NEW YORK, Aug 28, (Agencies): Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza notched up her first ever victory on Arthur Ashe Stadium with a 6-0 6-3 win over American Varvara Lepchenko at the U.S. Open on Monday.
Despite winning two grand slam titles, Muguruza has never felt at home at Flushing Meadows as she has never advanced past the third round here.
“I have been here so many times and I’ve never done very well,” said the Spaniard.
“I give everything I have on the court.
“She started a little nervous and I started well. Then it got more equal and became a good fight.”
Lepchenko struggled with her accuracy on the partly-cloudy morning, committing 22 unforced errors to Muguruza’s 11.
The 23-year-old Muguruza was aggressive throughout, frequently coming to the net and using her powerful ground strokes to push Lepchenko into awkward court positions.
Muguruza will next face either American Claire Liu or Duan Ying-ying of China.
Twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova scraped into the second round of the U.S. Open by beating former world number one Jelena Jankovic of Serbia 7-5 7-5 on Monday.
The Czech 13th seed, in search of top form after a mediocre build-up to the year’s final grand slam, struggled to adapt to Jankovic’s counter-punching style but eventually wore down the 2008 runner-up to set up a meeting with France’s Alize Cornet.
Kvitova, who returned to competition inh May five months after being stabbed in her hand by an intruder at her home, won a first set that featured three breaks of serve as both players struggled to find their range in Louis Armstrong Stadium.
She rallied back from 2-0 down in the second set but dropped serve again in the seventh game. However, Kvitova regained her composure to win four consecutive games and secured the win on her first match point with a sizzling forehand winner down the line.
As a youngster, Frances Tiafoe, the son of a Sierra Leone immigrant, played tennis in hand-me-down gear and dreamed of the day he’d face Roger Federer at the US Open.
On Tuesday, that wish, forged from hours of hitting a ball against the wall of a Maryland club where his father worked as a maintenance man, comes true in front of almost 25,000 fans on New York’s showpiece Arthue Ashe Stadium. It’s a long way from the days when cash-strapped Tiafoe practiced with his twin brother Franklin at the College Park Tennis Club.
“I played with hand-me-down rackets and gear from my wealthier peers, or used demo rackets the club supplied,” 19-year-old Tiafoe told theplayerstribune.com.
“While my dad worked, I picked up the game during nights and weekends at the facility when the other kids weren’t around.
“I’d hit against the wall by myself, mimicking techniques I had seen older boys at the academy do. I’d imagine I was playing against Rafa or Roger in the US Open, that those guys were just on the other side of the wall.”
Tiafoe was just six months old when Federer was winning the Wimbledon junior title, the Swiss star’s first step on the road to turning pro later that year.
Now ranked at 70 in the world, Tiafoe has already illustrated why he’s being talked of as America’s most likely next Grand Slam champion. At Cincinnati, in the run-up to the US Open, he defeated world number six Alexander Zverev, just weeks after losing to the German in the Wimbledon second round.
He has also already faced Federer, losing in two tight sets at Miami in March this year where “the ground shook,” the American teenager remembered.
“What are the chances that a kid like me, a kid with immigrant parents who picked up the game the way I did, who came up how I came up, would ever get the chance even to lay eyes on Roger Federer?”
Federer, the 19-time major winner who is chasing a record sixth US Open title, said he was grateful that he had already got a look at Tiafoe in Miami.
“Clearly he has nothing to lose but everything to gain,” said the 36-year-old.
A defeat for reigning Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Federer on Tuesday under the Arthur Ashe lights would be a shock of seismic proportions.
He has never lost in the first round in New York. His earliest exit came on his debut in 2000, back when Tiafoe was still to reach his second birthday.
“He’s an aggressive baseliner like so many of the Americans,” said Federer, who missed the 2016 tournament through injury.
“Thankfully I played him in Miami this year so I have a little bit of an idea of how he plays, and his patterns and what he prefers to do.
“I’m excited to play on center court for the first time with the proper structure and roof now. I missed it last year. I’m very excited.”
Benoît Paire (FRA) bt Lukás Lacko (SVK) 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7/5)
Hyeon Chung (KOR) bt Horacio Zeballos (ARG) 3-6, 7-6 (10/8), 6-4, 6-3
Kevin Anderson (RSA x28) bt JC Aragone (USA) 6-3, 6-3, 6-1
Steve Johnson (USA) bt Nicolas Almagro (ESP) 6-4, 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/5)
Kyle Edmund (GBR) bt Robin Haase (NED x32) 6-3, 7-5, 6-3
Cameron Norrie (GBR) bt Dmitry Tursunov (RUS) 7-6 (9/7), 6-1 — retired
Pablo Carreño-Busta (ESP x12) bt Evan King (USA) 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7/5)
Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) bt Andreas Haider-Maurer (AUT) 7-6 (7/3), 5-1 — retired
Florian Mayer (GER) bt Rogério Dutra Silva (BRA) 7-5, 0-6, 6-3, 6-4
Maria Sakkari (GRE) bt Kiki Bertens (NED x24) 6-3, 6-4
Arina Rodionova (AUS) bt Richel Hogenkamp (NED) 7-5, 7-5
Petra Kvitova (CZE x13) bt Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 7-5, 7-5
Alize Cornet (FRA) bt Heather Watson (GBR) 6-4, 6-4
Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) bt Anna Zaja (GER) 6-2, 6-3
Caroline Garcia (FRA x18) bt Tereza Martincova (CZE) 6-0, 6-1
Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK x31) bt Camila Giorgi (ITA) 6-3, 6-4
Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) bt Misa Eguchi (JPN) 6-2, 6-2
Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP x3) bt Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 6-0, 6-3
Sofia Kenin (USA) bt Lauren Davis (USA x32) 7-5, 7-5
Sachia Vickery (USA) bt Natalia Vikhlyantseva (RUS) 4-6, 6-4, 6-1