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Fabbiano Shocks Thiem At US Open

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2019

Fabbiano Shocks Thiem At US Open

Isner advances on Tuesday

If you’re hoping to ease your way into a Grand Slam, Thomas Fabbiano is not the man you want to face. Just one month after defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the opening round at Wimbledon, the Italian scored another first-round stunner at the US Open by defeating fourth-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

The upset in Arthur Ashe Stadium marked Thiem’s first opening-round exit in New York. The Austrian was considered by many to be a prime contender in New York after defeating Roger Federer this March for his first ATP Masters 1000 title at the BNP Paribas Open. 

Although Fabbiano was brave in attacking when he had opportunities and showed impressive defence, Thiem struggled to find his footing. The 25-year-old hit 17 winners to 28 unforced errors in the last two sets, with more than half of the mistakes coming from his normally reliable backhand wing.

“I got very, very tired and exhausted after two sets. I’m far away from 100 per cent. Like this, it’s very tough to win,” said Thiem. “I went on court because in tennis, especially in long two-week tournaments, anything can happen.”

You May Also Like: Rublev Foils Tsitsipas In Drama-Filled Opener

After battling hard to level the match at one set apiece, the Austrian hit nine unforced errors in the first three games of the third set. Thiem was unable to recover from his slow start and Fabbiano went on to take a commanding advantage.

Sensing his opportunity, the Italian saved his best tennis for the final stages of the match. Fabbiano took advantage of Thiem standing well behind the baseline in rallies, predominately serving out wide and carving out short angles before successfully gambling on down-the-line winners. A forehand winner on match point saw Fabbiano raise his arms in triumph after two hours and 23 minutes.

Fabbiano continues to excel on big stages this season, with five of his 10 tour-level victories this year coming in Grand Slams. Awaiting the 30-year-old is Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan, who picked up his first US Open win by outlasting Colombian qualifier Santiago Giraldo 2-6, 6-0, 7-5, 3-6, 6-4. The 21-year-old reached his first ATP Tour final last month in Newport (l. to Isner). 

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John Isner scored a dominant win on Tuesday, firing 29 aces and 55 total winners to ease past Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. The No. 14 seed was equally impressive in his return games, racking up 14 break points and converting four to advance in one hour and 58 minutes. The American improves to 29-12 in New York and will now take on German Jan-Lennard Struff, who defeated #NextGenATP Norwegian Casper Ruud 6-4, 6-4, 6-2. Struff defeated Tsitsipas earlier this month in Cincinnati.

Italian Lorenzo Sonego enjoyed an equally comfortable path to the second round with a comprehensive 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Spaniard Marcel Granollers. The 24-year-old clinched his first ATP Tour crown this June in Antalya (d. Kecmanovic). Next up for Sonego is Spaniard Pablo Andujar, who earned his first Grand Slam win in four years by upsetting No. 30 seed Kyle Edmund 3-6, 7-6(1), 7-5, 5-7, 6-2.

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US Open 2019: Garbine Muguruza out but Petra Kvitova & Belinda Bencic through

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2019
US Open 2019
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 26 Aug – 8 Sep
Coverage: Live text and radio commentary on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app

Former Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza was knocked out of the US Open in the first round with a 2-6 6-1 6-3 defeat by Alison Riske.

American Riske, ranked 11 places below the Spaniard at 36th, sealed her first win at Flushing Meadows since 2013.

Two-time Wimbledon champion and sixth seed Petra Kvitova advanced by beating fellow Czech Denisa Allertova 6-2 6-4.

Former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko and Swiss 13th seed Belinda Bencic are also through.

Latvia’s Ostapenko overcame Serb Aleksandra Krunic 6-3 7-6 (7-9), while Bencic beat Luxembourg’s Mandy Minella 6-3 6-2 on day two of the final Grand Slam of the year.

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US Open 2019: Kyle Edmund hoping to join fellow Britons in round two

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2019
US Open 2019
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 26 Aug – 8 Sep
Coverage: Live text and radio commentary on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app

British number one Kyle Edmund hopes to join compatriots Johanna Konta and Dan Evans in the second round of the US Open when he takes on Spaniard Pablo Andujar on Tuesday.

The 30th seed reached the fourth round in 2016 but lost to Italian Paolo Lorenzi in round one last year.

