x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Petra Kvitova and Ana Ivanovic off to strong start in US Open tennis

Women's grand slam winners cruise in first round while Raonic will face Andujar after he tallied 28 aces in a three-set victory over Fabbiano at Flushing Meadows.

Ana Ivanovic celebrates a point during her win over Anna Tatishvili in the first round of the US Open on Tuesday. Al Bello / Getty Images
Ana Ivanovic celebrates a point during her win over Anna Tatishvili in the first round of the US Open on Tuesday. Al Bello / Getty Images

NEW YORK // Grand slam winners Petra Kvitova and Ana Ivanovic advanced to the second round of the US Open on Tuesday while Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic awaited their opening games at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The seventh-seeded Kvitova, the 2011 Wimbledon champion, fought off Japan's tenacious and 92nd-ranked Misaki Doi 6-2, 3-6, 6-1. Serbian 13th seed Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open winner, dispatched Georgia's Anna Tatishvili with relative ease 6-2, 6-0.

"In the first round of grand slams, it's difficult all the time so you have to be focused," Kvitova said. "I didn't play my game all the match. I didn't have focus. I have to have more confidence."

On the men's side, 10th-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic fired 28 aces in beating Italy's Thomas Fabbiano 6-3, 7-6, 6-3, to book a second-round date with Spain's Pablo Andujar, who dumped Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

World No 1 Djokovic, a six-time grand slam champion who captured his fourth Australian Open crown earlier this year, launched his quest for a fourth consecutive US Open final when he faced Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis under the lights. Seventh-seeded Swiss star Federer, at his lowest spot on the US Open draw sheet since 2002, faced Slovenia's Grega Zemlja in a match postponed from Monday because of rain.

Kvitova broke to open her match but was forced to save two break points in the next game by Doi, 22, a left-hander from Chiba. Doi broke Kvitova in the fourth game of the second set, and after missing four break-point chances in the eighth game, claimed the set by holding.

Kvitova, who denied Doi on 14 of her first 15 break chances, netted a backhand to surrender a break in the fifth game but broke again and held for the match after one hour and 55 minutes with a forehand winner.

Kvitova booked a second-round match against Serbia's Bojana Jovanovski, who ousted Germany's Andrea Petkovic 6-2, 6-4.

The US Open is the only slam event in which Kvitova has not reached the semi-finals.

Kvitova is the highest-ranked rival in the quarter of the draw to second-seed and two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka.

Azarenka lost to Serena Williams in last year's US Open title match. Ivanovic, who could face Azarenka in the fourth round, needed only 58 minutes to advance, with American Varvara Lepchenko or Romanian Alexandra Dulgheru up next.

"I'm very pleased with my performance," Ivanovic said. "It was a bit of a shaky start. There were lots of breaks, but I found my rhythm and my game plan settled in."

Ivanovic reached the last eight at the US Open for the first time last year, her first slam quarter-final since claiming the crown at Roland Garros.

Russian Maria Kirilenko, the fiancee of National Hockey League Most Valuable Player Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, ousted 2009 US Open semi-finalist Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium 6-1, 6-1.

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