Federer, Serena breeze
Their opponents raise little racket
NEW YORK - Roger Federer and Serena Williams began their US Open title defenses yesterday with easy wins.
Federer defeated NCAA champion Devin Britton, 6-1, 6-3, 7-5, and Williams rolled over wild card Alexa Glatch, 6-4, 6-1, to fashion a predictable start to the last major tennis championship of 2009.
“My goal was to not get crushed,’’ Britton conceded, “and make it interesting for a little while.’’
He did, even breaking Federer’s serve in the second and third sets, though he was unable to follow either by winning his own serve in the next game. Britton lost three straight games at love after going up, 3-1, in the second.
“I was thinking, ‘I’m up a break. This is awesome,’ ’’ Britton said. “Then it only lasted about 30 seconds.’’
Glatch was in the same boat, pushing the second-seeded Serena in the first set before losing quickly in the second. One of America’s top juniors earlier in the decade, Glatch received a wild card entry only to find she was playing one of the best Grand Slam players in history.
Serena, who won the Australian Open and Wimbledon this year, is going for her second straight and fourth US Open title.
Andy Roddick, the 2003 US Open champion, was forced to wait until after 11 p.m. to get on court, then made quick work of 84th-ranked Bjorn Phau, beating him 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.
They finished at 12:45 a.m. today.
Venus Williams, bothered by a bad knee and distracted by a series of foot faults, avoided a shocking upset. Close to losing in the Open’s first round for the first time, Venus came all the way back from a set and a break down to beat 47th-ranked Vera Dushevina of Russia 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-3 last night.
Third-seeded Venus, twice the champion at Flushing Meadows, had her left knee bandaged after the third game. She also had plenty of trouble serving: She piled up 10 double-faults and was called for seven foot-faults.
Dushevina broke for a 3-1 lead in the second set and was three points from winning at 5-4. But Venus won the next seven games.
Other winners in the first round included eighth-seeded Victoria Azarenka, 12th-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, 17th-seeded Amelie Mauresmo and 26th-seeded Francesca Schiavone. Paul-Henri Mathieu, No. 26 on the men’s side, was the first seeded player to lose, beaten by Mikhail Youzhny, 2-6, 7-5, 6-0, 6-2.
American John Isner won a 16-14 second-set tiebreaker, the highlight of a 6-1, 7-6 (14), 7-6 (5) upset over 28th-seeded Victor Hanescu. Isner has missed a good part of the year with mononucleosis.