NEW YORK, (Reuters) – Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic blasted their way into the second round of the U.S. Open yesterday with ruthless efficiency, crushing their hapless opponents in straight sets on an action-packed second day at Flushing Meadows.
Defying the sceptics who had dismissed his chances of winning a sixth title in the Big Apple, Federer was in vintage form as he brushed past Slovenia’s Grega Zemlja 6-3 6-2 7-5 in a delayed afternoon match at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Djokovic then lit up last night session with a dazzling combination of power and precision to defeat Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis 6-1 6-2 6-2.
The world number one hardly broke sweat on a balmy New York night as he took the first step toward a possible fourth straight appearance in the final.
A tournament previously bereft of upsets also saw its first major casualty when Australia’s Sam Stosur, the champion just two years ago, was sent packing by American teenager Victoria Duval 5-7 6-4 6-4.
With chants of “U-S-A!” ringing out on Louis Armstrong Stadium, Stosur lost her way after winning the opening set, committing 56 unforced errors in her defeat to the 17-year-old.
“I’m not going to be a sore loser and say she didn’t do anything,” said Stosur. “But, you know, I think I certainly helped her out there today, that’s for sure.”
The 32-year-old Federer won the last of his five U.S. Open titles in 2008 but the Swiss master said he had lost none of his love of the game, ripping 35 winners in his win over Zemlja.
“I’m in a good spot right now. I want to enjoy it as long as it lasts,” Federer said after the match was moved to yesterday after being washed out on Monday evening.
Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki survived a tough examination to join grand slam winners Petra Kvitova and Ana Ivanovic in the second round.
And Italy’s Sara Errani, the fourth seed, showed why she is looming as a real contender with a rare double-bagel 6-0 6-0 win over Australia’s Olivia Rogowska.
Errani showed no mercy against her 151st-ranked opponent, who got into the draw as a lucky loser replacement following the withdrawal of Japan’s Ayumi Morita, and romped to victory in 51 minutes.
Kvitova, the 2011 Wimbledon champion, also had to put in some overtime before winning her clash with Japan’s Misaki Doi 6-2 3-6 6-1 while a grieving Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open winner, cruised to a 6-2 6-0 win over Georgia’s Anna Tatishvili.
Ivanovic arrived in New York with a heavy heart after learning about the drowning death of a childhood friend back in her native Serbia.
“It’s been very sad news,” Ivanovic told reporters. “It was very hard because it was almost like my relative. We grew up, and I knew him since we were kids. It’s very, very sad.”
‘DAY OF SURVIVAL’
With her boyfriend, golfer Rory McIlroy, watching from the stands, Wozniacki had to dig deep to beat Chinese qualifier Duan Yingying 6-2 7-5.
Wozniacki raced through the opening set in just 35 minutes then reeled off five games in a row to seal the win after falling behind 5-2.
“It’s not about being pretty,” Wozniacki said. “It’s about just getting the job done. I did that, so I’m happy about that.”
Wimbledon semi-finalist Jerzy Janowicz was booed for serving underhand during a petulant display in his 6-4 6-4 6-2 loss to Argentina’s Maximo Gonzalez, who is ranked 247th in the world.
Hampered by a painful back injury he suffered training three days ago, the Polish world number 14 was in a foul mood, arguing with the chair umpire and throwing his water bottle on the court.
“I was in really good shape before this happened,” he growled. “That’s why I’m fricking disappointed.”