Serena, Murray, Nadal through to US Open 2nd round

Written By: BBC/Hunja Macharia
1525

Six-time champion Serena Williams made her return to the US Open with a clinical first-round win over Poland’s Magda Linette.

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Williams, 36, missed her home Slam last year, giving birth to daughter Olympia shortly after the tournament started.

Opening Monday’s night session at Arthur Ashe Stadium, she won 6-4 6-0 against her 68th-ranked opponent.

The 17th seed will meet Germany’s Carina Witthoeft in the second round.

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Williams is still on course to meet older sister Venus in the third round, although the prospect of facing world number one Simona Halep – her projected last-16 opponent – has disappeared after the Romanian’s shock defeat by Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi.

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Although she will face tougher challenges, Williams looks well placed to challenge for the record-equalling 24th Grand Slam on the evidence of her victory over Linette.

She put the Pole’s serve under pressure in a lengthy third game without being able to convert, going on to break it in the seventh.

After avoiding a brief scare when she was taken to deuce in the following game, she saw out the opening set without facing a break point.

Meanwhile Britain’s Andy Murray enjoyed a winning return to Grand Slam tennis as he fought back to beat Australia’s James Duckworth in the US Open first round.

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The 31-year-old won 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 7-5 6-3 on the new Louis Armstrong Stadium at Flushing Meadows.

It was Murray’s first best-of-five sets match in 14 months, having had surgery on a long-term hip injury in January.

The Scot will play Spanish 31st seed Fernando Verdasco in the second round in New York.

“I was pumped to be back playing in a Slam again,” Murray said.

“At points in the match I didn’t play amazing. I’m not expecting to play my best tennis right now.

“But I’m happy to get through the match.”

Murray, a three-time Grand Slam champion, has faced a long road to recovery after opting to have surgery, tentatively coming back during the grass-court season before deciding he still was not fit enough to play five sets at Wimbledon.

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Defending champion Rafael Nadal also moved into the US Open second round after fellow Spaniard David Ferrer’s Grand Slam farewell was ruined by injury.

Nadal led 6-3 3-4 in Monday’s late tie on Arthur Ashe Stadium before Ferrer had to give up with a calf injury.

Ferrer, the 36-year-old former world number three, will retire after playing in Barcelona or Madrid next year, but says this will be his final Grand Slam.

 

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