Edmund, 24, has won three of his last six tour matches since being knocked out in the second round at Wimbledon.

Konta beat Daria Kasatkina, while Evans overcame Adrian Mannarino on Monday.

  • How the Britons did on opening day
  • Williams thrashes Sharapova to advance
  • Federer survives scare to progress

Elsewhere, 18-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal kicks off the evening session on Arthur Ashe, taking on Australian world number 60 John Millman, who shocked Roger Federer in the fourth round last year.

Greek eighth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who suffered a shock first-round exit at Wimbledon, opens the proceedings on Louis Armstrong against Russian 21-year-old Andrey Rublev.

Australian 28th seed Nick Kyrgios was knocked out by Federer in the third round last year and he takes on 29-year-old American Steve Johnson, who has reached the second round on his last three appearances in New York.

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Also in action in the women’s draw is world number one and defending champion Naomi Osaka, who picked up her maiden Grand Slam last September in a dramatic victory over Serena Williams.

She followed it up with an Australian Open victory but has struggled since with injury and poor form, which Russian 20-year-old Anna Blinkova, ranked 84th, will hope to capitalise on.

Wimbledon champion Simona Halep gets her campaign under way on Louis Armstrong against American Nicole Gibbs, ranked 135th, while Czech sixth seed Petra Kvitova is up against compatriot Denisa Allertova on court 17.

American 11th seed and 2017 champion Sloane Stephens takes on Russian Anna Kalinskaya, ranked 127th, while Belarusian ninth seed Aryna Sabalenka is up against compatriot and two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka.

And Wimbledon’s 15-year-old superstar Coco Gauff goes in front of a home crowd at her first US Open against Russian teenager Anastasia Potapova.

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After Final Grand Slam Match, Tipsarevic Reflects On Importance Of Failing

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2019

After Final Grand Slam Match, Tipsarevic Reflects On Importance Of Failing

Serbian fell in four sets in the first round of the US Open

After two hours and 45 minutes of play on Court 12 Monday afternoon, Denis Kudla hit a serve down the T, forcing an error from Janko Tipsarevic. The Serbian put his hand to his lips, then reached down to the baseline as if to say farewell.

Kudla defeated Tipsarevic 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(5), 6-1 in Tipsarevic’s final Grand Slam singles match. And after four more ATP Tour events (St. Petersburg, Chengdu, Shanghai and Moscow), the Serbian will play Davis Cup and officially retire from professional tennis.

“I was digging today. I spoke to my coach very briefly after the match. This was a sign that it’s time, because I was playing a good first set, not a great second set, but you could see that my energy level, even though I was practising decent for the past 10 days, was going up and down, up and down, up and down. Normally before, when I was playing my best tennis, my energy was constantly up and this was the factor which was overwhelming my opponents, kind of like a David Ferrer way of playing,” Tipsarevic said. “Losing in four [sets] because of fatigue is a sign that I don’t see myself doing this in 2020.”

Retirement has been on Tipsarevic’s mind since the first half of the season. The 35-year-old has undergone seven lower body surgeries, putting his body through the ringer. But he still tried to come back and see how deep he could dig. In Miami, Tipsarevic won his first tour-level match in 570 days.

“As a family we wanted some kind of stability. In the past five years it was quite terrible that we didn’t know what we were doing, because it’s always if you do this, it’s not even what I want or what my family wants, it’s what tennis as a sport needs. So it was always this mix. Am I playing? Am I doing surgeries? Am I recovering? Am I competing? And then surgery again. And obviously all of these ups and downs, no matter how strong I tried to stay, they were really affecting my mood,” Tipsarevic said. “[The first part is] my body. My body’s not allowing me to come to the level where it would make me happy to continue playing tennis. And I’m not even talking Top 10, I’m talking about potentially Top 30. If I don’t see myself that I am able to be Top 30, for me competing and playing tennis is not fun.”

Tipsarevic has also devoted a lot of time to his academy, which he is franchising in four different countries in 2020.

“I’ve been on this guilt trip for quite some time because if I devote too much time to the business side of this because setting all of this up took a lot of time… if I devote a lot of time towards that, I see that part growing and going in the right direction,” Tipsarevic said. “But then I’m not a tennis player. I’m completely something else, and then I put tennis on the third or fourth place in my schedule during the day. And if I devote myself to be a 100 per cent tennis player, this takes six to seven hours.”

