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September 2, 2009

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Home » Sports » Tennis

Top seeds ease into next round

PARENT power ruled the US Open hard courts on Monday in New York as champion Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters put their young upstart opponents firmly in their places to storm into the second round at Flushing Meadows.

Federer, seeking his third successive major following triumphs at the French Open and Wimbledon, and Clijsters were both playing their first grand slam tournament following the births of their respective children.

For Clijsters, it marked her first major since the 2007 Australian Open but it seemed difficult to believe she had been away for more than two years as she pulverized 21-year-old Ukrainian Viktoriya Kutuzova 6-1, 6-1 in 58 minutes.

New father Federer, who celebrated the arrival of twin daughters five weeks ago, took an 88-minute break from diaper changing duties to down American grand slam debutant Devin Britton 6-1, 6-3, 7-5.

Clijsters and Federer were just two of five US Open champions gracing the Arthur Ashe Stadium on a blockbuster opening day of the hard-court major.

Women's champion Serena Williams walloped fellow American Alexa Glatch 6-4, 6-1 but her elder sister Venus Williams, the 2000 and 2001 winner, was just three points from suffering her earliest-ever defeat at the Open before the hollering crowd carried her to a 6-7, 7-5, 6-3 win over Russian Vera Dushevina.

"I had a lot of help from the fans. I felt so much energy from everyone when I was serving to stay in the match in the second set. It feels good to play at home," Venus, who needed a medical time out to treat a sore left knee, told the crowd.

Andy Roddick, being tipped to win a second title here following his five-set loss to Federer in the Wimbledon final, swept past Germany's Bjorn Phau 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.

Roddick was still doing interviews at 1:15am, with the main topic being late matches at the US Open.

"It's all part of it," he said. "Kind of the crazies that stay 'til 1 in the morning - there's something fun about that."

Clijsters showed she could be challenging for the top prize while Federer is not only looking to extend his record grand slam haul to 16 but is also eager to match Bill Tilden's 1920s feat of winning six US championships in a row.

"That's what I'm here for, trying to equal Bill Tilden's record," said Federer, who became the first tennis player to earn more than US$50 million in prize money.


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