Williams and Andy Roddick, all joined Federer by winning their first round matches at Arthur Ashe stadium in straight sets.

It was a stifling hot day in New York but they all made light work of their opponents with Federer stealing the show with an outrageous between-the-legs winner during his 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 romp against Argentine baseliner Brian Dabul.

Only one former champion failed to make it past the first day. Australia's Lleyton Hewitt fell to unheralded Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 4-6, 6-1 at the Louis Armstrong stadium.

Hewitt won the US Open title in 2001 when he toppled Pete Sampras but his best days appear long past even though he had no plans to retire.

As Hewitt bid his farewell, his former fiancee Clijsters celebrated her maiden appearance as a defending Grand Slam champion four years after she won her first US Open title.

Now married to American basketballer Brian Lynch with an infant daughter, Clijsters returned to the scene of her greatest triumphs with a 6-0, 7-5 win over Hungarian Greta Arn.

"It couldn't have come any faster," she explained after missing the 2006 tournament with a wrist problem then 2007 and 2008 to start a family.

Monday also marked a return of sorts for Roddick and Williams, who have both been battling niggling injuries for the past two months.

They may not move as fast as they once did but they can both still wallop the ball and they know how to scratch out a win, Roddick celebrating his 28th birthday by blasting aside France's Stephane Robert 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 and Williams outclassing Italian Roberta Vinci 6-4, 6-1.

Williams made her first US Open final back in 1997, two years before her younger sister Serena announced her arrival by winning the family's first singles title. Serena is missing this year, forced to withdraw after slicing her foot on a piece of glass, leaving the elder sibling to carry on alone.

Former world number one Dinara Safina also made a sorry exit, beaten 6-3, 6-4 by Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova, the latest in a series of early losses for the Russian, who has slipped 49 places to number 50 in 12 injury-hit months.

Sweden's two-time French Open finalist Robin Soderling was lucky not to lose to another qualifier before he regained his composure to beat Austria's Andreas Haider-Maurer 7-5, 6-3, 6-7, 5-7, 6-4 and remain on course to meet Federer in the quarterfinals.

I round results

I round results (prefix denotes seeding):
Men: 2-Roger Federer (Sui) bt Brian Dabul (Arg) 6-1, 6-4, 6-2; Paul-Henri Mathieu (Fra) bt 32-Lleyton Hewitt (Aus) 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 4-6, 6-1; 26-Thomaz Bellucci (Bra) bt Tim Smyczek (US) 6-3, 7-5, 7-6 (7-6); Andreas Beck (Ger) bt Michael Berrer (Ger) 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 6-1; Kevin Anderson (SA) bt Somdev Devvarman (Ind) 6-3, 6-4, 6-3; 21-Albert Montanes (Esp) bt Michal Przysiezny (Pol) 5-7, 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5), 6-0; Taylor Dent (US) bt Alejandro Falla (Col) 6-4, 7-5, 6-1; Janko Tipsarevic (Srb) bt Olivier Rochus (Bel) 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-0), 6-2; Guillaume Rufin (Fra) bt Leonardo Mayer (Arg) 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-2), 6-1; 13-Juergen Melzer (Atr) bt Dmitry Tursunov (Rus) 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2; Ricardas Berankis (Lit) bt Ryan Sweeting (US) 6-4, 6-7 (7-5), 6-3, 6-2; Carsten Ball (Aus) bt Milos Raonic (Can) 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-3, 6-2; 9-Andy Roddick (US) bt Stephane Robert (Fra) 6-3, 6-2, 6-2; 5-Robin Soderling (Swe) bt Andreas Haider-Maurer (Atr) 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (2-7), 5-7, 6-4; 17-Gael Monfils (Fra) bt Robert Kendrick (US) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4; Igor Andreev (Rus) bt Horacio Zeballos (Arg) 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3; Ivan Dodig (Cro) bt 27-Fernando Gonzalez (Chi) 6-7 (2-7), 6-1, 1-0 (retd); Ricardo Mello (Bra) bt Bjoern Phau (Ger) 6-4, 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4); 6-Nikolay Davydenko (Rus) bt Michael Russell (US) 6-4, 6-1, 6-3; 11-Marin Cilic (Cro) bt Illya Marchenko (Ukr) 7-5, 6-3, 6-1; Thiemo de Bakker (Net) bt Marc Gicquel (Fra) 6-4, 7-5, 6-2; Richard Gasquet (Fra) bt Simon Greul (Ger) 6-3, 6-4, 6-2; Kei Nishikori (Jap) bt Evgeny Korolev (Kaz) 7-6 (7-0), 5-2 (retd); 22-Juan Carlos Ferrero (Esp) bt Martin Klizan (Slo) 6-1, 6-3, 6-0.

Women: 3-Venus Williams (US) bt Roberta Vinci (Ita) 6-4, 6-1; 19-Flavia Pennetta (Ita) bt Irina Falconi (US) 6-2, 6-1; Ana Ivanovic (Srb) bt Ekaterina Makarova (Rus) 6-3, 6-2; Vania King (US) bt Christina McHale (US) 6-3, 0-6, 6-1; 21-Zheng Jie (Chn) bt Timea Bacsinszky (Sui) 7-6 (7-0), 7-6 (7-1), Pauline Parmentier (Fra) bt Alberta Brianti (Ita) 4-6, 6-3, 7-5; Rebecca Marino (Can) bt Ksenia Pervak (Rus) 6-4, 4-6, 7-5; 10-Victoria Azarenka (Blr) bt Monica Niculescu (Rom) 6-0, 5-7, 6-1; 5-Samantha Stosur (Aus) bt Elena Vesnina (Rus) 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-1; 13-Marion Bartoli (Fra) bt Edina Gallovits (Rom) 6-3, 6-2; Virginie Razzano (Fra) bt Klara Zakopalova (Cze) 6-3, 6-2; 32-Tsvetana Pironkova (Bul) bt Renata Voracova (Cze) 6-3, 6-4; Sybille Bammer (Atr) bt Zuzana Ondraskova (Cze) 7-5, 6-0; 24-Daniela Hantuchova (Svk) bt Dinara Safina (Rus) 6-3, 6-4; Agnes Szavay (Hun) beat Sandra Zahlavova (Cze) 6-0, 6-2; Sania Mirza (Ind) bt Michelle Larcher de Brito (Por) 6-3, 6-2; Anastasia Rodionova (Aus) bt Bojana Jovanovski (Srb) 7-5, 6-4; 27-Petra Kvitova (Cze) bt Lucie Hradecka (Cze) 6-4, 7-5; 16-Shahar Peer (Isr) bt Jelena Kostanic Tosic (Cro) 6-4, 7-5; Sally Peers (Aus) bt Aleksandra Wozniak (Can) 6-0, 6-1; 2-Kim Clijsters (Bel) bt Greta Arn (Hun) 6-0, 7-5; Gisela Dulko (Arg) bt Angelique Kerber (Ger) 6-3, 6-1; Mandy Minella (Lux) bt Polona Hercog (Slv) 6-4, 7-5; 20-Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Rus) bt K Barrois (Ger) 6-4, 6-1; Sara Errani (Ita) bt Tathiana Garbin (Ita) 7-6 (7-4), 7-5; 29-Alona Bondarenko (Ukr) bt Vera Dushevina (Rus) 6-0, 5-7, 6-4.

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