The motto Tipsarevic is instilling at his academy and that he has also used during his career is ‘keep digging’. He did not have much left to prove after competing in the Nitto ATP Finals twice, in 2011 and 2012. But even as his body let him down, Tipsarevic battled back.

“When you read fairytales about a hidden treasure, there is normally obstacles. The hidden treasure is somewhere near the end of the book. Normally there is a sea monster and whatever, a hidden map and that’s what you need to overcome to reach it. My big belief is that our hopes and dreams are normally not on the surface,” Tipsarevic said. “If you really want something, you really need to dig. And you really need to dig deep, even when you don’t feel like digging. This is what kept me going and trying to come back. And even if I didn’t, I came back twice. Once Top 50, once 70, but I never regretted it.

“I would regret way more not trying to do it and five years after my first surgery saying, ‘Hey, I earned enough money, I’m going to buy some real estate and enjoy my life.’ But like this, I feel you grow tremendously as a person.”

Tipsarevic has won five tour-level matches this season, but he has not been able to crack the Top 250 of the ATP Rankings. Nevertheless, the former World No. 8 is happy that he pushed himself once again to at least give a comeback a shot.

“I think I really tried everything. A lot of the time in the past few years I had comments, ‘What the hell are you doing, doing all these surgeries and still trying to come back and still working and still practising?’ But I guess this is who I am. This is what made me have a decent tennis career,” Tipsarevic said. “I feel if I didn’t have that aspect of a fighter, I wouldn’t have reached what I have reached in my career. Right now it’s a bit emotional because it’s my last Grand Slam, it’s my favourite Grand Slam. But I’m at peace with it because I feel that it’s time.”

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has known Tipsarevic since he was nine or 10 years old.

“He was always a role model for all of the young players in Serbia and my generation because he was doing so well,” Djokovic said. “He was the best junior of the world and he was someone that had a very promising career in front of him in professional tennis, judging by his results in junior tennis and had a really good professional career, two Top 10 year-end finishes and also quarter-finals of Slams.”

At the same time, Djokovic knows as well as anyone that his good friend has struggled physically in recent years. It’s less than two years ago that he himself was dealing with an elbow injury.

“It’s sad to see him leave, but at the same time, considering what he has been through with his body in the last three years, it’s kind of understandable. He had a lot of surgeries and injuries. And he just didn’t manage, unfortunately, to get back on that track where he was a Top 10 player,” Djokovic said. “I wish him obviously all the best.”

Tipsarevic owns 286 tour-level wins, four ATP Tour titles and more than $8 million in prize money. But the Serbian does not want to be remembered primarily by his results and on-court accomplishments.

“I want to be remembered as a guy who really gave everything he could, wasn’t able to come back to where he was and still am very happy about it. This sends a message to a lot of young and talented players who are very, very scared of failing because facing reality and giving everything you have, you might face a reality where you see that you’re not good enough. But obviously being Top 10 for two years is something very close and personal to me, something that I wanted all my life I think outside of winning a Slam, which I never did,” Tipsarevic said. “Failed is a big word in that, because everybody’s expecting this fairytale ending that there’s a guy with seven surgeries coming back to his glory days to the Top 10. But it doesn’t really matter. It’s way more important the failing part, because you become a winner in life. If you have this attitude you send this attitude not only to your other businesses, but your friends, families and kids, hopefully, which is eventually how you become a winner.”

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Federer Qualifies For Record-Extending 17th Nitto ATP Finals

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2019

Federer Qualifies For Record-Extending 17th Nitto ATP Finals

Swiss star joins Nadal and Djokovic at The O2 in November

Roger Federer has qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals for a record-extending 17th time after winning his first-round match against qualifier Sumit Nagal on Monday night at the US Open. Federer will attempt to capture a seventh season-ending crown alongside five-time former titlist Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, who have already clinched their places, at The O2 in London from 10-17 November.

“I really look forward to returning to London to play at The O2,” said Federer. “It is always one of the main goals to qualify for the year-end event. I love competing there among the other top players.”

