Serena, Djokovic roll but Nishikori falls at US Open
TOP-RANKED SERENA WILLIAMS launched her quest to win the US Open and complete a calendar Grand Slam by overwhelming 86th-ranked Russian Vitalia Diatchenko for her 29th consecutive Slam match triumph in New York, as reported by PTI.
The three-time defending champion won 6-0 2-0 after only 30 minutes at Arthur Ashe Stadium when Diatchenko retired with a left foot injury, advancing Williams into the second round at Flushing Meadows.
The 33-year-old American chases the first calendar Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988 and a 22nd career major title to match Graf's Open Era record, two shy of Australian Margaret Court's all-time mark.
Top-ranked Novak Djokovic cruised into the men's second round but Japanese fourth seed Kei Nishikori crashed out after his runner-up effort last year.
He took to Twitter to express his feelings:
Glad to get through my first match @2015usopen... stopped by the cool #espn set pic.twitter.com/X2xyNcDX5B— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) September 1, 2015
Williams praised the New York crowd, which has adored her since she captured her first major title at the 1999 US Open as a teen prodigy.
"I felt the support and love on this journey and milestone I'm trying to take one match at a time,"
"I feel so good. I'm so ready. I'm at home, where it all began for me in '99. It all feels great."
Williams advanced to a second-round match against Dutch qualifier Kiki Bertens, who eliminated Croatian Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
"If I can just stay relaxed and stay in the points and stay calm and stay happy out there, I have to look at it as I have nothing to lose."
Williams lost plenty of potential obstacles in her march to history on day one as top-10 women's seeds Ana Ivanovic, Karolina Pliskova and Carla Suarez Navarro exited with opening-match losses.
That left 12th seed Belinda Bencic -- who ousted Bulgarian Sesil Karatancheva 6-1, 6-2 -- as the top-rated foe in Williams' half of the draw. Williams, who lost to Bencic in the Toronto semi-finals, could see the Swiss teen again in a quarter-final.
Williams, who owns six US and Australian Open and Wimbledon titles plus three French Open crowns, won her 22nd US Open match in a row since her last loss, to Aussie Samantha Stosur in the 2011 final. Williams has won eight Slam titles since then.
While another popular women's player had a surprise in store for her. Anna Ivanovic was outplayed by Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova 3-6, 6-3, 3-6.
Djokovic needed only one hour and 11 minutes to capture a 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 victory over Brazil's Joao Souza.
The IPTL family too wished them via Twitter:
Congratulations to Djokovic, Serena and Nadal for winning their respective 1st round matches at the #USOpen2015!— IPTL (@iptl) September 1, 2015