Iga Swiatek makes quick work of first foe at U.S. Open

League: Tennis

Posted on: 29 Aug, 2023 at 04:41 AM

Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 seed and defending champion Iga Swiatek of Poland needed less than an hour to win her opening match at the U.S. Open in New York.

Swiatek beat Sweden's Rebecca Peterson 6-0, 6-1 in a tidy 58 minutes. Her win didn't exactly fulfill the wishes of men's No. 10 seed Frances Tiafoe, whose first match followed Swiatek's on the same court.

"Frances told me (Sunday) actually to not make it too quick because he doesn't have time to warm up," Swiatek joked in her on-court interview.

Swiatek held a 4-0 advantage over Peterson in aces, saved all three break points she faced and won five of six break-point opportunities.

Swiatek is aiming to win her second U.S. Open title and her fifth Grand Slam. The World No. 1 won the French Open for the third time last June.

"I really wanted to play solid and start the tournament with everything I was focusing on in practice for the whole week here," Swiatek said. "I'm happy that I could play such a great game, and with all the pressure and expectations, that I can just have fun on court."

Her next opponent will be Australian Daria Saville, who swept past Clervie Ngounoue 6-0, 6-2.

No. 4 seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan had a 26-19 edge in winners while posting a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine.

No. 6 seed Coco Gauff of the United States shook off a slow start to edge German qualifier Laura Siegemund 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Gauff, who finished with a 7-0 edge in aces, converted her eighth break point in the opening game of the second set to start her comeback. The American went up 5-1 in the final set, then dropped three consecutive games before finally sealing the win.

Gauff was not happy about Siegemund's slow-down tactics, which ultimately earned a point penalty for delaying the action. Asked afterward to describe the match, Gauff said, "Slow. ... It was a tough match. I wasn't playing my best tennis. Laura, she's not an easy opponent. She fights to the end, and that's what she did today. I was able to overcome a lot of adversity. I'm happy with how I managed to get through."

No. 8 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece was handed an early exit when Rebeka Masarova of Spain prevailed 6-4, 6-4. Masarova had four aces without a double fault and went 3-for-3 in converting break-point chances.

"My level has been poor and I have to do something about that," Sakkari said. "It's very uncertain. I don't know what I'll do."

Czech No. 10 seed Karolina Muchova cruised past Storm Hunter of Australia 6-4, 6-0. No. 15 seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland beat Kamilla Rakhimova of Russia 6-2, 6-4, while two-time Grand Slam winner Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, the 18th seed, beat France's Fiona Ferro 6-1, 6-2.

No. 19 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil eliminated Sloane Stephens on the first day of action, going the distance for a 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 win. Haddad Maia saved 11 of 15 break points to survive and advance.

Other seeded players weren't as fortunate. Bernarda Pera upset 16th seed Veronika Kudermetova of Russia 7-5, 6-4. Pera saved 10 of 12 break points. Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo joined the party by beat 28th seed Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine 6-4, 7-5.

Americans Taylor Townsend, Lauren Davis, Jennifer Brady and Danielle Collins joined Pera in advancing, with Collins being particularly dominating. The 2022 Australian Open finalist won all of her 16 first-serve points, and had 25 winners against just seven unforced errors while routing Czech Linda Fruhvirtova 6-2, 6-0 in just 52 minutes.

Former major champion Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, a two-time U.S. Open finalist, earned a victory while playing her first Grand Slam match since 2020. In the interim, she gave birth to two children. On Monday, Wozniacki beat Russian qualifier Tatiana Prozorova 6-3, 6-2.

Other first-round winners included 11th-seeded Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, 20th-seeded Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, 24th-seeded Magda Linette and Magdalena Frech of Poland, 30th-seeded Sorana Cirstea of Romania, 32nd-seeded Elise Mertens of Belgium, Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia, Yuriko Miyazaki of Great Britain, Kaja Juvan of Slovenia, Alja Tomljanovic of Australia

Also moving on were three Chinese players, Xinyu Wang, Xiyu Wang and Lin Zhu, and three Russian players, Anna Kalinskaya, Elina Avanesyan and 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva.

--Field Level Media