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The 38-year-old Federer competed at the elite eight-player event in 2002-15 and 2017-18, with a 57-15 match record (.792), including titles in 2003-04, 2006-07, 2010-11. He also reached the final on four other occasions, finishing runner-up to David Nalbandian in 2005 and to Djokovic in 2012, 2014-15. 

Federer has compiled 1,224 match wins and 102 titles across his 22 seasons as a pro, trailing only Jimmy Connors’ marks of 1,274 match wins and 109 titles. He has won three ATP Tour titles in 2019, capturing the 100th trophy of his illustrious career with an eighth Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (d. Tsitsipas) in March, followed by his fourth Miami Open presented by Itau title (d. Isner) — his 28th ATP Masters 1000 trophy. In June, the Swiss earned a 10th title in Halle (d. Goffin) at the NOVENTI OPEN, which saw him become the oldest tour-level champion since 43-year-old Ken Rosewall at Hong Kong in 1977.

Additionally, Federer reached a 12th career Wimbledon final at the All England Club (l. to Djokovic), where he became the first player to record 100 match wins at a Grand Slam championship with victory over Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals. He also reached a ninth BNP Paribas Open final in Indian Wells (l. to Thiem).

You May Also Like: 2011 Flashback: Federer’s Historic Sixth Crown

Federer is currently in third position in the 2019 ATP Race To London, and in the running to become year-end ATP Tour No. 1 for a sixth time (2004-07, ’09), which would equal Pete Sampras’ record of year-end top spot finishes (1993-98). Three-time qualifier Dominic Thiem is next in line to qualify for the season finale in November, followed by Daniil Medvedev, 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, Roberto Bautista Agut and Kei Nishikori, who feature in the top eight. Alexander Zverev, the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals champion, is currently in 10th position.

The ATP’s crown jewel event is to be held at The O2 in London through to 2020, where it has been staged to wide acclaim since 2009. The event has successfully established itself as one of the major annual sporting events worldwide, broadcast in more than 180 territories with global viewership figures reaching an average of 95 million each year.

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Federer Overcomes Slow Start Against Nagal In US Open First Round

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2019

Federer Overcomes Slow Start Against Nagal In US Open First Round

Federer has not lost in first round of Slam since 2003 Roland Garros

Roger Federer did not get off to an ideal start to his pursuit of a sixth US Open title Monday evening. But the third seed won, and that’s what counts.

The five-time champion rallied past Nagal 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in two hours and 30 minutes, guaranteeing a record-extending 17th qualification for the Nitto ATP Finals, the season finale at which he has triumphed six times.

“I think trying to forget the first set is never easy I guess in a first round, under the lights. People expect a different result. I expect something else,” Federer said. “I just wanted to pick up my game really, start to play better. I was able to do that. That was a relief, going up 3-Love in the second set, realising that it is on my racquet.”

Federer has now won his first-round match in 62 straight major appearances, improving his US Open record to 86-13 as he begins chasing his first trophy in New York since 2008.

His opponent, Nagal, certainly took advantage of the opportunity in the biggest match of his career to date. The World No. 190 walked onto Arthur Ashe Stadium Monday evening for his first Grand Slam main draw match without having ever earned a tour-level victory. But the 22-year-old showed little fear against Federer, who made 19 unforced errors in losing the first set.

“I wasn’t serving consistently enough. I was hitting double faults that usually I don’t do. Also I was just hitting too many unforced errors. I was in two minds, I guess,” Federer said. “I was able to clear that a little bit. Maybe it’s not a bad thing to go through a match like this. It was very similar at Wimbledon when I dropped the first set there as well in the first round. At the end you look at the last three sets, and they were good. That’s encouraging.”

But Nagal did not prove to have the weaponry to take the racquet out of Federer’s hands. And once the Swiss found his range, he was a train rolling downhill on opening night at the year’s final major.

After staving off three deuces in the first game of the second set, the 38-year-old battled hard to gain an advantage, converting his fourth break point of the next game to take the lead. Federer quickly extended his lead to 5-0, before clinching the 42-minute set when Nagal launched a forehand long.

You May Also Like: Who Is Sumit Nagal? Meet Federer’s First Round Opponent

Federer would break immediately in the next two sets, putting constant pressure on the qualifier, who told before the match, “I’ve wanted this. I was telling my friends this yesterday. When people told me that Federer plays a qualifier, I was thinking how much I’ve always wanted this.”

