Canada's Aleksandra Wozniak advances at U.S. Open
Blainville, Que., native reaches 2nd round in 1st Grand Slam since 2012
Aleksandra Wozniak of Blainville, Que., reached the second round of the U.S. Open Tuesday with a win over Serbia's Vesna Dolonc 7-5, 7-6 (7-5).
Wozniak hadn't played in a Grand Slam since 2012 due to a shoulder injury and had only played two matches in the past year. She was pleased to be back on the court.
"I'm very happy to be back, it was ten solid months of rehab at home. Six months of no tennis was the longest of my career," said Wozniak. "I'm finding form a lot quicker than I thought I might and I'm really pleased with this win."
Petra Kvitova likes the calm of Wimbledon, where she won her only Grand Slam title in 2011.
The bustle of New York — not so much. And the city's major tournament has always bedeviled her.
The seventh-seeded Czech weathered another tough U.S. Open match in the first round Tuesday, needing three sets and nearly two hours to beat 92nd-ranked Misaki Doi.
Kvitova won 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 on a windy day at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
"I like big matches on the big stadium, but the people — it's too much crowds for myself, I think," she said.
Kvitova has reached at least the semifinals at the other three major events; she has never made it past the fourth round at Flushing Meadows.
She's also struggled in the North American swing leading up to the U.S. Open, but she made a breakthrough last year. Kvitova won two of those tournaments and reached the semifinals at another in 2012, then matched her longest run at the year's last Grand Slam tournament.
"So I have good motivation to improve my results here," she said.
The final set Tuesday was closer than the score in this rare matchup of two lefties. After Kvitova went up a break at 2-0, Doi had a chance to break right back but couldn't convert.
Two years ago, Kvitova became the first reigning Wimbledon women's champion to lose her first U.S. Open match in the same season. She was in danger of another early exit Tuesday when she made 15 unforced errors in the second set.
But she's hardly fazed by three-set matches. Kvitova recently played six straight across three tournaments, winning four of them.
Doi, from Japan, fell to 0-4 against top 10 opponents.
Four seeded women were beaten in early action: No. 11 Sam Stosur, who won the 2011 U.S. Open, along with No. 17 Dominika Cibulkova, No. 20 Nadia Petrova and No. 31 Klara Zakopalova.
Stosur was eliminated 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 by 17-year-old American qualifier Victoria Duval, who is ranked 296th and never before had faced a top 20 opponent or won a Grand Slam match.
"I know she didn't play her best today, and this is the best I've played in my career, so I'm really excited," Duval told the Louis Armstrong Stadium crowd. "I just tried to stay in the moment."
No. 2 Victoria Azarenka, the 2012 U.S. Open runner-up and a two-time Australian Open winner, needed 10 minutes and six break points to take the first game against 99th-ranked Dinah Pfizenmaier, then dominated the rest of the way en route to a 6-0, 6-0 victory.
"There are things, you know, I feel like should be better," Azarenka said. "But overall, it's a good start."
No. 10-seeded Roberta Vinci, a quarterfinalist at Flushing Meadows last year, beat Timea Babos 6-4, 6-2. She's reached a career-high ranking this summer at age 30 after making the round of 16 at the French Open and Wimbledon.
No. 13-seeded Ana Ivanovic and 14th-seeded Maria Kirilenko got off to quick starts, each winning in under an hour. Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open champ, beat Anna Tatishvili 6-2, 6-0. Kirilenko won 6-1, 6-1 against Yanina Wickmayer, a semifinalist at Flushing Meadows four years ago whose ranking has fallen to 57th.
Christina McHale, a 21-year-old from Englewood Cliffs, N.J., snapped a five-match losing streak by beating 45th-ranked Julia Goerges 6-4, 6-3. McHale's ranking had fallen to 114th.
With files from The Canadian Press