Nagal showed his fighting spirit in the fourth set, breaking back for 2-2 with an inside out forehand passing shot that blew past Federer at net. But this year’s Dubai, Miami and Halle champion earned another break in the next game when the Indian missed an inside-out forehand wide, and he never looked back. Federer overcame four break points — including a 0/40 deficit — as he served for the match to move on.

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The key proved to be Federer’s pressure. Once he cut down his errors after the first set, he kept on top of Nagal, winning 33/50 net points compared to 7/17 for the qualifier.

“He loves putting pressure on the other guy,” Nagal said. “He’s always making you think of what he’s going to do, and that’s how I felt. Players I have played, I never had this feeling. But what he was doing so good was he was mixing it so well that you have no idea where the ball is coming back. So you always have to react to it.”

Federer had lost a set in his first-round match at the US Open just once since 2003 (2017 vs. Tiafoe). The 20-time Grand Slam champion has not fallen in the opening round at a Grand Slam since 2003 Roland Garros. 

Damir Dzumhur, who beat French qualifier Elliot Benchetrit 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-0, awaits in the next round. Federer will take confidence knowing he defeated the three-time ATP Tour champion in straight sets at Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2015.

Another Swiss was challenged Monday evening on nearby Louis Armstrong Stadium, as 2016 champion Stan Wawrinka needed two hours and 49 minutes to beat #NextGenATP Italian Jannik Sinner 6-3, 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3.

Sinner, who rallied from the brink of defeat in the second round of qualifying, showed the level that has helped him climb from outside the Top 1,000 53 weeks ago. But Wawrinka’s experience paid off in the big moments, converting five of his 10 break chances compared to Sinner’s 4-for-14 rate. The former World No. 3 struck 35 winners to advance to the second round for his ninth consecutive appearance in Flushing Meadows.

Wawrinka avoided going five sets, saving two break points as he served out the match. The 34-year-old will next face Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, who battled past Winston-Salem Open champion Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-1, 6-4 after three hours and 13 minutes. Wawrinka has won all five of his FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against Chardy. 

Lucky loser Kamil Majchrzak, who took Milos Raonic’s place in the draw, outlasted Chilean Nicolas Jarry 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 7-6(6), 1-6, 6-4 in three hours and 40 minutes. The Pole will next play Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas, who defeated American wild card Jack Sock 6-4, 7-5, 7-6(5).

Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis, who leads the ATP Challenger Tour with four titles this year, ousted Czech Jiri Vesely 4-6, 7-6(4), 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 after four hours and 16 minutes. Berankis will try to reach the third round of the US Open against Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, who upset No. 19 seed Guido Pella 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-3 in three hours and 13 minutes. 

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Williams thrashes Sharapova in 59 minutes to advance

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2019
US Open 2019
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 26 Aug – 8 Sep
Coverage: Live text and radio commentary on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app

Serena Williams made the perfect return to the US Open after last year’s controversial final by thrashing her long-time rival Maria Sharapova.

Williams, 37, won 6-1 6-1 in a first-round meeting which ended up lasting just 59 minutes.

Twelve months ago, Williams called the umpire “a cheat” and “a liar” during her loss to Naomi Osaka.

But the mood was rather different as she beat the 32-year-old Russian for the 19th time in a row.

Eighth seed Williams, who is bidding for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title and a first since returning from giving birth two years ago, broke Sharapova’s serve five times as she eased into a second-round meeting with fellow American Catherine McNally.

When asked about the decision not to allow Portuguese umpire Carlos Ramos to officiate her matches in New York following their infamous row, Williams said: “I do not know who that is.”

  • Konta & Evans advance to second round
  • Kerber out but Barty & Pliskova progress

From the moment Williams and Sharapova were drawn against each other on Thursday, the latest meeting between two of the biggest names in the sport was the main talking point of the first round at Flushing Meadows.

World number one Osaka said she was going to “set a timer” to make sure she did not miss the match, while 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer added he would be watching while he warmed up for his opener which followed on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The arena barely had an empty seat for the opening night session of the tournament, with former world heavyweight champion boxer Mike Tyson and Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin among the 24,000 fans.

Williams and Sharapova have had a frosty relationship since they first met on court in 2003, although the American said before they were due to meet at the French Open last year – a match which she then pulled out of with injury – that she did not have any “negative feelings” towards the Russian.

In truth, it has not been much of a rivalry on court in recent years, Williams having won 19 of their 21 previous meetings and both of Sharapova’s wins – including the Wimbledon final – coming back in 2004.

In their first meeting since the 2016 Australian Open, it was a familiar struggle for Sharapova who has struggled with a long-standing shoulder injury and slipped down the rankings to 87th as a result.

Williams, moving well and showing few signs of a recent back problem, out-powered her from the baseline and wrapped up the first set in just 25 minutes.

Sharapova was broken in the first game of the second set before increasing the intensity of her groundstrokes to force two break points in the fourth.

But a poor return and a wonderful winner from Williams allowed the home favourite to recover – and the inability to break back sealed Sharapova’s fate.

Williams took her serve in the next game for a 4-1 lead and, after fighting off three more break points, sealed victory when Sharapova hit a backhand long as she ended the match without winning a single point on her second serve.

“That winner at 3-1 in the second set was a big point for me. She’s the type of player who can get momentum so I was really excited I could get the winner,” Williams added.

“Obviously, I’m going against a player who has won five Grand Slams and reached the final of even more so I knew it would be tough.

“I was super intense and super focused because it was an incredibly tough draw.

“Whenever I come up against her I play my best tennis.”

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BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller

A win which extends Serena Williams’ streak of victories over Maria Sharapova to 19, and very few have been as emphatic as this.

In her previous appearance in Toronto two weeks ago, Williams only lasted 17 minutes before being forced to retire. But there were no signs of a lingering back problem on this opening night, as she totally overpowered her opponent.

Sharapova did not win a single point on her second serve. It was a contest only briefly – early in the second set – and that came as little surprise, as a shoulder problem has allowed Sharapova just six matches since January.

Williams, in contrast, is up and running in style, as she tries to make up for the disappointment of losing last year’s acrimonious final to Naomi Osaka.

And after the match she fired a cheap shot in the direction of the umpire who docked her a game in that final.

When asked about the decision to keep Carlos Ramos away from any matches involving the Williams sisters, Serena replied “I don’t know who that is.”

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World number one Djokovic eases through first round in straight sets

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2019
US Open 2019
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 26 Aug – 8 Sep
Coverage: Live text and radio commentary on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app

World number one Novak Djokovic booked his place in the second round of the US Open with victory over Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena.

The Serb three-time champion won 6-4 6-1 6-4 to kick-off the defence of his title at Flushing Meadows.

Djokovic has reached the final on his past three appearances in New York but was taken to four sets in his opening two rounds last year.

He faces American Sam Querrey or Argentine Juan Ignacio Londero next.

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Meanwhile, Russian fifth seed Daniil Medvedev took just 85 minutes to see off Indian world number 88 Prajnesh Gunneswaran with a routine 6-4 6-1 6-2 win.

The 23-year-old, who has reached three consecutive tour finals this year, will face Bolivian world number 84 Hugo Dellien in round two.

“I can’t say I’m feeling amazing about my game but to win by that score in the first round is great,” he said. “I hope I can continue to play well.”

Medvedev, who won the Cincinnati title earlier this month, is widely tipped as the man to put an end to Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s dominance.

“I always try to stay at the same time a little bit away [from such talk], because I always say at this moment of my career I haven’t even been in the quarters of a Slam yet,” he said.

“So that’s the first step to make, and if I make this step, then I can talk about bigger goals and bigger achievements.”

Elsewhere, Japanese seventh seed Kei Nishikori raced into the second round when he took a 6-1 4-1 lead before Argentine opponent Marco Trungelliti, 29, retired with a back problem.

“It’s a little bit sad to see. He’s a great player,” said Nishikori, who faces 108th-ranked American Bradley Klahn in the next round.

“I played great tennis from the beginning and I’m happy with the way I played. But honestly, I wanted to play a little more because I was feeling good on the court and I wanted to get a little more confidence.”

But Italian 11th seed Fabio Fognini lost 6-3 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 to American 21-year-old Reilly Opelka, who will face Spaniard Jaume Munar or German qualifier Dominik Koepfer in the next round.

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